Lunch at the Center of Art for Peace Nov 2006; Sister Peggy is at the right

Wishes for a Merry Christmas and Blessings and Peace in 2007,

When last heard from, Kent & Chris were on their way to El Salvador to help lead the annual “delegation” from our church to our sister community (actually, communities) in Guillermo Ungo, El Salvador. This is happening annually now, and we leave again Dec. 30 2006 and will return Jan. 9, 2007. We are truly achieving our mission of “building relationships for better lives”. We accompanied another couple to El Salvador over Thanksgiving as a surprise to a young woman who just graduated from high school. How fun it was to wander around the community just to say Hi to the people that we know.

Besides preparing to leave for El Salvador, when last we wrote Kent was waiting to hear if he was hired at a Financial Planning firm – a job he found out about in one the first classes on his journey to become a Certified Financial Planner™. He did indeed get the job with Founder’s Financial in Cupertino, and has been working there since January. He really likes it – what a change from working for a company with 30-35,000 employees to one with eight. He is in the “back office” (using his computer skills) but also learning a lot about “the business”. Two more classes, and he should be able to take THE EXAM in November. Stay tuned for next year’s installment!

Chris continues to teach pediatrics and advanced skills in the nursing program at Cabrillo College. The latest development in nursing education is simulation. High tech manikins have come down in price (to “only” $40-50,000) so – with the help of grants – nursing schools are able to afford them. But simulation is more than just manikins, it is the desire and ability to re-create a clinical situation for the students – but where everyone is safe. So there is a LOT of work involved getting our lab set up, learning how to do simulation correctly, making scenarios, etc. Looking back over the calendar, we see that a lot of Chris’ time has been spent on this. During the summer, she was one of four faculty who went to a post-graduate certificate program at OHSU (Oregon Health Science University) on simulation in nursing education. It was stimulating, and a lot of work. The work continues as we try to set up a quality simulation program in our college. This, too, will have a new installment next year.

Chris also spent a week at the nearby Lutheran camp Mt. Cross, as a nurse. Not quite as relaxing as expected, since the above-mentioned class in Oregon had a lot of reading and on-line discussion between the two class meetings.

Our trips were curtailed due to Kent’s new job and his remaining classes. We did travel to Los Angeles to attend our niece Shannon’s master’s ceremony at UCLA. It was a great Madsen family reunion. We drove down so we were able to stop and see our god-daughter Ariana Stevenson (oh, and the rest of her family too!) in Simi Valley.

Chris also took some trips without Kent, with her sister Susan and mom Dorothy. Dorothy lives just 2 miles away, so we see her a lot. She has us over for dinner every Wednesday, so we get at least one home-made meal a week. First they went to Minnesota to see Dorothy’s 2 sisters – Anna & Lucile – who live in the Twin Cities area, and had a great time toodling around. On Sunday we went to Anna’s church in St. Paul, and then had a great visit with her 2 daughters Debbie & Ginger. One reason we took this trip is that Dorothy isn’t getting any younger (turns out, no one is) and wanted her to see her sister’s before she could no longer travel. We were incredibly grateful we made this trip, for just a few months later Anna died suddenly.

That inspired us to go to Whittier in November for the 50th anniversary of St. Andrew Lutheran, the church where Susan and Christine were confirmed, and Dorothy and Marvin attended since 1961. Dorothy was able to connect with several old friends; We had lunch with one special friend Selma, and Chris was able to connect with Selma’s daughter Kris- her ‘bud” who she hung out with every Sunday for the years from 4th – 12th grade. Now that is someone who has not gotten any older – totally amazing.

Kent and Chris