Thursday, December 15, 2022

Tim & Linda's Christmas Card

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Dear friends here and there, old and newer, online and offline ~

It's kind of nice that there's no Christmas Card Police who come knocking on your door if you don't send a proper card in a pretty envelope with a festive stamp on it.  It's also a bit of relief that we can drop by and say 'hi' online, because I doubt I would have gotten everything written and addressed, stamped and mailed this year.

I know you understand.

All that said, we do appreciate the cards and notes and pictures you're sending our way.  And wish we could shrink the miles and live life together again.  Wouldn't that be fun?!  Those were the days.

This has been a tough year and we are grateful for God's mercy in taking Mom home to be with Him at the end of June.  Not a day goes by that we don't think about her, talk about her, miss her.  She's been a huge part of our daily lives since we moved to the Cape and we're just now starting to figure out who we are without her living close by.  Our deep relief that she is not suffering anymore is matched by the empty space that now remains. 

My sister and her husband moved to the Cape in June.  I'm so happy to have her nearby for the first time since we left home all those decades ago.  We're as different as night and day and she'd be the first to admit that we can make each other crazy but when all is said and done, it means the world even just to have her drop in for a cup of tea.  

As you can see, I'm still writing online.  I think this might be post #1901 but who's counting?  I love it.  In all of life's changes and challenges over the years, the rhythm of writing and posting and cultivating community has been a huge gift God has given that has kept me focused and sane, my comfort zone expanded, and my faith deepened.  I'm grateful.

Tim continues with Habitat and has gotten involved with their Deconstruction Team.  People who are remodeling their kitchens are able to donate their 'old' cabinets to the local Habitat ReStore.  The Team goes to donors' houses, remove the cabinets, and then they're sold and the proceeds go to build more homes.  Good stuff.  Beats falling off a ladder and pretending nothing happened.  But that's a story for another day.

Right now, he's building shelves for our little dining area so I can unpack boxes of fun stuff brought from Poughkeepsie 7 1/2 years ago!  He does beautiful work.  After 46 years, he's a keeper for sure.

I've re-found my niche in co-leading a Stephen Ministry at church.  Since I retired from counseling, something had been missing and so it's giving me a lot of joy to train and mentor gifted, kind-hearted volunteers and help match them up with care receivers who need someone to walk with them through a challenging season.  I've found my sweet spot again and am grateful to team up with such godly, compassionate caregivers.  

Our family usually gets together here in June, at Camp of the Woods in August, and then either Thanksgiving or Christmas.  We wish it was a whole lot more, but it is what it is.  We lost much during Covid that we'll never regain, so when we can be together, it really is the hugest blessing.  With sports and classes and missions trips and work and church stuff and hundreds of miles and 12 people coming and going from Massachusetts to Connecticut to Maryland to South Carolina, it's almost impossible to get everyone in one place anymore.  But we try.  And when it finally comes together, it's like a dream come true.



Kristin and family got five chickens a few months ago and it's been fun to watch from afar and hear the stories that only she can tell.  Her reluctant father joined her in designing and building a chicken coop and since then, their family has been gathering eggs every day.  One afternoon a hawk swooped down and tried to fly off with one of her beloved feathered children.  But the winged predator didn't stand a chance as Kristin ran through the yard screaming and waving her arms like a crazy person.  Such is the life of a vigilant mother hen and her occasionally free-ranging babies.




Jenn and family always have something going on at their house ... at any given moment there could be foster children, a few midshipmen from the Naval Academy, assorted friends, roommates, or relatives joining the family 'round their table for a boisterously delicious meal.  Nothing fazes her and their family is known for their hospitality.  When she's not corralling the troops, she's the Nurse Manager for three Crisis Pregnancy Centers and as ever, has risen to the occasion with her superb caring and organizational skills.  But the highlight of any month is when Lydia returns home from college for a visit.




Well, that's the family rundown.  We're looking forward to being together in a few days.  At 12-19 years old, the grandkiddos are growing in their faith and are the most unique and entertaining people (if I say so myself!)  In fact, they're so delightful that after we celebrate on the 25th, Tim and I will quickly be heading out to sea for a week to recover from all the festivities.

If you want to keep in touch, please subscribe right here and I'll have the great pleasure of showing up in your inbox once or twice a week.  I'd love to have you in my life again.  Truly.

And if you know someone who might have known us along the way, please feel free to share this with them.  

Comfort and Joy, 
Tim and Linda
 



58 comments:

  1. What a lovely Christmas card and gift to your readers. I enjoyed all the family photos. I so miss my Mother every day, and the holidays are so hard. Wishing you a blessed Christmas season!

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    1. So many of us are feeling that mother loss, that father loss. We walk through this together, knowing we're not alone. He whispers peace every step of the way. I'm grateful.

      Merry Christmas, friend. You are a blessing in my life ...
      πŸŽ„

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  2. You have had a difficult year, Linda, that's for sure, but the Lord has certainly kept your head in the right place and rescued you from troubled waters. Seems like He has done the same for your beautiful family. Thank you so much for this touching Christmas greeting and for inspiring to continue to love others for God's glory. That's what it's all about.
    Blessings, and Merry Christmas!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you and Danny ... thanks so much for reaching out to us this week!

