Holiday Greetings from the RBL Clan

Dear Family and Friends,

We hope this note finds you well and happy and we wish you all much joy in the coming year.  It is always a challenge to send along something that won’t be too flat and dull; feel free to skip straight to the photos if the following makes you yawn. 

 
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We have so many reasons to be thankful, despite the terrible state of our world.  Last May, we celebrated Timothy’s graduation from Northeastern University, and now all of our children are sprung, all are gainfully employed and all appear to be thriving and happy.  One of the miracles of having grown children is that they continue to delight by continuing to both change and become even more who they always were.  We all managed to have Thanksgiving on Cape Cod this year, and it was such a joy to be together. 

Last February, when Leslie asked Josh what kind of a vacation he would most like to have, he responded immediately, “a trip to Israel.”  She suggested that it might be a wonderful thing if Nate, Ben and Tim could go as well, and that is just what happened…they journeyed to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Galilee.  The trip included a day trip to Masada, the Dead Sea and oasis of Ein Gedi; and exploration of the extensive Roman ruins at Caesarea.   Returning to Israel, where he had last been in 1977 or 1978, had been on Josh’s list of things to do for a very long time. Revisiting familiar locations and seeing them afresh with the perspective of time, as well as having the chance to see them afresh from the perspective of the boys was magical.  It was also remarkable to travel with them as adults: to let them set the agenda, find our way and take charge reflected a marvelous shift in roles. 

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Lily and Clark love living in St. Paul; he is poised to take on a large church job with multiple choirs and ensembles, and continues to perform with Minnesota Opera Company.    Lily was cast in a touring production of the National Children’s Theatre: “the 20 Thousand Kilowatt Kitchen”, and spent 6 weeks touring mainly in North Carolina; she was then offered another show upon her return in Wisconsin and is getting other gigs and doing auditions on a regular basis. Nate remains in Bloomington, where Savannah is pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy; he is working as a software engineer doing contract work.  Ben is still loving Portland, ME, working as a substitute teacher in the Portland school system and hoping to land a regular teaching job in middle school science.  Both Nate and Ben belong to and volunteer for multiple social justice organizations and all the boys manage to play role-playing and video games at long distance together.  The quarks continue to mobilize!  Tim is living in Brookline (gasp!), and putting his electrical engineering training to work at Cambridge Technology. 

Lily and Clark love living in St. Paul; he is poised to take on a large church job with multiple choirs and ensembles, and continues to perform with Minnesota Opera Company.    Lily was cast in a touring production of the National Children’s Theatre: “the 20 Thousand Kilowatt Kitchen”, and spent 6 weeks touring mainly in North Carolina; she was then offered another show upon her return in Wisconsin and is getting other gigs and doing auditions on a regular basis. Nate remains in Bloomington, where Savannah is pursuing a Ph.D. in philosophy; he is working as a software engineer doing contract work.  Ben is still loving Portland, ME, working as a substitute teacher in the Portland school system and hoping to land a regular teaching job in middle school science.  Both Nate and Ben belong to and volunteer for multiple social justice organizations and all the boys manage to play role-playing and video games at long distance together.  The quarks continue to mobilize!  Tim is living in Brookline (gasp!), and putting his electrical engineering training to work at Cambridge Technology. 

This marks year 3 for Josh at Iowa State, while Leslie is still at KU.  We pledged at the end of the last school year that this would be our last year of commuting, but the truth is that we are not much closer to finding an arrangement that works for both of us (so perhaps we need to change our attitudes and not our residences).  At this point, all we can say is “too be continued…”  We are both finding our jobs rewarding, challenging and interesting.  Last Spring, Leslie Directed “Company” at KU.  She can, of course, tell you everything that could have been improved, but the truth is it was a wonderful production with a talented and enthusiastic cast.

Sadly, this year Leslie’s mother, Jerry, died.  She had been in declining health, but events turned suddenly worse in March.  We all miss her.  She was an adoptive grandmother to the boys and loved them dearly, as she did Lily and all of her own children and other grandchildren.  She was never happier than when in the company of her loved ones and she taught us all by example to treasure each other and each moment, which we try so hard to do. 

May the coming year bring you all peace, health and multiple blessings, and when it brings sorrow, may you find heart’s ease.

Much love,

L and J