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Christmas 2004

Season’s Greetings,

     This past year has been full of new experiences for us as well as “the year of the move.”  Getting used to living in the U.S. and learning all the ins and outs of city life in the L.A. area was an interesting adjustment for us. The first few months of the year we enjoyed visits from several friends, who appreciated California’s sunshine in lieu of colder climes in other parts of the country.

      In February Darryl traveled to Nicaragua for 3 ½ weeks with a group from Partners in Christian Development.  When he returned to Pasadena he underwent eye surgery for a hole in the macula of his right eye.  That required a long recovery period, first 7 days with his face parallel to the floor, and then about another three months of regular visits to the doctor. Just this past week he had a cataract removed that was caused by the trauma to his eye from that earlier surgery.

      We packed up and left the House of Rest and Pasadena on July 1st.  We had really enjoyed our year in Pasadena, so it was difficult to say good-by to the many friends that we had made, all the activities of Lake Ave. Church, and it was especially difficult to leave our son, Vernon.  After so many years of living in different countries, being able to see him on an almost daily basis was truly a gift from the Lord.  The timing of our year in Pasadena was perfect, because Vernon, who was on inactive Navy Reserve while in college, went back on Navy Special Forces Active Reserve after his graduation last December, and has recently been recalled into active duty.  He is now stationed near New Orleans.  We were blessed with a surprise 4-day visit from him over the Veteran’s Day holiday.

     When we arrived at Donna Jean’s mother’s home in Kansas late July, we realized that she was not ready to move with us to Florida as we had planned.  She will soon be 89 years old, and preparing for this move has been difficult for her.  There is still a lot of sorting to do and we knew we’d have to move her in “stages.”  We had been thinking about taking another look at Stillwater, Oklahoma, so after some extensive house-hunting here, we found our “dream home” and began to move in on September 18th.  It is a 1,500 sq. ft., 6 yr. old, charming, 3-bedroom, European-style house that is located across the street from a man made lake and park.  We enjoy walks in the park and around the lake.  This is our first home and we are learning the responsibilities of being home-owners after having rented most of our marriage.  As it has turned out, we’ve moved in “stages” too.  Each time we go to Kansas, we bring more things back.  We’ve been accumulating things all the years that we were Overseas, some of it we haven’t seen in 20 years. We are still unpacking, sorting, and getting rid of what we no longer need or want.  We are trying to get the sorting done and the 2-car garage cleaned out in time to get our vehicles into the garage before the cold winter weather sets in.  This morning Darryl said, “Opening packages on Christmas morning will be anticlimactic after all the boxes we’ve been opening with this move.”  It has been fun to see some of our “stuff” again, and some of it we wonder, “Why did we save this?!”

     We lived in Stillwater in the early 80’s while Darryl did his doctoral studies at OSU, and still have many friends here, so settling in has been a fairly easy process.  We read today that Stillwater has been named “Friendliest Town in Oklahoma” by Oklahoma Living Magazine, and is “#6 Best Small City in America” by Demographics Daily On-Line Magazine.  So we think that for now, we have made a wise choice.  One of the things that Donna Jean has really enjoyed this year has been the beautiful colors of autumn which have been a vivid contrast to the green of the tropics.

     Donna Jean’s mother has not yet moved to Stillwater.  She came down to look at an independent living facility for seniors that is just a mile from our house, and has put her name on the waiting list for a one-bedroom apartment.  It is a lovely place with just 32 apartments and is all ground level.  The residents we met were very friendly, saying “We’re family here.”  Several commented on the good food.  Mother will have 2 meals a day in the dining room and housekeeping once a week.  And of course, it will be wonderful for us to be able to get together as often as we want.

     Darryl was asked by the mission staff of the Christian Reformed Church in the Dominican Republic to help them with their long-range unification planning.  He made one trip to the Dominican Republic the end of July, and a second trip in the midst of our move on the 20th of September. He was delayed in returning because of one of the hurricanes that hit Florida this year.  He came home via New York a day later.  Our prayers went up for friends in Florida, especially Lake Wales where we lived for four years, because three of the hurricanes went right over that area.

     Darryl announced yesterday that he has located the boxes containing our Christmas tree and decorations, so this weekend, after we eat Thanksgiving Dinner with friends, we will start decorating for Christmas.  This Holiday Season has special meaning for us as we are now in our own home, and Vernon will be “coming home” for Christmas.  However, the Christmas Season always has special meaning for us because of the gift of the Christ-child Redeemer that God so graciously gave us.  We pray that the Christ-child Redeemer is your personal gift also, and that through Him you can have peace in the coming New Year.


Best Wishes,

Darryl and Donna Jean

3116 N. Madison Court

Stillwater, OK 74075


Home phone: 405-372-4366

Darryl’s cell: 405-612-9011

DJ’s cell: 405-612-9012


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