Christmas Letter 2015

Once again we want to send you Christmas greetings of love and joy. We recall many happy encounters/experiences this year:

✦ Wedding of Elaine’s nephew Jonathan in Illinois (like a Shugart family reunion),

✦ Grandparents’ Day with Ellie at Taylor University (now a sophomore)

✦ Joe’s 50 year college class reunion at Taylor U.  (now officially an Old Fart)

✦ We traveled in several states to visit family & friends: Colorado in May & August, Wyoming in July, Wisconsin in October, Florida in November, Indiana and Maryland several times.

Some of these trips included experiences not always fun and easy. Elaine’s parents are 95; both now require nursing home care. We’ve been with family & friends during or after surgeries and chemotherapy, shared the grief of loss of relatives & friends.

We are grateful and thank God for His faithfulness  – for our good health and the energy to work and travel. When home, Joe often joins the electrical crew of Habitat for Humanity wiring houses; helps collect and deliver clothing to the street people in Austin; runs around taking photos of almost everything.

Elaine volunteers as a nurse for a health clinic for people without insurance; participates in a Knit-A-Square group that makes blankets for aids orphans in Africa; is a Stephen Minister in our church.

For us the Christmas message is that God flips the table on life-as-normal by “scattering the proud… bringing down rulers… lifting up the humble… filling the hungry with good things but sending the rich away empty.” (Mary’s song in Luke 1:51-53)  Christmas is so much more than decorations, parties, and such trivia.  Jesus came to bring righteousness and justice (Isaiah 9:7) that restore the goodness of life to all people as God intended at creation.  To follow Jesus means not only to receive salvation but to sign up to live for the common good that extends to all people. This is the hope offered to us from God every Christmas – that as we live less selfishly and more for the common good, peace on earth will flourish.

Joe & Elaine, the Old Folks
Ellie – 19      Celeste – 14     Johan – 17   Lincoln – 11, The Maryland Gang
Sharon had a ¾” cartilage chip removed from her ankle
the day before Thanksgiving. Yikes!
Jon & Johan with their Robot Team (before the robot was built)
Hubert & Joan    Cora – 13  &  Dessie – 15  The Texas Crew
at Jonathan’s wedding in July
This photo was released by NASA when the New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto on July 14, 2015
and it appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal papers
 Note our son, Dr. Jon Vandegriff, in the back row!
Dessie   Lincoln    Cora           Celeste        on Lake Travis
Lincoln – Tenderfoot Scout
Ellie (with the pink hair),  Elaine’s Mother, Miriam, in Indiana,  Johan
One Proud Grandpa with Dessie & Cora  (aren’t they PRETTY!)
Cora, 8th grade, tubing with one of her Many Friends
Dessie, 10th grade, in San Francisco with a Friend
Joan with Quinn at Jonathan’s wedding
Hubert piloting our new boat (at least new to us)
Johan raising funds for his Eagle Scout project
Elaine with her sister, Edie, and their father, Maurice Shugart
3 old  Brothers –   Budd,  Dave,  Joe

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Author: Joe

Retired electrical - now Grandpa Extraordinaire. Author, Thinker, Listener