It has been a year no one will forget. Our family was touched by personal tragedy in February when Carol's mom, Claire, died unexpectedly at age 77. Carol's dad, Ray, has been coping with that loss and battling myelodysplasia. On September 11, we were stunned by the national tragedy that has touched us all. Throw in the usual stresses confronting each of us, and 2001 has been a year to make one stop to wonder if life makes any sense.
Now, usually Christmas cards try to strike a more cheerful note, but this hasn't been an ordinary year. In spite of all the tumult both personal and global, the Stewarts have had a lot to be thankful for, and we hope you have, too. Much of our year you can read about on the other pages of this site, so I won't bore you with a detailed recap here. I'll just bring you up to date!
Carol and I were guests of our friends, Sue and Tom Bohn, at the annual Whitworth College Christmas Concert in Seattle on December 2. It was outstanding! We plan to go next year, and we highly recommend it to any of our friends in the Seattle area. It was one of our top three musical highlights of the year (#1, McCoy Tyner; #2, Whitman; #3, Karrin Allyson). On December 15, we hosted a musical salon for some of our friends (see pictures below). The music was enjoyable, Carol made her famous lasagna, and a good time was had by all. Carol and I visited the Crossroads Retirement Center with our friend Anne Korsmo on December 17 to sing for the residents. It has become an annual tradition of ours. Carol will be playing harp at other retirement homes on Saturday and Sunday. Both of us are involved with the music at our church on Christmas Eve, I in the choir and Carol with the handbell ringers. I hurt my back (again) at the end of November, but it is just about all better. Ray's Jazz Band played well at the Redmond Junior High Holiday Concert, and Ray will be playing in a brass choir at church on Christmas Eve. Pete Jr is busy applying to colleges via the internet! (I used a blue Bic pen, as I recall!) He is away snowboarding at Whistler, B.C. until Sunday.
It seems I've indulged in a typical, boring Christmas letter! My apologies! We hope you are all healthy and happy this year, and we'd love to hear from you .
For those who join us in celebrating Christmas as the remembrance of Jesus' birth, may the sign of God's love his life expressed be a comfort to us at all times, and may we remember to give thanks for God's blessings and to use His gifts in the service of others. May all people come to know there is one Creator who speaks to us in different ways; our best response to God—however we conceive of "him"—is to love one another.