And He will be called

the Prince of Peace

Y su nombre será

el Príncipe de la Paz

Well, Christmas Day has come and gone, so we figured it is time to be getting our Christmas greetings out. We wish to all of you the blessings and joy of Christmas. We received a letter recently from our former pastor, Bonnie Bell, reminding us that the message to Mary, Joseph, and the Shepherds was some variation of “Fear not”, or “Do not be Afraid”. In lives full of up and downs, those are comforting words – especially because the reason we do not need to be afraid is the “rest of the story” – God’s gift of love that came to us that first Christmas day. Our wish to you is Love to conquer all fear.

God has continued to bless us. We both have our same jobs, although Kent did change positions within Sun Microsystems, still in Information Technology. Since Chris never knew what he did before, all that she knows is that he works for different people and is on a different project, and the person he reports to has a different name. Chris still teaches nursing at Cabrillo College. She and her colleagues have been very busy revamping the curriculum. As a part of expanding the program in order to produce more nurses, (something about a nation-wide nursing shortage), starting in Fall 2005 the nursing department will be admitting students every semester instead of just every Fall. Since they decided to re-do the entire program, this was a huge task. What it means in the long run is that she will be teaching pediatrics every semester instead of every other semester starting in 2006. She is excited with mixed feelings. Isn’t that what change does to people?

Botanical Gardens, San Salvador

We started out the year with a trip to El Salvador to visit our church’s “sister community”. We have come to view these visits like going to visit old friends. We had a craft project that was great fun, and generally continued building relationships (which is Kent’s answer to anyone who asks us “what do you do when you go there?”). We also traveled to a different part of El Salvador when we went to the home of the woman who has been our translator for 7 or 8 years now – Brenda. Kent’s niece Shannon went with us – what fun that was. She loves kids and they absolutely loved her; she is fluent in Spanish, which was wonderful for all of us. Chris is really trying to improve her Spanish, but it is moving slowly.

We have another trip planned, leaving January 3rd, which is another reason we needed to get this letter out before Epiphany this year! We are so excited about the scholarships we have been able to provide for the school children in “our” community, and the help we have provided for the healthcare workers. We were able to provide them with a very small stipend for their work at the clinic. If any of you are so moved to make a contribution, checks to Santa Cruz al Salvador are tax deductible since it is a non-profit organization. We were only able to offer stipend for six months to the healthcare workers, and youth are now beginning to graduate from the school and are ready for university. The needs are great.

April was kind of a tough month. Chris had knee surgery for a torn meniscus – a quick recovery, but knees are never the same after they’ve been messed up, are they? Then toward the end of the month we had to put our dear Moses to sleep. He had a great 15+ years – the same age as our other Springers. That left Shadrach the little dachshund. He let us know (the ways dogs do) that he was lonely, so in July we got him a big sister – Becky. She is a too-cute cocker spaniel from a Rescue organization. We don’t know her whole story, except she was sooo skinny – but we soon took care of that! She and Shad are absolutely perfect for each other. We had to take him to the “foster family” when we went to pick her up, and the way they played from the beginning told us all everything we needed to know. She is a joy.

Kent turned 50 in May – so we had a couple of low-key celebrations, since Chris didn’t have the time to arrange a real bash. The San Francisco Palace of Legion of Honor, which is a beautiful and fun place to visit, also has this organ in the rotunda. There is a concert every weekend, so a group of us went up and enjoyed the museum and then the organ recital, and then went out to dinner.

Chris’ sister Susan has really come to appreciate cruising as a real nice way to see the world, so she made the plans for a wonderful cruise for she, Chris’ mom and us in July to the Mediterranean – including Athens and Kusadasi (Ephesus) in Turkey. Rome was substituted for Istanbul for fairly obvious reasons if you look at a map. However, the aforementioned change in job positions for Kent meant he could not go. (That is the only other thing Chris knows about Kent’s job – that sometimes projects have stupid deadlines and too bad if you want an Outside Life – oops, can you tell who is writing this?). Although that saddened both of us greatly, Chris saw no reason why she should suffer – so it was an Anderson girls bonding vacation. We had a great time. Kent did receive a fair amount of his fare back in the form of credit – to be used by December 2005. A cruise of Polynesian islands (as in Tahiti, Bora Bora, etc.) has already been booked for the summer for the two of us.

Work at the church still occupies a lot of our free time. Chris is mostly involved in choir and our El Salvador Sister Community project, and other miscellaneous church projects that come up. Kent is on the Council, and head of the Stewardship drive, and seems to be drawn into anything that has to do with computers or finance.

We continue to enjoy having Chris’ mom live close by – a mere two miles away. She has us over for dinner once a week – a real treat since neither of us really like to cook and are pretty tired at the end of the day. It also means we see Chris’ sister Susan more often, since she comes down once a month. In November we enjoyed seeing The Lion King in San Francisco (incredible is really the only word for it). We also enjoy going to several plays each year at the University put on by Shakespeare Santa Cruz.

We hope your Christmas was merry and bright, and wish you a blessing-filled 2005!

Kent and Chris