Cousin Letters
April 1999

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Doug & Pat Staley

March 27, 1999

Dear Cousin gang,

We got the alert that it's 'Catch-up' time from Becky a couple of weeks ago, and I've intended to sit down and spew out a chronicle of the wild and riveting events that occurred amongst the Fresno D. Staleys for about that long... but somehow each time I start, what shows up on paper is so dull and boring that twice I've fallen asleep myself while writing it, and it's only providence that I've not fallen off the stool and injured myself. Risky business this Cousin letter!

My gang here are all busy with school, and with only about 9 weeks left of that, are anxious for Summer break. Shelly is graduating from Bullard H.S. in June, so a Grad party is pending. She applied at U.C. Santa Barbara, U.C. Davis, and Cal Poly San Luis, and despite her 3.6 GPA was turned down at all three, so has disgustedly decided to join her brother at Fresno City College next year. Pat and I are disappointed for her, but at the same time feeling some relief that our last 'chick' won't be flying off for a bit yet. We've been trying hard not to over react to all the abduction news about the Yosemite 3 and the San Luis Obispo girl students too, but that stuff hits pretty close to home nonetheless, so we're not overly upset that Shelly will get another year or two of "growing" before she heads out on her own. It's truly a different world than it was when I was 18 and heading out to challenge life and all that it could show!

Toby is studying computer tech. at F.C.C., and has found his year spent in Engineering at U.C.S.B. was useful to this new endeavor. Expensive though it was, at least one value of that freshman year there was that he discovered that the last thing he ever wanted to be was an Engineer. He's doing well in his classes here and seems on course for a career as a computer Nerd. He's still life-guarding at the YMCA pool every day, and is planning to do his 4th summer life-guarding for the City Rec. Dept. at one of the public pools starting in June. He's sent his '69 Ford Bronco that he's had since he was 16 off to the hospital for a complete rewire, new dash and instruments, etc. upgrade. It's been a pretty faithful machine for nearly 5 years and, after looking around, he's decided he'd rather update it than risk selling and probably acquiring someone elseís problems with a replacement. Classic that it is, its value seems to be increasing in our area and he's confident that it'll sell immediately if he should ever decide to trade, so the couple of thou. he's going to spend for this upgrade should be worth it.

Pat and Shelly are both going to Europe this summer (at least that was the plan up until this Kosovo thing escalated), but both at different times. Shelly is set to go on a H.S. grad. group tour for a week in June, and Pat has agreed to go with her dad on a cruise from England to Russia and back through the Scandinavian countries in August. I was invited to go with Pat and her dad but, after my month and a half last May and June in Australia/New Zealand on business, and our week on the Alaskan cruise last year (not to mention my pretty constant travel around the U.S. and Canada all the time), I opted to stay home and get some work done on the cabin this year. I'm looking forward to just "planting" it... and maybe actually getting the old bath torn off and a new bath and bedroom put back on before the snow flies in Dec. That will pretty much finish the major overhaul of the place that I've been fussiní with for the last 7 years or so, and the rest will be easy and mostly cosmetic after that. I love to do that kind of work so to me it'll be the best kind of vacation I could ask for and, after ignoring it last year due to all the travel, I'm anxious to get started.

Erinn is in pretty constant touch via E-mail, and she and Michael are really looking forward to the end of looong years of Michaelís schooling. He's due to graduate in Dec. and the earlier plans were for them to head West for him to set up practice out here somewhere. Lately though, it sounds like he's getting some hard-to-ignore offers from associates around Atlanta and plans may change in the next few months. We naturally hope they can come out to Cal. or Nv. where they and our G'daughters will be closer, but we understand that life does have a way of sorting itself out and not incidentally taking us all with it, so we're just waiting to get whatever news comes our way.

Well, I guess that's it from here. Hope this finds all well, busy, and looking forward to a great Summer.

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Tim & Josie Staley

March 31, 1999

Around the World in Eighty Days

Hi all. I am writing this letter on March 31. Eighty days from now (on June 19) we are going to Manila, Philippines for a two week "vacation". In all, there are 10 people going, all from my wife's side of the family, all 4 in my family are going. It will be the first time Kevin and I have been there and it's been 13 years since Josie and JC were last there. They moved here in 1986. My wife doesn't have any immediate family living there now, but she has plenty of extended family and Filipino's are very gracious. Although not your typical "vacation", it will be an interesting and educational trip for all. The only down side is that we will only be able to attend 2-3 days of the Staley reunion this summer.

My kids are doing very good in school. JC is 15 years and 7 months old and eager to get behind the wheel. Kevin is 7 and doing very well in second grade.

Josie just got promoted to Trainer. She will be training mostly new employees of Blue Cross on Federal Employee claim processing and customer service. She previously worked in FEP for several years. I am working in Computer Operations at Airborne Express and am having a great time.

Hope this letter reaches all of you in good cheer. Keep smiling and (hopefully) we'll see you this summer in sunny Washington.

