Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas! Years ago I gave up on Christmas cards and letters. I determined that the season was busy and stressful enough. If I were to write one this year, I would talk about the blessings of this past year:

I am grateful to be serving with a wonderful congregation in a great city. I have been here for just over 14 months, and I love everything about it more with each passing day. I am especially grateful to be able to participate on a regular basis with several groups of colleagues. I'm enjoying being back in community and the opportunities to grow and explore new ideas.

Daughter is doing well here. We have a great team working with her. She is in a community inclusion program, so every day they go on outings in the community. I often hear that she has run into church members at the mall or bowling alley, where she often greets them with hugs.

She did more traveling this year than I did with two weeks at church camp this summer, and loved them both. We attended a conference, where I taught a Bible Study and Daughter helped with one of the children's classes. We also spent a week on a mission trip to Tennessee with the church. I spent my vacation time working in my yard. The previous owners had done a lot of landscaping, but they were elderly, and failing health and a year of sitting vacant had resulted in it becoming overgrown. I had help from several church members as I sought to tame it. I love my house and yard, and plan to put in raised garden beds for vegetables this spring.

A rough patch this fall resulted in several medication changes for Daughter and moved her up the waiting list for residential. In November she moved into a residential facility about 20 minutes from there. She loves her 12 "sisters" and the move has gone more smoothly than any of anticipated. She comes home every Thursday night for choir practice and spends the night with me. I pick her up for worship on Sunday morning. For now, she is continuing in the same day program. Eventually we hope she will be able to handle community employment.

One of the blessings of the move is that we are closer to family and friends, though I have been so busy we haven't seen them as much as I thought we would. I will host the family Christmas on the 28th, and am looking forward to it.

Daughter joins me in hoping you know the blessings of God's love and grace throughout the coming year.

Love and peace

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