Merry Christmas 2005 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

Merry Christmas! (I even have people in church greet me with "Happy Holidays" so I am making a highly controversial assertion here.) Even better, I hope you are all having a truly blessed Christmas. It is exciting to be a minister and have Christmas fall on a Sunday. I will definitely earn my Monday rest day!

2005 has been a momentous year for our family, especially at the end. In January, Josiah was still being homeschooled but in September he entered Roxbury High School, where Daniel is a senior. Josiah comes home every day with permanent marker tattoos all over his body. Apparently he has many female admirers. He also has some skateboard groupies who hang out each afternoon. They called themselves FSC. Church members pondered if this was an obscenity but it stands for "Free Skate Crew." They now have a ten foot high half-pipe and make a lot of videos. Josiah believes it will be his life work. This is the considered opinion of a 15-year-old.

Daniel’s claim to fame has been his band, "Wellsville." They practice in our TV room. They practice in our living room, full blast. Apparently all the practicing is paying off because they went to a competition in a club in Manhattan called The Knitting Factory and out of 50 bands, they came in first. This entitled them to 21 hours in a professional recording studio. I know he has visions of being the next Rock god and has the haircut (or lack of it) down already but he is being encouraged to attend the local county college next year just in case.

Sarah is a junior at Gordon College where she continues to do well. She is student teaching and also babysits for a very rich family to earn gas money. This autumn she and several friends moved to a house near the ocean in Beverly, Massachusetts. Sarah has the smallest room but she took my new Water Lily stained glass lamp to keep her company. She is also skydiving. So far the chute has always opened.

Becca moved back home, then moved out to an attic apartment in nearby Hackettstown. She is a teaching assistant at a private school for autistic kids and seems to like it. Surfing with Daniel and snowboarding with Josiah take up her weekends. She has a dream of teaching kids to snowboard and has already bought all these cute little boards and boots. She has business cards and posters for her snowboarding academy and about ten students were signed up before snow even fell. Lessons are steep but "worth every penny." She must make payments on her Mazda Protégé which is blue and sporty. The dents are fixed now.

Our summer vacation was out West again, but only with the boys. Daniel did much of the driving as we hiked the Rocky Mountains near Durango, explored Anasazi Indian ruins in Utah and did a brief tour of the Grand Canyon. My favorite was the Green Mask Spring in Utah’s Grand Gulch, which has a wall painting of a stylized head (a similar head, actually a basket made from a human head, was found in an Arizona gravesite.) We slept under the stars and filtered water from potholes filled with tadpoles. I have lots of pictures of ruined pueblos and petroglyphs but Celeste nixed them in favor of photos of her kids for the montage. She chooses sentimentality over culture every time.

Our vacation ended just in time for us to get back for Celeste’s biopsy. She has had female troubles for several years but nothing was ever found. This time it was. They discovered uterine cancer at stage IIIa (it also involved an ovary) so she had a radical hysterectomy. Currently she is halfway through chemotherapy and in the winter she will undergo radiation therapy. Apart from total baldness you would never think she is sick. She has good devotions each morning, walks several miles a day with our dog Ollie, and has put on some weight. For relaxation she unwinds in her new hot tub spa, something she has wanted for ages. We are just leaving it all in God’s hands. We hope He has blessed you as much as He has us!

David & Celeste and kids