Merry Christmas 2004 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

Christmas greetings from New Joisey! I’ve been here almost a third of my life – it is hard to believe I moved every year or so as a kid. Our roots are deep and the bark is a little hoary but we know we have been blessed here. We hope you have been blessed, too!

Our winter was filled with snowboarding, at least for Rebecca and Josiah. Becca is a professional swim instructor during the day and a snowboard fanatic at night and on weekends. She also has accomplished a first for a Holwick – she maxed out the points on her driving license. Josiah commented, "I don’t see how because when I am there and the cop pulls us over she cries and he just gives her a warning." Her spiffy new blue car is not a help. Josiah gets over snowboard withdrawal by skateboarding in a self-made ramp park he built behind the church. They swoosh down the handicapped ramp and then fly up these "half pipes." No major bones broken yet but he complains a lot about his knees. On a sad note, our infamous backyard playtower was dismantled this summer. It is a lowly doghouse now and Ollie doesn’t even use it.

Sarah is doing better at Gordon now that she is boyfriendless. It is a real blessing because her grades have skyrocketed. She is still in line to become an elementary teacher. In July she was baptized in Sam Mino’s pond up the street from the church. Rebecca is not boyfriendless and has even brought Jeremy around for dinner. He treats her very well, much better than she treated her Ball Python (it escaped).

Daniel has had a busy year with his music. In March his high school choir sang at Carnegie Hall in New York. We sat in a little balcony of our own and looked down on thousands of people, all of whom were relatives of the singers. It was very impressive. Later in the year he was selected for the All-State Choir and sang in the new music hall in Newark. His other music accomplishment is as the main singer for the Ledgewood Baptist Hard Rock Band which serenades the youth group meetings each Thursday. I make sure the church doors are shut tight so the neighbors don’t call the cops. We took the high school kids to the huge Creation music festival in Pennsylvania in June and camped out with 50,000 moshing kids.

We have been able to rendezvous with each of our families this year. We joined all the Holwicks in Disney World in April with Dad and his fiancée Mary Ann. We saw all the parks by day and hit the comedy clubs at night. The fireworks were especially nice. In the summer Kristy and Roger visited us and were able to see the rare Venus transit of the Sun through my telescope in the backyard. Roger is now stationed in Iraq and sends fascinating pictures each week. We hope he never has to leave his office.

At the end of the summer we headed north, or I should say north by way of northwest. Our vacation took us to West Virginia to do whitewater rafting on the New River. Big rapids and bigger excitement – all three boys got dumped at a Class IV rapid – the worst. I couldn’t get back in and was pinned against a boulder before getting washed down river. The $30 DVD became an instant family classic. Then we went to Ohio to see the Serpent Mound (it impressed me, anyway), the glens of Hocking State Park and of course Ken and Ruthie Brenneman. A highlight was doing a tour of the haunted Tyndal Mansion which had been abandoned for so many years. We saw no ghosts and the guide was disappointed.

After Ohio we headed up to New Hampshire and hiked the ridgeline of the Presidential Range from Mt. Haystack to Mt. Garfield. After we had gone halfway I gave Daniel my sleeping bag. Then my clothes. Then my M&Ms. I ain’t what I used to be, and I wasn’t much then. We enjoyed the view immensely. It was a short hop from there to the cabin in Maine. Lots of cruising on the lake and lobsters in the pot. We even visited a lighthouse so we could count it as an Official Maine Vacation.

Our biggest church project this year was a trip to Haiti to build a medical clinic. Sarah and Dan went with us. We made hundreds of blocks and put the walls up while Celeste toured the neighborhood taking blood pressures and fitting small children for shoes. She even went to a special course in North Carolina so she could learn how to do brain surgery with a spoon. Haitian political unrest has prevented a return – for now.

My pride and joy is my raspberry patch, which produced until November 9. I am spending my spare time now making a Water Lily stained glass lamp and teaching astronomy to nine homeschool boys. The heavens DO declare the glory of God! We hope each of you experience the Lord’s fullest blessing this Christmas season!

David & Celeste and kids