Merry Christmas 2009 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

For us 2009 will be known as the year of the "Empty Nest." It is very quiet. Food does not disappear. The house is even relatively neat and stays that way. Celeste is going crazy and canít wait for grandchildren. It is within the realm of possibility now - Daniel and Kara are engaged to be married on September 18, 2010, in Ledgewood. I am sure details with follow.

Our year began with the dedication of our churchís $1.2 million Fellowship Center. As more people lose their jobs we keep our eye on the bottom line but God has been blessing us with dedicated people. Celeste loves the big open space of the gym for youth extravaganza like the "Birthday Party for Jesus" she did today. I am pooped since she gets me to do a lot of the dirty work.

In January we did a Caribbean cruise with Dad and Mary Ann. Lots of food, and we rented motorbikes in Cozumel and tootled around. Celeste would like to do one every year. Our RV didnít get much use this year except for the roadtrip to Ohio that Josiah and his skateboarding buddies took during their spring break. They made a video (of course) so we have proof of their antics. In August we drove Josiah out to the Art Institute of Denver. He is majoring in Digital Filming and enjoying every minute of it (getting good grades, too). Josiah gave a great speech at the baccalaureate service in June and was baptized in Sam Minoís pond in August. He is really growing up - he even told us he likes museums now. He missed graduation because he went on a mission trip to Haiti and Guatemala where he built houses and took lots of pictures. Perhaps it is good he missed graduation because the Senior Prank was to have everyone pull out Silly String and blast one another in the hallways, with Josiah conveniently filming it. His camera was confiscated by the administration and they identified specific miscreants on the film. About 4,000 people have viewed it on YouTube: "Roxbury High School Senior Prank '09".

Daniel is taking a paramedic course and hopes to be hired as a fireman. In the meantime he helps out Rebecca with her Swim School. None of them are starving, though Josiah sleeps in the same bed with Daniel to conserve heat and they say they can see their breath when they talk. Their most recent utility bill was $40, to which Daniel said, "But I donít have $40." We anticipate that he and Kara will learn to love frugality. Rebecca has a new apartment with cathedral ceilings and Sarah is sharing a house with a girlfriend. She is still teaching special needs preschoolers but hopes to do elementary teaching soon.

In July we took a group of church friends to Cranks Creek, Kentucky, where we built a wheelchair ramp for a disabled family and helped out other needy people in the area. We had such a good time we would like to do it again next year. The church still likes us and gave us a nice party on our 20th anniversary.

Our really big trip was to Germany to visit Kristy and Roger at Thanksgiving. It was a great time to visit Germany - lots of Christmas Markets and snow in the Alps. We toured Garmisch, Nuremberg, Mainz, Heidelberg, Berlin, Wiesbaden and little Florsheim (where they live). Kristy and Nathaniel and Jeremiah went with us everywhere and saved us many hassles. German flows from her tongue. The boys were a real blessing too. A side blessing was watching Roger cruise at 110 mph on the Autobahn.

Celeste is now cancer-free for four years. Praise Jesus! Next year we will have a big party. Her energy has never been better and she is taking lots of math courses online so she can get a bachelorís degree before she is eligible for Social Security. She is also the Superstar of Bladder Care Posters, having won first place at a nurses convention in Albuquerque. David is doing the same old things, though he did pour a lot of hours into revamping his pastorís website and adding 1,200 sermons. That seems like too many.

I think my Christmas letters will be getting much shorter. We havenít even bought a tree yet. Maybe a less hectic Christmas will be that much more spiritual!

David & Celeste and kids