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For this newsletter we decided to feature pictures of our families. That way we can recognize each other if we happen to pass in the street.....or more likely in the airport.
Here is the Sorensen gang. At Christmas Steve came from Colorado, Chris from NJ, and Pete, Kristin, Gentry, John and Noah all the way from 11th Street so we had a really great time together.
Retirement continues to be great! We're working on our house, playing with grandkids, taking short trips from time to time, and I'm beginning to play piano again after all these years. We love the freedom of choosing what we want to put into our days.
(Excerpts from Barb's Christmas letter:)
Well, this year I did not get our Christmas cards done, but I have a REALLY REALLY good excuse. I just got engaged! Yes, I have agreed to marry a wonderful man, Bryan Rowe, whom I have been dating for the past 18 months or so. .... I met Bryan at Central Presbyterian Church after he took a job there as the church organist. ... Over the course of this last year we began to see each other regularly. Bria and I joined him for a trip to England where he is studying organ music for his PhD in Sacred Music. .... Bryan is a high school calculus teacher, in addition to his church ministry, so he relates well to teens. When he and Bria talk calculus, I conveniently tune out and let them handle the signs and cosigns. .... We plan to get married in Oxford, England this summer, in a quiet little ceremony without pomp or circumstance, with Dad as our minister.
Bria is a senior in high school this year, and making us all very proud. She aced the SAT exam with a perfect math score and a near perfect English score. She will be attending Eastern University (where Eloise teaches) for the first year of college, and then will transfer to a school with a good civil engineering program. She continues to be very active at Central Presbyterian Church as a middle-school youth leader, and member of the high school youth group.
As for me, I am still working at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center as the Senior Clinical Dietitian. I am about to take a promotion into clinical management, which should be fun. Even more rewarding for me is the seminary class I am taking through the Episcopal church.
God is blessing us all with His grace and mercy, and I am full of excitement for what the future will bring for us as a family.
Nikhil, Priya, Gary and I spent several weeks together in Guatemala over the Christmas holidays learning Spanish in Xela (5 hours a day!) and practicing that Spanish while exploring towns and countryside. We lived with Guatemalan families when we were studying - an experience in itself - and tried to keep warm at 8,300 feet while we did our homework under the bed covers. Christmas was a treat as we went to Panajachel, a town on a beautiful lake and treated ourselves to hotel rooms that had hot water and wonderful views. A great way to learn a language!
I'm back in Kodai for the last semester so I'm taking any final orders for all things Indian. Also it's your last chance to visit the lovely Kodai campus if you want an onsite guide. I'm now taking 11th grade Spanish and have to make a 5-minute presentation on 'thanksgiving' in Spanish next week...yikes! I really like my new house but when I'm not home the monkeys come in and eat all my food.....
Each year I wonder why I don't get up hiking in the mountains much during November & December?
Then I look back on all the Christmas projects I had to finish before heading back home to Monmouth for the holidays and I remember why!
This year's projects included my set of new greeting cards, my 2004 calendar, a large framed print for my folks' new house, framed photos for Chris as well as Peter & Kristin, a wooden P-51 Mustang airplane for John, a coin collecting box for Gentry and a plastic tube construction kit for Noah. Plus Chris and I were preparing for the latest movie starring the Sorensen brothers that we completed while back in Monmouth.
So I always rather look forward to the quiet of January and February when I can get back to work on my other projects. I can also start getting my legs and lungs back into hiking shape for summer by wandering the trails near Boulder or snowshoeing up in Rocky Mountain National Park.
From: Karen and Rick
Excerpts from Christmas letter:
If you'd have told us a year ago that we'd be back living in Fresno, I think we would have outright laughed in your face with a comment like, "Oh, sure, like that's gonna happen!"
It started in late January with a phone call to Rick, offering him a job directing Ministry Quest--a leadership development program for young people - a project of the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary.
By June we had sold our house in Tacoma ..... By July we were renting a house across the street from my (Karen) folks in Fresno, looking for a place to buy ..... Also, Rick had started his job and came home just loving what he was doing and enjoying his niche there at the Seminary ...... By September we moved into a house we bought on Huntington Blvd., an historical street dating back to the early 1900's. We live down the block from my sister and her family so we had lots of fun in the heat wave swimming in their pool!
.....Grace started Kindergarten at Jackson school with her cousin and many other neighborhood friends ..... Toby started pre-school along with some of his buddies from the neighborhood ..... I, Karen, was blessed with a job from Fresno Pacific University working with adult students who are completing their Bachelor's Degree. I work with them from start to finish on their Thesis and make sure it follows regulations ..... So many changes in such a short 12 months. Who would've thought?? Not us, that's for sure.
(Have a great time with all your extended family, Karen, Rick, Grace and Toby!)
From: Mary Sexton
Thanks, Mary, for sending this in! And thanks too for the stories you've contributed to the Kids' Section.
Harlan writes: Our news is that Mary took the SAT (she's only in 7th grade, but needed it for the Johns-Hopkins CTY summer programs that she enjoys). She got a 1400 (750 verbal, 650 math).
Editor's Note: Wow!
Paul is teaching in India for a short time. He lectured in Chennai for a week, then went up to see Loey in Kodai for a few days. Since he had a few days free before heading to Bangalore, he spent three days with Bob Frykenberg traveling around in south India. Bob was a few years ahead of Paul in Kodai years (and years and years...) ago, and is a historian on Indian history at the University of Wisconsin.
Now Paul is in SAIACS teaching classes for four weeks. He writes that he is having LOTS of delcious Indian food. Lucky him! Next he'll be heading to Australia for a week. Must be boring to live such an uneventful life....
Other than Dick's heart attack - or because of it - things are very quiet here. All our children are coming for a reunion in the middle of March. They will be together for the very first time. This should be a great weekend!
Note: If you could read the paper's headlines, you'd see: "Niagara jumper: After hitting the falls...life is worth living." Any analogies to retirement there, Gwen?
This is the cover of the Christmas card Phyl made this year. It features Elmer and Phyl's grandkids---seems as though I remember an article Elmer wrote years ago bemoaning the fact that he had no grandchildren. Well, Elmer, now you have NINE delightful grandkids! Tell your children thanks.