Family letter, Christmas 2010

Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span,
Summer in winter, day in night,
Heaven in earth, and God in man!
Great little One, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to earth.”

Richard Crashaw,”In the Holy Nativity of our Lord”

Merry Christmas!

Click the links for photos and more information.

The course of the year for our family was defined early on by Candace’s diagnosis of breast cancer in January. The experience drew us all closer together and helped us focus on the relationships that really matter — with each other, with God, and with friends and family and others in need around us. Our overwhelming emotion throughout was gratitude: first we were so thankful that it was caught early, and then we were thankful for the absence of complications and major side-effects throughout each stage of therapy (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation; for more, read her December 2010 update).

Redbuds in our back yardNevertheless, Candace has enjoyed playing her new hammered dulcimer this year, as well as making or enjoying music in various events, ranging from monthly Celtic jams at Borders here in Norman to the WorldFest in Silver Dollar City. We enjoyed attending the latter along with the Manns from Missouri, as Candace miraculously found strength to do so right in the middle of chemotherapy. We were able to visit family in Missouri during the summer, and revisit the house on the corner, so full of memories. And we have been blessed to complete our first round of seasons in our new home which, like Rivendell, is a place of comfort and healing in its natural beauty.

Kerry and Candace in the Wichita Mountains

This year we saw our first tornado (after it had already passed within a quarter-mile of our house) and experienced our first earthquake (yes, here in central Oklahoma, in the middle of a continental plate, we have purchased earthquake insurance).

History of Science CollectionsKerry has enjoyed another year in the Curator position. He received tenure, started a personal blog and a professional blog for the History of Science Collections, and made it to a conference or two, although he did cut back significantly on research and professional activities to support Candace. He is continuing to enjoy a five-year commitment to read through the complete works of three of his favorite writers (George MacDonald, Thomas Torrance and Karl Barth).

Our lives are filled with the joy of many close friends, and we are so blessed that all three daughters and our son-in-law still live here in Norman.

Rachel, Hannah and Susanna continue to dance in the amazing studio of Sarah Decker. They devote countless hours to Irish, modern, ballet and hip-hop styles. When they come home with bruises and aching muscles, Kerry reminds them that dance involves the beauty of football but without the pads. As members of the Celtic Praise Troupe, Rachel and Hannah danced this year at the Oklahoma City St. Patrick’s Day parade, the Norman May Fair Arts Festival, the September Fest at the Governor’s Mansion, a Dance Revolution conference in Dallas, and the City of Norman Christmas Tree Lighting celebration.

Celtic Praise Troupe
Celtic Praise Troupe; photo by Jonathan Decker

Hannah turned 21 this year. She is working on a multi-disciplinary degree from OU with an emphasis on cultural arts in teaching and a minor in Spanish. She led a team for the OU Relay for Life last April. She is active in organizing service projects for the college Sunday School class, and from time to time enjoys holding a hymn-sing or caroling party at our home. Her long-time friendship with a wise and gentle young man named Nick has blossomed into a deeper relationship this past semester. Hannah and Nick have worked together in children’s ministry in our church, particularly in the spectacular dramatic event Wonderfall that our church offers as an alternative to trick or treating each Halloween.

Hannah and Susanna dressed for Wonderfall
Susanna as Dorothy and Hannah as the scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz,
for Wonderfall’s “Storybook Adventure” drama

Susanna, still homeschooling and now in the 8th grade, combines her love of Celtic music and dance with a passion for dragons and owls. She remains a voracious reader: in addition to her perennial favorites — Narnia, Harry Potter, Brisingr, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings — she has delighted this year in discovering the Guardians of Ga’hoole series. This fall Susanna began learning the Celtic lever harp, and Kerry says even her practicing is as beautiful as can be. She loves to sing, and is also enjoying taking lessons for the hammered dulcimer and for Scottish Gaelic, both taught by Rachel.

Stephen and Rachel, Fall 2010Rachel and Stephen Folmar rent a charming little house in town. Rachel and Stephen both graduated from OU with bachelors degrees in May; Rachel in linguistics and Stephen in mechanical engineering. The Manns came down for this double-whammy milestone event, and Laura wrote about it on her blog. Stephen is continuing his education and plans to graduate with a masters in mechanical engineering this May, so this time next year there’s no telling where they may end up. If it’s Scotland or Ireland, we’ll definitely visit! We were delighted this fall when Stephen took us all down to the Wichita Mountains for a day to show us some of the trails and sights he loves to explore. Both Rachel and Stephen continue to invest a lot of time and energy in their mentoring roles as “shepherds” in the church’s youth group.

Laura has posted a wonderful general letter about the Magruder family on her blog. (Thanks, Laura!)

Reflecting upon the events of this past year brings to mind a song by Marijohn Wilkin from her 1975 “Where I’m Going” album:

I know not what my future holds.
Lord, I have no way of knowing,
but I know the One who holds my future
and I have no fear of where I’m going.

We wish you the joy of the shepherds and the wisdom of the magi both this holiday season and in the coming year!

Making smores in the backyard

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4 Responses to Family letter, Christmas 2010

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