“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, ESV)
Dear loved ones,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I was thinking about how this year’s Christmas letter would look, and considered doing the usual person by person summary, for example:
• Paul (age undisclosed): rock steady provider, supporter, friend, enjoys working from home and beating the rest of the family at Wii sports and helping us to laugh at ourselves, techie guru, dispenser of wisdom and truth, loves finding deals and planning family trips & outings, can fix just about anything
• Karen (age undisclosed; hint: sum of Paul’s & Karen’s ages = sum of Sculley offspring’s ages): enjoys eclectic opportunities especially pouring into the lives of others as friend, listener, encourager, teacher, writer, reader, accompanist, currently undergoing formal training in Spiritual Direction, loves working on all kinds of puzzles, contemplating starting a Master’s soon
• Peter (22): graduated in May from LeTourneau University with his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with 3 minors, now pursuing his Master’s degree in EE at Georgia Tech, laid back, gentle & kind, has lengthy online conversations & games with his closest friends
• Jonathan (19): due to graduate this May from LeTourneau University with his Bachelor’s degree in EE with 3 minors, planning to pursue his Ph.D. in EE at Georgia Tech, ringleader of the Sculley offspring, wise & compassionate, knows more 70’s lyrics than either of his parents
• Michael (18): senior at Sculley Academy, has been accepted to Toccoa Falls College where he plans to study philosophy, reads voraciously, extracurricular studies in karate, piano, and Mandarin Chinese, deep thinker & thoughtful
• Cascade (16): junior at Sculley Academy, dancer, singer, plays piano & ukulele, actress, linguist, reader, chef, mentor, encourager, has friends of all ages all over the world, artistic and creative, intuitive, favorite group is from the 60’s, enjoys BBC shows with mummy, passionate & just
• Esther (13): 8th grader at Sculley Academy, had her special welcome-to-womanhood ceremony & trip this year (Lake Tahoe), guitarist, pianist, dancer, actress, singer, animal lover, organized, babysitter, loves creative pursuits, kind & compassionate
• Karis (13): 8th grader at Sculley Academy, had her special welcome-to-womanhood ceremony & trip this year (Grand Canyon), people person, loves being outdoors, one year into a 5 year regimen of shots to prevent any more anaphylactic reactions to hornets / wasps / yellowjackets, pianist, actress, singer, passionate & fun
• Other family members: Walt our dear friend and house mate for more than 5 years, Roma (19) & Danik (16) our wonderful bonus sons from Russia who lived with us for a couple of months last summer, and our beloved critters – Runner the dog and Tubby & her 6 kittens – Dex, Sveta, Bella, Princess, Ebony, and Cupcake
But I decided against doing the normal thing, and instead thought a better format might be to do a typical day in the life of the Sculley’s . . . sitting around the table one afternoon . . . (thanks to one of our favorite authors, Adrian Plass, for the format inspiration :))
Karen: OK, guys, we’re going to write our Christmas letter. How about we do an interview format this year? What’s a good question?
Cascade: If you were an animal, which would you be?
Jonathan: I don’t want to be an animal. I don’t know, maybe a tiger.
Michael: What are we doing?
Esther: I would be a . . .
Jonathan: An egg! A chicken!
Esther: . . . a free and wild horse.
Karen: Anyone else?
Peter: I don’t know, an elephant? It’s nice and slow. Maybe a dragon . . . trying to think of the least American animal.
Paul: A bird, because you can fly.
Cascade: Which kind?
Paul: I don’t really mind. As long as it’s not a chicken or edible.
Esther: Who wants the last cookie?
Karis: A dog, no actually, a monkey because they can climb and swing through the trees.
Karen: Michael? Cascade?
Michael: A shark, and Cascade would be a rabbit.
Jonathan: A bunny!
Esther: They’re cute, they’re white, they’re fluffy!
Cascade: I would be a . . .
Peter: Squishy . . . what about a jellyfish?
Michael: A squid!
Cascade: . . . a . . .
Karis: You could be a gerbil or a hamster. A kangaroo! Hop, hop, hop!
