Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas 2010

Dear friends and family:

In less than three days, Nick and Allie will be converging on Corvallis and we’ll have a couple of precious days together again as a family. Nick is returning from Oxford, where he studied this fall, and Allie will be taking a break from her work in Houston. Who could have guessed our kids would end up in such places? Nick will be back at George Fox University this winter, but poor Allie has only a few days off from Casa Juan Diego, where she’s doing social work. We pray that their flights are not delayed by bad weather, labor disputes, volcanic eruptions, or security hassles. Am I forgetting anything? With the exception of our own loved ones, it’s obvious that you’d have to be crazy to travel by air this time of year.

Party at Acorn Center
As I’ve written at least twice before in Christmas letters, this year is ending far better than it began. The melanoma I’ve been dancing around for more than four years flared up again in January and I’ve since had five subcutaneous metastases removed from various parts of my body. I may have more scars than Frankenstein’s monster, but I can still totally outrun the dude. The cancer is asleep again, for which we’re very grateful. I’ve kept up my blogging, so there’s much more to read below if you care to follow the bouncing ball of my melanoma journey.

Our 25th anniversary
I’ll quickly finish the medical report by noting that Ellen has had a diagnostic workup for persistent pain in her lower right leg that has kept her from hard exercise for more than 18 months. She may have surgery this winter for a fascial hernia that the surgeon believes will resolve her problem. Fortunately, her work among Hispanic immigrants at Acorn Center has not been affected. We’ve included a link below where you can jump to her Acorn blog and learn more of what’s happening in that part of our life. Ellen went to Houston in November for a long weekend to visit Allie, and the two of us have just returned from five days in southern Florida where Ellen’s dad lives. I met Nick in London at the end of August so we could travel together for a week, after which I spent another week on my own in favorite corners of the U.K. Aside from a memorable afternoon spent trying to escape south London by rental car on the “wrong” side of the road with a 30-year-old map (don’t ask), Nick and I had an excellent time together. We visited the great cathedrals of Westminster and Canterbury, and briefly toured Cambridge and Oxford, in addition to doing the usual tourist stuff in London. I showed him where I lived in Hampstead Village 30 years ago, and we sampled some of the fine local beers brewed these days in England.
Tall cool drinks of water
Allie graduated from George Fox in sociology in May and took the GRE for graduate school, but has put those plans on hold for now. Casa Juan Diego, where she will be living through at least Easter, is part of the Catholic Worker movement and mostly serves immigrants, refugees and the poor. She’s developing her Spanish language skills while tending to the many needs of the women who live in the shelter, which includes being a translator for a free medical clinic. Her life has been quite a contrast to Nick’s. He was in a study-abroad program in which he read, wrote and was tutored in Aristotelian ethics and Kantian philosophy. Light stuff, eh? There were moments when he felt close to being crushed by the intellectual burden, but he reasoned his way through (pun intended). We trust that by experiencing life at the extremities, both Nick and Allie will find where God wants them to root. As parents, we’re thrilled and sometimes awed by the choices they make. What’s really gratifying is knowing that we’re all in this together. Ellen and I are at a stage of life where our kids teach us as much as they learn from us. It’s a good place to be.

On the Timberline Trail
 As always, we anticipate Christmas with humble hearts. Holy Scripture is clear that the birth of Christ inside of each of us is for a purpose beyond ourselves, and that it’s our task to manifest him to the world. We do this imperfectly, but when we do small things with great love, we can never do it wrongly. May God’s peace and power be upon each you today and through the coming year.

Blessings, Peter and Ellen

Web site (and blog) for Acorn Outreach
Allie’s blog
Nick’s blog
Web site for Casa Juan Diego
Picasa web albums of recent travel
Sea Shanty blog

P.S. OK, now it's your turn. If you’re so inclined, please leave a message below


Nancy said...

Peter, Ellen, Allie and Nick - it's great to hear the latest on your world travels, afar and close to home. Blessings to all of you and wishing you the merriest of Christmases and a happy, safe and healthy new year.

Wilma said...

Thanks Peter and Ellen for being so honest in sharing your journey. what an encouragement - as you know my brother in law has been fighting cancer for the last two years. They followed all your suggestions and he's still around. The cancer did come back in the liver this year and it was aggressively treated. Right now the PET scan shows him cancer free - the word being "right now". But, we are hopeful and trust that God continue to walk with him and us in this journey. Thanks for all your help. Be blessed.

Karen said...

What a lovely summary of a very busy year. May God give you a great family time in the next few days. I LOVE that you learn from your kids and they learn from you. Christmas blessings to all of the Ogles.

Sherry said...

Mahalo for the insprirational post. Though across the miles and ocean in presence, my heart is with u and ur family. Mele Kalikimaka & Hauoli Mahiki Hou. Ur sister...a couple of degrees removed. Sherry

Anonymous said...

Wonderful letter. Thinking of you and your family, and hope to see you down in Oregon in 2011!


KJ said...

Peter, your Christmas blog does an outstanding job of bringing the meaning of the season into proper focus. You are a true inspiration to all of us. Our best to you and your family for a healthy and happy new year.

Steve said...

We're all glad that your health is well right now, and continue praying that it stays that way. Hoping, too, that you guys have a very good Christmas. Enjoy having the kids at home. Talk with you soon,
Steve (and family)

Rick, AVFC California Supporters said...

Thanks Peter. Prayers for each of you to experience a new year full of His blessings. Thank you for blessing us with your blog posts.