MERRY CHRISTMAS 2010 FROM THE MUNSILS!
(L-R): Matt Munsil (14), Ellen Munsil (17), Michael Munsil (19), Leigh Munsil (22), Tracy and Len, Will Munsil (23), Anne Munsil (21), Laura Munsil (18), Kaye Munsil (15).
Christmas Eve 2010
Every year our family watches “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Christmas Eve.
We laugh at the same things, nod off at the same point, and mist up near the end when Harry Bailey says, “A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town.”
That’s how I feel this year. Like the richest man in town. Not in material wealth, to be sure, but rich in relationships. Blessed by loyal friendships I don’t deserve, and surrounded by a family that continues to amaze me.
It all starts with family. God carefully chose to send His innocent, helpless infant son into a human family to be protected, loved, nurtured and equipped to face the challenges that lay ahead for the Messiah.
I am blessed to be part of a family of strong individuals who, connected by shared values, vision and faith, continue to exceed any expectations or dreams a husband and father could have for those who bear his name.
We have issues, flaws and failures like any family, but are blessed to be able to work through them in a safe environment of grace that begins with my wife Tracy.
It has been a few years since we did a full update. Feel free to skip the following not-so-brief update on our lives in 2010:
My parents, Lee and Linda Munsil, celebrated their 50th anniversary this year and continue to provide encouragement, blessing and an example of faithfulness and commitment to family for our generation and for our children's generation.
Tracy completed her coursework for her doctorate in Political Science at ASU and passed her comprehensive exam and her dissertation topic defense. She also wrote 200 pages of her dissertation, and was able to do original research at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston on her topic – Mercy Otis Warren, the foremost female thinker and writer on the American Revolution. At the same time, she was asked to join the ASU faculty as a full-time Lecturer in their School of Politics and Global Studies. She has just completed her first semester of full-time college teaching, handling four sections of political science classes at ASU with her characteristic commitment to excellence, while encouraging and helping students above and beyond the call of duty. Somehow she still manages to prepare meals, run a household and snap photos at kids’ sporting events.
Will is mid-way through law school at Arizona State University, seeming to enjoy it more following a summer in Austin, TX as a Blackstone fellow of the Alliance Defense Fund. At the same time, he became at age 23 the head high school football coach at Scottsdale Prep Academy. In its first year of high school football, with no seniors and without a single player who had ever played high school football, Will managed to lead the team to an 8-3 record and a 40-38 loss in triple overtime in the state championship game. He remains the head high school and junior high baseball coach, and still finds time to write a weekly political column for the ASU newspaper, the State Press.
Leigh, 22, graduated with honors from the Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, having served a year as Editor in Chief of the newspaper. She immediately took a job at The Dallas Morning News in Texas, and after a fun trip down I-10 and moving into an apartment, forced Dad to say a sad goodbye. She has already had numerous front-page stories, and was awarded the Lyn Nofziger award for excellence in journalism. More significantly to her sports-loving family, she was at every World Series game in Arlington and on the field when the Giants clinched. And now – yes, she has a press pass and will attend her first NFL game in February -- this year’s Super Bowl in Dallas!
Anne, 21, is now a junior at Southwestern College, and continues on the Servant Leader full scholarship with a 4.0 GPA in Biblical Studies. For the third straight year, she is a starter on the women’s basketball team, and recently hit a career-high 5 three-pointers in a game against The Master’s College in California. During the spring and summer she began her coaching career with the Wolves, a club team formed by younger sister Kaye.
Michael, 19, is a sophomore at Southwestern College, having transferred from ASU in the summer. He is an Education major, desiring to teach and coach, and is already gaining valuable experience as the head junior high football coach at Scottsdale Prep, and as an assistant coach for the varsity. He coaches linemen and serves as a disciplinarian during practice. During games, he focuses on keeping Will from getting ejected or flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. He also enjoys singing in the College Chorale.
Laura, 18, graduated as the valedictorian at Scottsdale Basis High School, and was accepted to one of the “little Ivy’s” – Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. That’s a long ways away, geographically and culturally, but after inspection during Christmas break she still seems to be our Laura. She is a Film Studies and English Literature major, and loves her classes and her new friends. She works two jobs on campus and also writes for the school newspaper.
Ellen, 17, is a junior at Scottsdale Prep, and the former gymnast is now a very popular gymnastics coach. Despite her protestations that “I am not a basketball player,” she managed to secure triple doubles (double figures in points, steals and rebounds) in her first three games this season, and at last check was leading all high school girls in Arizona in steals per game. She was also a captain of her high school volleyball team that went to the state championship. She is a member of the Arizona Governor’s Youth Commission, and was recently accepted to Valley Teen Leadership.
Kaye, 15, was also accepted into Valley Teen Leadership. She remains a top student in her sophomore year at Scottsdale Prep. After a phenomenal basketball season as a freshman, averaging more than 20 points per game, and after club basketball games took her to San Diego, Portland and Seattle this summer, Kaye has suffered from shin splints that have kept her sidelined through volleyball and the beginning of basketball season. But she is back now and making up for lost time, which is a relief to us because she was driving everyone crazy.
Matt, 14, is a freshman at Scottsdale Prep, and a record-setting wide receiver for his brother’s high school team. In his second varsity game, Matt set a record for most receiving yards in a single game in the history of Arizona high school football, catching 14 passes for 341 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was honored by the Arizona Cardinals as the Arizona high school Player of the Week. He finished the season second in the state in receiving yards with more than 1,200, and was the leading freshman wide receiver in the United States by a wide margin. I had a chance to coach his Junior All-Star baseball team, and Matt was the winning pitcher and hit a 380-foot homerun when we defeated the defending Little League World Series champions in the district tournament. Despite sports success, he remains well-rounded as a good student and enjoys singing in an honors choir. Plus his older siblings and friends keep him grounded.
As a student, I enjoyed school but couldn’t wait to get my degrees and get on with life. Now I find myself back in the world of academia, having accepted an appointment as President of Southwestern College, a fully accredited Christian college celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. And I couldn’t be more excited at working to build a thriving college in Arizona that will maintain its commitment to equipping Christian leaders in the church, in business, in education and in other areas of influence. I also continue to practice law at Mueller, Drury & Lawrence, as we focus on helping homeowners stay in their homes or sell their homes in a way that is best for them and the community during these troubling economic times.
So there it is – more than you wanted to know about all things Munsil. One thing my law practice has done is make me aware of the breadth of financial hardship being suffered by so many in our community. If you are struggling, rest assured that you are not alone, and that we will come out of this. The elections of 2010 were a referendum on failed liberal economic policies, and I remain hopeful that the “genuine and permanent moral reawakening” envisioned by President Teddy Roosevelt will yet bring America back to a new era of economic greatness, world leadership for freedom, and philanthropy for individuals and nations in need.