Chris and Kent near Loch Lomond, Scotland

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our family and friends,

Well, it is almost Christmas day, and it is cold and rainy – so seemed like a good time to get this letter written. So much is happening that if we had written it too much sooner, the information would be obsolete! (Now, how’s that for a rationalization for procrastination?) In truth, some of you may receive this as we are in airports on our way to Sedona, Arizona or El Salvador.

The Arizona story:
The rest of Kent’s family all decided to celebrate Christmas in Tucson, where Kent’s nephew Scott and his wife Beejai live. Then we discovered that the whole gang (including Shannon and her boyfriend Dan) was going on a two-day trip to Sedona, so we sort of invited ourselves along for that part. Since nobody voiced strong objections, we went ahead and made the plans. Isn’t family wonderful? If you have never been there, the red rocks of Sedona are truly beautiful – we recommend it highly! So Dec. 29-31- Arizona, here we come (or went – whatever).

El Salvador:
Our ninth trip to El Salvador is January 3-11, with a layover in Miami – another great opportunity for writing Christmas letters! You hear about “our” communities in El Salvador every year, mainly because maintaining the relationships we have formed – and building new ones – has become a very important part of our lives. It is like going to visit family. We are so excited about a project we started last year of linking scholarship recipients with individuals or families in our church and another Lutheran church in Salinas. We are taking lots of cards and letters down with us this year. We would say it is so exciting – but that would be repeating ourselves. Unfortunately, this year required some extra fundraising because the health clinic was robbed, and we wanted to send some money to help them get back on their feet. We’re anxious to get an update. Despite that bad news, we continue to marvel at the progress within the communities we visit: homes, electricity, new school buildings to accommodate grades 1-11 (the highest their high schools go), telephones (mostly cellular, but a few land lines) – and even email correspondence with those able to get into a city with email access. The non-profit organization, Santa Cruz al Salvador, that we formed several years ago has a web site: It isn’t all that Kent hopes it will be, but it is a start. Please visit it and see some pictures and learn more about our friends.

Unpacking supplies at the clinic

Work and home:
Let’s see. Next you are probably expecting to read that Kent continues at Sun Microsystems and Chris is still teaching at Cabrillo College. Well, the latter is true. Last year we told you that the nursing faculty was changing the curriculum as part of expanding the program (admitting new students every semester instead of just in the fall). That new program started in September. For Chris, that means that starting in February she will be teaching pediatrics every semester as well as all of the skills for the skills lab for the 2nd semester students. Changes, but for the better once some of the bugs get ironed out. Kent’s job, on the other hand, was outsourced to a company based in Southern California and he was not rehired. One of those good news/bad news things, as he had been thinking for quite awhile about making a change. Not sure why some of us need boots in the backside to make changes we want to make, but alas, some of us do. So now he is attending classes at UC Santa Cruz Extension working toward becoming a Certified Financial Planner. But before being able to put the coveted initials CFP behind his name, he will need to take these classes (which will take around a year and a half), take a big test, and work in the field for 3 years. He has a good lead on a job in the “back room” of a financial-planning firm that would also utilize his computer skills (and would “count” in the 3-year requirement) – so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Our two dogs continue to give us laughs and good company: His Spoiled Highness Shadrach (the dachshund) and Princess Becky (the cocker spaniel). The nicknames say it all.

Fun and travel:
We did that too, this year. We took a cruise with Chris’ mom Dorothy and sister Susan to Great Britain/Northern Europe this summer. There were stops in Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, and France. It was the proverbial “if-this-is-Tuesday-it-must-be-Belgium” tour, (although it may actually have been Thursday when we stopped in Belgium). Fast-paced but beautiful, yet relaxing because of the service on the ship. Ironically, even though the cruise began and ended in England, we had to stay an extra two days in England to see England at all! So the two of us did that while Dorothy & Susan flew home. We rented a car (Kent driving) and Chris was very proud of how he handled driving a stick shift on the left side of the road and all of those roundabouts! Main sites we saw were Stonehenge and Windsor Castle; we had a great time.

Tara and Eli at Bonfante Gardens

Other events of the summer that kept Chris out of the workforce: a week at a Parish Nurse course, making her a “certified” parish nurse. She won’t really be using it except that a group of nurses at church have decided to form a Health Ministries team, and the course gave her some ideas. Then she spent a week at Lake Tahoe with a friend attending the Spanish Institute at Lake Tahoe Community College. We also had a nice visit from the Stevenson’s (Ariana is a goddaughter) and at Bonfante Gardens with the family of our godson Eli McMilin. What fun!

2006 holds some challenges and uncertainties for us, but the coming of God’s Son as a baby, Emmanuel, is a certainty that brings us light and hope. We wish the same for you!

Please do keep in touch. Our email addresses are programmed into the Contact page on this website.

Peace to all,

Kent and Chris