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David & Cindy Staley

April 2, 1999

Coozans (a great Cajun place in the Springs),

Greetings from the high plains of New Mexico. Its Easter afternoon. The skies are finally clearing after an early afternoon blizzard that left no inches of snow on the ground. We had a pretty good Easter service this morning -- loud music (I play electric lead guitar in the band), a new multimedia computer-projection system. We pull out all the stops for the one time of the year that the church is bulging at the seams.

Weíre doing well. Andrea and Philip had their birthdays this weekend. Andy is six now, and Philip ten. Byron, seven, always feels a little left out during birthday week around here. Andy is on spring break this week from Kindergarten in Raton. Byron and Philip are in school at Maxwell. They are enjoying it there; theyíve fit in well and have some good friends.

Cindy has resigned from her secretary job at the church. She has always intended to stay home with the kids, and did so until we moved to Raton. Now she has the opportunity to stay home and is looking forward to it. Sheíll continue to be the bookkeeper for the church but she wonít have the constant pressures of the office since sheíll be working out of the house. She spent the Christmas holiday season in motel rooms in Santa Fe and Albuquerque serving as a jury member on two civil suits in Federal Court. She enjoyed the experience, getting a crash course in vehicular design and product liability. It was hard on her being away for twenty-some days, and hard on us at home, but we want to do our civic duty. Were not that patriotic, and are mostly fed up with our country and its leadership, but we enjoy many blessings here that weíre willing to pay for.

My job has changed a bit as well. Iíve been appointed Superintendent of Maxwell Municipal Schools. Iíve been at Maxwell four years now and have served as teacher, principal, and Interim Superintendent. Iíve enjoyed the job for the most part. The pressures are draining; I can never let down, never leave the job at the office. The politics on the local and State level are a challenge as well. I do alright with politicking, I just donít much enjoy it. I tend to resent that what is best for kids is often lost in the political process. I enjoy having the power to make positive changes in the system, at least locally. I enjoy seeing the kids reap the benefits of those changes. I also enjoy all the new things Iím learning: running elections, administrating construction projects, hiring teachers, dealing with architects, building budgets; the legal stuff is a blast, too.

Weíll probably move to Maxwell this summer. Thereís a nice superintendentís house that comes with the job so weíll have time to fix up and sell our Raton house. This summer we also plan to entertain the Jeff Staleys, attend a couple graduations, and a couple weddings. Hope to see some of you in Phoenix in July (sounds fun, huh?).

Thanks Becky, for your hard work putting these things together.

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Doyle & Brenda Meyer

April 5, 1999

Dear Everyone,

We have had an emotional last month. First, we had a momma goat who tried to have three babies, couldn't over two days of labor, and we finally took her to the vet. Her cervix wasn't dilated, so no hope but a c-section. We couldn't see spending the money for a c-section because he couldn't guarantee she would pull through (and how to bottle feed three kids!). So he had to "put her down." That was traumatic and emotional (since these goats are our pets... I know, I know... but anyway).

Next... Chris had a week of "Guys and Dolls." He had a great time, was exhausted but had a great time. Then we had a party for him and a "swing dance" for fun. Then we went away for the weekend up to our friend's cabin in Purgatory, Colorado that is! Then we put him on the plane and he left. The last two weeks we've been trying to adjust to life without our tornado (sorry Christof). It's always an adjustment when he leaves.

Then last week our second momma goat, Milly gave birth to triplets. One was dead when we found them (we had been at school or work the day they were born) and she had two live babies, a boy and a girl -- darling. Doyle was in a "dither" Ďcause they wouldn't nurse the first couple days, so we milked Milly and bottle fed the babies. Erin was in seventh heaven (don't need to worry about her "mothering instinct") and the babies were spoiled rotten.

Yesterday we came home from church to find the little girl had suffocated under her mommy while trying to keep warm. She was the smaller of the two and seemed to be cold a lot. We keep them in the garage at night, but during the day we let them in the back yard. Only trouble was, yesterday, even though it was Easter, it was freezing cold and snowed most of the day! Erin was hysterical and we were all depressed, the little girl baby was the sweetest and cutest.

Our little experience with boy goats is they get real obnoxious at about six weeks or so. He is really cute, though, and is fun to watch him as he hops up and down and kicks his back end. Momma goat, Milly, hasn't quite recovered from the birth. She had a real hard time and couldn't walk for the first three days. We think she may have dislocated her hip. She can hardly move and is real stiff, poor thing. Doyle is beginning to think we don't have much luck with having baby goats. Out of a possible six babies, we have one live one!

BIGNEWS!!!!!!!! Pete is on his way to becoming an adult. One down in the countdown, according to him. 1) Get a license, 2) Register for the draft, 3) Register to vote. Pete got his license over Spring break. If he was out on the driving part of his test for 10 minutes, I'll eat my hat. I think the lady liked him who gave him the test. He didn't even have his contacts in either, the dummy! However, glad that's over, I had to make him take it. He is driving the van which cramps his style, but if Chris had to drive it, he has to! The van is on its last legs, or wheels, as I should say.

