Ah Christmas.  I dragged out the blowup manger scene from last year and found that just a little too much rainwater had gotten into the motor.  Shot.  By the time I got around to Lowes and Home Depot any replacements were sold out.  I can get one delivered from Amazon in two or three weeks.  They are probably sitting in a container, on a ship, off the port of Los Angeles.  Looks like I will be going with the wreath on the front door this year. 
The year 2021 has been extraordinary in many ways.  God has blessed my real estate business with many transactions referred by previous clients and friends.  Cindi and I have found a new church family with just 12 others in our small group.  Even the larger church, which we cannot always attend, only has about 300 I would guess.  We are meeting in parks, theatres, and conference centers while Pastor Doug looks for something more permanent.  Our small group meets in homes, on Zoom and in backyards. 
I have returned to writing my next book, a novel.  I think you will really like it.  The plan was to finish the rough draft by the end of the year, but it looks like June is more realistic.  The draft is about half finished.  It is filled with surprises, twists and turns, comical outcomes and sad ones, and a few strange characters, one of which is a dog named Randy.  Some people think I am too busy to write, too busy to take on another real estate transaction, or too busy to spend time with family, but the truth is we manage to do it all.  My mom used to say that burning your candle at both ends was tiring but “oh what a lovely light it gives.” 
One of my heroes was Idell Swanson.  She was my great grandmother’s sister and lived in Dallas.  I can remember sleeping over on the screen porch at her house and hearing her car ride slowly down the gravel driveway at the crack of dawn.  Auntie Idell was on her way to one of her charities or her church before the sun was full up.  I think she did that until she was about 90.  One day she woke up, but her brain didn’t.  She passed away about a year later having accomplished more in her last decades than most of us do in a lifetime.
We squeezed in a visit to our kids and grandsons in Greeley, Colorado during Thanksgiving week.  Covid changed the scope of the celebration.  There were still fragrant foods, giggles, coloring books, yet another viewing of Frozen, and walks to see the yards lit up for the holidays.  We carry on, despite what happens around us, don’t we? 
My fond wish for you is a joyful Christmas celebration filled with family, friends, and the foods you love.  I love the tamales we can get this time of year.  If you are having an “orphan’s holiday” away from those who care for you, I hope you take the time to bless some stranger with your joy in the season.  There are always those who are more lonely than you are.  On that day, you will find them in prison, assisted living, eating alone in a restaurant, walking in the park, at a homeless kitchen, or in your neighborhood.    Seek them out and bless them as you have been blessed with the freedom and movement to find them.  You too will be blessed. 
Merry Christmas my dear reader,

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