Merry Christmas 2006 (and 05)
 

Greetings from Pam and Gerry in the Court of Essex on the Mound of Flowers in the State of Texas. For the first time in the history of this newsletter there is more to read between the lines than on the paper. Suffice it to say that the last two years have been like a rollercoaster at a theme park where the objective is to provide an instant of pleasure followed by several minutes of terror and a few seconds of nauseous calm – and then it starts again.

In 2006, we continued on this infamous ride called life and the painful extremes seem to be lessening (or maybe we are just getting used to them?). Thanks to Pam’s unshakable faith and unending love, we all can see the light of hope shining a bit brighter every day. You will have to extrapolate, deduce, assume, guess and generally just wonder about the whole story of our last two years. I suggest you make up whatever you wish to satisfy your questions.

As for us, we are moving forward knowing that we have two wonderful sons, one devoted daughter-in-law and four delightful grandchildren. God has a wonderful plan for each of us and our faith has brought us thus far. Christmastime reminds us of how magnificently we are sustained and strengthened to continue our journey – thanks be to God. Each time you turn on your Christmas lights, this year and always, remember to give thanks and say “Happy Birthday, Jesus!”

For 2005, blessings and joy can be summed up in two words: Kacey and Eliana! Two new granddaughters! Both were due the first week of June, 2005.

Kacey Michelle Reid of Flower Mound, Texas was born three weeks early on May 16, 2005 weighing in at 5 pounds 8 ounces and 19.5 inches long.

 

Eliana Shai Reid of Woodland, Michigan was delivered by caesarean as planned, and was born June 4, 2005 weighing in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 20.5 inches.Who would have ever guessed that we would have one grandson and three granddaughters? After generations of male Reid’s having almost all boys we are now learning how to coddle to darling little girls.

It’s hard to believe that our number one and only grandson, Ethan, is one month away from turning eight years old and is in the second grade. Considering that his special abilities are so far advanced, it is a miracle he’s not bored to death with school. His reading abilities are mind-boggling. He reads literally anything and fully understands what he reads! When a subject captures his attention he studies it and focuses on it intensively and many times exclusively. Subjects such as: elevators, space, the space shuttle, model rocketry and school buses. It is an amazing paradox to watch this little boy as he learns the disciplined fundamentals of Cub Scouting while at the same time is able to eloquently and accurately describe the planets and moons of the solar system, the makeup of the planets, and the detailed history and events of every space shuttle ever launched. Ethan is an amazing person, and very much like his Daddy, whatever he takes on, he does with passion and perfection. Perhaps a new impressionist painter?

 Eliana is a petite and precious little girl – very delicate and feminine. She loves the out-of-doors and chases after her brother Ethan just to be around him. Having family so far away and in such a remote location is painful. It’s heartbreaking each time we leave Michigan knowing it will be months before we visit them again. We were unable see Eliana baptized on August 21, 2005 at Zion. However, we did see Kacey baptized on New Year’s Day at Faith.

 Unfortunately, that joy was offset by Jason’s struggle with bi-polar disorder. Over the last three years his condition put him in a counter-productive mode to say the least. Exactly what occurred is unimportant. What is important is the amazing recovery he is achieving, guided by his faith in God and the support of our family, our Faith community and his loyal friends. He knows God has a plan for him and his life. His renewed vigor, vitality and integrity reflect that belief. Karla divorced Jason in May, but his resurgence continues, knowing those who truly love him will never abandon him. As part of Jason’s new beginning, he decided to create an entirely new paradigm for his life. To that end, Jason bought a 2002 Freightliner truck (yes, the 18-wheeler type) and established Disciple Trucking, his owner/operator trucking company. He leases his truck and driving services to TXI where he hauls cement powder and associated products throughout the state of Texas. His favorite television show is “Trick My Truck” which we faithfully record every week. He works 12 hour days six days a week getting his life on track. We are very proud of him and his phenomenal ability to rebound, stay positive and maintain his health.

