Dear Family and Friends
In lieu of Christmas cards, this year I have decided to fully embrace the modern era and post a Christmas letter to my blog. This year has had ups and downs and many new adventures for the Holder family. Just before Christmas of 2016, we signed a contract to sell our home in Colorado and after seven years, began a new adventure in Kentucky. The process went smooth until the last few weeks when we had trouble getting the appraisal and the closing date had to be moved to a date after our belongings were scheduled to leave. So, taking a leap of faith, we headed out of town with only the money in our bank account and a prayer that closing would happen on time. We drove from Colorado to Kentucky, stopping overnight in Missouri to visit Gina’s sister in Springfield and brother at the College of the Ozarks. It just so happened to be “open house” night and Gina and Lydia were able to see James’ dorm room and a tour of the main part of campus. Unfortunately, Daniel stayed in the vehicle, nursing the worst gout attack he’d had to date. After our visit, we continued to our destination and arrived at Daniel’s brother’s house with less than a dollar to our name. The next day, our house closed on schedule. We lived for the next month in a one-room cabin on Daniel’s brother’s property with no kitchen sink, stove, or oven. Gina learned many new ways to cook using a crockpot and electric skillet. And Lydia learned how to be quiet while her daddy was on phone calls for work.
In February, we celebrated Daniel’s 37th birthday with his family, something he hasn’t been able to do since we moved to Colorado. The contract also fell through for the house we were trying to purchase, so rather than wait for another 6 weeks on a different house, we opted to rent a newly constructed home in Glasgow, KY. So, at the end of February, we moved to our new home, settled in, and began making Glasgow, KY our new home.
In May, Daniel arranged to take Gina for a getaway to Cades Cove, Tennessee, a setting for the novel she was writing. This getaway was to give Daniel time to help Gina with editing and proofreading her completed draft. Gina spent the entire trip, very sick with a fever, chills, and fatigue. While visiting the National park, Gina observed from the car, while Daniel took photos of the buildings and wildlife. A week later, it was determined that Gina had contracted mono, and it took her several weeks to recover.
This summer, Daniel’s sister Rachel, her husband, Jay, and their children came to visit, and we had a Holder family reunion. It was a blast to have everyone together again and Lydia enjoyed spending time with the only girl cousins on the Holder side of the family. We took updated family photos and spent many hours catching up and enjoying each other’s company.
In August, Gina published her very first novel through the Amazon Kindle Direct program, fulfilling a long-invested dream. She has sold a suitable number of copies and given away even more. She has continued building an author platform by taking part in Facebook Events and writing for various blogs. She is building a fan base on social media and is looking forward to continuing through the publishing of more books.
In September, Daniel was let go from his job, a momentary scare, as on the same phone call he was informed of a job opportunity through a contractor, who would then contract him back to the same company he was already working for. He arranged for this opportunity, making it possible for us to take an impromptu visit back to Colorado. God’s hand was in the timing of the trip, as we were able to visit shortly with a much-loved gentleman suffering with cancer, who died two days later. We were able to be a comfort to his family during the first few hours of their grief and we got to say goodbye to a dear friend of the family.
Lydia started the third grade this year and is growing into a beautiful and creative young lady. At the end of October, we celebrated her 10th birthday, surrounded by family and friends. She had a Paris theme for her party, complete with delicious Macarons supplied by her aunt.
In the fall, we began attending Grace Baptist Church in Bowling Green, so we have a 45-minute commute one way. Lydia is enjoying her Sunday school class and taking part in Patch Club on Wednesday nights. This year, Gina joined the cast for their Christmas program as ‘Aunt Sara’ in the “Greatest Story Ever Told.” This was her first time on stage as an actress and she enjoyed the experience.
In December, our church presents a “Walk Through Bethlehem” complete with live animals and “live” actors. Daniel and I took part as Mary and Joseph, one of three sets that rotated through-out the evening between the stable, holding a live donkey on the way into “Bethlehem,” and taking a break. It takes the entire church to put this program together. We had over 2,000 visitors and many in the community make “Walk Through Bethlehem” a yearly tradition.
This year is now winding to a close. We are celebrating Christmas with Daniel’s family here in Kentucky. The new year will bring new changes and transitions as we move once again to rent Daniel’s brother’s house on the property. The Army is moving him and his family to Fort Carson in Colorado, of all places. We know this is where God has brought our family for the time being and we are looking forward to what he has in store this next year for the Holder family. Lots of love to all of you and have a blessed Christmas and a happy new year.
Daniel, Gina, and Lydia Holder