Merry Merry Jesus mas,
The Hages and the Hagelets have had a wonderful year. Rebecca (37), Pedro and Alexandra (5) are back in the states from France, settled in their home in Gaithersburg, MD where Alexandra is in a French immersion preschool. Reb is working as an aerospace engineer, contracted to NASA Goddard at the same pay scale she would have been at if she had not taken a 5 year leave to live in France. Pedro is Executive Director of the National Science and Technology Council and reports directly to the White House. Jonathan (36) has reached the 5 year mark with Continental/United, waiting to see how the merger will affect his wages and benefits as a flight attendant. Ditto for Matthew (34). Having worked for Republic Airlines for several years he is waiting to see how the merger with Midwest and Frontier will affect his pilot's wages and benefits. They are both doing what they love, but are eager to see if either wages or working conditions will improve or deteriorate after the mergers. Rachel (32) and Kellie are still working as sociologists at the University of Nebraska, raising budding soccer player Derek (5) and preparing to welcome a new baby in June. Ruben (34) and Cassie (6) are living the good life in Summit County. 1st grader Cassie is in a bi-lingual Spanish/English immersion school and loving it. I cannot believe how quickly she is picking up reading in Spanish. She is doing well with her piano lessons as well but her teacher, Len Rhodes wishes she could sit still just a bit longer. Robert (33) has just moved to a new assisted living home whose other residents are more his age. He is much happier. Brandon (29) has returned home to live on a somewhat semi permanent basis. Even if he gets a job and can become self-sufficient it is better for all of us if he remains very close to home. Masha's 18th birthday was Dec 17 and she is happily going to an alternative high school, on track to graduate in June. She volunteers at a horse rescue barn and lives with a family who took her in after she chose to leave here last Spring. Jamie, Jesse (plus his kids?) and Amber (plus her kids?) are living in the Denver area, incommunicado.
Paul continues his work for BigHorn/Ace Hardware and Lumber as a buyer/counterperson in the paint department. His volunteer duties have cut back considerably but he is still on the local Optimist chapter board and treasurer of the Dillon Valley East Homeowner's Association Board as we have several rentals in the complex and it is where Matthew and Ruben own condos. He is also president of our local Thrivent Chapter, a benevolent association, as well as chairman of the finance committee at Lord of the Mountains. Paul also spent two weeks in Peru in July building 4 homes in Manchay. Note...these activities represent a scaling back from previous years!
I continue to work part time as a therapist in private practice, specializing in work with traumatized children and families. My volunteer duties have narrowed down to two major tasks. With the help of numerous volunteers, businesses, Lord of the Mountains, Summit County Rotary, and Elks Lodge 2561, I continue to coordinate a weekly free dinner for the community. At this time we are serving 400 or so people each week and I am responsible for the menu planning, most of the purchasing and cooking. Fortunately I am surrounded by an untold number of supporters who follow my lead as I take an old family recipe and multiply it by 40!
I have also taken it upon myself with our generous donors to coordinate capital improvements and food provisions for Good Samaritan Home for Seniors in Jeremie, Haiti. Over the years we have provided mattresses, repaired the roof on the dining room, and installed a water system with tank, cistern, toilets, showers and sinks. (Our water project made sure that the cholera epidemic has passed us by!) This year we have built a kitchen, purchased a refrigerator and stove, and furnished the dining room. Now we need to concentrate on food security. I am beholden to numerous donors who continue to send sufficient funds each month to provide food for the seniors. There is always a need for new support so feel free to jump in with a check at any time! (LOTM - Jeremie Relief, PO Box 1059, Dillon, CO 80435 or PayPal at www.jeremierelief.org)
So Jesus comes, as Jesus does every year about this time, in the form of a small baby. The question becomes will we worship The Christ, as the Wisemen did, who knelt down in awe, gave gifts and then left, never to be heard from again. Or....... will we follow the Jesus that the Christ child becomes? We have Biblical pages and pages, text after text describing Jesus' work on behalf of the poor, the hungry, the weak, and the powerless. We have a couple of verses describing the birth of the baby. Yet what do we do? We spend months preparing to kneel down and worship the baby. However, Jesus is not there being worshipped. Jesus is not floating above the altar basking in all of the attention being paid. Jesus is not sitting around a tree opening presents. Jesus is outside....in the cold....in the dark.....with the immigrant, with the gay couples, with the hungry...with the unemployed.....with those being spurned. Jesus is looking in the window and wondering, "Whatever are all those people doing in there?"
Love to you all,
Deborah & Paul