Merry Christmas! Happy New Year’s! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy President’s Day! Happy Mardi Gras! letter

Some bloggers report every hiccup and earache their family has. It’s boring. And I think my family is likely pretty boring to other people, too.

But one of my cousins has insisted that I write up the state of my family, and so I figure I’d may as well post something as some people may actually want to know. I promise not to do it often.

It just happens that I’ve working on one of those Christmas letters — you know, the mimeographed flotsam people insert with their Christmas cards. But I can never get those things right, you know. Either they’re just insufferably braggy or they’re cloying, feigned humility or they’re filled with really bad jokes.

But as this cousin of mine has insisted, here’s the rough draft as it stands.

Dear friends and family,

We at the Guin household have had a great 2008. Our four boys are doing well.

Our oldest is Chris. Chris lives in Boston where he is part of a church planting effort, initiated by Harding, where he went to college. He works for BBN, one of the world’s premier computer research companies. They just got a contract to invent the next generation of the internet. He enjoys Boston very much and is very committed to the church plant.

Jonathan has just finished law school here at UA. As I type, he’s in Montgomery to sit for the bar in the morning. It’s pretty stressful stuff, but he’ll do fine. He’s applying to the University of Florida to get a masters in taxation. Two Birmingham firms have already contacted him about working for them after he finishes tax school in another year — which is pretty good in an economy where lawyers are being laid off by the thousands.

His wife, Erin, is a registered nurse who works at UAB’s ICU for heart patients. UAB is a worldclass facility for heart conditions, so she is getting first rate experience. She is studying to be a nurse practitioner and is considering taking some time off to be a traveling nurse.

Tyler is a sophomore at Auburn studying chemistry. He is thinking of a career in research but might try the med school route. He seems to be enjoying Auburn and, very tragically, is being converted to Auburn football. But he earned a scholarship that pays for the whole thing, so I have no standing to complain. Besides, once he returns to civilization, he’ll surely return to his Bama roots. (For those not familiar with such things, Auburn and Alabama are fiece football rivals. FIERCE.)

Philip is a senior at Northridge High School and has applied to Lipscomb, Harding, and Auburn. He’s thinking computer or mechanical engineering. But he’s mainly thinking about finding a girlfriend.

Philip just learned that he’s a National Merit Finalist, making him the fourth of the four boys to earn that distinction — and promising Dad here no tuition for the next four years, which is very cool.

Denise and I have recently moved into a new house, downsizing because the kids are nearly all gone. We’re pretty much worn out with the moving, but the boxes are nearly all empty and there’s room to park in the garage. We have virtually no yard, which is great.

Most weekends, Philip invites 20 or so of his closest friends to come hang out, play loud music, or set up a LAN party. The parents of the other kids are very grateful that we host their kids (and that they don’t have to). But other than the noise level (which is considerable), it’s no big deal. Having had four boys, we’re comfortable with chaos.

My father and mother are in their mid-80’s and dealing with their first serious health issues. My mother is scheduled for a hip replacement tomorrow morning.

My dad had a mini-stroke a couple of weeks ago, but he’s in rehab and doing much better. It appears much of the damage was due to swelling rather than cell death, and he’s returning to his normal self. In a sense, the mini-stroke is a good thing, as most severe strokes come without warning. This way, he’s being medicated to prevent the big one.

So keep my parents in your prayers.

In a couple of weeks I travel to Nashville to play father to Kyle Sapp when he gets married. Kyle grew up in my house, and I’ve been kind of a surrogate father, so I have to rent a tux. Which means I have to get measured. Which means I have to confront my dimensions. Which I’d rather not do.

Kyle is a youth minister in a northern California church, so we don’t get to see him much any more.

Zach Price is another kid who’s largely grown up here. (We have this weird habit of picking up spare sons. I really don’t understand it.) Anyway, he’s got a new girlfriend, and we think it’s pretty serious, although he’s in deep denial. Zach would love to enter the Episcopalian ministry, and so he’s a religious studies major. [insert Episcopalian joke]

Umm … we have no pets, and we manage to kill all indoor plants. And any outdoor plants that require any kind of care at all.

And that’s pretty much it.

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year’s! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy President’s Day! Happy Mardi Gras!

[It’s a suitable ending for Episcopalians]

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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3 Responses to Merry Christmas! Happy New Year’s! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy President’s Day! Happy Mardi Gras! letter

  1. Chr1sch says:

    Hey… I loved reading something about your family. Wow… 6 boys. I have 2 brothers…

  2. Nancy Posey says:

    Jay, In most families one spouse seems to be the dominant internet user. Since Denise claims not to be able to type, I see you're the one.

    Pat Malone, whose sons I taught at Mars Hill, has recently appeared in my facebook world and we've been rekindling our friendship. Seeing you in her list, I asked the connection and learned her genuine respect for you. Now I'm getting started reading some of your blogs. I'd love to catch up a little. We both grew up at the same time in the Church of Christ and therefore share some of the same blessings and burdens.

    We're members at the Hickory Church of Christ now and have a new minister as of Jan. 1 after almost 18 months of searching, waiting, and praying. Things are looking up.

    Give my love to Denise, my old roomie! I'll be reading what you write now.

    Nancy (Coats) Posey

  3. Jay Guin says:


    Denise is actually very proficient with the computer. She just doesn't like writing.

    Come by Tuscaloosa some time and visit. And bring Pat with you. She's the best friend I have that I've never met.

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