Ah, the annual ramblings of your befuddled friend…

Dear Friends and Family,

In 2007 we did some things, saw some things achieved some things and experienced many things.  For me to hope to summarize all those things in a one page script is not merely folly but unrealistic given my current state of impaired mental capacity.  I am getting older, a state of affairs that is only better than one thing, not getting older.


You see the problem with Christmas letters is that if you describe everything you did over the past 12 months you bore the people who are closest to you.  They know all that stuff.  Plus you run the risk of appearing to blow your own horn.  While that would be an incredible stretch with me, I could be judged guilty of it if I went into lengths about what the kids did.    So you see my quandary.  So what I’ll try to do, probably equally as hard and equally imperfectly, is explain who the kids are at this point in their lives.  If you know me and my editor (Brandie) you have to realize the peril into which I insert myself.  No matter, I love a challenge.


Starting alphabetically or where I prefer to start, in the middle working my way to either end:  Abbie.

Abs is 14, halfway through her first year of high school and getting along as well as anyone deep in the throes of teen angst can be expected to get along.  She’s playing soccer and intramural basketball this winter and last year while still in 8th grade played b-ball for her school.  She played softball last summer and has applied for a job.   So, she does desire gainful employment, just not working for her dad (I tend to have her iron my shirts).  Abbie still likes art but doesn’t take lessons any more.  Her last artwork I saw was a “sweet tat” she gave her brother on his leg.  She’s doing well in school and we love her a ton even though we’re dumb and completely uncool.  Some things don’t change.  Abs enjoys spending time with her good friends.  Thankfully they like to “hang” at our house so we get to see Abbie on occasion when her & her friends aren’t on the phone or computer editing pictures taken to document the many goofy faces and poses of high school life.


Madison is a dancin’ dancin’ dancin’ machine.  (Vague 70’s musical reference there)  She is fairly automatic and systematic and fully self-contained though so it’s accurate.  Madison started competitive dancing last year and continues this year.  It’s very similar to a part time job.  She spends right at 20 hours in the studio every week.  She would live there if we let her though.  She is 13 and singular of mind; however she has shone good study skills because she’s pushed for time quite regularly.  She’s doing well in her last year of middle school and is as much a part of what the high schoolers in our house do as they will allow.  Madison is still very sweet and tender-hearted.  She is the one in our family at this time that asks most often why we can’t do more.  I think the Mission Trip we went on as a family this summer to help with Katrina relief had a large impact on her as well as on Nate.  We’ve decided to participate in the church’s youth mission trip again this summer.  Not sure where that will be yet.


Nate is sort of a freak and I say that in the best way possible.  He has tremendous passion, energy and drive; but only for things that really trip his trigger.  So, consequently he’s had to learn, both as a sophomore and as a junior, how to apply himself to those not so attractive tasks.  I won’t enumerate those for you as I have a feeling if you were 17 once and/or a guy, you know what they are. When Nate puts his mind to it, he has achieved academic success, even though it wasn’t as exciting as a good “stick” or loud car.  Still, we admire Nate for his dedication and drive for sports and his hard work ethic.  He does work very hard and has a heart as big as the outdoors, which I think he’ll never be able to chain to a desk, but I digress.  Nate makes us laugh, drives his mother nuts when it comes to laundry or his room, and is a great pal to his old man.


Brandie & I are getting older, feeling the vagaries of our youth perhaps and trying our best to figure our kids out.  Teenagers are challenging work.  I don’t quite know how to summarize the people we are right now.  We’ve both gotten past the 40th birthday milestone and I think we’ve fully come to the realization that we are adults and parents, even if we don’t always know how to act like one or the other.  We have our good days and our bad ones at work and with the kids.  We work together most of the time really well.  Don’t get me wrong we don’t hang wallpaper or anything; we’re too smart to try that.  We still puzzle and frustrate our kids, so we’re doing something right there.  All in all I’d like to think we’re slightly above pathetic, bordering on dazed and confused.  But then again, what do I know?


Ok, now I’m really reaching.  See, the above drivel took me nearly two minutes to write which is a Herculean effort for my addled brain.  I have nothing, so I may as well sap along about the season.  Sounds cynical doesn’t it?  Well, at the risk of being like my hero Charlie Brown, I’ll try not to turn this beautiful season into a problem.  We could learn a lot from the snowflake.  Each one being unique, like all of us, doesn’t follow a straight path to the ground.  They all reach the same destination but none follows the other.  They don’t zoom to the ground in an effort to minimize fall time and maximize ground time.  Like us when they bind together for ill purposes they can be a pain.  Individually though, each is a thing of beauty.  Where am I going with this?  I wish I knew.  Lose your busyness?  Go where life takes you?  Enjoy the journey?  As usual I have no answers to my own foolish questions.  Here’s a news flash folks, I don’t know much.  But I do know this; we should all be reminded of what we’ve been given at Christmas.  The gift is too precious to waste.


May God’s grace shine upon you                 – The Giffins

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