While I didn't mention it in the last post, my wife wrote our Christmas letter (in case you couldn't tell). I thought about it (very briefly) over the weekend and thought I would write one since it is my blog.
This year had its ups and downs. I'm getting published, my wife is still working at the same job she did the year before, two of the girls are still in school, and two aren't (the youngest two). Other than that, nothing new is really happening.
I think this year is going to be no different than years past in that we probably won't send out Christmas cards. Every year my wife tries, but she doesn't always quite make it. I guess we still have some time, though, so you never know. However, the one thing that we've never done is send out a Christmas letter update - you know, where you write to everyone about the various things that happened to you during the previous year. For people who can't really get out a simple card with maybe a family picture, that just always seemed like a lot to think about.
This year, though, I have a blog.
And, so that means, we can just write the Christmas letter as a blog post and post it on Facebook or email the link out. For those not "tech savvy," we can just print it out and mail it to them. Or just send them a regular card. Or just make a phone call. Or if/when we see them, tell them what's going on in person.
Tacky? Maybe. Lazy? Definitely.
But that's what we're doing anyway. So, here goes.
Dear Family and Friends,
As 2014 comes to a grand finale with the flurry of Christmas morning gift-opening and a tidal wave of Christmas cookies and eggnog, I would like to wish you a hearty Merry Christmas! This year has been an blessed one for our family, and I'd like to give you an update on our humble lives.
Scott started out 2014 by deciding to write and direct a play, The Last Rose of Innod, mostly for the kids at the local Christian school. It was successful, and was also the first real play that Katie and Annabelle had ever been a part of.
It was actually on opening night of this production that he was contacted by a publisher offering him a contract for his book, Scar of the Downers. WiDo Publishing will release his book sometime next year. Since then, Scott has spent the majority of his writing time editing his book, and planning for the release.
Meanwhile, he's also still homeschooling the girls, and managed to fit in many weekends of hunting the elusive white-tail deer.
Liz still manages the Medical Library at the nearby Army Medical clinic. She finds the work slightly interesting, but still feels that a creative part of her dies every time she is forced to read a new Army regulation. Her method of combatting this phenomenon is to work on a play here and there, teach art and music to the older girls, and get some good work out of her sewing machine.
Katie is in the 4th grade, and says that her favorite subject is history. She loves writing and illustrating stories, and most recently, reading The Babysitters Club books. Legos, Minecraft, and Webkinz are three of her favorite pastimes.
Annabelle is in the 2nd grade, and her favorite subject is science. She loves to dance and sing, and even has her own microphone and amp! She is a favorite among her sisters because she is always up for a good time. She also loves Legos, Minecraft, and Webkinz, but mostly CANDY.
Caroline is almost 4 years old, and is quite a little character. She is the most Type A of all of our children, and is also the most competitive. This year, she learned how to ride a bike (still with training wheels, but not for long, I feel), and also work the computer. She loves horses, the movie Frozen, and playing with her sisters.
Emily is 20 months old, and is getting very, very good at climbing on things, and just general destruction. Sometimes she is good at picking up, but only if she can dump everything back out again right after. Her newest words that she's learned are "princess," "pizza," and "chips."
Overall, it's been a great year. Thanks for sharing it with us, whether in person or through the blog. God bless you, and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
Scott, Liz, and the girls
There are times in life when you may feel like you can't keep going on any longer. Things just seem too bleak. Most of us have been there at some point, and lately that's been me. But I've got to hunker down, hold on for a just a little longer, until the relief comes. And it will come. All dark days eventually see the light.
Also, make sure that you maintain your sense of humor, at all costs. Work these gems into everyday conversation:
"Late is the hour in which these conjurers choose to appear. 'Lathspell' I name them. Ill news is an ill guest." (I'm thinking that you could say this if you are having a happy conversation with some of your co-workers, and then a boss or someone who is annoying interrupts your conversation to announce something work-related.)
"I didn't get a Masters degree to bandy crooked words with a witless worm." (You could use this in many, many situations. For example, your boss or an annoying person tries to make smalltalk with you. This would definitely shut down the conversation.)
I gave this advice to Liz yesterday... she was having a bad Monday morning (remember how she hates various days of the week?) and so I tried cheering her up with this same advice. I think she tried it, and it even worked.
In case you didn't know, those quotes are from Lord of the Rings (well, except for my addition).
Today's my birthday, by the way. Whereas some people may be ecstatic celebrating their momentous occasion, I'm not really one of those. All I can think about is how little I've accomplished in the past 37 years (just being honest).
(My wife likes to list as one of my accomplishments that I've fathered four children... I'm not sure, but I think that's actually something that's fairly easy to do. Frankly, a lot of people have done the same thing, many times they see it as an accident too. So, not really encouraging.)
But before you think I'm wallowing in the depths of self-pity right now, I'm not, I promise. After all, I have homemade cake to look forward to, and probably some amazing handmade cards from my kids (There will be NO glitter).
It's one day closer to Christmas. And one day closer to the newest Hobbit movie premiere, which I will post here for the heck of it.
I think this is the time of year that a lot of people get sad, and I understand that. Those of us with melancholy personalities are particularly vulnerable.
Meanwhile, keep marching forth stalwartly through time.
It’s a term that most people can get behind. I think that people use this as a reason for people to go to liberal arts-based college. It’s legitimate, I suppose. But I don’t think that going to a liberal arts school is going to do that for you (but then again, you already know my feelings on college in general).
And, I’m not advocating that people should give up focusing on one thing and trying to become an expert at it.
Quite the contrary, I’m postulating (and I know I’m not the only who thinks this) that people, and especially people pursuing a creative profession, become better at their primary area of focus as they challenge themselves at other, new tasks that are typically out of their scope.
I’m encouraging my children and myself to become adept at many different aspects of life. I’ll tell you why – I sometimes spend a huge amount of time convincing myself that I can’t do something, for many reasons. Most of them revolve around this main excuse: I’ve never done it before.
An example: We have many children, a fairly large dining room table for them to sit at, but not really enough space in our house to fit them all if they all have their own chair. So, for many months my wife and I tried to find a bench for the table, so that we could cut down the number of chairs we would need. If we had that, then we could increase the amount of free space in our living room/dining room combo.
So, for months we looked around for a cheap bench that met our specifications. We needed it to be a certain length, and we needed it to be sturdy, but we also needed it to be cheap. Well, we could never find anything that matched all of these specifications. So, my wife suggested that we just make it ourselves. Oh no, I complained, we can’t do that. I’ve never made a bench before (I do not have a lot of wood-working experience in my past), and I’d have to buy the wood, and so on.
One day, though, I happened upon some wood in our garage that I had forgotten about. I suddenly thought that maybe we could do it – after all, one of my excuses was moot now. My wife (who is great at googling things like this), found a few different blogs on “how to build a bench,” and then we just did it, we just built the bench. I had some stain and some sealant, and it just came to be in about a day.
We’ve been getting a lot of use out of this bench, and it’s been a great fit for our family. And, most importantly, it was practically free.
It also set a good precedent for our family – we can figure out how to do almost anything if we put our minds to it. It should be an interesting experiment as well when this Christmas the bigger girls get real bow and arrow sets. They aren’t too expensive, and since I’ve gotten mine, they say they want one as well.
Meanwhile, I’m going to try to stretch myself in new ways. It keeps life interesting. And, because the internet likes lists of things, here’s a list of ways that I am trying to encourage my children to become more well-rounded human beings: