Thursday, 17 December 2009

Christmas 2005

Merry Christmas ‘05
4637 S. Wigger St. Marion, IN 46953

SHARON. Probably the biggest news for Sharon[1] was becoming Dean[2 of the Adult & Professional studies programs last month at IWU[3]. She is busier but full of energy and acts like[4] she’s in her mid-thirties. She also occasionally teaches a course in her field[5] in the master’s or doctoral programs.

KEITH. I decided to become an “old man” this year. [6] I grew a beard[7] and decided to have more fun[8] and argue with my sons more. [9] Speaking of my sons we took our semi-annual father-son trek last June on the John Muir trail which was basically a winter camping trip and we failed to make it up Mt Whitney[10] due to snow and ice. I continue to teach about the same courses at IWU. [11] The division where I teach continues to grow[12] and I still am committed to hiking 500 miles a year, [13] finishing the Pacific Crest Trail last May[14]. Last year was my most productive year in writing having completed three books[15] in nine months.

KEITH & SHARON TOGETHER. We went to Tucson to see Sharon’s family over Thanksgiving. We took a road trip vacation last summer through New York & New England. Our daily life has settles into the peaceful routine of empty-nesters so we must periodically do something crazy to break up old patterns so Sharon often makes reservations to kidnap me away for a romantic weekend someplace she’s heard about. She makes me leave all laptops at home.


Our kids have their own Christmas cards but in case you wondered… David is still a pastor at Spring lake Wesleyan church in Michigan with Kathy have three children: Max, Karina and Lauren. John is in a PhD program in theology at Princeton Seminary and teaches theology part time Somerset Christian College in New Jersey and his wife Amanda is a youth pastor at Doylestown United Methodist Church near Philadelphia.

We love hearing from our friends. Stay in touch!

Keith & Sharon


1. Keith is writing the Christmas letter this year so don’t blame Sharon for any inaccuracies, tall tales or hyperbole.

2. Sharon was formerly the Associate Dean. This new job means she is the leading academic officer for about ten million students, or so it seems.

3. IWU = Indiana Wesleyan University located in Marion Indiana where almost nothing else is located except several Dollar Stores and the boyhood home of James Dean (the actor not the sausage guy).

4. On a good day she also looks like she’s in her mid 30s too.

5. Her field is “Organizational behavior” which is exactly that—a study of how organizations behave. (Which they often don’t)

6. I turned 60 in July and decided I’d looked behind me enough when backing up—from now on I’m just backing up letting others look out for me.

7. It is a nice white “Amish beard” that my students call “a chinstrap,” Conservative Presbyterians call a “Francis Schaeffer beard” but Wilbur Williams pronounces a “Semitic beard” showing me the recent archeological discovery of art paintings 1000 BC.

8. A person with a white beard is not taken as seriously which delights me since others have taken me too seriously too long now.

9. Finding places of significant disagreement with my sons is hard—they are so thoughtful and thus often agree with my ideas!

10. Mt Whitney is the highest mountain in the “lower 48” states. This year’s snows were incredible and even getting to our base camp at “Guitar Lake” took days and miles of “walking” on snow as deep as ten feet. After a daylong attempt that got increasingly dangerous I called a turnaround though I wouldn’t mind dying on this mountain but My son David has three pre-schoolers at home. I also returned to the Appalachian Trail this summer and hiked all of New Hampshire with a couple students and a new doctor friend from Indianapolis, Phil.

11. The courses include Curriculum, Spiritual formation, Church leadership, Christian Education, Camping, preaching and Backpacking.

12. We now have about 15 professors teaching about 500 majors, adding one or two new professors each year—mostly younger ones which keeps a regular supply of young bright minds right out of their PhD programs greatly flavoring our luncheon arguments.

13. This summer I’ll be doing a “bookmark trek.” After finishing the Appalachian Trail in 1998 I stuck in something different—canoeing the length of the Missouri River. Then I started the PCT. Now that I’ve finished the PCT I’m doing another bookmark trek—but I’m not telling where or what yet.

14. Four students hiked with me to finish up the PCT. We hiked south across the Mojave then along the Southern California mountain ranges to end in Palm Springs where I had finished coming north a year before. The PCT took five hikes: 1. Lake Tahoe to Mt Shasta (2000) [I took 2001 off from the PCT to hike the Colorado Trail] 2. Mojave to Lake Tahoe (2002). 3. Canada to Mt. Shasta (2003). 4. Mexico to Palm Springs (2004) and 5. Mojave to Palm Springs (2005). None of this means anything to anybody but those of you who hiked the PCT and to you this is the only footnote of consequence in the whole Christmas letter!

15. Two of the books were scheduled with my regular publisher and the third came as an immediate opportunity from another publisher and I took it on. It almost killed me and I am still recuperating from last year’s output—“virtue has gone out of me.” On the other hand I did the best writing of my life last year, so what cost me benefits readers.

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