Christmas Letter 2012

2012 Joe & Elaine Vandegriff

    Assessing our life now leaves us questioning – what did we do to deserve this? But don’t worry! Nothing bad happened and nothing is wrong. Just the opposite. We find ourselves so blessed beyond even our highest dreams. No, we didn’t win the lottery. We don’t need to, either. Because we feel blessed by the love of family and friends. We are so thankful for the ability to take our road trips and for health to enjoy life. The only way we can account for all this is that it is from God’s hand. Now we are praying for and finding opportunities where we can BE a blessing to God and others. This is how we can thank God, by sharing our blessings with others. 
     Jesus said, “Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.” Luke 6:38 (Good News Bible)

Here’s some of what we’ve been up to in 2012:
     We celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary with a 13 day Alaska trip, from Fairbanks to Vancouver by train, bus and ship. We went with Elaine’s sister and her husband, Betty Jane and Mike Fratzke, after years of anticipation. Two of our favorite experiences: seeing majestic Mt. McKinley (Denali) without cloud cover and the bubble feeding of humpback whales. Alaska is God’s awesome display of beauty!
     We spent more time with Joe’s family this year. In June we enjoyed celebrating with Dave and Sue’s family at their 50th wedding anniversary in Colorado Springs. In October we gathered in Indiana for the funeral of Joe’s sister-in-law Charlotte and visited with many of Budd’s family.
     May was really cool! We went to Legoland in California to see Jon and his team of kids (3 of them his) compete in an international Lego Robot contest. They were invited since they took second place in the whole state of Maryland! We’re so proud of them.
     Living close to Joan’s family is such a joy! Besides just hanging out, there were days at the beach near Corpus Christi, a boat party on Lake Travis, and proudly watching Dessie and Cora in events at school and such. 
     To their great surprise, Elaine’s parents have lived to be 92, still living in their assisted-living apartment. They are almost always one of our stops on our road trips.
     We look forward to hearing from you – our family and friends. And we wish you a joyous time with your loved ones. When you least expect it, we just might call and come knocking at your door on one of our road trips.

Back Row: Johan, Jon, Ellie 
Front Row: Lincoln, Sharon, Celeste
Johan enters Boy Scout’s Order of the Arrow
Dessie, Joan, Cora, Hubert
Mt. McKinley – we got to see it! Majestic! Awesome!