This past week, being spring break, we slept in late, watched movies, took the kids to a movie in a theater, a once a year occurrence, and had our little Navajo son, Delrai (DelRay) over for the week. He is eight years old and spends most of his weekends with us. He got homesick and wanted to go home by Thursday, but didn't go until Saturday morning when his big sister, Shawna came and got him. Shawna is a single mom with an eight-month old Navajo Gerber baby. Ashlin is a beautiful little girl and spoiled rotten. We had to baby-sit her and Delrai overnight Saturday night, as when Shawna went to take her brother home, no mom or Dad at home. They looked all day Saturday for the parents, none to be found, so back they came about 6:30 p.m. and they stayed with us overnight, as Shawna works nights. We had company for dinner, the Stanley's (Chris' all-time favorite people), and we all had fun entertaining the baby.

Delrai was a little upset he was back, but we love him and he loves us so, other than wondering where his parents were, he settled in ok. The Easter bunny visited us on Easter Sunday, and it was the first time he had visited Delrai, so then Delrai was a happy camper. He didn't know what an Easter basket was and was thrilled when he found a Veggie Tales video in his basket.

Doyle took Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off to work at home, but the weather was so nasty, cold, rainy and snowy, he didn't get as much done as he wanted to. He watched movies and read and took lots of naps and stayed up late. Today coming home from work he feel asleep on the road and woke up as he was going off the road!!! I wasn't too happy to hear that!

Well, it's time to quit, Pete is reading a book on his bed, flipping through the radio stations, Cera (our dog) is asleep next to him. Oh, today, after Bible Study I had about six ladies and five little kids over for lunch, they were from Bible Study. We made something called "stacks." First you pile on fritos, then chili, then rice, then cheese, then raisins, then coconut, pecans, sour cream, olives, green onions, and Pace picante sauce, oh, and don't forget the avocado. It sounded so terrible, we decided to try it, because it's supposed to be a favorite of people's. It was delicious, no lie, try it! You have everyone bring one or two items, and then it's not so expensive. We had it for supper also, Pete hated it, but the rest of us loved it.

Love you all, Brenda

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Paul & Beth Drechsel

April 6, 1999

1999 Dear Cousins,

It's a beautiful Phoenix day. The sky is blue, the air is 70ish and the lovely scent of citrus blossoms fills the air. My seven rose bushes are in full bloom, the tomatoes and squash plants are covered with blossoms, and I picked the first strawberry yesterday (and shared it between Rob, Paul and myself -- just a tiny yum!). Last weekend a friend delivered newly picked lemons to our doorstep. It took me four hours, using an electric juicer, to squeeze and freeze all the juice. Whew! But it was worth it because there's just nothing as refreshing as the real stuff for making lemonade!

On Saturday Paul graduated from a civic course with Glendale University. This is a non-accredited 10-week course put on by the city to educate citizens by giving an overview of how the city government works. Paul thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot. As an "alumni" he is now eligible to take more in-depth courses and is particularly interested in law enforcement, the fire department, and the airport.

Paul has also been real busy in our yard. He continues to do a lot of gardening and landscaping, and the rest of us get to enjoy the tasty and/or beautiful results of his labors.

Robert has had a difficult couple of months healthwise. He was finally diagnosed with asthma and allergies but hasn't responded very well to treatment. He is presently under the care of a specialist, and we are hoping for some improvement. It has been a hard adjustment for him because he has been a healthy active kid. He recently participated in a district-wide band festival, playing the sax, and has also just learned to bowl (maybe we'll get him in a bowling league). He has been fascinated by the book of Revelation and has read it a couple of times, so a few weeks ago I bought the Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins "Left Behind" novels, a series of the end times, and he and I have been devouring them. It has been fun to share this together.

Kevin is finishing up basketball season. He has been in a city league and has loved every minute of it. He never did make a basket during a game but has had some assists, and a lot of steals. Last week he told me "Mom, I want to play basketball forever." (Sounds like we are in this for the long haul!) He and Rob are very into the new Lego Throwbots (a toy that is a cross between Legos and transformers -- is this still Greek to you?).

My health is much improved since I've been on a blood thinner. I feel like I have a new lease on life simply because I now have energy to do things. I've been teaching at Women's Bible Study the past two semesters and have discovered that I truly love it. Being more involved with the women's leadership team has been such a blessing in my life as I've been learning a lot, especially about nurturing other women.

As a family we continue to enjoy day trips. This is the nicest, mildest time of the year for the desert and we try to take advantage of it by getting out for picnics and hikes. Wish you were here, we'd show you around and treat you good, we'd even share our lemonade!

Love, Beth (and men)

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Duane & Marjanne Claassen

April 6, 1999

Here are the basics.

