15 Feb

Christmas Letter – 2012

Joy to the World  THE LORD IS COME!

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear, five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure, measure a year?  In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.  In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure a year in the life? … (Seasons of Love lyrics from Rent)

As I’m approaching the BIG 50 I can tell you that the elasticity in my skin is not as tight as it used to be and that I need to floss a few times a day.  I never would have thought that I would need to floss after eating strawberry yogurt or chicken noodle soup.  Many things continue to change, but yet some stay the same.  I have two stories to share that attest to the fact that I’m in a time warp.  In August, I jumped in the van and heard the girls discussing a drive by fruiting.  I chimed in and told them that was my favorite scene from the movie Mrs. Doubtfire.  We continued to discuss the scene, it was then that I realized that they were making fun of my black capris with watermelon and cherries embroidered all over them and my matching lime green sweater with watermelon pockets.  I was the drive by fruiting that they were referring to!  In my defense I told them that Nana had given me the outfit.  Then Sarah, while giggling, said that Nana could wear capris with the little martini glasses on them. J.  After a haircut in October, Darell asked me why I get my haircut like I’m still in the 70’s.  At first I was a little taken back by his comment, couldn’t he just say that my haircut looked nice?  But then, I had an Aha! moment.  No wonder people still recognize me that I haven’t seen in 20 years (and I have no idea who they are until they tell me their names), I haven’t changed, I still look the same and my hair still looks the same (well, maybe a little grayer).  Needless to say, my last haircut I told my stylist to cut my feathered wings a little shorter, just to appease my husband.

Darell is keeping busy. He spends his free time working on our vehicles, replacing lots of worn out parts (not necessarily by choice), cutting, splitting and stacking wood, and watching TV.  He added another show to his repertoire, the Big Bang Theory.  This year he filled out a Nielsen Ratings Survey so he found out just how many hours a week he spends watching educational shows.  He mentioned that he found a new couch that he liked; it had a recliner on one end.  I told him not even think about it, I don’t want anything too comfortable, it would only encourage him to watch more TV and he might never come to bed.  I think this year he’s come to the conclusion that some things do wear out and break and it isn’t because someone was beating on them or doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing.  He was riding his bike and the spoke broke, and I’m so glad that it was him riding the bike and not me.  The other day Rachel claimed the she was stuck at her boyfriend’s house during the 14” of snowfall, so Darell and I set out in the van to get her.  Lucky for me, he was driving when he put the van in the ditch less than two blocks from home and we had to call the wrecker to pull us out.  Thankfully we have AAA.  Last May, he headed to the park for Rachel’s softball game and parked under giant pine trees while a strong wind storm was going on.  I don’t know what the odds are for a tree falling on a car, but it did.  Lucky for him he was sitting in the Expedition with the girls that was parked in the next space over.  The car was totaled and towed home, but this time the company that he used wasn’t with AAA.  In situations like that I am thankful that no one was hurt, but I’m also thankful that it wasn’t me that parked under a big tree in a windstorm.

Rebecca is a sophomore at St. Norbert College in DePere.  She has made the Dean’s List every semester.  She just finished up her Sophomore Block in which she was assisting in a bilingual kindergarten classroom that was taught in ALL Spanish.  Last year she was home A LOT.  This year she went six weeks before she came home the first time.  She tutors at school, is involved in the Zambia Project, Generations of Faith, Student Alumni Ambassador and FYE (First Year Experience).  She is a cashier at Festival foods. She spent Spring Break in Hawaii with Papa & Nana.  In May she ran the Eau Claire half marathon and is looking forward to running more this coming year.

Rachel will be graduating in May and wants to go into Engineering.  She has been busy applying to some of the top 50 engineering schools in the nation and at this point she has received lots of acceptance letters and has lots of choices.  Her schedule includes AP Calculus, Physics, AP Literature, Honors Chemistry and Honors Biology, Academic Decathlon, along with her extra-curriculars ~ Academic Challenge, Forensics, Volleyball, Basketball and Softball.  She has a boyfriend named Hank.  Once again aging myself, I asked her if she was ‘going steady’, after a puzzling look I had to rephrase that with are you ‘in a relationship’?  I never thought that I’d have to use Granny’s trick on her, but yes indeed, I had to use the old flip the light switch off and on, means it’s time to come in trick, even with her.  This summer she spent a week in Washington D.C. with the Eau Claire Energy Cooperative Youth Tour.

