Merry Christmas 2015
I learned at Christmas in 1993 that I love to write. I had just had a baby. There were three children under four in the house; two older step-sons visited on weekends. In the rare moments that the house was settled and I could have been resting, I sat at my father-in-law's Brother typewriter and wrote draft after draft of our Christmas letter. Like today, writing provided quiet time to process life. For a decade or more, before the world of blogging and social media, taking time to write our annual Christmas letter was a gift to myself and the route I used to connect with distant aunts and uncles, old friends from college, and the parents of childhood friends.
As blogging and social media gained popularity, I have noticed a decrease in Christmas cards and letters I receive. I understand why. When we can connect with family and friends at the convenience of opening an app on our smart phones, the purpose of the annual letter seems unnecessary. I am caught between being nostalgic and being practical. Though still in a box at this point, I will be sending cards and letters this year. There is something deeply important to me about addressing a card to Rev. and Mrs. Gray, my childhood minister and wife, or to Mrs. Dumm, my children's piano teacher, or to my Great Aunt Mary and Great Uncle Ed. But I have maintained a personal blog for enough years now that I trust most on our Christmas card list, who are interested in staying current with our family, have found us here. And because this is where I share Nathaniel's journey, I know there are some who only know our family through this window. The practical side pushes me to share our annual letter here. So for 2015 I am doing both: sharing our annual summary in print with some and through technology with others. I pray our wishes for you to have a very Merry Christmas are felt both ways.
Our son, Jonathan, and wife, Allie, live in St. Louis with their dog, Murphy. Jon is a real estate agent and specializes in purchasing, remodeling, and managing investment properties. Allie assists with their business.
Our daughter, Bailee and husband, Jeremy, have relocated from Texas to rural Missouri this year where they own ninety acres of land and a small cattle herd. Jeremy is an engineer for a stave mill and cooperage. Bailee works remotely as the Program Compliance Manager for Volunteers of America, Louisiana. Bailee and Jeremy are expecting their first child in June.
Andrew works as a cowboy at a ranch in Wyoming. The ranch breeds quarter horses and cattle; Andrew breaks and trains colts to be cattle working ranch horses. He also enjoys leather work and hand makes headstalls, spur straps, and chaps to sell.
Wesley, (top left) lives in the St. Louis area and is the Merchandising Manager for a retail store. He loves his cat and super hero movies. Ben (top right) lives at home, is a college student, and works full time as a closing manager at an auto parts store. When not at school or working, he can be found at Christian college group or working on his truck. Peter (bottom left) lives at home and works at an outdoor supplier. He completed a summer internship leading out of town youth groups in urban ministry and is an adult leader for Boy Scouts of America. Josiah (bottom right) is a junior in high school and is currently homeschooled. He loves all things guitar – from playing one in youth group band to building them. He is in the final stage of completing his Eagle Scout rank.
Our littlest one, Nathaniel, is three years old. He loves to dance, run, jump, and climb - he moves constantly! Following in the footsteps of so many older siblings, he enjoys being outdoors. He is a brave little guy and forces us to live courageously and with a reckless abandonment to love well.
Rich and I are in love. With all the amazing people above. They bring us countless joy day after day. We are in love with each other. We had no idea growing gray together would be so wonderful. We are in love with our Savior. Through Jesus, the small manager baby, we have been shown immeasurable riches of God’s grace and kindness this year.
from the Rankin family