Tuesday, December 25, 2012


2012 Christmas Letter

Dear family and friends,                                                        

(Sung to: Chipmunk Christmas Song)

Christmas, Christmas time is here
Time to bore you one more year
With our little Christmas rhyme.
This might be our final time.
We won’t be at home next year
Or the next. We won’t be near.
We may be in Timbuktu,
Lucerne or Kathmandu.

We are putting in our papers for a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in late spring. Our availability date is sometime after the 1st of August and we’ll probably be gone 1 ½ years. After that, we’re thinking people might be sick of our poems.

Glenn’s retiring soon you see
Then he’ll have some surgery
We can’t go on one more trip
‘Til he has a brand new hip.
Whitney moved her family west
Spokane suited them the best.
There they chose a place to dwell
It fits them rather well.

David finished his physician training in June. Whitney had a baby in July. David started working in a clinic in August. They named the baby, Claire, and she looks like Whitney and Whitney looks like her Grandma Clare. They are excited to be in the mountains. Jonas, Miles, and Abel are looking forward to skiing. David is glad to be back in the real world.

Cassie had a girl this time
Nomi makes their lives sublime.
Well, she doesn’t sleep that great
But, her sweetness is first rate.
Brad loves his new job a lot
They are in a happy spot
For their kids still love the rain
Our Flora, Grey and Jane.

Cassie and Mike are so happy with their new little girl, Naomi. Sam, their two year old just keeps her entertained all day long. He calls her Nomi. His singing rocks the rafters. Mike is working full time now for the county. They have a nice home in Utah. They planted a huge garden. I think their pumpkins tried to eat me.  It took over the back yard.

Brad works for a subsidiary of Hasbro, Wizards of the Coast. We all imagine he dresses in a black robe at work with wand in hand. Meg was in charge of costuming hundreds of teenagers in a huge dance festival this year. Brad and Meg love Seattle. They  have been there for almost 6 years. They really love having cousins nearby. Spokane is only 4 hrs. away. They got to have Thanksgiving at David and Whitney’s this year.

Angelynn and Brett live near
Bringing joy throughout the year
When we need a grandchild fix
Their two kids show us new tricks.
Hayley bought a house this year
Byron’s liking his career.
Eli needs someone to play
But baby’s on it’s way.

Angelynn and Brett are expecting a baby, too. Angelynn is due in May. Angelynn has been making gorgeous quilts this year. Their kids, Isla and Isaiah keep us all laughing. It is so nice to have them close. Brett likes his work in Arcadia. Their family is going to be staying in our house while we are gone for 18 months.

Hayley’s baby is due in April. Hayley and Angelynn had babies two days apart last time. This time they could be a couple of weeks apart. Byron has been flying all over the world with his filming. He’s been working on some of the “I’m a Mormon” videos. Hayley’s been singing all over the Wasatch front. Christmas is her busiest time. Eli resembles Glenn's baby pictures but now looks more like Byron.

Christmas season’s in full swing
May we mention one more thing
We are thankful for you all!
Christmas isn’t from a mall.
In our friendships through the years
We’ve shared lots of  joy and tears
Christmas is the promise true
That God will be with you.

Glenn and I are anxious to go out on a mission and remind people that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I hope you all have a very wonderful Christmas and I hope we see or hear from you sometime soon.

Susan and Glenn

Ho! Ho! Ho! Eli, last year.

Disneyland with the cousins: Isla, Jane, Flora, Grey.

Stroller buddies.

In Spokane Grey, Miles, Jane, Jonas, Flora and Abel pose.

Sam, Abel and Flora concentrate on rock skipping skills.

Eli and Isaiah contemplate a deep end plunge.

Grandma takes a little spin around the backyard with a load of boys.
Miles, Sam, Abel

"Is there room in there for both of us?"
Isaiah and Eli

Why do they all like the blue flavors?
Miles, Jonas, Grey, Jane

The two newest additions.
Claire and Naomi

Jonas and Jane 
Thinking about their next adventure?

Jonas, Jane and Isla

Which one is two?
Sam and Eli
Peace out!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Glenn asked me what I'd like for Christmas. After thinking for a few seconds, I told him I'd like to get rid of many of the things I have collected over the years that are no longer needed in my life. I would love to remove junk from my life.

When I was a college student, I took a Household Management course.  There was a budget unit, an equipment unit, a values and attitudes unit and others. The unit on values and attitudes was particularly interesting. The teacher had us read the book Gift of the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindberg. When I get overwhelmed by all my varied interests, the thought pops into my head: Remember the Channeled Whelk.

Of all the sea lessons Lindberg learned, that one sticks out in my mind most. A whelk is "a snail-like creature".  The shell of this animal is about the size of a thumb. It is small, perfect, and clean. She describes it as having a winding staircase that opens wider in the center and narrows in the right places. In comparing this little shell to our homes, she points out how cluttered we make our houses with all the stuff we think we need.  The more complicated our lives become, the more untidy our habitat becomes. Some people are good at managing their collections. They box and store and organize and stash so cleverly that they don't realize how much time they are investing in the shuffling of their goods.

Others of us are NOT good at handling the worldly items we have acquired through our industry. Pretty soon it seems that the acquisitions are taking over the house.We don't realize how much of our subconscious mind is tending to our possessions. As Lindberg observes, "This is not a life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of." She suggests that it is a problem mostly inherent in a woman's life.  Because of all the duties and interests a woman has that come with household management, there is a huge problem of distraction. She describes women as the center of a wheel or giant web where all other responsibilities spread out like spokes or threads. It is so easy to get caught in one spoke of the wheel and neglect another which makes the wheel lose balance.

In the midst of my child raising adventure, I needed a lot of things that I no longer need. But, even back when I was deep in the ditches shoveling like mad to keep them clear, I could have made my life easier if less junk was filling my trench. As our family grew, our shelter needed to change from one that was too small to a larger one and then the need came to have a large enough place for extended family to return for visits. It is in this place that I have stopped to take a look at what I need.

While at the beach, Ann learned that "there is an art of shedding; how little one can get along with, not how much." If we have to carry everything we need, we will either break our backs or get along with less. She starts talking about clothes and then shelter and the things we keep in our shelter. Maybe that's why I love camping on the beach. We sleep in a tent with one suitcase of clothing and bare minimum of cooking supplies and plenty of food. The beauty of the sunsets and waves are our decor. If only we could figure out what to do with the sand at the end of the day.

This Christmas, I didn't put ALL my decorations up.  But, I used enough of them. It seems less cluttered and just as festive.  I even gave my kids some of the decorations that belonged to them (I sent some large nutcrackers to Hayley). I am going to try to simplify my life by shedding some of my worldliness in both my physical as well as my spiritual life. Remember the Channeled Whelk