Merry Christmas 2002
from Dave, Lyn and Jesse

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Family Christmas Letter
2002

Merry Christmas 2002 and Happy New Year 2003!

You are reading our on-line Family Christmas Newsletter.

This is our second Christmas e-letter and, once again, most everybody we know is on the internet.  It is difficult (and expensive) to send paper and stamp correspondence, so we would like to be e-friends instead. We will keep you posted when we may be in your town and want to invite you to visit us sometime this year if you are nearby.

Happy Holidays to You 
and Your Family

 Dave, Lyn, and Jesse

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Dear Friends,

Another year has passed and it was strange to read last years (Christmas 2001) letter only to see how little has changed. We again took one major vacation trip last year (Jesse and I went to France in May). Lyn is still battling her endocrine problems without result. Lyn's mom is still critically ill, but hanging on. My department continues one after another wave of small reductions in staff (the torturous "death by a thousand cuts"). Jesse is still being home schooled while also taking a few classes at the local college, and still getting straight A's, his third straight semester. We celebrated another wedding anniversary (23rd), three birthdays (never you mind!), and bought a new-used car. The house is a year older, the cat is a year older, and the stocks are all down 50% (hah! try 70!). We experienced the strange right of passage of our only child receiving his "learner's permit". And after twelve months, our insurance will do what our stocks will not.

It was good to hear from so many of you last year at the holidays and throughout the year, and we hope to hear from you again. Consider our door (and mailbox) open to all of you that we are privileged to call friends. We want to hear about your lives, and wish that you each may have a chance to visit us in the coming year. Stay a day, stay a week, we will feed you and chauffeur you without complaint. Just bring your stories and listen to ours. The coffee pot is on for you.

As always, may this holiday season find you and your family in good health and good fortune and, especially in this particular season and in this particular difficult year, may the spirit of the season help you to remember that the greatest gift that we can receive is good health and that we can give is kind words.  Happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous 2003.

....Dave

Hello to all of our old and new friends. As with every year that passes we look back and try to weigh the good against the bad. Some years situations and events seem to lean more towards one way or the other. However,  I have learned in my 45 odd years that it is not circumstances that make years good or bad but rather how we deal with them. How well the year went is determined by our own natural predisposition, the accomplishment of goals we have made for ourselves, and how well we have lived up to our own set of personal and family truths.

In that sense I have to say that this year has been a year of awareness of the great changes in myself.  I found myself in different roles this year.  I am no longer the teacher and caretaker of a small child, the partner who can paint the living room and plow the back forty, the smartest student in the class, or the kindest most empathetic friend on earth.

This year gave me a son who has grown to 1.5 times my height and five times my strength. I no longer have to prepare each and every meal, get him up and sing him to sleep, tell him when to say please and thank-you, or  check his homework (nor am I able to).  He is already practicing for a time in the next few months when he will be able to transport himself wherever he needs to go.  This change in my occupational status has brought to me both sadness and joy.

Where once I would comfort a crying young child in my lap, I find big strong arms and a deep voice comforting me after a hard day.  I miss the anticipation of holidays and the hanging of clumsily and lovingly made decorations for windows and parents.  But I also enjoy the witty and insightful discussions on philosophy and lifes meaning and the jesting about things gone awry. I have watched my little boy grow into a confident and independent young man. I am so very proud of him.

Its funny how when you think you will have time because of situational changes that other things come along that need your attention. With Dave's company asking the employees to do more and more of their own travel arrangements, class set ups and extra paper work and expense documentation I am so very glad to have the time to help relieve some of the burden from him. I really don't know how people without administrative assistants get through this job. I must spend a good 15 hrs a week on the paper work and arrangements for him. He puts in 12 and 15 hour days and has flown over 100,000 miles and 120 segments in this last year alone. I know the telephone numbers to all of the major airlines, hotels and car companies by heart.  I need a vacation from his job!

My health continues to be somewhat of a burden and a very big mystery to my doctors, my family and myself again this year. Although we are now further away from being able to find a diagnosis for my endocrine problems, I am no longer as worried or anxious as I was in the beginning about the prognosis. I figure If I am still here after all of the things we have been through and all of the testing so far has yet to show anything of a really hideous nature lurking within me . . . well then I need to just try and live life as best I can and turn to some alternative ways of dealing with symptoms. The hardest thing for me in life right now is to try and lose weight. It seems the endocrine problems don't help matters here. I try to exercise everyday, have tried most every diet out there but still am having much difficulty. I am starting to investigate the more extreme measures of weight loss tactics. It has been a lifelong battle and in that sense my only disappointment in life. Being the family optimist (someone has to be) I feel like this is the year to change all of that.  (God help me!)

