Merry Christmas from the Gordon Dykstra Family! I say this every year, but it bears repeating: I love this time of year and one of the things that make it special is hearing from you and learning how the year was for you. We’re not the greatest at keeping in close contact with our friends, but I try to connect at least once a year just to communicate that we still think of you and love you. So, if you’re reading this letter, know you’re thought of and loved.
You may recall that we moved out of Edmonton to St. Albert (a “bedroom community” of Edmonton) last year. 2009 was our first full year here and it was delightful. We rode bikes all over town in the spring and summer; school, church, library, farmers’ market, shopping and the like. Lovely! We’re about three blocks from the girls’ school, which too is a grand bonus.
Gordon is still with xxxxx in the Business Development Department, working with xxxx programs. Amazingly, he’s been with xxxx for 12 years now. I don’t get to see him “work” but reading between the lines, I think he’s pretty dang good at his job. He’s my hero and I love him more as the years pass. He’s into electronic and technological gadgets that give me a headache just thinking about. He is a landlord, since we kept our house in Edmonton and have rented it out, and he is a voracious reader. He takes the occasional course as well – the latest one was on “change management”, in the spring it was “project management”. He also taught Sunday School for a few months this year, finishing up the 2008-09 year, but took a break this fall after teaching the class for two years.
This summer we didn’t do a typical family vacation. We went to Family Camp with Gordon’s siblings and their families. Gordon and the girls thoroughly enjoyed the week – definitely the highlight of their year.
My big holiday was three weeks in Arkansas in October. I have a new grand-daughter and I went to make her acquaintance. Avery Claire and I got along famously. Many folks say she looks like me and I’m honored. Roman is such a sweet big brother and I loved being with these precious grandbabies. Stephanie and John Mark are loving, committed parents and I’m so grateful. Stephanie is a stay-at-home mom and I affirm that commitment with everything in me. She and John Mark refresh my spirit.
Christopher will soon be 21. He’s tall and handsome and gentle as ever. He works for The xxxx, a company that’s located at airports nationwide. He didn’t go to school this past term but hopefully he’ll be back in full swing in January. He is living in Fayetteville in Northern Arkansas, not too far from Stephanie.
Rachael is 14 and a lovely independent soul, but a totally different ball of wax than I’ve ever dealt with. She’s a lot like her dad, a heart of gold but doesn’t worry much about what others think. It can be both beautiful and scary in the same day. I often find myself staring at her with my mouth agape wondering “huh?”. (Something I do regularly with Gordon, too). J Fortunately, Gordon is familiar with a lot of her ways, as he was similar as a teenager. She’s delightful, but tee-totally off the scale as to what I’m familiar with. She’s really into art and music. She has a paper route and works hard on it. She bought a cell phone recently and spends a great deal of time texting friends. (Grrr) She finally got her braces off this year and has a lovely non-metallic smile.
Hannah is 13, goofy, meticulous, and artsy. She has more expendable cash than her parents. A few days ago, she mentioned something she wanted. I asked her why she didn’t buy it and she said, “Well if I bought it, then I’d just have $300 left.” She’s amazing with money. She bought a horse this year. She makes $40/month payment to her Uncle Trent for Grapes. (Grape Expectations is a retired racehorse). Hannah loves her once-a-month weekends at Uncle Trent and Aunt Joanne’s working with the horses, and we're grateful they’ve given her this opportunity. She too has a paper route. She applied herself well this year in school and made the honor roll.
Deborah is our musical child and I’m so glad we got one of those. We love to hear her play. She has a paper route too, but since she’s only 10, either Gordon or I help her. She’s quite unlike Hannah in the way she handles her finances. When she has money, she can hardly rest till it’s all spent. She loves to buy treats and have “parties” for friends and family and will be happy to help with groceries or buy supper to get rid of cash. It’s sweet in many ways, but in other ways I hope she outgrows that tendency. She’s the sweet and polite child that makes us look like good parents. Every parent needs one of those.
I recently started a new job as a bookkeeper/payroll clerk. I’m learning lots and enjoying it, but being stretched. I’m thankful for the job, as it’s a good one. I love going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week; blogging, which I’ve been dreadfully negligent in since I started my new job. ( www.valeriedykstra.com ) I’m also a Tumblr fiend. Tumblr is where I put pictures of things that make me smile. It’s mostly pictures of animals, scenery, crafts that inspire me and things like that, www.valeriedykstra.tumblr.com. The girls and I still volunteer at a seniors’ home of Saturdays, playing games with the residents with Alzheimer’s (whom we’ve grown to love); I love volunteering at the women’s prison where I teach journaling, but it’s also very exhausting. And I read lots, matter of fact, we all read lots.
As I write this, the snow is drifting down steadily and we’ve shoveled the walks three times today. It’s finally looking like Christmas around here. Inside it’s cozy and warm and the air is thick with anticipation. We hope the same good spirit is in your home. May you’re season be delightfully full of peace, love and joy. God’s blessings to you all.
The Gordon Dykstra Family