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Arabian Horses Family Photo
As I write this letter, it is 81 degrees and sunny in Waikiki. Today in Wisconsin, it is minus 20 degrees. Shelley and I are on our annual pilgrimage to Hawaii.
2008 was a year filled with every emotion possible. We celebrated tremendous joys, but we also experienced the opposite.
Following our Hawaii vacation, we traveled to Scottsdale to the Arabian Horse Show. It was filled with euphoria, as Giovanni re-entered the show arena and captivated the audience and his fans.
MPA Giovanni - Scottsdale 2008
  This was to be his year! He was named Champion 6-7 year old stallion. Indira also made a tremendous showing with Kharbonation J, who was named Reserve Champion and later sold to Australia. With my kids surrounding us, Hermann and a host of friends, it was the height of ecstasy. With trainer Jeff Schall, we set our sights for all the major national and international competitions. Our next competition would have been Las Vegas.
Indira & Kharbonation J - Scottsdale 2008    
For almost 40 years, Shelley and I have been involved in the German Shepherd world. This year brought to a close a tremendous era for us. In April we lost my ‘second mother’ and mentor, Anne Mesdag. Upon landing in Portland to pick up my rental car and attend her funeral, I received a phone call saying Gio had been hurt. We would find out later that his pastern area was shattered with seven fractures. They say things come in three’s. Number three was right behind when Shelley’s dad, Gene, died during open heart surgery less than four weeks later.
These were rough days, but we forged onward as we had to prepare for a wedding. On 6-7-8…
... that’s June 7, 2008, Indira and Mike Van Handel were married. Other than weather making people miss planes and blowing our tent down before the wedding day, it was an incredible, fairy tale wedding. The final touch was our two special friends from Hawaii, Soo and Sielu adding “fuel the to the fire”.
Mike & Indira Van Handel
  This is not too dissimilar a situation than how we got son-in-law, Reid Stransky, when he showed an interest in the Jerland Holsteins and then married Daria. Daria and Reid continue to farm. Jerland cows such as Nan, Grace, Adeen, and Frisky seem to have moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota! The Stranskys’ passion for the bovine world now garners them recognition, and Shelley and I are happy to be partners with them on this venture. Daria was recently the cover girl for Holstein International magazine. Four sons insure a future work force.
Daria Stransky    
Moriah and Matt have two business ventures: Luxury Limo and Ultimate Fitness. Needless to say, these two family members are both in good shape! Moriah has her hands full working at their center, cleaning the limo, and raising four extremely active kids. Last year, she re-entered the horse show arena, after a 17-year sabbatical, and she won the Canadian National Park Horse title. Matt is a great supporter and cares for the children while Moriah competes and trains Brass Star.  
Moriah & Brass Star
  Jeremy and Sara have found peace and contentment in their small engine repair and welding business. It is something he truly enjoys doing and his work and work ethic have become well respected as his business continues to grow. Sara is also working at the hospital in the food and nutrition area. Their four children keep them busy. Arrya was named top lamb show person at the Barron County Fair, following in her dad’s and Aunt Indira’s footsteps. Jeremy Jr. competes in the small models and craft section at the fair.
Xantha, Callista, Jeremy and Arrya    
Alicia and Barry maintain an active household. Three extremely busy children have just found out there will be a fourth addition due in May. Alicia works full time as a nurse, but still finds time to teach Sunday school, volunteer, and be on the family council. Their family just acquired a new horse. Grandpa and Grandma are looking forward to watching them begin showing. Barry, between work and Alicia’s projects, still finds time to hunt and to ride his Harley.  
Adam Wirth
  Lyndon and Sarah are also expecting a new baby in May. Lyndon’s business continues to grow. He has managed to get a couple of remodeling jobs where the owners continue to change their minds and add projects. We don’t know if it’s because they like his work or just like his company! He assists his parents when he has a chance as well, with his woodworking skills. Sarah works full time at Luther in her nursing career. Logan is still the center of attention and the ‘apple of their eyes.’
Sarah, Lyndon and Logan    
Sacia Anne, a UW-Milwaukee graduate of the Peck School of the Arts with a Master’s Degree in Cello Performance, has entered into the ranks of job hunting. She graduated in December. For the past month, she has been house sitter, babysitter, dog caretaker, and chief cook and bottle washer. Few of these jobs have a tremendous appeal to her. Starting in February/March she will begin serious auditions as she tries to land a playing position in a symphony orchestra. Music fills her life. She still picks up her accordion and other instruments, especially at family functions.  
Sacia Jerome & Jeannie Yu
Indira and Mike have purchased a home and are operating the Arabian horse part of the operation for us. Horses consume their lives. They have big dreams. They are also enjoying the German Shepherd world.
  Travels in 2008 took me to many regions of the world. On a trip during November, I made my annual visit to Switzerland with special friend Hermann, where he again relived his childhood memories and visited relatives. On a sad note, the early winter brought the loss of Aunt Helen, another dear, adopted member of the Larry and Shelley Jerome Family.
Shelley is still the super mom and grandma. She is the glue that holds everything together. As always, her days are filled doing for others first and herself second. Holidays, birthdays, and special occasions are also made a little more unique by the traditional and special foods prepared as only she knows how.
Each year, I perform for the Centenarian Recognition with special friend, the ‘Fabulous Lenore Berg.’ This year I learned a new song that has a special meaning. Its title is “I Wish I Was 18 Again.” It goes like this: “I wish I was 18 again, going where I’ve never been. But old folks and old oaks standing tall just pretend, I wish I was 18 again.” These words kind of fit where we are now.
Larry & Shelley Jerome    
Our family continues to grow. Our lives continue to change, but the one thing that remains constant is our love for, and our value of, each of you. May God bless you in 2009. We wish you a wonderful year.
1- Larry 3- Reid 9- Matt 15- Jeremy 21- Barry 26- Lyndon 29- Sacia 30- Mike
2- Shelley 4- Daria 10- Moriah 16- Sara 22- Alicia 27- Sarah   31- Indira
  5- Joseph 11- Alec 17- Arrya 23- Julia 28- Logan    
  6- Zach 12- Marion 18- Jeremy 24- Braden      
  7- Jerome 13- Collin 19- Callista 25- Adam      
  8- Darian 14- Samuel 20- Xantha