It’s late-December and we’re nearly done with Advent (the Christian season of waiting and anticipating the birth of baby Jesus). Normally, I’ve got the Christmas cards in the mail by December 2…and am emptying my mailbox with two hands, in order to corral the overflow of returned greetings by December 10…but this year? Well, this is the Christmas letter, that almost never was.
But I’m juuuuuust narcissistic enough to feel the need to share my life story each year, so please….bear with me! ;) And I hope I hear back from you, as well. Because despite the constant Facebook posts, blog reading, Linked In updating, twitter feeds, Instagram rolls, and texts…it’s nice to see the photos, read the personal notes, and hear a bit, of your story in return…feeling that heavy cardstock in my hand and wiping the glitter remnants on my face (everyone needs a little sparkle!) are just a bonus!
So….where to begin?
In July I started a small business (and by “small,” I mean there’s one employee and she’s me!) called Just One Bite, where I produce single serving, microwavable cake and brownie mixes that are mostly gluten-free and void of preservatives. I started by selling them at farmers markets…but that’s a hard crowd to woo, especially in semi-rural Belton. So I turned to selling mostly online (justonebitemixes.com) and with the help of friend, who has a growing-in-readership blog and was nice enough to mention me in a couple of posts…I’m actually doing okay! Of course, when I say “okay” I mean, I’m-actually-making-enough-to-pay-for-the-ingredients, kind of okay!! So, I won’t be quitting my day-job any time soon…but for now, it’s exciting, creative, and fun!
And speaking of my day job…this has been a good year for me! Beginning Easter Sunday, I served for four months as a Sabbatical Interim Minister at Countryside Christian Church in Mission, Kansas, and led them through a time of healing and hope. While it wasn’t always easy, it was enriching and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve and love and be invited to take part in the spiritual lives of others. And then, less than a month ago, I was called as the Minister of Discernment (little bit Interim Minister, little bit Senior Minister, little bit Wilderness Guide!) for Cherokee Christian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas. Having just started, we’re still in the “honeymoon phase”…but I trust, as I lead them in a process of discerning what God is calling them to be and do in the world…that it will be quite a journey!! And again, I am just so grateful for the chance to do the work I have been called to, with God's people, who are willing to do the hard work, as well!
Brett is still serving faithfully at Raymore Christian Church, here on the Missouri side of things…and he just celebrated FIVE years as their Senior Minister! This is the longest we’ve ever been in one place, since being married…so it feels like quite a milestone for both of us! Every now and then, I get ancey-pants, but that goes away when I look at how much work we are putting into our house – and yes, the proverbial “we” may be used here, as overseeing projects, is a VERY stressful job!! New floors are going down (slowly but surely) as I type this, and refreshed baseboards and a new coat of paint already have the place feeling new again. Brett is still into sweepstaking, we both served as Docents at the Kansas City Zoo this year, and we really enjoyed a trip to Colorado Springs this past summer. (In fact, we’re dreaming of a little retirement cottage in Manitou Springs, where Brett can become a Pikes Peak train conductor and I can open a little boutique! Because if there’s one thing Manitou needs more of…it’s boutiques!!)
Brett’s family has had a rough year. His parents, Dwayne and Glenda, have been in the hospital with one thing or another, 14 times in 12 months, between the two of them! Neither has had the opportunity to work much, given all of the troubles, but are still employed by WalMart, there in Mason City, Iowa. They love their church where they are both very active and when the weather is a bit warmer, continue to nurture the garden oasis that is their front yard. Scott, Emily and the kids are still in Milwaukee and lead the kind of life you’d imagine with two growing, active, and energetic children! We look forward to seeing the whole family this coming summer, when we gather in Bemidji for a week of outdoor fun (a trip that Brett won, through sweepstaking!).
My family is doing well! Mom is healthy and cancer free, still working at Bolivar HS as a Biology and Anatomy teacher...and Dad is counting down the days ‘till he can sell his pottery full time and get out from behind the computer and daily grind of the dreaded “office job” once and for all. He joined me at a local Holiday Craft Fair to sell some of his pottery, with the goal of selling one piece…and ended up selling at least half of what he came with…so there’s certainly a market for his work and his vision…now he just needs to find the time to create! If you’d like to see some of his work, you can find his blog at http://sleepingvillagepottery.blogspot.com/.
Otherwise, all is well! And we hope this letter finds things as well, if not better, for you!
As always, you are welcome to our home at any time (just give me an hour or two warning…not that the house isn’t spotless ALL the time…but…..)! Merry Christmas and may you know more love and laughter in the new year, than you know what to do with!!!
Peace and joy and love to you,
t, b, wyatt, abby, and shuffles