Since Most of You Won't Be Receiving One: Our Holiday Letter
Dearest Family and Friends,
We're sorry that this letter is arriving so late. We'd like to blame the busy holidays for our tardiness, or, failing that, point our bony fingers at the ever more problematic postal system (39 cents now, can you believe it? sound the alarms and continue your mind numbing conversations about gas prices!). However, such accusations would be entirely false. The fact is, we enjoyed an incredibly relaxing and relatively hassle-free holidays and simply have not prioritized updating you on our humble little life. Now that we have that out of the way, we'd like to give you a little summation of 2005.
Jeff and Kellie at 4 Judson St.
It's hard to believe that we've called the first floor of #4 Judson home for almost two years now, but facts are facts. We continue to share our living space with Alex Pope, who is one of the finest men and trustworthy bartenders that we've ever known, and Dizzy Dean, the Australian Blue Heeler we adopted almost a year ago. We could tell you a thousand stories about our precocious little pup, such as the time she tore our chair cushion to bits, her particular affinity - much to Jeff's dismay - for crushing Jeff's scrotum or her newfound ability to "raise the roof," however, such simple stories cannot describe the chaotic joy she has brought to our lives. If you want to know more about our "Dizzle," you should schedule yourself a little "vizzle" (translation: come visit us, like many people - including both of our folks, Jeff's Papa and Barbara, as Kellie's sister Jennifer, Becky AuBuchon, Becky Tucker, the Sim - no "p" - kins, Fletch the e.o.e.ing Shepherd and the Bennetts - did last year. we're hoping that this year Kellie's sister Lindsay, any assortment of Jeff's cousins, Jeff's brother Josh, Brian Taylor, Kevin & Amy Clark, Tyler Hughes and other unexpected visitors make an appearance on the Jeff and Kellie Show).
Our beloved Anita, who owns the condo on the second floor recently finished her first screenplay (based on George MacDonald's Sir Gibbie) and continues to be a conviction-inducing model of industry and activity. Anita is one of the most hospitable, kind and committed Christ followers we have ever met. It is an honor to share a house with her.
Out of her infinite hospitality, Anita invited James and Brooke Wilcox to live in her third floor loft this year. It has been wonderful for us to have a pair of our closest friends in the building. One of the most interesting developments of J & B's time here has been our little car co-op. Out of a desire to shrink our environmental footprint and live in more economically sustainable ways, the four of us sold our respective cars and bought a 2001 Volkswagen Jetta TDI (turbo-diesel), which we have been running on bio-diesel fuel. Our little bio-diesel experiment has been quite successful thus far, providing us with plenty of fuel for the Jetta and a little supplemental fuel for our home heating unit. Sure, it also makes Kellie and I's condo smell like a french fry and Jeff and James have a disturbing tendency to "drink" our savings down throughout the refining process, but that's a small price to pay for affordable fuel and environmental responsibility. Interestingly enough, the sole by-product of bio-diesel is pure glycerin. Since James does not share my interest in producing nitro-glycerin, we might be developing our own soap this year. If that ends up happening, maybe we'll send you some homemade hand soap.
I always feel like these year end letters are a little less than objective and, at their worst, a little ego-centric. They tell you all about the successes and surprises of the family or individual's last year, but they carefully omit any failures, omissions or mistakes that have been made. Thus, we will be surprisingly honest by telling you that we failed to get any substantial work on our house done this year. After a valiant attempt, Jeff failed to finish cleaning up our industrial pit of a backyard, Kellie fell a bit short of creatively redesigning our bedroom and we did not finish the trim and paint Alex's bathroom. We hope to report that we have remedied these errors and omissions in next year's ego-centric letter.
Jeff and Kellie at Worship
The Sinners and Saints House Church Community that Jeff helped plant and both Jeff and Kellie help lead, has continued to grow in healthy ways.
We've served our community in intriguing ways, by providing designated driving for local bars on Saint Patrick's Day (a complete waste of time), providing "confessions" (wherein we, dressed as quite strapping medieval monks and nuns, surprised our visitors by confessing the sins of the church and providing straight roads for reconciliation and gospel proclamation) to the tens of thousands of people who visit Salem during the Halloween season and continuing to serve with Beverly Bootstraps, our spectacular local social service agency.
We've also served the church and people throughout the world by helping put a Ugandan Christian through University in his home country, continuing to empower our OMF missionary, Faye David, to proclaim the gospel and build churches throughout the Shan communities of Thailand and Burma and contributing to relief organizations who served those who suffered from any number of the horrible tragedies that struck throughout the world this year. Moreover, we recently sent two of our number, Alex Pope and Eric Cade, on a short-term mission trip to Mexico, where they helped shoot a short fund-raising video for a local missionary.
