Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Christmas Letter 2018

Well, the cards are off, Advent is rolling along, and it is time to report here, and post pictures of the highlights of the year.

Before I do that, for the sake of balance, let me list a few lowlights:  dealing with bodies that have been through a lot is a pain, sometimes literally. Watching as our parents age is also difficult. And living in this broken world is downright hard sometimes for all of us.  That said, we have much to be grateful for!

I am going to work backwards from the biggest, most recent event of the year, towards the earlier ones.  This year, we officially added another granddaughter to our family. Eliana Jean Yaritza Finnegan (E3) has been part of our family since she left the hospital and entered Tim and Nikki's care over a year ago.  But at the end of October, she became part of our family forever.  Adoption is such a sweet doctrine, and now it has been made more real to all of us as Tim and Nikki opened their family to this sweet daughter!

In September, Dave and Chris enjoyed two weeks in the Northeast: Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.  We had never been to that part of the country, and it was glorious!  Highlights include rivers with waterfalls (and real water flowing), covered bridges, Acadia National Park, the Maine coast and its lighthouses, and spending time with dear friends.  It was a wonderful time.

Just before we went to New England, we had the privilege of some extra time with Ben and Elsa's girls while Ben and Elsa fought a hard battle against an infestation of small vermin in their apartment in Phoenix.  Their loss was our gain, and we enjoyed several weeks with Ada and Carys, while their poor parents and baby brother fought the good fight in Phoenix.

Late June saw us celebrating our Fourth Annual Cousin's Camp, with the parents and the littles and various other friends and relatives joining us to celebrate July 4th, all at our house in NM.  It was our first time to have 4 cousins attend, and our first time to have a boy! We had great fun sleeping in the camper in the back yard (the forests were closed due to fire concerns), hiking at Bandelier, doing crafts, and building a fort in the backyard.

All of these fun events were made possible by one major event that happened in May.  After 34 years at Los Alamos National Lab, Dave retired.  He set immediately to work renovating our bathroom, and hasn't slowed down since.  Since he was retiring, I decided this would be my first year in about 30 or so that I would not teach anything.  It has been a nice change, and I was ready for it! It has been wonderful to have a more flexible schedule, but what they say about retirement is true: we can't figure out how we ever had time to work!

One of our first fun retirement activities was to take up kayaking in an inflatable kayak.  We spent the summer enjoying the local reservoirs, and it has gotten us back to swimming laps at the local aquatic center!

Spring break in April found us gathering in the middle-of-nowhere-- quite literally!  We met outside of Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona for a week of hiking and relaxing, first with all the grands and their parents, and then with Chris' parents.  It made for great memories!

So, looking back, 2018 has been a busy year, full of change, full of challenge, and doubly full of blessing! We have been amazed over and over again with God's goodness to us, and His presence with us. And we pray that as our New Year begins, we will be ready for all the blessing and adventure God provides, as well as all the challenge and trial He sends. We know He will provide His presence to us as we walk the way before us.

May you also be ever in His presence, dear family, fond friends, and gentle readers. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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