I have grown very fond of Florida and the climate down here. I love to be able to walk out on my patio and sit in the sun 300 days of the year. I love the ability to drive for ten minutes (in the off season) and stare into spectacular sunsets on the beach.  I love to sit on empty sandy beaches in the cold weather and listen to the pelicans and seagulls crying and diving in the surf. And I love the smell of the sea that drifts through the open doors and windows of my home on cool crisp winter nights.

So when I look back on this year I see problems, and an economy that isn't looking too bright, but I feel very blessed. Blessed to have a husband who wants to and is able to provide me a home in a tropical paradise, blessed to have a son who amazes me everyday with his sense of morality and compassion and blessed to be able to enjoy the sight of a Florida sunset, the smell of a tropical breeze, and the sound of the waves lapping on the shore.

May this coming year highlight the many blessings in your own life.

...Lyn

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears. 2002 is quickly waning, in a few weeks it will be below the horizon and out of mind. Now is the time for reflection on the memories and experiences of the year, both good and bad.

I am constantly surprised at both how much and how little can change from year to year. I don't feel like much has changed, but as I look back at what has happened over the year I realize that many new experiences have come my way. Dad and I took a two week trip to France and Belgium in May, a unique experience to say the least. Not many kids my age get to spend their birthday in Luxembourg. Except, I guess, for the Luxembourgians.

My latest semester at the local college is over and done with, and it proved to be an oddly enjoyable time. I just completed a second semester of Spanish, college level algebra, and a class on the basics of psychology. The psychology class was a fluke, as my original class choice was cancelled. Ironically, psychology proved to be my most enjoyable class. Spanish II proved to be as much fun as the first, if a bit harder. However, I'm not sure what to make of math. It was somewhat easy, but I didn't terribly enjoy it. That doesn't bode well for me becoming a physicist.

At home, most of my efforts have been directed at my Roman Project, having completed the first two papers and most of the third main deliverable. The third part proved to be more difficult than I had expected, and has certainly proved to be a lesson in time management. I am still trying to figure out what career I want to pursue, although I'm just as unsure now as I was before. I have always enjoyed the sciences, and hopefully my next semester at our community college will help my focus more. I will be taking a chemistry class, a class on the basics of computer programming, and a condensed precalculus algebra/trigonometry class. If all else fails I can always go for that psych major.

Thomas paid all of us in Florida a visit for 3 weeks in July, and it was a joy to see my friend again. We still play a video game online together now and then, but our school schedules have been keeping us both pretty busy. I haven't even had the time to hang out with the friends that still live here as much as I would have liked. On the plus side I acquired my learner's permit in September. A mere 9 months (and a car) are all that stand between me and being able to lawfully drive myself wherever I want. I've been getting what practice I can, and my parents have been very supportive. I am getting better, and will certainly be ready for the test come next September. Just remember, we aren't in a hurry to get killed.

I've started doing some weight exercises and the like, and the results have been rather intriguing. The only problem is my tendency to distract myself in math class with rapid arm flexes. I suppose there is always a trade off. I got some new glasses as well, deciding on a Marchon "Airlock" with a grey tint. I think they look very good, but my parents are taking a little while to adjust. To go with my new glasses, I've been trying to get a new hairstyle. Although there is a certain comfort in having kept it the same way for 5 years or so, all things must change. Too bad I'm not into gels, sprays, or colors. Oh well.

It has been another year of change and growth, good and bad. It is the balance of these that makes life what it is. I hope this next year brings even more new experiences to our family and yours, and that we can all learn and grow from them.

Feliz Navidad y Buena Suerte,
...Jesse

Dave and Jesse at a St Pete Parrots
Hockey Game (Dec-02)

Dave and Jesse spent two weeks in Belguim,
France, Luxembourg (May-02)

Jesse's learners permit requires twelve full 
months of supervised driving (Sep-02)

Figment spends more time resting and 
less time playing these days (Sep-02)

A business trip took Dave to Copenhagen and Northern Germany (Jul-02)

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Original Web November, 2002
Last Update: December 25, 2002