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The macho logger tree farmer sat at his desk yesterday afternoon and hammered out his handwritten Christmas letter in less than an hour.  It was one-page, pleasant and to the point.  I edited a couple of grammatical issues and typed it for him.  He addressed the envelopes to his family and put them in the mail this morning.  Amazing.

There’s a blank computer screen in front of me with “Christmas 2011” at the top.  I stare at it but the words don’t come.  The last multiple-page-with-photos Christmas letter I sent was dated 2003.  Eight years?  Life presented too many twists and turns during that span of time.  Each year that rolled faithfully around, I committed to write “the Christmas letter”.  To be honest, I’ve received emails asking me if I’ve removed the sender from my letter list?  No, I wouldn’t do that.  I just didn’t write one.  So now, the stark white screen stares back at me and I am resolute.

So, I think about this past year and take some mental notes…

2011 brought great joy.  My youngest child and his precious wife had their first-born…a beautiful baby girl named Maggie.  I loved her before I met her.  The second I held her and her big blue eyes met mine, there was a bond formed that will last a lifetime…hers and mine.  We will play hide-and-seek and bake cookies when she is old enough.  I will read her lots of stories and sew cute little dresses.  For now, I will hold her, love her and talk baby talk every chance I get…


2011 brought deep sadness and grief.  My sister Gerry lost her courageous battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and went home to be with the Lord on October 13, 2011.  I rejoice that she is in Heaven and I will see her again.  I know, in time, the tears will stop…just not yet.  I miss her more than words can say.

2011 provided the opportunity to check one of my heart’s desires off the proverbial “bucket list”: Alaskan Cruise.  Cruising through the Inside Passage, the scenery took my breath away on more than one occasion.  As the ship meandered closely to a cove of ancient glaciers, I was thrilled by the sight of the blue ice and knew that, literally, I was seeing the tips of the iceberg.  When we traveled by vintage train up to the Yukon in a parlor car with a pot-bellied stove, I was seeing history and incredible beauty.  I treasured the views for I knew I might not see them again.

 2011  I became a “goat herder” and the proud owner of six adorable full-blood Boer goats.  I’ve also had to fight the same predators in these Callahan Mountains that the pioneer women fought.  A cougar killed three of my goats – half of my herd.  The macho logger tree farmer came to the rescue and built a cougar-proof enclosure and “sleeping shed” for the goats at night.  Hopefully, we can now rebuild our herd.

 2011  We added to the farm:  a 6 acre pasture, an orchard, a greenhouse, a barn, a fenced in raised-bed garden and a secure nighttime area for the goats with a new sleeping shed for them!

 2011  We’ve enjoyed traveling this year (some together and a few by myself) – three times to Seattle for visits with Jim’s daughter and her family, once to Iowa to visit my daughter and her family, once to Kentucky to visit my older son and his family, once to Chicago to meet my precious Maggie and visit my son and his wife and twice to the South.  Sadly, the last trip South was for my dear sister Gerry’s homegoing service.  I will be forever thankful for the visit I had with my sister Gerry in June…making memories.  In September, we met my daughter and her family at Yosemite National Park where we rented a house in the park and had a wonderful time together.  During the first long weekend of November, we flew to Boston for a visit with Jim’s younger daughter and her husband.  We toured the historical downtown and I saw Boston for the first time.  This sounds like a lot of traveling, but the truth is:  the months between seeing my grandchildren pile up much too quickly and it is much too long between visits.  I miss my children and grandchildren so much!

Hmmm….now, all is have to do is transfer these ideas to the blank white screen, insert a few more family photos, print them off, address all the envelopes, stamp them and mail them!  Thanks for listening.  Maybe I can write this Christmas letter after all…

The painting above by portrait artist, Gaye Frances Willard, is one of my favorites. Every knee shall indeed bow to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ! May you have a blessed Christmas!

6 Responses to The Christmas letter…

  • Sharon says:

    The “Christmas Letter” is something I realize I’m procrastinating about a little more each year. Much of our family has resorted to an e-mailed letter, with paper copies and a hand-written message to those older relatives who don’t have internet.
    The beautiful cards of former years came to seem like too much paper that must eventually be disposed of–along with the increase in postage each year.
    There are those close friends and family who stay in touch through-out the year–via blogs or other media, there are those whom we don’t want to lose but are on the outer ripples of the family/friendship circle.
    My sense of decorating for the holidays fell by the wayside with too frequent moves over the past decade.
    Involvement in church music and programs is still very important as is baking for home and for gifts.
    Thank you for reviewing the highlights–both happy and sad–with your blog readers.

    • Dianne says:

      Thank you, Sharon! I agree about the decorating – we traveled the previous two years but this year, I decorate. I’m also looking forward to baking. I will just miss my children and grandchildren consuming all the goodies!

  • tanna says:

    Dianne, your year has been full. Joy and sadness. Love and loss. Full.

    I know just what you mean about the time between visits with your children and grandchildren. {hugs}

    I hope your Southern Heart soars this Christmas season… Blessings ~ tanna

  • Stevie says:

    The writing is the easy part! Getting the kids and farm animals to be still for the photo is the hard part 🙂
    Stevie @

  • Shirley Bigham says:

    John just informed me we are not sending Christmas Cards. Just letters. Funding is that low.

  • Christine says:

    What a year you’ve had. I can see why it was hard to start that letter. But I’m sure your friends and family will be very happy to receive it! Enjoy your Christmas, Dianne. Light in the darkness…




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