      And if my head has been even remotely in the right place, it's only by God's grace alone. We both made it through 2022, friend. Praise God.
      🌟

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  3. What a beautiful Christmas card, Linda, and I enjoyed reading about your family. How wonderful to be involved in the Stephen Ministry. I went to a Stephen minister for about a year and it was lovely. Love, Joy, Peace and Hope for Christmas and 2023.

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    1. Kitty, I'm so glad that Stephen Ministry worked for you. It means so much that you've shared that with us. Because of your honesty here, you're probably opening the door for someone else to reach out to get the care they're yearning for.

      Bless you for sharing that gift of encouragement, girl!
      🎁

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  4. loved reading this and getting a peek into your life and year. Merry Christmas. Christmas card police - very funny!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you, too, Jean. God has used your words to deepen my walk with Him this year. Please know how grateful I am ...
      πŸ’ž

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  5. What a beautiful gift you've shared with us. Thank you, Linda, and may you and your experience all the joy of this Christmas season. xo Debby

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    1. Merry Christmas, dear friend. You continue to be a faithful companion in my life. May you know God's presence in a fresh an enlivening way as we celebrate the One who's freed us.
      πŸ‘­

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  6. Thank you for your Christmas card Linda! It's wonderful having some family close by, even the ones that are opposite in personality than you. Family (generally) has your back, I like to say. And will be there for you. Have a wonderful Christmas and time later at the seaside in recovery. :)

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    1. It'd be boring if everyone was like me. I'm glad for those who add a little zest to my life! You, my friend, bring serenity and creativity to my world. I'm always grateful for your words and your snapshots of life.

      Merry Christmas.
      πŸ“Έ

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  7. Every year I’ve been a bit OCD in sending out Christmas cards to family and friends. This year will be different as I am skipping the cards and donating the cost of cards and postage to our church that is still rebuilding after Hurricane Ian. I have more time to just sit with Him and our church benefits—a win/winπŸ™πŸ»

    Enjoy your holiday with family. 

    *subscriber email response

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    1. I love that you've joined us in recent days ... thanks for subscribing! So grateful you're here ... and so relieved to know I'm not the only one who's skipping the cards. How beautiful that you're donating to re-build God's house. May He multiply your gift like loaves and fishes.

      Christmas blessings to you.
      🐟

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  8. I love all the updates and photos of Tim and you and your family, Linda. Thank you! May you have a peace-filled Christmas and a relaxing time afterwards. :) May God give you special comfort as you feel the absence of your dear mom.

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    1. Trudy, I hope you have a warm and gentle Christmas, friend. Thank you for your sweet spirit and tender heart. We feel it whenever you walk into the 'room.'
      πŸ₯°

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  9. You are blazing trail for me in so many ways. Our grands range from 5 months to 8 years.
    You have had a challenging and deepening year. I’m grateful for your hard won wisdom!

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    1. Girl, you are my iron-sharpens-iron New England blogging companion! I never walk away without being fed well after reading/hearing your wise and godly insights. I feel rich indeed.

      Christmas blessings to your growing family.
      πŸ•Š️

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  10. Hi Linda!

    Thank you for the very beautiful Christmas message, and so lovely to see your wonderful growing family! God bless you all!

    I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear Mom in June. She was such a kind, amazing woman... like you! My very deepest sympathy to you, Tim, your sister, and your whole family. I'm sure this will be a difficult Christmas without her, but how nice that Marilyn is living close by now.

    * subscriber email response

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    1. Thanks for reaching out! It's so good to connect again and to feel like the years have vanished. Enjoy a wonderful Christmas celebration with your family ...

      Thanks for the memories, ol' friend.
      😘

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  11. Thank you dear friend for this glimpse into your life outside of CCBAC! May you and all your family be blessed this Christmas Season with peace, joy and the assurance of a future beyond all human comprehension.

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    1. Elly, thanks for all your encouraging words this year. You always shine bright for Jesus ... when I grow up I want to be like you!
      ☀️

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  12. It wouldn't let me comment on the blog version of this! I see some of their mother in your girls (crazily protecting the chicks and warm hospitality). So glad Tim has found a safer niche with Habitat and especially glad that you have found a way to put your counseling and leadership gifts to such good use with Stephen's ministries! Thanks for so many years of friendship!

    * text response

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    1. Thanks for tracking me down, Room! Sorry that Blogger sometimes gets a bit temperamental (not that we would know anything about that, right?!)

      Hope you guys will be with your family at some point. I know you're wondering where the years went. Me, too.
      xo
      πŸ’

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  13. Loved all your pictures and thoughts! You have a beautiful family! Merry Christmas! 😊❤️πŸ™πŸŒ²

    * text response

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    1. Thanks for the way you continue to reach out to me, ol' friend. I feel so blessed that God has kept us on each other's hearts all these years. I hope that this Christmas has some beautiful moments for you and your family.
      πŸ₯°

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  14. Love the updates! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    1. Have a wonderful holiday ... even if you ARE still unpacking!
      πŸ“¦

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  15. Wonderful Christmas letter! It was written perfectly, the pictures are great, and I will print it up so I can save it!