For the last several months Pam and I have been picking up Samantha (Sami) and Kacey (my nickname for her is “Squiggy”) from day school twice a week so that they will be here when Daddy gets home form work. They spend time with us every weekend as well. Both girls love the 100% quality time they have with their father. Sami is a non-stop chatterbox, likes princess stuff and loves painting with her Daddy. She likes to go out in the garden with Papa to see the “rohs-ses” where she is learning the names of other plants and, on occasion, has pointed out that there are too many weeds or leaves in some places. We are praying that God will open a door to get them both into Sunday School and worship on a regular basis this coming year. Kacey is a charmer and a cuddler. She loves to sit on Grandma (“Ah-ma”)’s lap and read books. Her interactions with her sister are delightful. They are very close and are ecstatic each day when they see each other after spending the day in separate classrooms at day school. They love to play “Are you ready?” with Daddy. One at a time, they call out “Are you ready?” and then run as fast as they can across the room and dive into Jason’s arms, squealing with delight.

Jonathan’s ministry continues to flourish at Zion Lutheran Church in Woodland, Michigan. Zion is a close and caring congregation and they really love Pastor Jonathan, Deanna, Ethan and Elli. The not so good news up north is that Jonathan has been suffering with kidney stones (several per month) and hernia problems for well over a year. He had extensive surgery for the hernias on the Wednesday before Christmas and the next few weeks will tell what relief he might get. Meanwhile, the doctors say this kidney condition is the type that might go away on it’s own as Jonathan reaches his 50s. We simply pray for a miracle to allow him to fully exercise his ability to lead, teach and minister. He has had to temporarily cut back on some of his flying commitments, but continues to serve as a Commander in the Michigan Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. (Do a Google search for "Ionia Composite Squadron" to read more about Major Reid’s command and accomplishments.) Family stability and organization comes from Deanna. She diligently records the family history and her scrapbooks are beautiful. Ethan and Elli keep Deanna on the move and she truly is “super mom.” 

Grandparenting sure beats parenting – it is nearly all pleasure with only the slightest pain, nearly all joy and virtually no sorrow, all so simple with little complexity. One thing I’ve observed more than once, is that grandchildren accept you exactly the way you are. They wrap their little fingers tightly around our one and fully trust us to lead them safely to something good. They give us their hearts and love unconditionally, without fear of hurt or pain. It strikes me that those characteristics are clues to learning about a perfect relationship with God. In addition to being God’s children, perhaps we should, on occasion, think of ourselves as God’s grandchildren – I think we would be more likely to fully accept God’s will for us, unquestionably let His guiding hand lead us, and allow His infinite presence to completely fill our hearts.

Back in Flower Mound, I finally gave in and fully retired. I left Thrivent in June, 2006 and let Social Security kick in. I have yet to get in the groove of retirement, but the garden and house-husbanding keeps me busy. The GR&E railroad still beckons, but with far less intensity. 2007 will be a defining year for me regarding health, activities and purpose.Pam still works (by choice) a fixed twenty hours a week for the City of Lewisville. She likes getting out of the house two-and-a-half days a week. I have to admit I really like my days alone to do “my thing.” (As long as the honey-do list is empty.) She is rapidly learning embroidery on her new Janome 9700 sewing/embroidering machine. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, Pam continues to be the glue that holds us all together. She is my love and my “Precious Pam.”

Pam and I visited Arizona in April, 2006. We loved it there! We saw the Grand Canyon (arriving via rail), Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest and the Mazatzal Mountains. We took four trips to Michigan. In October, we spent an extra week to chill-out at my brother’s cabin near Traverse City. In August we drove up and spent two weeks in a borrowed RV while we took care of family while Deanna recovered from major surgery. (We toy with the idea of getting a travel trailer in the future – time and finances will tell.) On the way home we spent three nights at a huge Victorian B&B in Branson, Missouri. We loved the shows and will probably stop there again. We celebrated our 40th anniversary on June 25th with a three day stay at an elegant and beautiful B&B in Granbury, Texas. I would like to share some of our travel photos, but they were among several thousand destroyed by Adobe Photoshop which also was unable to read the backups it had previously created and verified. L

Our church family and activities at Faith Lutheran Church remain the focal point of our calendar. Our ChristCare group still meets twice a month and we never miss a Sunday to worship and commune with God and our fellow believers. We both have started a two year Bible study called “Bethel.” I still love participating in the “Senior Choir.” For Pam, it is her quilter’s group and service projects – especially those that nurture and care for our most senior members. J

Well, that’s all that’s worth saying about the last 730 days or so. Writing this letter was good therapy for me – thanks for reading it. We pray that the best is yet to come – for us, for you, and for our troubled world. May 2007 truly be a Happy New Year and may God richly bless you and yours, always and all ways. Love,

 

Read Joel 2:18-27

23Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness.