You know, it seems less popular to send out mimeographed newsletters with Christmas cards than it used to be. Maybe it’s because people got tired of all the bragging, but I think it’s because of Facebook. But I don’t think Facebook is an adequate substitute for serious bragging on your kids.
So here goes …
Chris and Jonathan are still in Boston and both doing very well at work. Erin, Jonathan’s wife, is pregnant with our first grandchild — a boy — due in May (my birthday is May 13). They are in the process of picking out a name — which is no easy task. Having a boy is particularly significant, because Denise and I have four sons, and so we’re fully equipped for a boy grandbaby. And this will be the first great-grandchild of my parents with the Guin last name — making them especially excited at the prospect of a Guin great-grandson.
Chris still works at BBN, doing computer programming. Jonathan is at Ernst & Young, practicing international tax law. Erin is a nurse, and she works with a team that handles transplants. Chris is part of a the Quincy Community Church plant in Quincy, a Boston suburb.
Tyler is a senior at Auburn, about to graduate with a double major in chemistry and chemical engineering. He is working on applications for grad school. He made one of the top 100 GRE scores in the country. And he’s engaged — to Tara Baker. Tara is also a senior and an award-winning graphics artist. This summer, she interned in Washington, D.C., where she designed the entrance to the NFL Hall of Fame (What could be cooler than that?)
Philip is a junior at the University of Alabama, in computer science and accounting. He is working part time for Byron Sommardahl, our former youth minister, doing programming. Byron is doing well and Philip enjoys the work. It’s typical of the computer age that Byron splits living between Murfreesboro, TN and Honduras, and Philip lives here in Tuscaloosa, but thanks to Facebook, Skype, etc., they are able to work on very complex projects together daily.
And so Denise and I are, in theory, empty nesters. But Tyler is only 2 ½ hours away, and Philip is only 2 ½ minutes away, meaning the nest isn’t all that empty, which is good.
At church, we’re (hopefully) wrapping up a search for a new preacher. We have a candidate coming in on January 8, and we’ll be announcing his name and details shortly. The search has been going on for nearly five months, and it’s worn on us all. Things got so desperate at church that they even had me preach!
Denise has been busy as ever, working with tornado victims, helping friends of ours with two weddings in the last couple of months, and preparing for Tyler’s wedding — not to mention Christmas, which we take very seriously here at the Guin household.
I’ve been invited to speak at the Tulsa Workshop as part of the elder track. I’ll do three hours of classes — and I’m thrilled. First, it’s just very flattering to be invited, and I love to teach a live class. And I’ve never been to the Tulsa Workshop. I’ve heard great things about it, and know that many of my Internet friends — friends I’ve never met in person — attend, and so I’m really looking forward to meeting many of these good people.
Meanwhile, the blog continues to attract a healthy readership. Kent Shaffer has rated it one of the top 200 Christian blogs on the Internet. If you look at just the Alexa score, it’s easily in the top 100 (not that I’m biased or anything). I’m getting maybe 1,000,000 pageviews per year. It’s hard to say because nowadays there are so many ways for people to read a blog. And I’m still having a lot of fun with it, although time to post is increasingly hard to come by.
Finally, Tuscaloosa is digging out from the April 27 tornado. The city is about to finalize the new building code and zoning rules for the area, which should produce a flood of new construction and jobs. Mercedes has $2 billion in new investments on the horizon, and the University of Alabama continues to grow. The unemployment rate around here is finally starting to decline, and 2012 is shaping up to be a busy year.
Oh, and Denise and I will be at the BCS Championship game in a few days, watching Alabama gain vengeance against the LSU Bengal Tigers in New Orleans. And that’s going to be some kind of fun! And, no, I feel no pity for Oklahoma State.
So that’s my family newsletter for 2011. Yes, it’s kind of braggy, but you only have to suffer through it once, rather than having to read me dribble the drivel out daily on Facebook. I’ll do it again in a year.