365 Days of Memories

Just as companies may choose to use a fiscal year that doesn’t coincide with the calendar year, I’ve decided that my annual Aase family year-in-review should go from December 30, 2006 to December 29, 2007. When I did my first on-line Christmas letter last year (around Thanksgiving), we were only looking forward to one of our family’s major milestones. It seems only fitting that this special day should be the starting point for any review of the last 365 days, and that I should be writing about it on the one-year anniversary of the event.

Walking Rachel down the aisle
A year ago today I walked my eldest daughter Rachel down the aisle for her marriage to Kyle Borg. If you’re in Facebook, you can go here to see the highlights. My brother, Mark, took a lot of candid photos and did a great job. We’ve thought about starting a little weekend business doing wedding photography and video, and that may get going in 2008. But for now, we’ve both been really busy with our regular jobs. So I videotaped four weddings in the last year (including Rachel’s and, as a bookend to the year, Mark’s daughter Allyson’s yesterday) to help friends and family and to get some experience. I set up a Facebook group to display some of our work, and then also a Facebook fan page when that became an option in November. Perhaps in 2008 we can make some time to update our Facebook presence by getting more video and photos added. I do think Facebook would be a good way to market a business like this.

In May, we had the unique event of having both my 20-year old son, Jake, and my brother Mark graduating from college on the same day. Here’s a post about that special day and Mark’s commencement speech; Rachel followed Jake in graduating from UW-La Crosse earlier this month. Jake worked at Camp Shamineau this summer, co-leading the high school counselor program. Now he’s working in La Crosse as Rachel and Kyle spend their last year there before Kyle graduates and they move to California for him to attend seminary. We’re glad Rachel and Jake are so close and that Jake and Kyle are good friends, too.

In early July we had a fun family trip to Kansas City for the National Bible Bowl Tournament, where our youngest daughter Ruthie did extremely well as an individual and led the team that included her siblings Joe and Rebekah to a 10th-place finish. Ruthie and Rebekah are both high school juniors this year, taking all or most of their classes at Riverland Community College through Minnesota’s Post-Secondary Enrollment Options programs, which enables them to take college classes for high school credit. This is the plan that enabled their older siblings to graduate from college before age 21.
Bekah made honorable mention all-conference in volleyball as Austin’s middle hitter, and is starting on the Packer girls’ basketball team that’s off to a 6-2 start. As I discussed here, we’re using a Facebook group as a way for team members, parents and fans to share photos and video highlights, and to link to newspaper coverage. She’s almost 6’1″ and is barely (for now) taller than her 13-year old brother, Joe. That won’t be true next year.

We (mostly Lisa) continue to homeschool Joe and John (9). Lisa’s good homeschooling work has been validated by her early college graduates and how well Ruthie and Bekah have done on their ACT and PSAT standardized tests. While in my work I tend to get more immediate feedback on successful projects, Lisa’s is more of the long-term variety. I think she has good reason to take immense satisfaction in what has resulted from how she has given of herself for our children.
John has zero interest in sports, but is a sharp student and more of an artistic/creative guy. Joe plays in orchestra at the middle school and also is involved in football and basketball. It’s really special that he plays on both teams with his cousin Tom, Mark’s son, and that my parents get to attend all of their games (and Bekah’s.)

I often say we have a Norman Rockwell kind of life, with three sons and three daughters being raised in my hometown, near both sets of grandparents. Lisa and I are so grateful for all of these blessings, and for my job with Mayo Clinic that has made it possible for us to live in Austin.

Speaking of my work, 2007 started with separation of another set of conjoined twins from North Dakota. When they went home in February, it capped a one-year period in which three sets of conjoined twins were successfully separated at Mayo Clinic. Our team coordinated the media involvement for the families and medical teams.

New Media, also called social media, are becoming a more important part of my job. We launched a series of Mayo Clinic podcasts in July. This blog and my Facebook exploration have been keys to my social media learning process. It’s interesting to me that a year ago my familiarity with Facebook was indirect; four of my kids were in Facebook, but I wasn’t. Now Lisa and I both have Facebook profiles, and we’re “friends” with Rachel, Jake, Bekah, Ruthie and Joe. I’ve also enjoyed meeting people with common interests through this blog and through Facebook, and at several conferences throughout the year.

So, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I hope this personal digression won’t make you irregular. 😉 For you, I’ll be following up with a post about how blogs and social media can do a better job than the traditional Christmas card/letter at personal updates to extended family and friends…or how they can make an annual update unnecessary.

And if you’re a family member or friend who got this link from me as part of our annual Christmas letter, I hope you’ll join Facebook and “friend me” so we can stay connected throughout the year.