Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Dear Family and Friends,

Blessed Christmas and New Year! For me, this has been the least frantic and most enjoyable December I’ve had in a long time. For years I have been saying I want to do Christmas differently, and I guess I finally took myself seriously. This has given me more time to experience the joy of knowing that Jesus came to a dark and troubled world and brought light and hope. He still brings hope to our current troubled world, when it is hard to know who to trust and when the things in which I find security are tottering.

Isaiah, in speaking about the Messiah, says:

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him
The Spirit of wisdom and of understanding
The Spirit of counsel and of power
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord…
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes
Or decide by what he hears with his ears;
But with righteousness he will judge the needy,
With justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth…
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

I think we’re all hoping for someone with those characteristics to lead us out of the mess we’ve gotten into. In the midst of our disillusionment with our earthly leaders, here is One who is wise and just and righteous. He came to earth as a baby 2000 years ago and he has been with us ever since, offering to guide those who are willing to listen and follow.

May you experience the hope and light of Jesus this Christmas season, and all year long.

Now, here’s the family news….

Dan is enjoying several musical pursuits – singing in Opus 7, singing and playing his guitar (Matteo) in the Continuo Ensemble (an early music group). Now he wants to combine his woodworking skills with his musical talent and build a guitar. That desire has led to a monumental effort in cleaning his workshop. Dan’s commute to Boeing in Everett seems to get longer and more tiring all the time, and early retirement sounds good. He enjoys the work he is doing, however…

At the beginning of this year, I had a small part time job tutoring at Sylvan Learning Center. In April, I felt that it was time to move on, and after retiring from this brief career I began to pursue what I was confident was a calling from God: mobilizing our church to establish a tutoring center to serve a growing number of low income children in our community. I have learned through various means about meeting the needs of such children: taking a class in teaching ESL, shadowing the leadership of an existing program, and attending seminars about how to develop a tutoring center. We are going to begin our program in January with a strong group of volunteers. In addition, I enjoy teaching 6th grade Sunday School. I have found that being around kids keeps me learning and growing – and it’s really fun, too. I am still singing in Opus 7, but that is about all I do musically. Gardening this year was a delight since we put up the deer fence. No more tripping over netting and cages, and discovering that my pole beans had been chewed halfway up. We had a good harvest.

Celia and Keith are still in Vancouver and will finish up their degrees at Regent College in April. Both of them are working hard not only with their classes, but also as TAs in Greek and Hebrew. Celia’s art thesis involves creating four worship services using stringed instruments. She also teaches free cello lessons in a music studio for the underprivileged. We always enjoy visiting them in Vancouver, and they spent quite a bit of time here over the summer. After graduation, they plan to go on a short term mission to Japan in the summer.

Colin is working on the 747 program at Boeing, living in Edmonds, and riding his bike to work. He and Dan both work in Everett, so they regularly have lunch together. Colin shops at the farmer’s market most Saturdays and likes to cook and bake bread. He has hosted several exchange students who attend Edmonds community college. Last summer he went to China with a team from Oversees Missionary Fellowship. Their task was to walk, observe, pray and interact with people in an area that is populated with an ethnic minority with very little exposure to Christianity. While they didn’t do anything which would get them into trouble, they were watched, and once were escorted kindly by police to the nearest tourist town.

Warm wishes for a cozy holiday season…

Dan, Joann, Celia, Keith, and Colin

Instructions for Completing the Volunteer Paperwork

Instructions for Completing the Volunteer Paperwork

Instructions for Completing the Volunteer Paperwork

White and cold

Brrrrr! We have three inches of snow and it's not melting, even though the sun was out all day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cutting the Christmas Tree

Dan and I and our family have a long standing tradition of cutting a Christmas tree from our property. This year we found our tree in a clearing at the top of the hill.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Family Weekend in Vancouver

Dan, Colin and I went up to Vancouver to support and participate with Celia and Keith in the first of four services for Celia's art thesis. She used a variety of stringed instruments (including the harpsichord Dan built) to present a service of Genevan psalms, scripture and silence. It was very effective and beautiful. Colin and I spent a lot of time cooking - soup for the rehearsals, and a variety of treats for the post service fellowship. Feed them and they will come. Celia did have a good turn out, but not because of the food. She has a lot of support at Regent and in her church, and people have come to appreciate her musical giftedness as well as the thought and effort she puts into creating worship experiences.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fall Harvest

At the end of October (I'm a little behind posting my blogs) I picked most of my peppers and tomatoes and covered the bare spots with a rye and vetch cover crop. It turned out to be a good garden season even with the bad weather earlier. I made salsa, jam and applesauce with Colin, and made an experimental (and large) batch of sauerkraut from my red cabbages.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cruising Alaska

My mom and dad invited Dan and I and Larry and Ann to accompany them on a cruise to Alaska. We sailed from Seattle on August 31.

Wow - Dan in a suit! It's formal night.

A new form of the native American totem pole...

Dan and I went for a long hike in Ketchikan to the top of Deer Mountain. Ketchikan gets over 100 inches of rain a year, and the rain forest is lush. We got lucky - it wasn't raining when we were there.
Dan finished his scarf while on the cruise. He needed it - it was cold! We were all glad to have wooly clothes.

We spent a few misty hours in Tracy Arm fjord.

This is the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau.
In Skagway we went kayaking on a foggy lake and took the train down from White Pass. We were able to see the Trail of 98 through the fog.
Waves of cloud in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

At the homestead

Celia said that I should talk more about what we do at home in my blog, not just the trips we take. So, here's some picture of summer at the Wilson household...

Dan does a lot of field mowing to keep the grass and blackberries under control. We've engaged in a large project to reclaim land for native plants (shown below), thereby cutting back the need for field mowing in a sizable area. Dan has done a lot of research into which native plants will do well in this area.
Below is the perennial garden.
Our friend Sheila visited from Fresno. We enjoyed wandering along the waterfront and through the farmer's market.

Right after Sheila visited I took a class in teaching reading and writing to English Language Learners. It was a week long intensive class - the first class I've taken for credit in about 25 years. The information was very practical, and I will be able to put it to use in my tutoring. At this point, I have one private student. I am working toward starting a tutoring program at our church.

The garden got a late start this year due to poor weather in the spring. Here it is at its peak in early September.

I grew 8 cabbages like this one. Everyone in the family is making sauerkraut.

Monday, August 11, 2008

WTA "volunteer vacation"

In late July, Dan and I joined a group of hikers for a week of backpacking and trail work with the Washington Trails Association. Our volunteer vacation was in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, between White Pass and Naches.
Evening activities included lots of good food, story-telling, and scrabble. It was a really fun and diverse group of people. We were a good team.

On our day off, we were able to hike the loop trail to the high country. We also went off trail and into the snow.

This shows some of the projects we worked on. The area of trail Dan is standing by was almost impassable because of some large rocks. He rerouted the trail and removed some of the rocks.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lake and River outings

Banks Lake
At the end of June we returned to Banks Lake with a group of friends. The weather was cool enough that we were able to hike comfortably. We took a long hike around the top of Steamboat Rock.

We also brought our canoe and enjoyed exploring among the rocks and swimming from the boat.

The next weekend we took Evan and his friend to Lake Kachees.

The water was really cold and refreshing on a warm day. It was great fun jumping from the rocks.

Recently we joined a canoe club called Paddle Trails. Our first trip with the club was a paddle down the Tolt River. The river had some good riffles and rapids, but nothing too scary. Dan and I learned a lot from the leader, who was a former Olympic trainer. We learned how to surf a wave! We also learned the safety equipment we need to do whitewater canoeing.