    * text response

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  16. Hello! How nice to hear from you again and see the family pictures! Everyone looks healthy and wonderful…and so grown up!

    Somehow…I have stopped receiving your notes and so was happy to have been added here again. So good to hear from old friends!

    Your life sounds full, rich and Blessed. May your Christmas time with family be extra special this year as you gather together and count your Blessings.
    Miss you all and love you. ❤️

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    1. I'm so glad you're here! I sent you an email about re-subscribing ... these things happen and I'm grateful to re-connect.

      The good news is that you never left my heart ... and Christmastime brings back so many of those good memories we shared along the way.
      πŸ₯°

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  17. What a beautiful "Christmas card", Linda. It might be one of the favorites I've "received" this month. :) I love hearing about your life and seeing your family. I know it's been a rough year losing your mom. Much love to you, friend!

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    1. May His unexplainable peace fill your soul to overflowing, dearest Lisa. He loves you so.
      πŸ•Š️

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  18. Such a beautiful read ♥️πŸŒŸπŸ™πŸΌ

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  19. Happiest of Christmas wishes to you, Linda! Such a beautiful family! It was a joy to read your update! Blessings on your Christmas!

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    1. I hope you have a lovely Christmas week, friend ... quiet, restful, peaceful ... just like your beautiful writing.
      πŸ˜‡

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  20. I love Christmas letters! What a delight to read yours and become better acquainted with your wonderful family. We feel the same about our family--time together is a top delight, and not nearly frequent or long enough. Next week our daughter and family will arrive, and the day after Christmas our younger son and his wife will come. (Our older son and family live in the same city we do.) They'll only overlap for two days, but we'll make the most of it. Maybe we won't sleep! 😁

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    1. Nancy, thanks! Sounds like we are having the same experiences with our grown children. A huge joy, a great blessing. Just wishing they weren't all so far away.

      Don't worry, you can catch up on the sleep when they all head out the door! Works for me ...
      😴

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  21. Merry Christmas to you sweet and precious friend and to your family. Your pictures are beautiful and I love seeing your family. Nothing like our precious family. I know that you are missing your sweet mama this Christmas season and there is NOTHING like those "First" special holidays without our loved ones. I hope to be back to blogging in the New Year. However, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Yeah, all these firsts come with their own set of challenges. I'm letting them be what they are, calling them what they are, crying if I need to, and moving to the next thing. Bittersweet ... with the emphasis on the sweet.

      Looking forward to welcoming you back into blogland, girl. You've been missed. But right now, just enjoy your family and all the blessings that come with Christmas.
      😏

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  22. These are lovely family photos, and it's good to read more about your year. I hope you have a lovely Christmas, full of peace and joy, and that you enjoy your time away afterwards. I'm grateful that we have connected here. Thank you for all the wisdom and encouragement you share!

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    1. Have a lovely Scottish holiday, Lesley! Any favorite traditions or food? I always enjoy hearing what's happening back in the 'home country!'
      🌍

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  23. Thank you for this beautiful Christmas greeting, Linda.
    So lovely to see your family.

    Hugs and blessings πŸ’

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    1. Veronica, thanks for keeping me company this year! I'll see you in 2023 ...
      πŸ˜‡

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  24. What a beautiful card and a good idea to send it this way. I am glad you had some time with your mom there before she passed. Praying for you guys as you share and encourage one another at Christmas and use your gifts and talents together and beyond.

    * via text

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    1. I hope you have a gentle, quiet celebration of our Savior's birth. Be sure to give yourself that grace and space you need, friend. You are worthy of that gift ... He loves you so.
      πŸŽ„

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  25. I'm sorry I'm late to this party Linda. Been a really busy weekend. Loved seeing your pictures of the family. I see Tim photobombed one and your son-in-law had the audacity to wear a Celtics t-shirt. (Not that I really care about basketball. Just wanted to give you and him a hard time) :) Loved the family pics. They sure are growing and you and Tim have much to be proud of. I pray you all will have a joy-filled and "Christ-blessed" Christmas.

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    1. I like how you put that, Bill - a "Christ-blessed" Christmas. Perfectly said. Enjoy shepherding your precious flock in this most sacred week. And may they bless you in return.
      πŸ‘

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  26. Merry Christmas, Linda! Thank you for the lovely Christmas card. I always enjoy reading your insightful posts. Here's to another year of blogging!

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    1. Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones, Margie ... I'll see you next year!
      πŸ˜‰

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  27. Thank you for sharing Aunt Linda! You have a beautiful way with words!

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    1. You're a sweetheart. And I'm glad you're here!
      😘

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  28. I appreciate your Christmas card Linda. Your family is simply wonderful.
    Thank you bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month.
    Merry Christmas dear friend.

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    1. Paula, thanks! And if there's anything wonderful going on it's only because of God's grace.
      πŸ•Š️

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  29. What a beautiful letter, and a beautiful family! Post 1901?!!! My goodness. That's some treasury of words you have written. My heart is with you this holiday season, dear friend.

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    1. We made it through. You and me both! God is good.
      πŸ‘­

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