In Touch – December 22, 2012
Posted on December 21, 2012 by under Touché,

To The Saints at Hopewell: Merry Christmas from the Holbrook Family

Dear friends,

Last night I was in Manhattan listening to the Tallis Scholars perform an early music concert. As I looked up at the deep blue heaven of the cathedral ceiling with its twinkling gold stars, and saw high above me the carved angels on the supporting beams, I listened to the words “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in Christ my Savior.” I closed my eyes, and felt certain that I was in the presence of God. Juxtaposing that moment with an hour later, as an illuminated Victoria’s Secret model loomed eight stories over me in Times Square and the Naked Cowboy sang about peace on earth, I realized that I was still in the presence of God, but so were the ticket hawkers, the pretzel vendors, and the pashmina scarf salesmen. It was a reminder to me of the beauty, chaos, and contradiction of the universe God created.

Well, we tried with no avail to get a good family picture this summer, which is pretty indicative of 2012—we are all over the place. Hilary lives in San Diego but spends much of her time in Mexico at Gabriel House with her beloved kids. She is so happy to be working on their behalf, but struggles deeply with the inability to fix things—and children—because the kids don’t live in the US and have access to the services and medical professionals that we do. Please pray for her and them, and visit her blog at

Sarah is in her own slice of heaven in Hudson, NY, working for Americorps. She lives and works on a 400-acre farm, caring for the animals and their environs as well as living with several adults with disabilities. We love to see her pop in every so often on Tuesday, her only day off. Her favorite part of the day is milking her cattle, and as part of life on a self-sustaining farm she has also helped butcher cows (Morningstar, RIP) and make dinner out of her former charges. The circle of life is real, my friends.

Andrew is a freshman at Hope. He participated in the Pull and has made us so proud with his commitment to academic success. We have been thrilled to see the baby of the family grow up and manage life twelve hours away from home and friends, to start a new phase of his life. We are also very thankful for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins nearby, who ease my mother anxiety of being far away, with home-cooked meals, laundry services, and even company in the emergency room (no appendicitis, thankfully).

There are twenty-five pounds less of Taylor than last Christmas, and he looks great. It was fun shopping for new clothes with him. He finds joy in spending time with his various clergy groups and kayaking, bicycling, and once again running lots of miles.

I am teaching AP Language and Composition for the second year, so I have fewer sleepless nights about how I’m going to grade all these papers now that I have been through it once. I also am still running, but far behind Taylor.

While we love the empty nest, we are very much looking forward to having all our kids home at the same time for a whole week. We send our love and wishes for a wonderful Christmas.