Merry Christmas 2012 From the McKinleys!

Greetings from the the McKinley family. We know that this season represents a time of reflection, for some we know this is a difficult time following challenging transitions, and for others it is a time of elation. From either place we celebrate the truth of God's power through His gift of Christ to us.

Our year has been vibrant, laced with life's whirlwinds....some more exciting than others, but life with family.... is life at its best.

  We have enjoyed many wonderful times this year.  A few highlights include our Spring kayaking trip down the Colorado River in April. With a morning chill still in the air, and passing through tight security, we arrived at the base of Hoover Dam. While launching around 7 a.m.   Ryan got a real “E ticket” ride when the Outfitter accidentally launched the stern of Ryan's kayak off the rock at an angle....with Ryan in it!  The boat rolled and Ryan flipped out. He submerged instantly into the  freezing water!  Speechless and shivering he peeled off the freezing wet layers, put on a dry towel to launch again.

We proceeded on our 11 mile river trek, initially looking  for pockets of warm morning sunlight through the the tall rocky cliffs. The quiet canyons, huge fish,  slow moving clear blue deep water and frequent stops to explore the various hot springs along made this a one of the most beautiful adventures we have had and will probably do again ...minus the refreshing early morning dip!

Rebecca, now 19 traveled again to NYC in February, for her third time to sing at Carnegie Hall.  She made new friends, saw Wicked on Broadway, and relished in singing beautiful classical and international masterpieces again at Carnegie! In we celebrated her graduation from Arroyo Grande High School. She traveled to Anaheim for a Turner's Conference, enjoying a lot of time with friends, some from out of state, at her favorite destinationDisneyland! She continued her college education through Cuesta this Fall. Still undecided about a college major, but loving music, she participated in Cuesta's Chambers Singers and the Applied Music Program. A short clip of her solo in the Holiday choir can  be found here: Video Link.
She also traveled to Las Vegas with friends to catch the last showing of the Phantom of the Opera before it closed for good at the Venetian. Touring the set with her friend the Tech manager, was an exciting  highlight for her!  She has enjoyed good times with her friends and her brother this year,  growing in independence and driving a lot!  We love you Rebecca!

Ryan, now 16,  almost 6'2”and a sophomore at Arroyo Grande high school, is involved with 4 Bluegrass bands. Music, Music, Music, its  simply an extension of Ryan!  He had the opportunity to compete in the 41st annual Fiddler's Competition in Goleta where he took 2nd place in his category. Here is his performance. Whether he is playing fiddle at restaurants, community groups, convalescent homes, or relaxing at home Banjo picking', gleaning from every Scruggs recording, or Jamin' for fun with is dad at home, Bluegrass is on his mind and flowing from his heart. Aside from musical endeavors, Ryan plays a lot of Airsoft. With his arsenal growing, he has become a consultant to his peers on game strategies, gun maintenance, and stealthy moves. He keeps us on our toes and the calendar filled up!  Air-soft operations fill in where music events have left any day empty!  In participating at New Horizons again amongst 200 other Air-soft enthusiasts, Ryan basked in the opportunity to fight his way through simulated Asian jungles, as part on an all day, annual, para-military operation held near Santa Clarita. His arsenal of Air-soft equipment has grown with him. We are proud of him as he has been working so diligently in school this year and continues with his musical pursuits and community service on his own accord. We love you Ryan!

Aside from maintaining our work involvements, Kelly at Cal Trans,and Lisa still at Hancock College counseling on a part-time basis,  we continually make time to play Ultimate Frisbee and work out at the gym as a family.  We have enjoyed planning family trips and working on home projects together. Kelly, along with Ryan, shares in the plethora of musical opportunities, playing Bluegrass/Gospel with Dusty Shoes band at Station Grill on Saturday nights, with Gordon McKinley (not related!!) and Ryan as part of the McKinley Trio at AJ Spurs, and with Wild River Ramblers performing Weddings and events. He loves to play guitar and his Upright Bass Fiddle, and receives extra blessings to play for the local rest homes. Kelly continues restorative work on his 510 Datsun wagon, loving every spare minute he can to be creative mechanically.  Needless to say the man is busy....and loving it.

 and with Wild River Ramblers performing Weddings and events. He loves to play guitar and his Upright Bass Fiddle, and receives extra blessings to play for the local rest homes. Kelly continues restorative work on his 510 Datsun wagon, loving every spare minute he can to be creative mechanically.  Needless to say the man is busy....and loving it.

