Xmas Letter 2009

Redemption rips through the surface of time

In the cry of a tiny babe - Bruce Cockburn

Merry Christmas to all and to all a blest night,

Well, I was hoping to start a new tradition with our family trip to Maui last year but I will have to look for a more affordable tradition like dashing through the snow. But the snow didn't last long enough (thankfully) to make it into the tradition category this year (so far). The tradition I am winding down is that of sending out Christmas letters. I had myself convinced that I was done but Natalie and the other household cohorts of her generation decided that I couldn't quit until she finished high school and of course that means not only this year but next as well because that's the year she graduates. That will be the end I promise. They are always so encouraging before I start and then are “you are SO not putting that in there” when I am done. It seems the opposite order as to how we raised them.

So let's begin. We were in Maui last year at this time - with sun, sand, a roast turkey with all the trimmings and a felt Christmas tree. I suppose that's not new but it's certainly missed. Perhaps Joan and I can go again when the kids are out of the house but that might not be until...

Natalie began the year with the lead role in the play Lady Windermere's Fan, which went well. (We still have DVDs for sale - $5 plus shipping and handling - or perhaps you can try the As Not Seen on TV store). And just before she turned 17 she got her N, even though I bribed the driving examiner to flunk her.

This could be the beginning of the end, our baby is getting her wheels, may the nest be empty soon?

And hold on, we have a graduate. After losing her part time job with the Linens-n-Things meltdown and deciding not to get another, Bethany has made it. She has her BA. In something. And to top it off, she also has a new job. Who knows what's next. She is working as a behaviour interventionist (which I thought I was doing when I raised her). Her work involves autistic children and she is enjoying it and doing well at it.

Hannah is camping in Vancouver at the home of relatives of relatives and we do see her on some weekends. Still playing hockey for a good girls team and a not so good guys team (good refers to the level of play for the most part). She has also spent the last semester working (unpaid) at the City of Vancouver as part of her school/work experience program but the experience has been so good she is being hired part-time until the Olympics are over. This will extend her school experience so that she will graduate with...

...Tabitha, who like Hannah is in HKin. But this year she is living at home and going to UBC (not O) to finish her degree down here. The Okanagan was good but she missed sleeping in her pink room with her soft mattress and her dusty floor and her closet light on. Now that she is comfortable at home, she is also spending time volunteering at the MCC store (with Hannah) sorting and pricing shoes and at the Delta Hospital where she gets to meet the same people and answer the same questions as if for the first time each week. There is even a 91-one year old lady who wants to introduce Tabitha to her nice 70-year-old son.

In August almost the whole Goossen family went on a Mexican cruise, leaving from LA with stops at PV, Cabo and MZlan before getting back to LA. This was a lot of fun – many great sights and memories. Warning the sunburn comes quicker than you think when the wind is blowing (and it's always blowing at sea).

The grandson (Asher for those of you who thought I forgot his name) turned one this year and Rachel and Andrew decided (or had it decided for them) to have another (although the gender still under wraps) even if the ultrasound clearly shows she has a head. Or that he has arms. Hoping for a healthy delivery time for mom and babe sometime in March. Also a new pair of shoes for Andrew to replace the ones he wore out pacing last time.

While my current job doesn't require flying anywhere, I did manage to get to Manitoba in March and July and was able to stay at the Buffalo Hilton for a night or two each time. Joan and her sister Ruth made it out there as well. So did Bethany and Rachel and Asher. Later in the year Joan went with Hannah to Minneapolis for a hockey tournament. (No Joan didn't play). Tabitha had a lot of trips in previous year so don't think she's getting gypped (see previous letters to confirm. And Natalie went on a road trip to the Edmonton Wall (that's what she told me, said it was part of their history class) with her friend and the friend's older sister.

Joan misses the prairie winter so much so that she is flying to Saskatoon with Bethany to experience a bit of it. She doesn't miss it quite enough to make it to Winnipeg. Actually they are going to a wedding that just couldn't wait for warmer weather. Then it's off to the cabin for New Year's and we begin again, Finnigan.

This year has seemed especially busy at times, partially full of fine days and partially just crazy but overall it's been a good year. We hope that all of you have had years that you can look back on and see the hand of something larger than yourself leading you at time. Whether it's been up or down this is the time of year to look up in hope, look around in love and look forward in anticipation of what is to come. Take time to pass along an unexpected kindness to someone you meet.

Love from the Goossens,

John, Joan, Bethany, Hannah, Tabitha, Natalie

Mistletoe (still hanging in there after all these years)

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