Friday, December 20

Christmas Greeting

Dear Friends and Family,

Some years we tumble through, laughing and tripping over each other as we merrily race from one life-goal, to the next. Some years we turn up our collars against the storms of life until, as the carol says, “The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.”  Most years, like this one, seem to sneak by us as we bend down to tie our shoes for the race, and when we look up, we find it is over.

The last year has been a time of change for Teresa. In December of 2012 she finished her Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis on math curriculum (something she was working on when she was moved to teaching two classes of English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Technology for 4th grade). Teresa was moved back to second grade this year. There is some relief at not being in a grade where a standardized test is being given, but the downside is the need to become familiar with a new curriculum after having taught the same grade for five years. She is especially happy to be teaching all subjects in one self-contained class. The intensified scrutiny and micromanagement, that are now so prevalent in the public schools make teaching a less enjoyable profession than when she first began. However, her love for the children has not waned, and it is their sense of discovery that makes the job worthwhile.

Ray is still working in the IT department at Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing. The company continues to grow and evolve to meet the demands of a changing market, so he is continually finding new challenges and opportunities in meeting the demands of his job. He doesn’t get as many calls from the designers to model clothes being reviewed before production, since he has lost a little weight, but it’s a small price to pay for step toward being healthier.

Ray and Teresa continue to be very involved in church life at Fossil Creek Community Church. Their primary responsibility and greatest joy is co-teaching an adult Sunday school class. Due to a sabbatical being taken by one of the other adult teachers, their class has more than doubled in size and changed considerably in demographics, so they will start 2014 looking for new ways to present Gods word in a way that is relevant, interesting and impactful to their students. Ray was also chosen to serve on the church board and will serve for two more years. He is honored to have the opportunity to serve as a support to the ministry of our church and is blessed to work with a wonderful group of other leaders.  But after an especially lengthy recent budget meeting, he is now a proponent for padded chairs at all board meetings.

Early last year, Nathan adopted a black lab mix puppy and named her Storm. She has an exuberance for life that has kept us all on our toes. In May, Nathan moved to Huron, South Dakota to work for the city at their recycling center, work very similar to what he had been doing for a private business in Fort Worth. He called Texas many times to brag about the mild weather in South Dakota, while we were experiencing 100 degree days. We didn’t have the heart to brag, but did inquire about how he was enjoying the snow, once winter hit, way back in Octoburrrrr. Storm loved the snow and the space she had to run and play fetch, her all-time favorite game. However, due to a cutback in hours for the winter season and a lack of available housing, Nathan has decided to return to Fort Worth. He is looking forward to starting 2014 with a new job and his own apartment.

Rachel is midway through her junior year at Abilene Christian University (Go Wildcats!). This past summer, she moved off campus into a house with three roommates and is immensely enjoying having her own kitchen. She loves to cook and entertain and has been learning many new Asian recipes from one of her roommates. Rachel is seeking a double major in Social Work and Psychology with a minor in International Studies. She will begin her internships this coming year and will start applying to graduate schools, as her chosen field requires at least a Master’s degree. She still feels strongly that she would like to travel and work in the anti-human trafficking movement. Much of this type of work takes place outside the US, and since exposure to other cultures will be so important, she plans to spend five weeks abroad in Europe this coming May. This will be her second study-abroad opportunity and the third time she has had the chance to travel to Europe. Oh the difficulties of being a college student in a global culture!

All of us will be together for Christmas, an unexpected, but much appreciated blessing! Bring on the cards! Rachel and Teresa (still not a dog-lover, but definitely won over by a certain black four-legged tornado) are looking forward to spoiling Storm. Teresa has dibs on taking her through the Starbucks drive-through for a pup-uccino and Rachel plans to treat her to outings at the local dog park, saving Ray the worry of Storm’s version of landscaping the backyard. Nathan is looking forward to the warmer Texas weather and getting his fix of Texas fajitas and tacos.

2013 has been a full and blessed year for the Williams family.

No matter what kind of year you’ve had, the Christmas season offers an opportunity for us to look up from our time-bound existence and revel in the miracle of an infinite God who has, at great cost, chosen to send his Son. Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus provides the opportunity for us to leave the temporal and enter the infinite. We hope you will join us as we thank God for his grace and love, celebrated at this Christmas season with friends and family.

Merry Christmas,
The Williams Family