Merry Christmas 2013 from the Holwicks

Dear friends,

We hope you are having a meaningful Christmas this year. Celeste and I have gotten used to a Christmas with just each other - plus 150 church people too, of course. It is always a blessing to share it with others.

If 2012 was packed with storms, 2013 was the year of travel for the Holwicks. Sarah went to Paris, London and Costa Rica. David went to Maine with brother Jeb and his wife Kyong in July, to Montana and Colorado with Celeste in August, and at Thanksgiving we all went to Germany and Austria so the kids could see where David spent his high school years. Kristy and Roger and Petra did an incredible job transporting us around the country and boarding us in their German home in Florsheim. Berchtesgaden was covered in snow and fulfilled Celesteís dream. We toured Heidelberg, where all the American facilities were closed; Salzburg, Nuremberg and Wiesbaden. A special treat for David was taking the family to village of Rothenbergen where we originated. We visited the ancient church on the hilltop and saw the actual baptism record of our ancestor Johann Jacob Holben (1718). Becca and Daniel tacked on a side-trip to Iceland and Daniel and Kara finished with a week in Italy. Becca, not to be outdone by Dan, added a week in Amsterdam where she went on a long walking tour and took a yoga class.

Sarah has become a kindergarten teacher in one of the poorest districts in Denver and she is loving it. Becca has been a live-in nanny for a family near Boulder and takes rock-climbing trips to Wyoming to relieve stress. She has gotten so good at it she now teaches climbing skills to children.

Daniel and Kara run their church youth group and have plans for a big mission trip to an Indian reservation in Utah this coming summer. Dan is still at AMR but has transferred to Boulder. This coming year he will begin studying for his Nursing degree; his ultimate goal is to be a critical care transport nurse (they use those helicopters that crash all the time). Kara has been promoted to a training specialist in AmeriCorps and enjoyed a paid two-week vacation thanks to the federal shutdown. She got Dan to run a half-marathon with her, something he swears he will never repeat.

Josiah and Julia have a new business (mortarandpestlefilms.com) and have arranged a high-volume video contract with Colorado State University. They even did a commercial for Outbackís mini-milkshakes. They also continue to do material for the Kelty company. All of it helps to pay off their debts.

I am very proud of Celeste this year because she was promoted to Nurse Manager and now has regular hours and weekends free. She also finished her Bachelorís degree, something she should have gotten 35 years ago but her marriage to an impoverished preacher intervened. I donít doubt that she will start her Masterís Degree soon. She has changed lately - in the past we camped and hiked on all our vacations. This year we did a little hiking in Glacier National Park but spent more time in very nice Bed & Break-fasts. She is getting soft on me. On the plus side, we completed the "Couch Potato to 5 Kilometer" program and have been consistently running 2.5 miles about three times a week. Letís see if we can keep it up over the winter....

Our parents have had a challenging year. Celesteís dad is 95 and had to have some heart stents put in which took a while to adjust to. Davidís dad has seen his knees deteriorate and experienced some bad falls at the end of the year; he is now in a rehabilitation facility near Clearwater and doing his therapy most days. Mary Ann has been very faithful in visiting and taking care of him. He is blessed to have her.

Our church has been growing. We have started new Bible studies (David now leads four of them, plus a Sunday School class) and an evening service. Now that Celeste is home on weekends she invites a church family over for dinner every Sunday. She is also practicing being a grandmother to the children of two families in the church, which tends to remind David of how messy kids are. I suppose even the Baby Jesus made messes but it didnít bother Mary at all. They are precious in Godís eyes, and so are you.

Love,
David & Celeste

Postscript: David's father Col. William Bruce Holwick died on December 19 at the age of 83, after this letter was sent out.  He had pneumonia and had come to realize he would never recover enough to go home.  All of us flew down to Florida to be with him; his last conscious act was acknowledging the presence of Kristy, who had flown in from Germany.  Jeb stayed with him the final night and his wife Mary Ann was holding his hand as he breathed his last.  We had a short memorial service for him in Clearwater that Saturday but his full military honor funeral will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a future date that has yet to be determined.