29 November 2006

Christmas Letter & Life Goes Too Fast

I sat down to write a Christmas letter which is something I do whenever I feel like it, not a yearly tradition. At first I began to think of a few things I might want to include that I've been doing this last year. Once I began to think about the past year, the more I realized that a lot has happened. By the time I added pictures, my letter was a whopping 3 pages long! So, I am going to attempt to cut and paste my Christmas letter. I hope that it isn't too boring for those of you who know and see me all the time. I'm attempting to gain a larger "reading audience."

December 2006

Greetings Family & Friends,

With astonishing speed, another year has passed. On the brink of more surprises, more frustrations and more joy is the holiday season. A year ago we were traveling around Europe after I student taught in Spain. Thanksgiving went by unnoticed; we awoke to snow in Berlin and spent Christmas day visiting museums of antiquity and New Years was spent traveling from Ireland to Scotland. We were extremely blessed to be able to take this rare journey and enjoyed sights from Versailles, France to Alpedrete, Spain and Siena, Italy to the ancient streets of Rome.

We arrived home to find out little puppy, Eleanor, well taken care of by my Mom, Marilee. Eleanor had enjoyed a happy romping at the Grimm Ranch in Southern Oregon for 4 months. Marilee kept an entertaining journal of Eleanor’s happenings and doings and kept us updated while we were traveling and working abroad. Abe continued working on his Masters in Christian Studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He worked on correspondence classes while we were in Spain and continues to go to school part time. While continuing to work on establishing his business, he is currently working for Ferguson Woodworking, a local cabinet builder.

In July, I was offered a part-time job as a high school English teacher. I accepted without hesitation and have been a part of Burlington-Edison school district for 3 months now. It is about a 25 minute drive south of where we live. I continue to work very part time at the bank as teaching is my full time venture. Teaching high school is a lot different than I thought it would be; it is harder and more challenging! It is also very worthwhile. After preparing for so long to be a teacher, I really feel that what I’m doing has a lot of merit and value; to me it is also a lifelong dream come true.

We undertook some major yard projects like new front beds, a new front patio and a “dig-free” fence area in the back for the dogs. We are also in the process of having our 102 year old house get painted. The process is in limbo for the winter as it is too cold for the paint to set or dry. So right now we have a 50-50 painted house. Work will resume in the spring. The dull, all white (including the trim) house will be completely transformed into a beautiful mini-craftsman with “Weathered Glass” paint with “Cliveden Virginia Soil” and “Milk-Sugar” trim. The partial painted area is so beautiful I cannot wait until it all looks so bold and head-turning.

In August we began fostering dogs for the Alternative Humane Society. It is a local no-kill shelter that has foster families that keep the dogs until they are adopted. Bounding into our lives came sisters Beatrice and Ethel. They were 8 month old stray Pit Bulls. They were thought to be deaf and both had terrible mange covering their skin. I am happy to report that they are mange-free. Beatrice has been adopted by a very wonderful, loving family here in Bellingham and Ethel still resides with us. It turned out that only Ethel was deaf but she has learned many hand commands: sit, stand, wait, leave it, shake, lay down, come, off and go to bed. She is a wonderful dog and has weaseled her way into our hearts and Eleanor’s too.

As ambitious and busy people, we have no shortage of plans for the upcoming year. While I will continue to be teaching, I may have to reapply for a full time position for the next school year. Abe will be focusing more on school and will continue to establish his business while he concentrates on finishing his masters. We have some plans in the works to lift up our tiny house and add a daylight basement (adding square footage). We currently reside in 550 sq feet of house with only 1 bedroom and closet. As we’d like to add to our family in the future and move our desks and computers out of the dining room, we’re planning some sort of addition.

With all sincerity, we wish you a year of grace, good cheer and love. You are all in our thoughts, prayers and hearts.

Vale & Abe

(P.S. The uploading picture thingy wasn't cooperating so I'll have to add those later, they are really great!)

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