Finally, we've been blessed to continue worshipping with and serving God beside a number of incredible people. This year we said goodbye to Rhys & Kristina Kuzmic and their two beautiful children, as they set off for San Dimas, California where Rhys is pursuing a Ph. D. in film studies. However, we had not finished recovering from their move before Landis & Laura Brown and their two precocious and wonderful kids joined our community. Landis & Laura are from southwestern Missouri, where Landis attended Ozark Christian College and they had recently been ministering in a local church before coming to New England to attend the South Hamilton Institute of Theology. Their presence and the vitality of their kids, have been a blessing to our community. Furthermore, Leanne Jones moved all the way up from the South Shore of Boston to be a part of our community this year. Leanne's rapacious wit and self-less hospitality have made her an essential addition to Sinners and Saints. Jamie and Rachel Lang-Townsend, two funky, poetic, progressive, Christ loving people joined us last spring an have added significant color and content to our community. They never allow our conversations to stay shallow and literally brim with passion and creativity. Is it any wonder why we adore them? We also celebrated Alex's baptism in the tropical waters of the Atlantic this June. Both the baptism and cookout that followed were a night that we'll all (okay, everyone except for Dizzy Dean, who hit the hops a little too hard) remember.
There is so much more we could say about S & S, which also celebrated her 3rd birthday this year! Serving God with this community that seeks to incarnate Christ's compassion and proclaim the beauty, goodness and truth of the gospel to the world, has been one of our deepest joys. Though we never foresaw ourselves serving in this form of ministry, especially during our time at Soybean Bible, we could not be happier with the ministry God has given us.
Jeff and Kellie at Work
Kellie continues to work for Dr. Ralph Houk, who is a world renowned Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon as well as one helluva nice guy. After spending a year as the office secretary Kellie was promoted to the role of office manager this year. Her new position has provided her with an opportunity to flex her considerable administrative skills (God have mercy on those worthless pieces of shit who fail to pay) and provided her with a healthy raise as well (which she wanted to use to procure a hot-tub, an idea that - for all its potential residual benefits - Jeff has effectively defeated).
Jeff continues to work for LightWay Christian Stores, which is the world-wide leader in sports, er, he means, the largest Christian retailer in the world. After spending a year serving as a virtual book whore, moving this copy of The Purpose-Driven Life from this page to that and developing an attractive new weight-loss feature for the Women of Faith Shop, he was promoted to the role of Internet Copywriter. He now spends his days promoting Christian sex manuals, including the Rich-inspired volume Calling Out Your Name, and encouraging local church pastors to procure fancy new pew Bibles that no one will read. Although he has always been a tad cynical about his job, the copywriter position has wrought new challenges and a considerable raise that Jeff says, "almost makes going to work worthwhile."
Thus, over the past year God has continued to put our occupational skills to work and this has resulted in us having enough money to get by. All in all, we're incredibly thankful for the way our home, vocational and occupational lives developed in 2006. We'd like to close our letter, by providing you with a few interesting, an seemingly random, facts about our life together.
James & Brooke's car is white.
Kellie likes gin and tonic.
The Cardinals broke Jeff's heart again and are likely to suffer a precipitous decline in 2006.
Jeff & Kellie joined Jeff's family for the last two regular season games at Busch Stadium.
Okay, only Jeff attended both games, Kellie opted to shop on Sunday instead.
In 2006 both Jeff and Kellie fell in love with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and have read all five books and seen almost all the movies within last calendar year.
Jeff assures you that it's the series he loves, not the character. Jeff's not gay or anything, but the fact that he likes to dress up like Sirius Black kind-of is.
Kellie's favorite color is black.
Kellie's sister Lindsay, surprised us with Shiloh, another beautiful niece, this year.
Since Jeff and Kellie are now Yankees, they're thinking of naming their first child Gettysburg or Sherman.
After months of futile resistance, Dizzy now sleeps on Jeff and Kellie's bed.
After years of struggles, Jeff no longer wets the bed.
After months of trying, Kellie is finally PREGNANT!
Our prayer for you is that in 2006,
The God of our forefathers and mothers will "bless you and keep you,
make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you,
lift his countenance upon you and give you peace" (Numbers, 6:24-26).
Jeff and Kellie Gentry
P.S. - We hope you schedule your vizzle, this very darn dizzle.
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