1. We are very old now. Both parental adults turned 50 this January. We also celebrated 28 years of marriage. At least I think we did, I'm having a little trouble with my memory.

2. We are very wise now. Duane is seeing his practice age with his body. Fewer children and young families... more older folks. He has always been a good doc for older people, but now that he truly is seasoned, even more so. I am actually getting a Master's degree this May. Iím sticking with the younger population though. Studies have focused on children with special health needs and disabilities and their families. A "new job" search is in process.

3. We are quite wonderful parents now. The offspring are old enough and detached enough that we can actually fantasize that we did something right. Cami and Howie have been married over a year and a half... and have adjusted quite well thank you. Dorea is back in school full time in Lincoln Nebraska -- studying trumpet performance and math (double degree). She is playing and performing well (and loud!) and understands numbers and math concepts in a way that is quite unnatural! Hannah is enjoying freshman classes part-time here in town. Her dance career is off and running with lots of teaching, community outreach performances, and professional company performances with Kim Robards Dance. She also does a lot of volunteer dance and choreography for our church, as well as others. She did the "movement" for an Easter Passion play that took lots of time. It added SO much to the event though.

AND... All three daughters and the added son actually speak to us in full sentences about things that matter.

4. We are not too tired, yet. At least I don't think we are. I can't remember. And, those are the basics... signing out from Denver, Marjanne

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Jeff & Barb Staley

April 7, 1999

Dear cousins:

Greetings from the Pacific Northwest where Paradise (that's a Visitor's Center at Mount Rainier -- uuhh, Snowier National Park) is boasting of 1,077 inches of snow since November 1st. On Saturday, April 3, Barbara and Ben went snowshoeing for the first time at Snoqualamie Pass (3,300 feet elevation), and were walking over the roofs of buildings. Oh, I take that back. Barbara went snowshoeing with a friend, and Ben went with a friend. IT WAS VERY IMPORTANT THAT MOTHER AND SON NOT BE SEEN TOGETHER. It's a thirteen thing, you know. Ben wanted an adventure of his own, with no adult supervision. It's a male machismo, rite of passage thing. (Oh for the good old days when we just circumcised boys at twelve then sent them out on walkabouts. If they came back alive they were men, and part of the tribe -- and they probably got grape popsicles, too.)

Poor dad (that's me). I stayed home (the last day of my spring break) and spent the day grading papers -- and ooh, my achy-breaky brain. Some of the awfullest righting yu've everseen. Wright hear in See-Adle, two. Youde thank with come pewters, spillchuck, and sings lake that, there'd bee no mire missteaks in stewdunce peppers. Butt jude belong. Oh yes, you'd be wrong!

So I stayed home (that's me, dad) with Allison. We went out to breakfast at Shari's ($2 off any entree) and had a great time trying our toast with five different kinds of jam on them (at one time), then brought home ten packets of mixed fruit jelly. The fifteen half-and-half cream containers we drank down to nothing and then pulled the paper tops off of them and piled them on our plates like little Towers of Babel. There's a good Sunday School lesson in there somewhere...

Now we are busy planning our summer away. I think we have two empty weeks left. As soon as the kids get out of school I'm heading west (east) to Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska. I want to take the kids to see all the old family homesteads before I die and before they are old enough to drive by themselves. They need to see Ramona and Holdrege, Nebraska at least once, and who better to show them around than their father?

Barbara was getting excited about the trip until she looked up "resorts" and "Kansas" on the internet. She came up with 0 hits. Now she is planning to fly to Albuquerque and meet us there (I haven't told her that Kansas is east of New Mexico and we'll be going there AFTER New Mexico). I'll just surprise her. It's nice to know that after all these years of marriage I can still surprise the love of my life now and then!

After we get home we will have a week and a half before the big Staley reunion here in Washington. Hope to see you all there!

Love, Jeff, Barbara, Ben, Allie

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Ben & Kathy Staley

April 12, 1999

Happy Spring!

I am READY for some nice weather after an incredibly wet winter here in Seattle. On the positive side we have had a great year for skiing. Our ski areas are still accumulating snowpack during the week they closed last year! I am looking forward to the hiking, climbing, fishing and surfing season though.

We have been adjusting to both boys entering their teenage years. More freedom for them and also for Kathy and I, being able to leave them on their own while we go out shopping or to dinner, etc. It provides many challenges and opportunities as most of you know.

The company I have worked at for 13 years is moving to a much larger and newer building northeast of Seattle 10 or so miles. This gives us the opportunity to buy a house out of the city in a more rural and affordable area. We are hoping to move this summer while the boys are out of school.

Kathy started working part time as a bookkeeper at a seafood restaurant and after being self employed for 5 years she is enjoying the time out of the house and the challenge of learning new things.

We are looking forward to seeing you this summer in Leavenworth, one of my favorite places. Its a beautiful area with much to do.

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John & Wendy Whaley

Hi from sunny California???

