Merry Christmas to All – From the Norris Family!
This life is a mystery, is it not? Each day we awake, gather ourselves, head off to work, school, community events, and life itself. And every year, as the Holidays approach, and almost assault us, we realize how fast the days and weeks go by, and turn into months, then years. A blur. And then, here we are, at the end of another year, wondering where the time went.
It would be nice to tell you of all the accomplishments our family as achieved this past year; the awards, the titles, the successes. But real life is not just about these things. So I think it best to tell you what is real, what matters, and what we hope will make a difference; the things that are really important in life. And so, this past year, for our family, below are the things that we hope will last.
Heather is now in the 7th grade, and is loving her teachers, friends, soccer, volleyball, softball (the most), and life itself. Almost 13, she is turning into a truly remarkable young lady, with a terrific sense of humor, and a heart of compassion for others. This past year, Heather has helped by involvement in the leadership of her Middle School, served lunch to homeless in Hollywood, and packed Thanksgiving boxes for needy families in LA. These are the things that are forming Heather into someone who treasures the things that matter most in life.
Kelly is almost 16 years old, and has seems to spend almost all her spare time studying - the life of a high school sophomore. In her spare time, she is on the JV girls’ water polo team at school, and loves it. In whatever time is left, she is asking to drive the car anyplace, as she now has her learners permit! This past summer, Kelly spent a week in Anchorage, Alaska with her youth group from church, where she helped at all sorts of odd jobs, including helping with vacation Bible School and clearing a hillside. Kelly always fills our home with laughter, song, and fun. When we think of Kelly, her most remarkable characteristic is “true friend” - something the world needs far more of. Kelly is amazing. These are the things in Kelly’s life that will last.
Nancy leads a life that is devoted to others, every day, without fail. Without her, the rest of us in our home would surely descent rapidly into chaos. Besides keeping our home organized (huge job!), she serves in the community in many ways, including leading the Mothers of Preschoolers program at church, and PTA at two schools. She is a caring friend, a loving mom, and a wonderful wife. Nancy is the heart of our home; this is what will truly last from our home. When I think of the persistent, relentless love of God, I so often think of my wife. Another true sign of God’s great care for us is our house guest/family member Jill Williams, who has graduated from Fuller Seminary, and awaits a call to a pastoral position.
For me (Steve), this past year has been one of new joys, exciting challenges, and bittersweet loss. My work continues to be fun and challenging. I have a great group of teammates at the office, and I am thankful for them, each day. This year, I was asked to participate in an Advisory Panel for the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Seminary. This is something that will hopefully make a difference for the Kingdom; this will last. In July, my mother, Betty, passed away after a short illness. Mom was 85 years old, and lived a full life. She was remembered by so many as an elegant lady, dear friend, and accomplished artist. Most importantly, she was my Mom, and the wife of Roland, my Dad, for almost 49 years. Dad and I give thanks for a long life lived graciously. Mom’s life is a legacy that will last.
In April of this year, we had the privledge to serve in a small way, in a completely different setting. We visited our good friends, the Hogg family, in New Orleans. Mike Hogg is the Pastor of Canal Street Presbyterian church, which suffered significant damage in Hurricane Katrina. We spent the week cleaning pews, gutting houses, pressure-washing sidewalks, and just loving our friends. Maybe, just maybe, serving in this way is something that will last. We had a blast!
These are the important things, for us, this year. And now, at Advent, along with the faithful through all of history, we join in the chorus….“Oh Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”. Our world, all of us, need You so.
From all of us, Solo Deo Gloria,