Saturday, December 24, 2016

Norris Family Christmas Letter - 2016

Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

Auld Lang Syne - “For the sake of old times” - is the translation of the Robert Burns poem, penned on the cold Scottish coast in 1788, and something many of us have sung on New Year’s Eve without a thought as to what the words might mean.  For us, this year, we choose to remember you – our long time and dear friends, as you take a moment to catch up on our family’s events of the past year.  You will not “be forgot”, and you are often brought to mind.

As the change and uncertainty of 2016 comes to a close, all the Norris clan gives thanks for our vocations, our friendships with you all, and the promise of a bright future, despite occasional clouds and sadness.  We know Who holds our future.

A year of milestones, new challenges, and opportunities for us all.  For Nancy, a season of transition out of her long-time role of Board Chair at Club21 (support for families and children with Down Syndrome) in Pasadena.  The Summer and Fall have brought new opportunities for mentoring and support raising with Elizabeth House, a home for single new mothers, also in Pasadena.  And this past year, Nancy has made new friends of the 1,500 pound variety – with horse riding lessons with the famed Rose Bowl Riders.  Her year also involved visits and some family change in Toronto, where her Mom and Dad have moved to Assisted Living; a time of transition, some loss, but grateful they are together with excellent care and in a beautiful setting.

For Kelly, the Fall meant back to school again in Room 1 at LAUSD Gerald Lawson Academy – in her classroom of eight autistic K through 2nd grade children.  Challenges and gifts, all rolled into one every school day.  Her classroom is new, bright, and filled with the artwork and study efforts of her students.  Her Mom and Dad are nearly bursting with thanksgiving and pride for Kelly’s faithful efforts each day.  Her pad in Mid-Wilshire is rumored to be the center of all fun social activities for Millennials in Mid City.  This Thanksgiving found Kelly in Chicago, visiting college friends, and 2017 will find her in Cuba.  Stay tuned!

Heather has successfully completed Phase I of her matriculation, with a wonderful sunny graduation ceremony at Husky Stadium at the University of Washington.  Family and friends gathered.  There was laughter and (parental) tears.  Heather is in the midst of studying for the GRE and filling out almost countless applications to nursing schools located mostly in the Western portion of the Fruited Plain.  In the meantime, she is providing specialized care for two teenage girls with Cerebral Palsy – challenging work that she finds deeply rewarding.  Dad had the chance to meet both of these girls and their families in Seattle in November – it was a great privilege, an encounter with what real courage looks like, and a morning I will always remember.  In her spare time, Heather sleeps.

And then there is the bald guy looking smug in the attached card.  He got a smidge older, not very much wiser, and a bit more wistful about this stunning group of beautiful ladies who form his family.  He is involved in somethings new – the Advisory Panel of the DePree Center for Leadership at Fuller Seminary, as well as assisting with Global Ethics efforts through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.  Teaching at UCLA continues to challenge and inspire.  His team at the office continues to tolerate his often foggy late middle aged leadership, and they impress clients in spite of him.  In all things, he is entirely undeserving and thankful beyond speech.

There it is, our family life summed up in less than a page.  And there you are, our dear friends out there, reading this both near and far.  Together, there is a world out there for us to care for, and to hope to make better in the New Year.  We’ve had enough division.  We need some kindness.  With this in mind, we gift you these lyrics from Robby Burns, again….

We two have sported in the brook,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us have roared and swelled
since auld lang syne.
And here is a hand my trusted friend!
And give me a hand o' thine!
And we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne!

Christmas Grace and Peace from all the Norris Family!

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