As I type, it has been snowing for hours. What happened to spring? Sorry, this will be short because I have had recent surgery on my right wrist and it is hard to type with only the left hand!

We are still planning on being at the reunion this summer, or at least some of us. Talley couldnít get her vacation at that time so John and I might just bring Bryant. Zach will still be in Seattle going to college so we are planning on having him come over for a few days as his schedule permits.

Zach is doing well in school. He does get homesick at times and we all really miss him here. He was just home for a week for spring break.

Talley continues to work at her banking job and coaches a local elementary school cheerleading squad during their season. They had an award-winning year.

Bryant is 2Ĺ and has developed a strong interest in trains. I told him that he got that from great, great Grandpa Staley. He is still a very happy boy and keeps us all jumping.

I will be off work for 6 weeks but will return to my job as career counselor at the high school.

John still is at the high school. We work at the same school so we have the same vacation days which makes life easier. John is ready for sun and warm days to work in the yard.

Hope that everyone will make an effort to be there this summer. Maybe you could send a video taped message of your family if you canít come, since it has been so long since some of us have been together.

We send our love to all of you, Wendy

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Warren & Erleen Staley

April 11, 1999

Dear Family,

Praise the Lord! Another tax season almost finished! He is so good to us. Praise His Holy name. We are feeling our age this year more than ever before.

Last month Grace and Matt moved to Burbank, CA. She is working at a beauty salon while Matt is working for a Pool Co. getting ready to go back to school at Fuller Seminary. He will start in June. They have a call to China in their lives. We miss them terribly. Matt was one of the best junior accountants Warren has ever had.

Keith has just started his own construction business. His best friend and companion, Jen, has worked in the office part-time during this tax season so Warren and I could still go to the bed and breakfast in Ferndale once a week. Their little Becca still enjoys coming to the office but we are finding it difficult to entertain her now that she's going on 3. Keith and Jen are always there for us. We really appreciate the fact that they live so close along with Skip and Theresa.

Skip and Theresa are expecting little Andrew any day and can hardly wait. Little Warren is really talking and Tia who is 13 now is quite a young lady and an excellent artist. She is a real help with Warren Jr. Skip has been teaching Math on TV's local access channel live everyday from College of the Redwoods on Math. I told him "I'm awfully proud of you, but I cannot understand a word you are saying."

Melodee's husband DJ came back from Korea March 3rd and they have just moved to Waynesboro, PA 3 weeks ago which is his next assignment. We are happy they can be reunited as a family but we miss them also very much. Barnabas was calling Warren Pa Pa, and Jeremiah Da Da. Jerry was only 1 week when they moved in with us a year ago.

Mark had 40 some friends over last night until midnight for a party from his Christian Club on campus. So once again our home is filled with noise. He is a sophomore and has just recently come to know the Lord in relationship. He is such a blessing to us in our old age. The Lord has been giving him songs which he plays on his guitar. Everyone is blessed who listens.

He gave a speech in English 2 weeks ago entitled: "Is God Real." He told of how angels delivered his Grandpa Curtis and Uncle Joel on the Humboldt Bay, and he also covered Creation vs. Evolution. He ended it by saying, "If I've convinced you that God is real, for that I am sorry, because my Grandmother says, a person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. What I am doing is trying to put doubts about not believing in God so you can do searching on your own and God will show Himself to you. Being a Christian makes life so much less stressful. I used to worry about fitting in but now I know I will always fit in with God's people and anything I have burdening me can be given to God because of His Son dying for me and forgiving my sins." He attends Arcata High School. Sounds like his spiritual gift leans toward evangelism.

My mother has been with her sister in Eureka for 6 months and is coming back for 4 months in May to be with us again. We are honored to take care of her in her old age as she did so much for others on their sick bed. It's so wonderful she has 8 children who can all take care of her in the gifts God has given each of them. My sister Mary Lou will still be her #1 care provider during each week day so I can remain at the office.

Warren has gone back to San Francisco Golden Gate Univ. last semester one night a week to study Tax Law. He would like to get his Masters in Tax Law. I took two classes this semester at CR. One in business and the other in folk-guitar (hoping for more in common with Mark). Lord willing I will eventually work toward a paralegal certificate, to be more help to Warren in the office. At least we are both going the same direction in our mid-life crisis. Ha.

God is so-o-o-o-o good! We have an abundant life. We are looking forward to continuing our home Bible study with our kids who are still in the area after tax season.

May the Lord be close to you this year and give you the desires of your heart as you wait for His return. Come and visit us sometime. We hardly ever get out-of-towners since Interstate 5 came along. We have 5 bedrooms and only 3 people now. Had to move the furniture to make the bedrooms look smaller. We still have a gift in hospitality.

Love and prayer, Erleen and Warren

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Dan & Jan Greenough

April 14, 1999

Hi, everybody,

We've had a lot going on, and all of it good. We're planning to take off for the summer again this year and last weekend we bought a 5th wheel travel trailer to live in while we're gone. Then yesterday, Dan bought a truck to pull it. Now we need one of those big hitches to put in the truck bed. A lot of decisions and a lot to learn, but it's coming together. It's sure nice how the Lord sends people our way when we need help with something.

