Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Greetings

What a challenging year. It began and ended with our mothers in rehab with broken hips – Dan’s mom in January, then my mom in November. We are thankful that both have worked hard and achieved a fairly good recovery. This week we are in the process of moving my parents to a retirement community; Mom will go straight from rehab to this new location, just ten minutes from us and about 20 minutes from Larry. Mom and Dad had been looking for some time, but it took a crisis, as is so often the case, to actually motivate them to move.

In addition, several deaths have had a significant impact on us and on people we are close to. God has clearly been with us through all the tough times and losses, helping to redirect our thinking to a more realistic view of life and giving us the strength and compassion to care for others.

We’ve had some very significant and bright times this year as well.

For three weeks this summer we toured France and Germany. We spent a wonderful week in a small town in the hills just north of Provence, in a house with Celia, Keith and Rebecca (Keith’s sister) and with Jan, Willy, Lucia and Jan Scholten (Jan was the exchange student that lived with Dan’s family.) From there we went to Germany to visit our exchange student Rene and his family and to celebrate with them as Rene and Helge were married. The wedding celebration was held at a castle/hostel where most of the guests stayed for the weekend, and it was a very rich and memorable time. See August and September blog entries for pictures and the full story.

I’ve begun a new adventure: I decided to get a part-time job in June. I am working about 8 hours a week at Sylvan Learning Center as a tutor, and most of the time I really enjoy what I do. My long term goal is to tutor disadvantaged children, perhaps training others as well. (see my July entry for more details)

Dan has been very busy at work this year, involved in several “Boeing-wide” projects to improve the structural analysis computing system. He has done a lot of long distance conference calling, telecommuting, and some traveling. Musically, he has spent a lot of time with Matteo (his baroque guitar), playing and singing in the Continuo Ensemble, and both of us continue in Opus 7.

We’ve seen quite a bit of Celia and Keith this year, with our trip to Europe together (yes, it was really “family togetherness” with five in the little car we had…). We went to Vancouver several times to visit them, usually to see them perform. (See March and April blog entries) They are still going to Regent College; Celia’s focus is “Christianity and the Arts” and Keith’s is Biblical studies and languages. Our family was all together for Christmas this year, which is really special.

We’ve seen quite a bit of Colin, too, mostly on the hiking trail and at Crystal Mountain. He is so far beyond us in his physical ability; we’re glad he’s patient with us. Dan goes out to lunch with him quite often, since Colin also works at Boeing, not too far from Dan. He rides his bike to work almost every day, and practices “green living” in about every way possible. In fact, he suggested that we try to curb the trash at the chili cook off this year, and did the dirty work of pulling all the plastic spoons out of the compostable materials. We put some of the waste in my bear proof compost bin, except we forgot to put the lid on tight and woke up one morning to bowls of moldy chili spread all over the lawn. We learned a few things for next year… (see October entry for more about the chili cook-off)

Speaking of bears, in October, our chili-loving mama bear and her two cubs were trapped on our street and carried away to the mountains. We still see plenty of wildlife, between the deer and coyotes. There’s always something interesting for the neighborhood dogs to bark at (including us).

We hope you’ll take some time to peruse the pictures and read the stories on our blog.

We wish each of you God’s richest blessings in the New Year!

Dan and Joann

Friday, December 28, 2007

Lo, How a Rose E're Blooming

Lo, How a Rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a flow'ret bright, Amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas fortold it, The Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, The virgin mother kind.
To show God's love aright she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Approaching winter

This picture was taken on an October hike to Lost Lake, up the Greenwater River trail. It was a beautiful clear day and there was just a trace of fresh snow which had crystalized on the branches.