Merry Christmas 2006 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

For our family, this was a year that ended much better than it began. It will truly be a Merry Christmas for the Holwicks. January was a month of chemotherapy that transitioned into internal and external radiation. Even Celeste admits that pictures of her during the annual youth group ski retreat in February were less than flattering ("Did I look that horrible?" "Yes.") Yet through it all she maintained her famous level of energy. By Easter all the therapy was done and her hair began growing back very kinky, sort of like a permanent permanent. All her test results have been excellent so far. In August she began working full-time and then some at Kessler-Welkind Rehab Hospital. Celeste found out the flexibility of diem nursing ended up costing her big bucks so now she is on regular staff and gets all the benefits. Since she mostly works the day shift - 12 hours at a stretch, except when it is 16 hours - we don’t see her as much. When she comes home and sees the mess the house is in, she doesn’t want to see us much either.

The one bright spot in our house is the remodeled kitchen. Two men from the church spent months ripping out a wall, installing new counters and laying tile. They even built a chute that plops dirty clothes into the basement. The new kitchen has been great for socializing and parties. Our old church in Ohio has been building as well. Celeste and I were able to attend the dedication of their massive new sanctuary; our New Jersey church has been trying to put up a multi-purpose building that is much more modest but the town’s red tape took up all of this year. Now we’ll see if the congregation approves it.

A family rundown: Becca moved into an apartment in Hackettstown and coached a swim team this summer. Her ultimate goal is to own a swimming academy. We looked all over for enclosed pools to lease but no luck so far. She will go to the county college later this year, as will Daniel. He missed the fall semester so he could spend time in Texas with Celeste’s sister Sara. Daniel’s band got a full-page spread in the Daily Record newspaper, complete with large color photos. He also promoted a band competition at a skateboarding hall; he loves to promote these things, and someday he may actually make some money at it.

Josiah is a sophomore at Roxbury High and has been a magnet for local skateboarders. Recently 20 of them showed up for a party at our house. They spend around ten minutes skateboarding, then meander over to the fast-food heaven at the end of our street. White Castle and Wendy’s seem to be their favorites. They enjoy our new firepit and roast all sorts of stuff in it. Josiah is getting the hang of being a student and even got a decent report card, though he insists his English teacher ripped him off.

Sarah is still at Gordon College and will graduate this spring as an elementary school teacher. She shares a house in Beverly, MA, with some other girls and bemoans their loose financial management. Sarah still sends her papers to her dad to be corrected. This Thanksgiving she joined the rest of the family in Ludlow, Vermont, where we ate our turkey and snowboarded on Mt. Okemo. Dad watched because his 51-year-old bones don’t like too much excitement any more. Even his summer vacation was tame this year – he took his telescope for a week of observing in a remote corner of Pennsylvania. He and Celeste also had a mini-vacation in Stowe, Vermont, in October to do some leaf peeking. Unfortunately, the leaves were peaking in New Jersey at the time so it seemed more like winter up there. At least it was time to be together. Our next big trip is supposed to be a Caribbean cruise in the spring for the whole family, finances permitting.

We have a new appreciation for the time the Lord grants us to have with each other. It passes so quickly and no one knows what the future holds, but the present is very good. We are thankful for our blessings, our salvation and our friends. God bless you!

David & Celeste and kids