So we're planning to be at the reunion in our new trailer! How about all of you? Glad to hear that some are coming who haven't been able to make it before (or not for years).

We're planning to fly to Alaska right after the reunion. Doesn't that sound like fun? Dan's sister lives in Anchorage and our friends, Jan and Jon Payne, live 30 miles north of Anchorage, so we have a place to stay. We've never been up there, but have wanted to go for years. We've been too busy to plan the early part of our summer, but will probably spend a few weeks seeing some new places on our way to the Northwest.

I'll be able to keep my job (what a thrill), as the law student who worked for me last summer is doing the same again. He worked for us one day a week all year. Dan is arranging to take the summer off, too, from the Mexican restaurant where he has been working part time.

I've been taking a computer graphics class this spring, which has been real fun. It's amazing what these new computer programs can do. This class is an overview of several programs, like PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator, PageMaker.

Not much else going on. We had a new grandson arrive last October, and he's getting cuter by the week. We have 4 granddaughters, and this is the first boy in the family in 30 years!

I'm gazing out our window at our Tombstone rose vine, glowing with yellow rose clusters in the sunshine. Hope you're enjoying the arrival of spring, wherever you are!

Love, Jan and Dan

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Kathy Hobson

April 13, 1999

Dear Cousins,

Well, as you may or may not know, my life has changed a great deal in the past six months. My marriage of 11 years was ended the day before Thanksgiving. (My holidays were not the greatest this year.) I sold our home at the end of January and moved into a 600 sq. ft. rental house (Mom says it has charm; I just think itís small). It has a fenced yard for my dog, Mocha, which is something I asked God to provide... and He did (He is faithful and cares about even the "little things"). So, now Iím trying to adjust to being single again and living alone. Itís really tough sometimes. "Friends" have been lost over the divorce issue, but God provided a handful for support at times when I needed them most.

I donít wish to go into details as to what happened, but I do want you all to know that Bill is still in my prayers and in my heart. He is not following Godís path at this point, but my prayers have been that God would get a hold of his heart and wake him up. I also pray for grace, mercy, and protection. Please pray for him with me. It would be much appreciated. (If any of you fellow divorcees have some advice, I would love to hear from you.)

I have included two song lyrics that pretty much cover my territory at the moment and over the past few months. The first is titled, "Always Have, Always Will," which is a song that expresses the feelings I have had and will have for Bill the rest of my life regardless of what God does with us both from here on. Itís my tribute to him and our 11-year marriage together. The second one is titled, "Life is Hard (But God is Good)". It really captures the role that God is playing in my stormy situation. A very good e-mail friend sent it to me and it has really put a great perspective on everything for me, as well as putting my feelings into words. (I thought that maybe it could be used to encourage any of you who may be struggling in life right now.) The title is very appropriate for my situation at this time.

Even though most everything in my life has changed, I can truly say that God has been working in my heart and in Billís. He has not fixed the problems as I had hoped, but He has given me the grace to bear them. Please pray for the direction I am headed and for my future. I am not sure what God would have me pursue or do, but I would like to see some clear paths to choose from or follow. I know that there is meaning in every situation we face in life and I believe that God will redeem this one as well. Iím not sure how, but I know He will.

Well, I am very much looking forward to the Reunion this summer. Please do everything you can to come... we always have a great time together. Each of us Keller siblings will be there this year; a first since who knows when. Of course some of the spouses will not be there, but they will be there in spirit. Bill has mentioned to me that he will miss being at the reunion this year. He enjoyed all of your company when we were there the past couple reunions. (He asked me to let you know that if any of you wanted to write him, you could feel free. Just write or call me and Iíll give you his address. Or you can write him in care of me and Iíll get it to him.)

Thank you to all of you who have known and prayed for me and Bill. Please donít stop now. We both need it in our own ways. I feel very honored to have such a wonderful and caring extended family in you all.

Much love and hope to see you soon, Kathy

Always Have, Always Will
by Blackhawk

I used to think that love was just for dreamers,
That fate and destiny played no part.
But finding you has made me a believer
That we were meant to be right from the start.

Before the sun and moon and stars were put there in the sky
Before the mountains stood tall above this world so high
I loved you then, I love you now, and Iíll love you until...
Always have, always will.

Before the light broke through the dark,
You were the candle in my heart
Before the dawn of time
I was yours and you were mine.

Life is Hard (But God is Good)
by Pam Thum

You turn the key, then close the door behind you,
Drop your bags on the floor; you reach for the light
But thereís darkness deep inside and you canít take it anymore.
ĎCause sometimes living takes the life out of you
And sometimes living is all you can do.

Life is hard, the world is cold
Weíre barely young and then weíre old
But every falling tear is always understood
Yes, life is hard, but God is good.

