Christmas 2016
Creating and Maintaining Connections

A good life is a process of relationships, staying connected with family and friends, old and new.  This was an awesome year.

In July we drove around the western states visiting ten national parks and other attractions with the older four of five grandchildren.  We camped among elks, near the Pacific Ocean, under huge huge trees, by the Colorado River and in the desert.  We laughed and fussed, froze and baked, ran and walked, slept in a tent and under the stars.  After ten days we were ready to go home but not until we planned the next trip.  We all had a chance to see the ups and downs of each other.

Earlier in the year Alaska was our destination for a funeral of a dear dear friend and sharing days with our son Darron and his friend Emily.  The outdoor funeral was packed with friends from the 70’s-90’s.  More of us used wheelchairs and canes and few were running races.  That Sunday we stopped by our former Anchorage church and visited with many old friends from 30-40 years than we expected.  Some were children when we were there.  The spirit lifted us high.

It’s been 50 years and a handful of months since Denvy graduated from Jamestown College, now the University of Jamestown.  After several emails one and a half dozen (7 to be exact) classmates gathered and shared stories of the past.  Thanks for name tags we had no problem identifying each other.  En route near Billings we connected with a high school classmate whom Denvy hadn’t seen for 54 years.  To and from the gathering we stayed with daughter Becky, her husband Milan and grandkids in Mandan.  She is looking and feeling so good as she has chosen more exercise and better eating than any of the rest of us.  A month earlier we flew to a Cameron reunion in Texas, hosted primarily by Lane and David Luna.  About 40 family members were present.

The fall started at WOU without either Denvy or Gail teaching; we guess that’s called retirement. However, we are working with  the campus ministry continuing to connect with students including a houseful of first-year Chinese students.  Speaking of Chinese, our surrogate Chinese daughter had a second girl on February 29.  Now we know someone who was born on that unique leap year date.  Mom says, make no mistake, there are no more.  They were named Anya and Zia to represent the first and the last.

The church still envelopes a good share of our lives but so does the free clinic which Gail continues to spearhead.  Every clinic (two Saturdays each month) someone walks in with no insurance and years of no health care.  Every clinic patients with familiar faces return for care that is otherwise denied them.  Most are middle-aged and older and yet some ask if Gail would be their mother or sister.

This message, whether through modern technology or familiar snail mail, is our way of honoring the value of connecting with you and sharing who we are.  This message is a continuation of the Christmas message of love and caring.  This message hopefully reflects that the blessings of Christmas may come year round.  May you find peace in your life despite the turmoil in the world.  However you pray, pray for peace for all souls near and far.

Merry Christmas                      Denvy and Gail