Christmas 2023

Merry Christmas from the Cottings.

I hope this finds you all doing well and enjoying the Christmas season. The word hope is a word that is a familiar part of the Chirstian belief. For me it is something that is reinforced during the Christmas season as I think about the Jewish people who were hoping for their Redeemer to come and rescue them. His coming was first promised in the beginning to Adam and Eve back in Genesis. I’m sure many of the Jewish people had given up hope as there had been a 400 year period of silence from God at the time of Jesus’ birth. I believe that hope was fulfilled in Christ’s birth who my family and I celebrate this time of year.

Every year it feels like the year goes faster. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Just like the little old lady in the left hand lane of the freeway with the left hand turn blinker stuck on, everything is just zooming by too quickly as I get slower. Or maybe it’s just my imagination.

This year Wendy suffered setbacks with her health as attempts to treat her Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) did not come with the results we had hoped for. We are grateful that she is able to live mostly the way she wants, but we are disappointed that the cure did not come as we had hoped. This just means that now she has to slow down her exercise activity. We have hope because we believe that this is all part of God’s plan, and there is something good that is coming from it.

Otherwise, she is still doing well with her Pediatric Urgentologist career. This time of the year she is in high gear with Flu and RSV coming from every direction. I got the opportunity to watch her use her skills in person one afternoon. Some missionary friends of ours, who live in a remote place in the world, called with concerns about one of their children. Over the phone Wendy was able to take a history that helped determine what was happening, determine a treatment plan, and comfort the parents. It was a blessing to see how good she has become at treating children and comforting parents after 16 years of practice. She’s also teaching residents and mid-levels at work. In her spare time she still finds ways to hang out with our kids, watch their soccer games, teach her 3 & 4 y/o Sunday School class, and put up with me.

This past summer we flew to Dallas and then drove down to San Antonio to visit with Wendy’s family. The kids got to spend a lot of time in the swimming pools of the family members we stayed with. We also went on a trip to Six Flags while we were there. We had a great time, but my take away from Texas is that it’s too hot, there’s way too much traffic, but there is some really tasty BBQ.

We also managed to spend some time up at our mountain property this summer. It’s always less time than I want. While there, I get to cut down dead trees, and the rest of the family gets to relax. We really enjoy having a place of our own we can go to to escape the city and just slow down. It’s very peaceful, except for when I’m running my chainsaw or the kids are shooting their .22s. We hope to be able to build a cabin up there someday. 

This year Cody and Mia both continued playing soccer. They both play for the same club (Utah Avalanche), but play in different age groups. They both really enjoy it. Thankfully they both have the same coach. This makes scheduling work out better. Twice a week we would spend 3-4 hour afternoons at the park during spring and fall with a picnic supper packed by Wendy. The kids also continued their training with Krav Maga twice a week. It is a fighting style intended for self defense. Both kids achieved their orange belts this year. Both kids are also still going to Intermountain Christian School. I’m so happy to see how much they enjoy going to school. It’s not the same experience I had with school. The kids also went with me on some mountain biking rides. I’m glad I’m getting to share with them something that I also really enjoy.

This year Mia went from 4th to 5th grade. Her teacher goes to our church. She’s really growing up, but she still enjoys being a kid. She is still a really big reader. It’s staggering to me how much she enjoys reading. She gets in the car when I pick her up from school, and she’s already reading. She got that from Wendy, not me. 

Mia has been getting supplemental soccer training once a week from a well known coach in town. It has been really fun to watch her improve her footwork with the ball. I look at it and think, well, she’s surpassed any level of skill I ever had in soccer. This past summer Mia got to go to a Summer Bible Camp for a week. It was the first time she was away from us for that long, but she had a wonderful time. She hopes to go back again next summer.

Cody has gone from 2nd to 3rd grade this year. His teacher also goes to our church. Cody is also getting bigger and is close to the same size as Mia now, despite the 2 year difference in age. Cody enjoys school and seems to really enjoy the social aspect of having other kids to play with. He likes doing things with others which can be complicated when Mia wants to read and Cody wants to play. That’s where mom and dad try to step in to help give him someone to play with. 

Cody also gets supplemental soccer training from the same coach as Mia. His long ball kicks and shots on goals are really great. His ability to aim his shots are also beyond any level of kicking I had as a kid. Cody loves playing video games, sometimes too much. I try to spend time playing video games with him as a way to spend time with him. Cody and Mia’s favorite game is Minecraft, but lately we’ve been doing Valheim. Cody also hopes to go to the same Bible Camp that Mia went to this summer.

Despite not having a full time paid career job, I have managed to continue to stay busy. It’s funny when people ask me what I do for work, my response is “Depends on the day of the week.” I still work for our church doing computer work and managing security. I do part time work for the University of Utah doing medical response for attendees of large events (including REAL Salt Lake MLS games). I taught at two soccer camps this year for young kids who were interested in soccer. I volunteer for security at my kids’ school each week. My hopes for a successful sticker business have not been met, but I package the orders when they come in. I drive the kids to their after school activities. Then I do Dad work in my other time. It all keeps me pretty busy, but I find it fulfilling. 

This spring I was able to get my first real mountain bike. My old one was from 1999 and was far from being a good bike. I was able to start doing some trail riding again. I got to go to the resorts in Park City for some downhill fun as well. I’ve only had one bad fall this year, but it was enough to ring my bell. Earlier in the summer my hopes of summer road biking were dashed when my road bike frame broke. Orbea refuses to honor their warranty on the frame, so now we are trying to save up for me to get a new road bike frame. I am hoping to be able to ride again this summer. 

I’ve been battling stomach problems for a few years that got much worse this year. It’s more than just that my stomach is getting bigger 😉, but we are hoping that my doctor has it figured out. As I get older, what I thought was a healthy body continues to need more attention from doctor’s visits. Also, I want to take this time to thank the city of Salt Lake and their miserable air quality for causing me to have to treat asthma now. Maybe all those years of road biking in poor air quality weren’t as good for me as I thought they were going to be. Now if we could just keep all those outside people from moving here and adding to the problem. 

It is my hope that you are enjoying this time of year. It is also my hope that you have hope in the right thing. I have found that having hope in things that we can do such as career accomplishments,money, education, hobbies, people, and other worldly things only bring hope that is fleeting and eventually disappointing . However I have found that having hope that Christ has done enough for my salvation has given me hope that will never fail me.

Here’s hoping you have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.


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