You start to cry Ďcause youíve been strong too long; and thatís not how you feel
You try to pray, but thereís nothing left to say so you just quietly kneel
In the silence of all that you face, God will give you His mercy and grace
Jesus never said it was an easy road to travel, He only said that you would never be alone.
So when your last thread of hope begins to come unraveled; donít give up, He walks beside you.
On this journey home, He knows... (Chorus)

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Reg & Barb Naylor

April 15, 1999

(Nepali New Year's eve... from tomorrow, we'll have to write 2055... no Y2K problems here... that was 55 years ago before computers had even been heard of in this country...)

Dear All,

Greetings from the Far Side!! It's a muggy evening here... we're in the middle of a drought and humidity is the only moisture we get these days, so we aren't complaining! Wish you all in the Northwest could point a few of your rain clouds in our direction.

Our kids just went back to school today after a 2Ĺ week Easter break. Being on the British system, they have long breaks between quarters, a long week-end in the middle of each quarter and then only 5 weeks off in summer. It's actually a very civilized schedule from teachers' and parents' perspectives! The only down side for us is that it makes our trip home this summer shorter than we'd like.

Yes, we ARE coming to the reunion this summer... that is, all of us except Reg!! Just today he found out that our visa status is a bit wobbly and he'll need to be here during July to sort it all out for next year. He's really disappointed and so are the rest of us! He has thoroughly enjoyed the 2 other times we've made it to the reunion and was looking forward to a third time. He's just about able to picture who I'm talking about these days!

On the 'clan' front, Reg made a most amazing discovery this last year. Having been raised in a foster home, he's still digging into his family tree. One of his great aunties is the best resource and occasionally sends us a new installment. In her most stunning missive to date she revealed that Reg's father was actually the youngest of... get this... TWENTY-FIVE siblings from the SAME mother!!!! (and we thought grandma and grandpa had a large family... ). An equally amazing fact is that this woman died at the ripe old age of 46, from blood poisoning after slicing her finger with a kitchen knife!! We have always been told Reg comes from 'sturdy stock', but this latest revelation puts that phrase in an entirely new light. We now suspect that we're related to at least half of North Yorkshire... (How did I get into all that, anyway?).

Reg is getting soft in his old age... he finally agreed to let the family acquire some pets. We now have TROPICAL FISH, rescued from abandonment when friends of ours moving back to the States were within 3 days of departure without anyone interested in adopting their fish. They ARE quiet and don't need walking, and Isaac is absolutely fascinated with them. We're frantically learning survival fish care vocabulary in Nepali to communicate with the guys in the pet store near here:). We're also due to inherit two bunnies in May, from other friends going home (being 'temporary' has been our biggest reason for NOT getting pets sooner). They'll live in their hutch on our (flat) roof, so their only escape route would be a 3 story leap into the courtyard below... it sounds a good set-up to us. We just hope that we're getting 2 females and NOT one of each... .does anyone out there have any advice to offer us on bunny care?? We are TOTAL beginners on this one...

Reg is busy these days doing what he does best... networking! He's still trying to register a literacy/development company with the government, which never seems to hold still long enough to get very far! He has succeeded in getting signatures from 2 out of 6 ministries involved (that much has taken 2 years!), but with more general elections this May, there could be a complete change of 'players' depending on which political party gets in. He's also busy setting up literacy seminars with the research division of the national university for this December, involving consultants from neighboring countries. And 'on the side' he's liasing with a minority language society for a survey of their area... something our 'company' would like to see happen. When he's not roving around gov't. or university offices, Reg is usually at his computer answering e-mails from the 10 people in his literacy program, scattered all over South Asia. Some are based here in KTM, others we see only once every year or so.

Like most moms, I spend most of my time juggling. Besides Reg and the kids, I do admin. stuff for 24 translation teams, also scattered all over South Asia. A lot of my work is done by e-mail. Last year we had an office built on our roof, to give us some space to work away from family life, and to give me the best chance to keep my job with Isaac on the scene. I find that by working when he is asleep or downstairs entertaining our landlord's daughters, or after he is in bed at night, I can just about keep up with my responsibilities. Then there are things like Brownies, which I help out with, carting the kids to piano lessons or play practice or taking them swimming or off to buy new shoes (again? already?!) or pushing Isaac in his stroller off to the market to buy veggies or hosting a prayer meeting for moms from school, or preparing a Sunday school lesson... lots of the same sort of stuff I'd be doing if we lived in the USA or England!

Letter-writing is almost non-existent these days, sadly. No time. So I'm glad for prods like this that force me to sit down and communicate with people like you who are OFTEN in my thoughts. When Gavin and Claire get home from school, they're always ready to EAT and TALK in that order. Isaac keeps me on the go ALL DAY, now that he's 15 months, a steady bi-ped and determined to dismantle everything in sight. He is SUCH a fun little guy, very cheeky (literally and figuratively) and doesn't seem to need as much sleep as his mother! The novelty of having a wee one in the house has NOT worn off for Gavin and Claire and they help out a lot... and even enjoy it.

