Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011. It's Like Fruitcake, Only Slightly More Dense

I used to be a Christmas letter writer. I loved receiving others' letters; I loved writing my own. Then I began to understand that for some, Christmas letters are about as welcome as drugstore fruitcake.

To each his own fruitcake. My personal fruitcake is the perennial classic, "White Christmas," which most people can't understand my aversion to. Have I mentioned once or twice that I don't like musicals?

Anyway, here is my letter for 2011, because for our family, it was quite a year, and I'd like to record it for posterity. And because I try to publish these favorite pics whenever/wherever I can. I'm a mom; sue me.

In the beginning of 2011, my father was diagnosed with an odd cancer located in an odd place (outer thigh) with an odd diagnose: serious. Thus, my parents' lives were turned upside down as they began to deal with decisions and treatments and surgeries, complications, wounds, recoveries.

In addition, after a rush to the ER for stomach ailments a couple of weeks ago, my mother has been diagnosed with heart damage due to a small heart attack. Now we are dealing with decisions, treatments, etc., for her, as well. It has not been a good year for my parents.

However, I am happy to report that they just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on December 16. I am so happy for them and proud of them for being such a good example to me and everyone within their sphere of influence over the years. Well done, my sweet parents!

In May, our son Jordan graduated from Anderson University with a degree in Exercise Science and Psychology. He has a steady girlfriend, Natalie, and a steady job at Dick's Sporting goods in Indianapolis. Guess which one he's more in love with, the girl who lives in Indy, or the retail job in Indy. That is a joke, of course. His life revolves around Natalie and their new dog, Bailey, a Wheaten Terrier.

Also in May, our youngest, Kristin, graduated from Delta High School with honors. She is now a freshman at Anderson University. As soon as we graduate one kid from AU, we sign up another because we love to throw suitcases full of money at AU. We are actually very grateful that we can send them there because each of our children has loved the experience. Kristin may love it even more than the other two. She is undecided about her major, but her humorous shenanigans are being well-noted by her dorm mates.

In June, our first-born, Katie, married her long-time beau, Shad, who has a really cool name, I think. They appear to be happier than any newlywed couple I've ever seen in my life, to the extent that I asked her point-blank one day, "Are you two really as happy as you appear to be?" A smile broke out on her face that I will never forget, and she said, "Yes, yes we are. We are just so happy to see each other when one comes in the door." Thank you, God, for a wonderful answer to a life-long prayer of her dad and me. She continues to work at ASon's, and Shad is completing his senior year at BSU. They are moving into a new home New Year's Eve.

George continues to work at Ontario Systems and volunteer with Kids Hope at Longfellow Elementary. His student has come a long since the beginning of his kindergarten year and is now showing signs of anticipating George's weekly visits.

I am in my 8th year at Oneighty, where I continue to type the wrong year on documents, forget to put postage on outgoing mail and explode things in the microwave. I think they'll keep me another 8 years,  no problem.

We were Empty-Nesters for about 3 months, and then our lives changed dramatically again, as George's niece, Crystal, and her two preemie twins came to live with us. They came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, and I've been giving thanks for them ever since. I cannot tell you how much joy the babies bring to my life, and how I've come to love and care for Crystal. This is a new day for her and her children, and I see God all over the tiniest details. Here is one small example: When we bought our CRV, I really wanted a Honda Element, instead. Because of the crazy clam shell doors and the limited seating, we chose the CRV. Now, what's odd about this is that for all intents and purposes, long family drives are over for us; each kid has gone his/her own way. So really, that should not have been a consideration in the purchase, but it was. Now, of course, I realize that had we purchased the Element, there would not be enough room for 5 to go somewhere together. I know it's a little detail, but I see things like this all the time as I go about life with the new little family in our home.

Maybe the biggest miracle of all is that I am totally comfortable having them in our home long-term, because if you know me, you know that that is a totally foreign, uncomfortable situation. I just do not do guests well. I can't explain this, but that quirk of mine has disappeared. Poof. Miracle.

Of course, there are emotional risks involved in this situation; we are not blind or naive, but are trusting that no matter how this turns out, that for this time, our home is the perfect place for them. And so we have welcomed with our whole hearts Crystal, Josiah and Laylah. This will be a Christmas we will never forget.


Darla said...

nice post! i so enjoyed reading your christmas letter. i used to hate getting those in the mail too... but reading them on a blog is much nicer, at least yours sure was. :) Merry Christmas!

Chris said...

And let me take this time to leave my yearly comment, my friend. I so enjoy your blog, and miss you when you don't write. I've been following you for years, although I have no idea how I came to do so. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas season, and love on those babies for me just a little, will you? :O)

Kelli said...

Morry Christmas Linda (and family). It has been a crazy year for all of us, but yes, God has been in the details.

Debbie said...

Just think, you actually get "Grandma practice" with the twins. So, when the real thing comes along you will be totally up on all things Grandma.

Susanne said...

Wow, what a full and busy year! Katie makes an absolutely beautiful bride. So nice to hear how happy she is!

Congrats to Jordan and Kristen on their respective graduations!

I think of your dad often and say a prayer for him whenever I do think of you or him. I'll add your mom to my prayers too! Seventy years together is absolutely amazing. What a beautiful testimony!

You look great with the twins. I'm sure they will bring much joy while they are with you!

Merry Christmas, Linda!

DebC said...

An excellent Christmas letter.
Merry Christmas!

Mocha with Linda said...

I love this. Merry Christmas, my sweet friend. Wish I could give you a hug in person.

Anonymous said...




I usually do not read every detail of every Christmas letter I receive, but I sat, riveted, to my computer screen, as I read yours.

You've shared bits and pieces this past year, but nothing in great detail.

Thank you for opening up even more, and God bless you for your willingness to open yourself and your home to a new situation. God is blessing you and your niece through this situation.

Prayers for your parents, and thanksgiving for the joy of your married daughter, graduated son, and college-enrolled youngest.

Merry Christmas, Lidna. :D

~~Devita~~ said...

wonderful and precious experiences you have, dear sister. I really enjoy reading this post. I hope you are happy with the wonderful twins and really enjoy your family. I love your family. Have a blessed day!