One highlight of the year was our RV trip to Colorado. We left in the motor home mid June, visiting Zion National Park, Ut and jamming around the camp fire with musicians from Ohio, traveling through a heat wave onto Colorado, sightseeing, and then experiencing the best of Colorado through an unforeseen breakdown in the lovely little town of Glenwood Springs.  We met the nicest people who assisted us, and gave us a tour and ride to the beautiful Glenwood Springs Resort...our new favorite family destination .  The huge mineral springs pool, the people, and the beautiful environment were wonderful.  We stayed at the Resort while our motor home was being repaired, then traveled on towards Longmont to visit family.  We traveled through the Rockies, stayed at a beautiful  mountain town called Frisco, drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel and enjoyed the sunset dinner with Lisa's brother Gary and his wife Linda, in Longmont.

After the girls shopping downtown :) , and the guys (Gary, Kelly and  Ryan) had a 'blast' shooting in the Pawnee Nat'l Grasslands, we moved on to Denver ….in the heat wave. The weather averaged 108  degrees per day and the Colorado fires were just beginning.  Though it was extremely warm, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit with the Stephensons touring the Air force Academy Base, and then raveled on to visit Lisa's college roommate, Stacy, her and family in the foothills of Sadellia.  Riding horses, sharing time together, having a cozy music night with all the kids, topping the trip off with an unexpected wild  ride on Racing Jitneys down the center of Denver at night and a late Mongolian dinner together, made this visit a very special time and memory for all of us!  After staying with them 2 days, we left for Pueblo. The mountain fires of Colorado were now numerous and raging with temperature to 110 degrees. We traveled with wet towels on us in the rig to stay cool. We then traveled on to Pueblo, to meet and visit with cousins where we shared stories, photos, and jammed till 1 p.m.!! The next morning we left for Florence for church and BBQ with Erin and Glen Norberg and friends.  The quaint town, picnic, and fellowship was sweet but so short!  We traveled on to make Durango by nightfall. After long quiet hours traveling across Colorado reflecting on the wonderful visits and special moments we had shared, we found ourselves enjoying a little river resort in Pegosa Springs. Still enduring the heat in and out of the motor home, we arrived in Durango. After finding a campsite and cheap inner-tubes, we found relief on the river ...floating down to town. We took a trolley the rest of the way to get to the center of town, where Ryan's fiddle playing brought a crowd to a homeless musician's favorite bench.  Sightseeing and Starbucks brought a sweet ending to our special family time in Durango.

We traveled on to Mesa Verde, where we took on the Cliff Dwellers tours and where Lisa's sea legs up steep open-air ladders got the best of her.  Stunned and stuck on her way to the top, quiet Ryan took control and with a military bark and coached mom up the last remaining rungs!  Thanks Ryan!  What an experience!  Then back on the road..within hours, we rolled through Four Corners and were determined to get to Grand Canyon by nightfall. We arrived at the canyon edge at sunset for one of the most beautiful evenings of the whole trip.  No crowds, no noise - just the vastness of the canyon as far as we could see and the warm evening wind on our faces. The glow of the summer sun was closing up on the horizon leaving an array of color in the evening sky soon replaced with the emerging stars.

It was a timeless moment for the four of us.  Visiting the canyon the next morning brought a sense of early closure to the trip as we headed toward California.

 We traveled on to spent the next night in Laughlin, where temperatures rose to 120 + degrees and Ryan experienced the wrath of hot pavement as he jumped out bare footed to quickly help push the vapor locked motor home out of the roadway.  The night swim at the Colorado Belle helped to cool the blisters. After a short visit with the family in Camarillo we pulled up with new memories to share and remember for a long time to come.  Take a little time to check out the real thing..... 2012 Colorado Wanderlust

Some other memory makers for 2012 were:

  • Rebecca climbs Bishops Peak with ROP Class
  • Hosted Foreign exchange Student from China

  • In Fall, Lisa & Kelly traveled to Yosemite and Bass Lake for a long weekend escape.

                   Breakfast at Ducey's!

  • Ryan & Kelly Backpacking to the old west silver mining town Panamint City above Death Valley – Video Link
  • Ryan & Kelly Deep Sea fishing trip along the Channel Islands with Aunts, Kristen & Kathleen

  • Annual Hume Lake Camping Trip with friends from Church.

We hope you have been blessed this year and are continually reminded of the Lord's presence and goodness this Christmas season.  May your days reflect the depth of life God has for you.

The McKinley's

Kelly, Lisa, Rebecca, and Ryan


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