Merry Christmas 2011 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

The Christmas season is a wonderful time for us to thank God for the many blessings he has sent us. Even in these difficult times, our church is prospering and our health is holding up. We have had a full year of work and travel. Now that we are empty-nesters, we have to earn enough to visit our "chicks" wherever they may be. In February we went down to see Dan and Kara as they finished up their mission in the Dominican Republic. It was wonderful to have lunch on the beach, take a road trip to an island and ride the "motorcycles of death" through the streets of Sosua. Celeste has been especially tropical this year because she also went with her sisters to the Bahamas for a week, and at Thanksgiving she and the Triehys spent some time in a rental home in Florida while David had a real Thanksgiving with all the trimmings with his brother Jeb and his family in Springfield, Virginia.

Our biggest trip was a long ride through Michigan, Montana and Utah to meet up with the kids in Denver. We enjoyed our three-day hike in Glacier National Park though my stamina ain’t what it used to be. It is pretty bad when a cancer-survivor has to sit and wait for you to catch up. The views from our campsite were fantastic. Since snow blocked the high passes we spent the second day seeing how far we could go; on the way back we noticed the trail was torn up by some large animal. Just then a massive grizzly growled at us from the bushes no more than 15 feet away. We never saw him because we were backpedaling so fast but he had to be a grizzly because that sounds a lot better. On our way to Denver we looped through Idaho and Utah and saw some beautiful arches and canyons. Our highlight seemed to be the roadside lunch we would have each day.

In Denver we got to see all our kids together (Dan and Kara were back there by then). Each has moved to a new apartment since last year and Sarah has had her teacher pay cut by the state and Becca’s business folded but they still love Colorado. It was nice to see them taking advantage of all the cultural events as well as hiking in the mountains. Becca has become an avid rock climber, the kind with the ropes and hard hat (not that she wears one). Josiah continues in college and has an internship with good pay. He has done a lot of wedding videos this year with his girlfriend Julia and he even did a commercial. Daniel has just gotten a promotion to the Golden paramedic squad which has lots of emergency calls. He likes it so much he may enter a nursing program soon to supplement his knowledge. While in Denver we all went to a concert in a park and ate Mongolian barbeque.

On the way home we stopped to see our many friends in Ohio and check out the old neighborhood. Then we tacked on a Triehy wedding before arriving home. Weddings are really big right now - we had a mini-reunion in October when all the kids flew to New Jersey for the wedding of a good family friend, Elizabeth Osborne. David has gotten to see both Kristy and Jeb this year. Sister Kristy is soldiering on through her breast cancer treatments and still lives in Germany..

Ledgewood has had plenty of excitement of its own. In August we were visited by Hurricane Irene; a kitchen pot I put in the backyard filled to overflowing. That explains why the street in front of our house turned into a river and flooded the poor folks at the bottom. Then at Halloween a freak snow storm took out our power for half a week. This is the first year we have had two Sundays wiped out by weather.

Celeste continues her college courses and has decided she really doesn’t get philosophy. She was offered a promotion at work but turned it down because it would have given her less freedom - and less pay. David putters along in the ministry and has been appointed Secretary for the New Jersey Baptists; a fair amount of work and no pay. His pastors’ website has reached 1.5 million "hits." On Pastor Appreciation Day the young kids plastered his car with encouraging post-it notes, several saying he was a good preacher (none of them actually hear me preach but go down to Children’s Church. I accept it anyway.)

We hope each of you has a wonderful Christmas and receive the best gift of all - salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ!

David & Celeste