Cascade: . . . goodness, this is difficult . . . oh, mummy!
Karen: I love kangaroos – that’s what I’d be. They have lots of young’uns, live in family groups, jump really far, and are cute and furry. Oh, and they have lots of storage space.
Cascade: . . . I would be a swan!
Peter: Really? What about a duckling?
Cascade: Oh I know, a swanling! Because they’re beautiful and unique.
Karen: Sounds good, everyone. OK, to wrap this interview up, tell me three mountains and one valley from the past year.
Esther: I went to that Lake Tahoe place. That had mountains.
Karis: I have to get allergy shots. It’s a valley and a mountain at the same time. Oh, and I get to be a pirate in the play!
Esther: I got a main part in my play. How many have I done?
Peter: Life’s too short to have valleys!
Cascade: Wake up, daddy!
Michael: 1 – getting accepted to college, 2 – almost completing my black belt in karate, 3 – almost being finished with high school
Cascade: Having Roma & Danik come to stay
Esther: How many valleys have I done?
Karen: You only need one valley.
Esther: I mean, how many mountains have I done?
Karen: Two. One mountain to go.
Cascade: Please, daddy!
Paul: Starting the Liberty Vineyard Church [*** future official name of church plant in progress].
Esther: Oh, another mountain – that I went on 11 trips this year.
Karen: Yep, that’s my first mountain – I got to do my special mother-daughter trips with Esther & Karis. Jon-jon?
Jonathan: Being team lead for my senior design project is pretty good. And doing good in that IEEE competition.
Karis: I saw “The Hobbit”! And everyone’s home!
Michael: I can’t think of any valleys.
Cascade: There’s always a valley.
Esther: One of our kittens died and then we gave a bunch away.
Karen: Entering the world of the ancient Christian practice of spiritual direction and enjoying every aspect of it!
Cascade: Let’s think . . . having Peter living in the man cave in the basement this year! Michael, come on, there’s always a valley. Peter, you need 2 more mountains and a valley. And Jonathan, you need one more of each.
Peter: Being best man in Doc’s & Danielle’s wedding. And my beard.
Esther: What’s your valley?
Peter: Having you hanging on me all the time.
Esther: Hey! That’s not a valley!
Karen: Having our whole family together over Christmas, and enjoying the journey, each day an adventure with Jesus, a treasure from God. I am especially enjoying the merging of family, church, neighborhood, activities, and local community in starting the Liberty Vineyard Church [*** future official name of church plant in progress] close to where we live. My valley is perpetually being separated from loved ones because they are spread out all over the world.
Cascade: Mummy, all your answers are long and complicated.
Karen: What’s your point?
Paul: Having Peter back for the year before he goes off somewhere else in the world.
Jonathan: What an egg.
Esther: What a monkey.
Karis: Michael, think of something upsetting!
Michael: I can’t think of anything sad.
Cascade: Oh, I’ve got one. Umm, what was I going to say? Oh gosh. Oh yeah! All of my wonderful activities and friends of all ages and Jesus of course. Please, daddy, one more mountain and a valley. You and Jonathan both need a valley.
Jonathan: I can’t think of any valleys.
Esther: What about kidney stones?
Jonathan: No, having kidney stones wasn’t a valley. That was only one day.
Cascade: Michael needs his valley.
Michael: Umm, having to change karate schools.
Karen: Paul, what’s your valley?
Paul: I don’t do valleys.
Cascade: We can’t finish until you give us one.
Cascade: The only valley sort of thing I can think of is daddy trying to teach me how to drive because it’s really scary and he’s a scary teacher.
Paul: Now that’s a valley!
Jonathan: Doing well on the GRE.
Karen: Last thing is your valley. Girls, help Jonathan think of a valley.
Cascade: His valley is being away at college not having his beautiful sisters with him! OK, we’re done!
Karen: Good job, guys!
That about wraps up the Sculley family news for 2013! We’d love to hear yours. Come visit us some time 🙂 We love you!
“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do” (Ephesians 1:17 – 18, The Message))
Paul, Karen, Peter, Jonathan, Michael, Cascade, Esther, Karis