Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

Well, the cards are in the mail, and that means it is time to give my year-end update to friends and family far and near. 2015 has been a year of blessing-- remission and disease-freedom, times with family and friends, job stability and health, teaching and learning.  And while we enjoy all these blessings, we cherish most that we have a loving and powerful God who directs all things for our good and His glory.  Life with Him is a constant adventure.

Here are some of the particulars we are thankful for:

Ben, Elsa, Ada (almost 4) and Carys (18 months): Ben continues to enjoy teaching at the Basis in Peoria, and this year his his first AP-level Latin class.  He has also enjoyed a great deal of coaching success with both his flag football team, who finished second in the state, and his newly formed debate team, who sent several teams to the outrounds of the state tournament.  Elsa works at home, caring for her precocious and adorable girls. Ada is entering her second year of pretending to be Wilbur the pig in her playtime, and has a mind that is always working. Carys is sweet and stubborn and loves to sing. They are all active in their church, North Valley Community Church.

Tim, Nikki, Emma (5) and Ezra (20 months):  Tim continues to work as an engineer at Ratheon in Tucson, and loves it.  Nikki cares for the kids, homeschooling Emma 3-days a week, and driving her to kindergarten at Veritas Academy of Tucson two days a week. Emma started school, got glasses, and is now reading. She loves to sing and be in charge. Ezra makes sure the house never gets too quiet, and smiles more than any child I have ever known. They also keep busy with their church, Rincon Mountain PCA, where Tim serves as a deacon.

Jack and Shirley, and Marilyn: All the folks have had a relatively healthy year. We are all feeling our age, of course.  And for some of us, that age is getting up there!  I hope I can be half as lively and capable as this group when I am 77, 74, and 89!  We have enjoyed several fun get-togethers, including Thanksgiving here in LA with Ben and family.

Us: We continue to be grateful for the years we have had together (35.5 now!) .  Our health is a sort of good news-bad news thing.  For Dave, the good news is that he is 23 years out of a cancer that should have killed him, but God spared him and healed him.  The bad news is that he is dealing with long-term treatment side-effects.  The good news for me is that I am three years breast cancer-free, and a year and a half in remission from my auto-immune disease.  The bad news is the immune-suppressants and infusions come with their own difficulties.  Dave continues to work (now for 30 years!) at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the radio-chemistry area. I like to say he helps keep the world safe for democracy. I am enjoying teaching locally, and online at The Harvey Center. And we both stay active at Bryce Avenue PCA, where Dave serves as an elder, and my latest endeavors include helping to manage the web site and the facebook page (those are jobs I can do from my bedroom, in my PJs!)

Highlights: This year we traveled to Florida, celebrated our church's 40th anniversary as a congregation, explored the Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico territory, saw family in Arizona and New Mexico, had our first-ever Cousins Camp with Emma and Ada, and went camping with Ben and family in the Flagstaff, AZ area, and enjoyed having them here for Thanksgiving.  We will head to Tucson to be with Tim and family for Christmas.  One of the great joys of our lives is to watch our children being good parents and productive people who love and serve God, and to enjoy the amazing blessing of our grandchildren!  Below are some more photos for you to enjoy.

Thank you: for keeping up with us here, and being part of our lives.  May you all experience the presence of the One who came to be among us, Immanuel, this season, and always!

 With the Greenwalds in Florida

 The Edwards come to visit, and become part of the family!

Ben and Elsa, Ada and Carys, summer

Nikki and Tim, Ezra and Emma, Spring

Jack and Shirley, Jeff and Marsha

Emma starts school

Cousins Camp

Cousins Camp

The grands get together on a cold December day in AZ.

Emma decorates Daddy's hair and beard.

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