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.