Sarah is a freshman and on her second boyfriend, thankfully nothing too serious.  Darell’s ploy is to scare them all away; so far it seems to be working.  She plays Volleyball, Basketball and Softball and is also playing on the EC Air Volleyball team.  She accompanied Lisa & Johnny to Hawaii during Spring Break.  The first text Darell received from her when she landed was a picture with the caption ~’this looks like a squatchy area.’  She completed her Girl Scout Silver Award this summer working on the Bluebird Restoration Project at the Nature Academy.  She is my fashion queen, I can’t keep up, it seems that she’s removing new tags daily.  She’s has her Nana’s shopping gene.  She also loves Pinterest.

Eva is our foreign exchange student from Changchun, China.  It’s a city of eight million.  The climate is similar to ours but there’s not a lot of wildlife in the city.  She enjoys seeing the squirrels, deer and turkeys.  She is a junior and joined our family last January.  This will be her first Christmas.  Over Thanksgiving we went up to Scott & Brenda’s in Ely, MN.  We hiked to Old Baldy, taking the trails on the way up and bushwhacked on the way back. (That’s where you cut your own trail and the bushes whack you as you go by).  The girls had to go back to primitive times with not getting cell phone reception.  She likes to join the family on game nights.  She was in the One Act Play this fall and will be in Forensics.  Her parents and sister will be visiting in February.

2012In July, Mom & Dad treated our family to a fabulous vacation in Spain.  Spain’s architecture was absolutely beautiful, the pastries were to die for, and the Mediterranean Sea was gorgeous.  The picture of the girls on the card was taken in Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey in the mountains.  We went to Barcelona two different days and took the bus tour.  You can tell that I don’t get out much … While on the bus, in order to hear the audio portion, you had to put your headphones into an adapter and push the button to select the number 1 – 8 to correspond to the flag of the country that you’re from.  After the first stop, I asked the kids what station they were listening to because I couldn’t find the ‘American’ flag or the English version, I’m not sure what language I was listening to, but I do know that it wasn’t English.  That’s when the girls informed me that I needed to be on the Great Britain flag … now why didn’t I think of that?  I looked like a tourist, my camera, paper and pen in hand taking notes, suddenly the wind came up and blew my notes away, so I quickly stood up to fetch them, forgetting that I had my headphones on, gave myself whiplash while I snapped the cord … sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.  We saw the Sagranda Familia, a beautiful cathedral that has taken 3 generations over 100 years to build.  We went to Tarragona to see the Roman ruins while there we watched a young woman climb a 7’ fence and almost impale herself.  Paying the $10 entrance fee might have been a tad bit safer for her.  The beach in Salou had many sights as tops were optional.  Our favorite sight was a man looking like Danny DeVito wearing a slinglet.  We still chuckle every time we think about it.  How many tourists (or Norwegians) does it take to figure out a Spanish parking ramp meter?  Well in our case, seven of us.  Driving was nerve wracking, they have roundabouts and more roundabouts and the road signage is terrible, mopeds are everywhere and they can split the lanes, we even managed to get a speeding ticket that we didn’t know about until 2 months after we got home.  Darell drove 1,287 miles that week with NO radio on; I was okay with that as it would have been in Spanish anyways.  It’s always interesting traveling with Mom, only she would wear 4” heals traveling thru an airport with a 40 minute layover trying to get from one Atlanta terminal to another.  Her shoes aren’t always the most comfortable or practical, but they are ALWAYS stylish and fashionable.  Her purse was stolen in broad daylight down on the strip; it contained $5, her cellphone and her PASSPORT.  With her always dressed like a million bucks and wearing rings on every finger, I can’t imagine why she was an easy target.  But none-the-less, it did expand our knowledge as we now know what a consulate is and where it’s located in Barcelona.

In July, Darell and Rebecca went to Ohio so Darell could attend his 25th class reunion.  I bought him new sexy jeans and got him spiffed up hoping someone would snatch him up.  He called me from the reunion and told me that I didn’t have any luck.  He was still mine to keep.  Rachel, Sarah and I made the trek the following weekend so that we could attend our niece Shelby and Terrance’s wedding.  I was a little nervous driving the eleven hours by ourselves.  Rachel ended up driving the whole way, but you know how it works, whoever drives gets to choose the radio station.  It wasn’t the radio stations that she was choosing; it was the constant changing of stations, as she doesn’t like any talk, no commercials, no news, only music.  So every two or three songs she was changing the station, I’m so glad that we have a seek button on the steering wheel.

A closing thought, The Work of Christmas by Howard Thurman.  When the star in the sky is gone, when the Kings and Princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins.  To find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to teach the nations, to bring Christ to all, to make music in the heart.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes, five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear … this is how we spent our year. (2012)

Merry Christmas from the Liming’s

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