Christmas Greetings from
Texas. May life be fine in '99!
The past is "history,"
the future is a "mystery." Today is a gift:
that's why they call it "The Present...."
Each year, I begin this writing by reviewing our
letters from previous years and thanking the Lord for
bringing us through "those times." It reminds
me that He must be with us now in "the present"
as well, and won't fail us or forsake us, despite what
the circumstances may look like.
Presently, Amoco is merging with British Petroleum and
we are being told that the personnel cutbacks will be
"sizable." We will hear around the first of the
year whether Jon will maintain employment within the new
organization. This is an uneasy time for his engineering
group. We ask you to pray that God's will is carried out
and that we remain peaceful and faithful either way.
In January, Rachel and Adam in Chicago experienced a
shock when Adam's dad passed away suddenly at the age of
53. They have been able to continue living in the home
where Adam grew up, which has been a comfort to them and
Adam's mom and sister are nearby as well. Our
granddaughter Kayla Marie, age 20 months, became a
"big sister" on June 29, l998, welcoming Adam
Richard Strzelecki, Jr. ("A.J.") Grandma Sharon
spent 12 days with them in July and Grandpa Jon Craig met
his grandson the first week of December. Both Adam and
Rachel are attending college, and Adam now works for a
Union Pacific Railroad contractor after several months as
a part-time UPS employee.
Rachel and Kayla came here for Easter, to the delight
of her young uncles, and in May, Sharon's brother Gary
and his two oldest daughters came from Minnesota to our
house for the first time. They enjoyed touring Johnson
Space Center. Then, we all went to San Antonio for cousin
Laura's beautiful wedding. Sharon's mom and sisters from
Iowa and her aunt and uncle from Toronto flew down as
well. (Our new nephew, Gary's son Rodney Ellsworth
Tweito, was born in February.)
Sharon continues teaching kindergarten in Texas City
and serves on the Gifted and Talented Curriculum
Development Committee. One major blessing this year has
been Ana Salazar, who comes to our house every day
providing child and home care for our family. Philip, 9,
has enjoyed Little League and Fall Ball and now is
beginning basketball season. (He reminds us of Grandpa Al
in his love for baseball and those statistics.) A
highlight for him (and his parents) was to sing the Star
Spangled Banner with the Amoco Choir in the Astrodome for
an Astros game. He likes third grade and having
neighborhood friends come over.
Timothy, 4, and Benjamin, 2, enjoy Ana and each other
very much and don't have the "rush" of day care
life. They really look up to brother Philip and all three
love to go to church at Grace Community. Tim and Philip
also went to Bible School at nearby Bay Area First
Baptist Church for a week in June, where Ben took his
first solo drive in the car across the church parking
lot. He made quite an impression on the fence at the far
side of the lot. (Uff-da!!!!)
Hope the Holiday season finds you happy and healthy
and enjoying memory building with family and friends. We
treated ourselves to two delightful holiday traditions: a
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert (WOW) and
"Tuna Christmas" at the Grand Opera House in
Galveston. ("Tuna" is a fictional Texas town
and two men portray completely convincingly about 25
different characters. Their other two plays are
"Greater Tuna" and "Red, White, and
Tuna.") We also took the kids to see "Anastasia
on Ice" Thanksgiving weekend and Sharon sang and
played hand bells in seven performances of our church
Christmas program the first two weekends of December.
Meanwhile, Aaron, 17, has this year taken us to a new
level of "parenting".... places we never
dreamed we'd have to go... We've spent a great deal of
time and emotional energy trying to remedy what we cannot
"fix" and have come to the conclusion that he
will eventually "come to himself," like the
prodigal son in the Bible. We have experienced some of
the depths of feeling God must have when we, His many
children, turn our own way. We are so thankful He
responds to us with forgiveness and mercy, even when we
deserve justice. We ask you to pray for Aaron that he
will turn to the Lord through the consequences of his
choices...and for us that God will give us wisdom and
peace.... He begins a new job with Wendy's soon and we
hope this will encourage him.
On a happier note, this has been a productive year for
Keepsake Video. Drew Kraus and Quinton are now
genuine "full-time employees," rather than
independent contractors. Quinton married Kristina in
October in Vermont and Jon got to go to the wedding. (We
found out some of Jon's early American ancestors settled
in Vermont.) Drew and Jon also attended the Wedding and
Event Videographers' Convention in August in Miami Beach.
They hope to go to the next one in August in Las Vegas,
even though Sharon cannot accompany them because it is
held the first week of school... Oh, well...
Sharon did get to join Jon for a trip of a lifetime in
June. We first went to Germany for our niece Renee's
wedding to Philip. (The reception was held in a castle
near the Rhine River. You can see pictures from their
wedding at our website: keepsake-video.com) Then, we
joined Jon's siblings for a tour of the Seven Churches of
Revelation in Turkey. We experienced many Biblical
archaeological sites including Pergamon and Ephesus,
toured mosques, a Turkish rug factory, Istanbul's sultans
palace, and the 3300 store bazaar. We cruised on the
Bosphorus and bussed through the olive groves to Troy,
land of the Trojan Horse. The cuisine and culture were
fascinating and we would love to go again. We did not
realize that very little Christian influence remains in
what was a foundation place for our faith...
Joy to the World (including Turkey),
the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart (including mine) prepare Him room,
and heaven and nature sing!!!
Love from us all. Jon Craig, Sharon, Aaron, Philip,
Timothy, and Benjamin