Christmas 2004           

Merry Christmas to All!

   In this time of turmoil around the world, we want to give humble thanks for our many blessings, while lamenting that some of those blessings come at the expense of others less fortunate. May the little child of Bethlehem, our Lord Jesus, bring the peace and justice that so eludes our world today.

   We welcome each Christmas greeting as it comes, and look forward to the day when our paths will cross again.

   This has been a good but busy year. Weíve been blessed with good health, as Kris keeps busy in the kitchen, preparing whole traditional foods Ė we have nearly completely eliminated processed and refined food from our diet. Work in the garden and an exercise program at the nearby hospital help to keep us in shape. We both continue working with the synod global mission board and singing in the church choir, and, new this year, helping with the evangelism committee at church. The local Scandianvian Club has been a source of enjoyment for us, and we expect to be giving a couple programs to that group this year. Itís an interesting bunch Ė includes a well known bronze sculpture artist, a childrenís book author, some university professors, musicians, etc. Here we are at this yearís Christmas Party with Kris in her Oslo costume.

   Kris has become quite involved with the Weston A Price Foundation, as a local chapter leader (see our chapter website - www.WAPFToledo.org ) . We encourage folks to use traditional whole foods produced locally, the foods God gives us to make healthy bodies. This had led to some ethical civil disobedience, as misguided laws prevent the legal purchase of certain excellent local foods. A trip to the Wise Traditions Conference in Washington, DC, was one of the travel highlights of the year, as we met other like-minded folks. Kris also continues to add to our Website, which now had a domain name www.MercyViewMeadow.org, for easier retrieval.  Bill continues his genealogy activities, expanding our family database and being active in the Genealogy By Computer Society.

   The big trip of the year was a cruise up the coast of Norway this fall in the M/S Vesterålen, past the North Cape to Kirkenes, and then by van and plane to Finnish Lapland and Helsinki. The weather was typical gloomy fall weather, so we bought a nice picture book to see all the spectacular fjord and mountain scenery that was shrouded in mist! Seeing Trondheim Cathedral was a thrill. The hurricanes in the south Atlantic affected our weather, so we had one nasty rough day when the dishes slid off the table in the dining room and Bill spent most of the day in bed, while Kris ran back and forth getting soothing medicine, including, would you believe, whole dried ginger to make into a tea. It was better walking fast while the ship rocked underfoot! Another special event was the opportunity to view the heavy gold necklace that his great grandfather had found on his property in southern Norway, probably hidden by the Vikings. That was at the University Historical Museum in Oslo (see picture).

   I just reviewed our Christmas letter from last year and realize the news is much the same. Peteís house problems have not yet been resolved. We were saddened at the death of Carynís mom, but she had suffered many months of ill health, so it was not unexpected. Dotís little concrete company suffers the fate of many small businesses, barely making ends meet with a heavy burden of debt, so she has been working parttime there and parttime at a temp agency. Jeanne, Markís wife, made a big decision and quit her job with the law firm where she was a partner, to work at home, giving her more time to care for her family, including her mother, who lives with them and had both hips replaced this year. Emmy is 10, and enjoys her violin and soft ball. She sings with the Cleveland Orchestra Childrenís Chorus. We heard them just last Saturday singing at one of the annual Cleveland Orchestra Christmas Concerts (there were 8 altogether! But the children only sing at 4 of them.) Earlier that day we saw Will and his team of 7 & 8 year olds beat the pants off another team 5-0. It was quite a weekend, as the night before they were all part of the presentation of Amahl and the Night Visitors at their church. And then Sunday morning at 8, Will had hockey practice! Oh, my, what a busy life!

   What kind of world are we leaving these young children? With divisive politics, warmongering, corporate greed, environmental carelessness, and pervasive selfishness ruling the day itís not surprising that so many folks are unhappy with the direction our country is taking. (More on that) So as we celebrate the birth of Our Saviour, may the light of His peace and joy shine into our hearts and lead us along paths of justice and humility toward a sustainable way of life.

God bless you all!

Kris & Bill