Christmas Letter – 2011
“If, as King Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? For each one of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life.” ~Author Unknown
This fall and winter Darell has been working on finishing off the family room, bedroom and bathroom in the basement. This meant more electrical, plumbing, dry walling, painting, staining, tiling and grouting. Along with the woodcutting, splitting and stacking, the automotive repairs, and building his recumbent bicycle. But have no fear; busy or not, he still has time for his favorite educational shows. This year Gold Rush and Finding Bigfoot made the top two. He even has the girls hooked. Recently on a Friday night I wanted to watch a movie as a family, but I was out-voted because Gold Rush was on. Did you ever notice that men in general can’t multi-task, unless they have the TV remote and then they can watch two, three, or even four shows all at the same time? It still baffles me.
Rebecca graduated in May with honors. She is a freshman at St. Norbert College in DePere, majoring in Early Childhood Education, and minoring in English as a Second Language. She also met with an advisor in Eau Claire about getting her certificate in Special Education. Next semester she will be taking 18 credits. She claims that she likes college better than high school. She is involved with Emerging Leaders and teaching Spanish to fourth graders. She seems to have acclimated herself to college life. She’s had a few challenges with her new Mac crashing on her twice so she learned the importance of backing up her work on an external hard drive. Here’s an excerpt from an email that I received from her on August 26th. Good Morning Mommy, SO after a not so great sleep last night on a bed that is not the biggest or most comfortable, not to mention the construction that starts at 4:30am. I made it through my first day at college. The showers are 3 foot by 3 foot have no bench or anything and have ZERO water pressure. GREAT! I’m thinking that just maybe she is appreciating home a little more these days.
Rebecca just got hired at Macy’s and is working there over Christmas break. Hopefully she comes home with a paycheck and doesn’t spend it all on fantastic deals that she just couldn’t live without.
This fall Sarah was invited to a bonfire and stayed out until 10:30pm. Sarah and Rebecca had been communicating via text. Next thing you know, I get a phone call from Rebecca informing me that her curfew was 11:00 all through high school and Sarah is in middle school and can stay out until 10:30. I think that she was questioning our judgment. Somewhere she must have missed the lesson ‘Life is NOT fair’.
Rachel turned 17 on 11/11/11. We had a big party for her that included a hayride that was illuminated by the full moon. Rachel is a junior. Can you say BUSY? I’m not sure that I can list all of her activities, but let me give it a try. She’s the Junior Class President, in Jazz Band, Academic Challenge, Academic Decathlon, Math Club, International Club, the Youth Leadership Program thru the Eau Claire Chamber, and a Youth Ambassador for Eau Claire Energy Cooperative. In Academic Decathlon she made it to the next round, beating out some of the senior boys. I think that even surprised her advisor. She has a tough year with Pre-Calc and Chemistry but she currently has a 4.0 and is looking at going into Engineering.
Rachel also plays Volleyball, Basketball and Softball. No wonder she doesn’t have much time for boys, but Darell doesn’t seem to mind. Last week she was texting someone. When Darell asked who she was texting, without missing a beat she replied, Bigfoot’s brother. Last Saturday she had a date for the Sadie Hawkins dance. The lad might have had a big foot but hopefully he wasn’t as hairy.
Darell continues to hold the title of Black Dress Security Officer. For Rachel’s Jazz Band concerts she needs to wear something black. Our ULTRA conservative dressed girl came downstairs in a black knit dress. I know for a fact that Rebecca had worn this same dress more than once and did get out the door, but this time the Officer thought that the knit design showed just a little too much. Honestly, a person would have needed a magnifying glass to see any skin thru the holes. To appease Darell, Rachel headed upstairs and resurfaced moments later wearing black pants. Obviously her pants weren’t showing too much as they gained his approval!
Sarah is 13 ½ and in the eighth grade. She is involved in Volleyball, Basketball, and Softball and traveling Volleyball. She inherited Nana’s ‘Retail Therapy’ gene, and now, not only can she shop in the stores, she shops on-line as well. She’s trying to compete with Imelda Marcos’ shoe collection. Her Aunt Lisa bought her a little plaque that says, “The little voice in your head that says, buy the shoes – that’s the one to listen to.” Sarah talked me into ordering her a subscription to Teen Vogue. She will let you know if you have a fashion faux. Jacob had a friend that Sarah thought had to get the boot because she was wearing brown boots with a navy and black shirt. And once again this year, she needed another sweater for the ugly sweater contest at school. Believe it or not, she headed straight to my closet!
Last year her basketball team wanted to get matching silver hair extensions for a team building activity. I told her that I had just paid to have her hair cut the week before and I really didn’t want to pay to have her hair extended the next. Call me old-fashioned, but back in my day, we might have worn matching tube socks if we really wanted to team-build! For Halloween she wanted to wear an outfit from the 80’s. Too bad I didn’t save my red pants and plaid ruffled shirt. Now that’s what I would call stylin’.
The end of June we took a family vacation to Yellowstone. Darell drove all 3,596 miles … with NO radio on. The girls had their i-pods and headphones, but me, I just had a lot of silence … and a lot of sleeping … and a lot of looking out the window in awe of God’s beautiful scenery. We visited the Corn Palace and Wall Drug, where we had the famous ice cold water; more like lukewarm well water from a paper cup. But it was worth it. Where else can you pay fifty cents to watch a gorilla sing and play a piano? We stopped by Bear Country USA where the security man had to remind me to keep my window up. We stopped at Mount Rushmore and saw a Bigfoot print and then drove through Custer State Park to see the buffalo and feed Cheetos to the donkeys. Next it was Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. In Montana we did the Zip ‘N Dip (Zip Line and Whitewater Rafting). Our zip line guide was from Eau Claire. Our whitewater rafting was done on the flooded Gallatin River with a guide that gave us our money’s worth by steering us directly into every gianormus wave . The Mount Rushmore light show at night with one spot light was more to be desired, we were expecting a laser show. Did I mention that we drove 3,596 miles with NO radio on?
Togetherness in itself is a holiday treat. For Thanksgiving both sides of our family were together. Isaac celebrated his 19th birthday at Nana & Papas. When Darell & I were at Teams and I was trying to explain our family, Darell clarified it for the other couples by saying that Renee grew up in a Hallmark Card Family. So thanks to mom and dad and our family and extended family for the gold crown seal.
Maybe the ‘spirit’ of the holidays is a reminder that we must make time for the long, slow journey across the desert; we must take time to discover our own star. It has been said time and time again that our lives are gifts and what we do with them is our gift in return. It is our hope that this holiday season amidst gifts, chaos, and running around, there will come a moment for you of quiet reflection and peace.
The Limings ~ Darell, Renee, Rebecca, Rachel & Sarah