The Hazels wish one and all "Merry Christmas and Joyful New Year"
Christmas 1997

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere we go..."  NOT!  If you live around the Northwest you'll know what I'm talking about.  Thanks to "El Niņo", this part of the country is experiencing some of the sunniest (maybe not warmest, but sunniest) days we have had all year long. The weather is making up for some the rainiest days we had in the spring and summer and for me (Fran) it is most welcome since rain all day long can make me very cranky.

Well what's new for news? Let me think.  As you all know we made our big move to remodel our house last April.  Since we have been here, much has been accomplished.  We completed the outside painting which was a huge job.  The paint that was on there  was so bad that by the time it was all scraped, bare wood was the primary color for the house before we put the sprayer to work.  Two decks are done, one in front of the house and the upper one in the back.  We have plans for a lower deck in the back to tie into the upper one.  You know all that rain we mentioned above?  Well, it started leaking into the basement after we attacked and started removing an ugly patio in the front of the house.  So, before the front deck could be built we had to fix the leak in the basement.  We had to rent a very large backhoe to dig a hole in front of the house 40 feet long, 5 feet wide and 10 feet deep .  You know what?  You just call up, and then next day, when you get home, there's this huge yellow backhoe in front of your house!  Hey, guys, if you've ever played with Tonka trucks and dozers, this is the real thing.  A warning, though:  Be careful around trees and structures.  Even "experienced" weekend backhoe operators had some trouble and skinned the limb of the fir tree in front, and put a couple of gouges on the house.  But it was all pretty minor -- nothing that a little spackle couldn't fix.  Anyway, believe it or not, Geoff, with the help of  my brother and a good friend, accomplished this huge task in just one weekend.  Man, can these guys hustle.  After all that, I by my very lonesome moved and raked dirt and planted 20-30 plants and grass seed and hauled bark to make our front yard look presentable.  I'm quite proud of it, if I do say so myself.  I only made one small mistake: I forgot to let the dirt that filled our hole settle first, so after all planting was done the rains came and the dirt sank a foot. Next spring I will have to fill that in and replant some plants.  We have just about "achieved kitchenette" in the basement and have the goal of completion at Christmas when Geoff will have two weeks off.

As for each of us, Geoff started a new job last March as the IS (information services) Director for a wholesale company in Seattle.  He is really enjoying it and is responsible for a department of six.  This move to Pacific Rim Import Company came after looking for about a year for this kind of position.  We had even looked in southern Calif. at a similar job, but after a weekend trip to scope it out the Lord impressed upon both of us that all we would ever need for work would be in Seattle.  We're glad that we listened and waited for His timing in providing the job that would best suit Geoff and our family needs.  Besides his regular job, and working on the house, can you believe this, he has decided to do some occasional consulting and computer programming jobs.  This is what happens when you love what you do.
Timmy now 17, found himself in Bellingham, WA this summer as a CIT (counselor in training) for Camp Firwood.  He was gone for a full three months and grew mentally, emotionally and spiritually while he was there.  He left home with a "teenage attitude" and came home an enjoyable young man.  The fellowship he experienced with the staff there was exceptional and he misses the camaraderie a lot; so much so I'm afraid that a couple of our phone bills have been a little on the high side.  But all in all we thank the Lord for the person He is making Timmy out to be.

Jenny grew 2 inches in 6 months.  If she and Timmy and were the same age (6) at the same time she would be taller that him.  I look at her long fingers and feet and wonder how tall she will become.  I must say too that she is a whiz at learning.  She has taught herself to read and is passing her peers at a rapid rate.  It truly amazes me.  My memory of reading in the first grade consists of  "See!"  "See Dick run."  Jenny on the other hand is reading full books with paragraphs.  Can you tell that I'm a proud Mama?

As for myself, my business has been very slow this year.  It's been hard to accept.  I'm afraid I put to much of my self image into my work.  Maybe one of the reasons it's slow is so the Lord can better teach me that my self image lies in Him and not in my work.  So while He and I work on this aspect of my life,  I have taken an  "On Call" position at Overlake Hospital in Bellevue.  It will fill up some of my time while I earn the extra money we will need to finish the remodeling that we are doing.  I'm working in the Admissions Department and I can pick and choose when I want to work, so if my business does pick up I can feel free to take on a project.

As I look at the past year, all I can do is humbly thank the Lord for His mercy and graciousness to our family as He continues to keep us safe and meet our every need.  With this we joyfully celebrate with you all,  His birth, death and resurrection that gives us life abundantly here on earth and the promise of life with Him everlasting.  All our prayers and thoughts go with you and we wish that we were closer to everyone of you so that we could share some time with you face to face.

Merry Christmas  From the Hazel Family
Geoff, Fran, Timmy, Jenny, Barney (our getting old puppy) and Slinky (still our queen kitty).

P.S.  Geoff here.  We had a great time in Eugene this summer at Christine and Stuart Smith's house with many of our old friends.  It was a great reunion of 25 years and memories of those days of being 20 something brought many laughs and warm fuzzy feelings for all of you who played such a major part in our lives back then.  As we reminisced and enjoyed each other's company, I realized that time had not really separated us that much and it felt good to know that we could pick up our friendships with you so easily.  By the way I recall someone promising to get an e-mail list distributed, and as yet, I haven't seen it... who was that??  Well, soon I'm going to put a web site with some pictures of the house, and perhaps us as well.  I don't have an address yet, but if you're interested, drop me a note and as soon as it's ready, I'll let you know. E-mail me at geoff_hazel@juno.com.  This address also doubles as our family e-mail address.