Well, I'll stop for now and look forward to chatting with some of you IN PERSON this summer. (Is anyone else going gray like me... can we just all agree to IGNORE that feature when we meet up?)

With lots and lots of love,

Barb, and for Reg, Gavin (11Ĺ), Claire (10) and Isaac (1)

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Michael & Erinn Dooley

April 15, 1999

Hello there,

Weíve had an upswing in the financial department recently. I am watching five children at $80/week each now, plus one after school boy at $25/week. That's great considering the $260/week I'd been making. Besides that, the state has agreed to "back-pay" me for two girls I've been watching since January, but only getting 1/2 payment each week. (we'll probably get Sarah's eyes fixed with that I think)

Sarah's birthday is this coming Sunday. She'll be two years old and, like last year, we are overdoing it a lot. It seems that everyone we know, knows another one we know, and they all have kids. How can we invite one, and not the whole lot? It should be a fairly overwhelming day.

Sarah will enjoy it though, and may even talk about it for a couple of weeks. She loves birthday parties (we've been to about five of them this past year), and her own may put her in the ultimate state of happiness.

As it is, she says so much, we can't even keep up with all her words and new phrases. She even has pretend conversations to her Grandma Dooley or blues clues "tickety talk" on her play telephones and mostly makes sense. She seems so smart to us, and so sweet.

She's still quite a love bug too. All day for no apparent reason I get spontaneous kisses or leg-hugs. It seems if she's not loving me, she's kissing on that sweet little sister of hers. Michael becomes jelly at these darling hourly gestures of amore.

The biggest news we've got now, though, is Eileen. I've been just dying to see her crawling. Sarah started so much earlier than this and it made everything so much easier when she did. She could get to things, content herself, and was less fussy.

Well, Eileen isn't exactly crawling, but it's a similar picture. She puts her elbows a bit in front of her and is up on them some. Then she kind of leans forward with her head until it drags the rest of her forward by the weight I guess. It's not like she has an extra big head I don't think, but it works.

She's not fast yet. I think she'll get faster as she gets better... or maybe she'll really learn to crawl correctly. Her father however, never did, Iíve been told. He did something similar to what she's doing, and it looked somewhat like an army crawl or as if he was paralyzed from his waist down and was dragging himself. We'll be video taping it soon.

Michael will be graduating in only eight months and we are still formulating a plan. It looks like we have a better chance at saving money than we were thinking, so maybe we can head west in the spring after all. As it turns out, California is a little easier to get into for chiropractors than Nevada, so we may spend a year there and settle when we've had a chance to thoroughly look all around in places that sound neat (still really interested in Reno though). Michael continues to get outstanding grades in spite of us (his family).

The weather is great here now. It's moving into "very humid", but for now, it's in the low 80's and has developed into a usual beautiful spring. My favorite thing at this time is the bloomed dogwoods in shades of white, ecru, and pinks. They look like exploded fireworks in a sky of perfect green. In my opinion, the tall (sometimes nearing 8ft.) Fuschia azaleas are grand, but there's nothing nicer than the dogwoods.

At last, my news is finished. Have a great day, and send your news as soon as you like. I'll be glad to read it!

Love, Erinn

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Becky Staley

April 21, 1999

Itís finally my turn! Wow, what a great collection of letters! If youíre a slow reader like me, it probably took you several sittings to read them all. Fortunately around 90% of them were sent via e-mail so I saved a whole bunch of time by just copying and spell-checking them (sorry, old secretaries never know when to quit!) rather than having to retype. Thanks!

And now my news. Becky is DATING! I know itís a shock. And Iíll give you a moment to get over it! Yes, I met a real nice guy soon after moving into my new neighborhood and weíve been seeing each other pretty regularly. I really havenít done much dating in my 42 years (nobody really seemed worth a second date!) so this is pretty strange (and fun!). His name is Juan Cazares, heís 39 and a very good friend. What the future holds, only the Lord knows but Iím having a great time with a friend who likes to do all the stuff I do. Iím even getting him interested in helping me with my yard work! Of course I also help prune his roses but his yard is a whole lot smaller.

No chance of meeting him at the reunion (Iím not taking the chance of scaring him off entirely!) but if youíre real nice, I may bring pictures. Other than that, my life is pretty much the same. Trying to keep my new plants alive through the heat of the summer will be my focus the next few months. Iím anxious for the day the puny things have grown to their normal size and I can see my landscape plan begin to take shape. But that will still be a year or so away. Patience is a virtue... or so Iím told!

Well, Iím looking forward to seeing many of you in Leavenworth this summer. It will be a little strange not to be near the beach but the mountains will be a nice change. It will be so difficult to see an empty spot at the table where Uncle John should be but I know he will be with us in spirit.

Take care, everyone, and keep in touch!

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