Christmas 2001

Dear friends and family,

I always look forward to the Christmas season. I love the message of Christmas and the music of Christmas - the Seminary's 80th annual performance of Handel's Messiah was this past Thursday night. It was fabulous as usual. One of the best things about this season is the chance to get back in touch with people that I haven't contacted in the past year. For those of you whom I have not talked to in the past year, please know that I think of you particularly at this time as I send out Christmas cards.

I still work at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It's a wonderful place to be and we have some of the best people I've ever known. I enjoy getting to know more and more of the faculty, staff, and students. I've had faculty status for a couple of years so I'm starting to become more involved in that relationship. That has been professionally rewarding.

To keep me busy in my "spare" time, I have continued to teach adjunctively for the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences. They have asked me to teach three different classes so far: Web Site Development, Information Retrieval Design, and Web Server Administration. I enjoy these classes because I can use my library training and my computer skills. Also, working with students is extremely challenging and at the same time rewarding. It can also be disappointing at times - any teacher knows this. To see someone with great potential, but who won't apply themselves can be frustrating. The frustration is far outweighed by the joy of seeing other students understand a concept and then build upon that to go beyond what I may have "taught" them in class. That is both personally and professionally rewarding.

As to my spiritual life, I am still attending Travis Avenue Baptist Church. My Sunday School class has been really great this past year. Our directors (the Thompsons) and others have really worked to make the class spiritually nourishing while helping us to build relationships with each other. Larry has done a fantastic job teaching.

My vacation goal (to visit every state in the union) had some great advances this year. My two main trips were among the top five I've taken. First, I made a tour of some of the New England states: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Rhode Island was particularly interesting for the Baptist history sites I visited; Massachusetts was interesting because of the American history sites. In fact, this Thanksgiving, as I heard people talking about Plymouth Rock and the pilgrims, I could see in my mind the places I visited in Plymouth - it makes the story more alive. While in Plymouth, I took a whale-watching excursion. That was my first up-close-and-personal meeting with a Humpback whale. It was a wonderful experience. So much so that I had to do it again.

The second time was on a cruise to Alaska. Out of Juneau, I took a whale-watching excursion. There we did not see one Humpback; we saw more than ten (maybe as many as fourteen) in one group! That was really fascinating. While in the northwest, I also visited the states of Washington and Oregon. Many of the details of my trip are on the Web site.

If I don't see you or talk to you often, write (letter or e-mail) or call and let me know what's happening with you. I wish for every one of you a wonderful Christmas season.