There was a time when everyone wrote a "Christmas Letter" and included it in their cards they sent to their friends an family. Like many ideas, it started innocently enough as a way to let people you don't often see how your family was doing. Society soon referred to it though as the "bragging" letter that you sent to show everyone how awesome you and/or your kids are. I have sent a few letters in my time but I refrained from bragging on my family as much as I could, though like beauty, whether I did or not was in the eye of the beholder. 2020, being the dumpster fire of a year that it has been, certainly doesn't rate a letter to be sent with a card. In fact, I'm doing our Christmas card as an attachment in an email, mostly due to procrastination than any plan of mine. So being even lazier than normal, I'm doing my "letter" as a blog entry this year. Very few people read my blog (no one subscribes to it) but because there are a few that do, this letter is for them I guess.
First up is news of our kids. Michael and Abby bought a house at the beginning of 2020 and have been enjoying all that comes with a house - painting, fixing, etc. Michael is a practicing Physical Therapist and has just accepted a position with Northwest Orthopaedic Specialists. Abby is teaching second grade online with the Central Valley School District here in Spokane. Though both of their jobs have been affected by the pandemic, they're both fine and handling it well.
Nick and Shelley continue to prepare for Nick's journey to become a Mechanical Engineer, meaning college is just around the corner. It's a huge commitment but they're going to make it. Shelley took a job with Ticor Title Company this summer and has been enjoy getting to know a new business. They're also continuing their search for a home in Spokane. This hot real estate market has made it tough to find a house, but they continue to persevere.
Amy is still with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) serving fulltime in Herrnhut, Germany. Her year has been turned upside down with the worldwide pandemic. Normally they have Discipleship Training classes going in the fall with a couple months of outreach at the end, but not this year. So she has switched to being base support staff, helping with housing, cooking, and anything else their community needs. Every two years she has to be out of Germany for 90 days as part of the renewal of her work visa, so we'll be seeing her in January for a three month visit. Traveling with her and staying with us for the same amount of time is her boyfriend, Paddy Soares da Rocha. We're looking forward to seeing them both.
And Vicki and I? Well, we've hung in there through this crazy year. She still works at Shiloh Hills Fellowship as Treasurer and I continue to act as Chief Technical Overlord (still love that title) at Behind The Gavel. As seen in the trips section of my website, I took a bike trip on the IDBDR this past September. Vicki and I escaped for a little low-key getaway in Montana in October. We continue to be very involved at our church, working with young couples as much as we can given this year's restrictions. I'm more in love with Vicki as each year passes by. What a blessed gift she is from God to me.
Reflecting back on the turmoil of this year that so many have experienced, I realize that for my family there really hasn't been any trauma. This isn't due to anything that we've done, it's just God's providence I guess. But it doesn't mean we aren't affected. This year has continued to show me by example that there's a reason that kindness to others is one of the two greatest commandments that Jesus Christ our savior told us. Regardless of anything about the other person, they deserve kindness and respect as a fellow child of God, and it is the responsibility of those who claim to follow Christ to give that. I'm still learning this lesson and this year has certainly shown the need. I hope you take a moment to reflect on how you might be able to encourage and help others around you.