2009 Christmas greetings from David & Margaret

Dear family & friends,

Less is more, they say. And we always have so much more to say that I needed to find a way to do so with much less. So, ever up for a challenge, this year’s Christmas letter gives you month-by-month glimpses into our year through a series of Haiku poems. Without claiming to be a Haiku virtuoso, I have followed the “traditional” form of 3 lines, with 5-7-5 syllables per line, aiming to create a single image or striking contrast with each poem. For those of you who might be poetically-challenged or simply lacking enough context to appreciate all that’s packed into each Haiku, there is a simple footnote commentary at the end Enjoy!.

Blessings in this holy season!

Leah is pushing
Mark is bedside near—and then
Waverly is here

Each Saturday now
breakfast, playtime, and a nap
babysit Kaleb

Leah works all day
Mark does daycare, then works nights
Kiss love life good-bye!

Numbers everywhere!
Bobby crams, exam, exam
Someday CPA

Stories help us see
through the differences we have
David is aMazed

Hist’ry written well
earns Meredith accolades:
Howard Reinmuth Prize

The wind goes rushing
skirts go twirling, cowgirls sing
Susanna: OK!

Quarantined at home
Susanna battles swine flu
No worries; she’s well

David travels far
his words travel further yet
every word: welcome

A shiny new bike
up hill and down, far and wide
Susanna and Dad

Axes bite, saws sing,
and dogs leap over water
it’s lumberjack days

Lutherans gather
to pray sing argue and vote
are all welcome now?

Seasons change, life too,
new house and new job for each
Meredith and Joe

Book by book it comes
welcome for GLBT
one thousand are sold!

Fam’ly crowds their home
Megan and Bobby both beam
Kaleb’s first birthday

Last year at Luther
food fight and religion club,
Hindu meets sci-fi

Thanksgiving dinner
Waverly’s growl Kaleb’s stroll
grandkids bless our life

December … and beyond
Hard times everywhere
Margaret still sets records
travelers abound

Dolphins, pets, and Zen
a fallen friend, and women
our season’s giving

Lost library book?
no; a lost library Ben
to school who knows where?

June bells ring for joy
Megan and Bobby will say
a happy “I do.”


1.  On January 24, 2009, our 2nd grandchild, Waverly Margaret Rose Lawrence was born to Leah & Mark.

2.  We watch Kaleb, our 1st grandchild most Saturdays; I have breakfast waiting when Margaret & Kaleb arrive. Megan comes by after her day at the Credit Union ends and joins us for a late lunch. Simple joy.

3.  Leah & Mark work alternating schedules and cover almost all of Waverly’s daycare; despite the playfully voiced challenges of this routine, they (and their 3 dogs) are a happy family.

4.  Megan’s fiancé Bobby has been studying for & taking the multi-part CPA exam all year, hopefully done.

5.  In April I began serving on the board of aMaze, a wonderful nonprofit using picture books to promote diversity and understanding in school children. Check it out at http://www.amazeworks.org.

6.  Nearly a year after graduating, Meredith was honored for writing the best undergraduate paper in history during her senior year: “Proto-nationalism: Religious Orthodoxy and the Construction of Late Medieval Spanish Identity.”

7.  Susanna, then a 7th grader, was part of the cowgirl chorus in her school’s production of Oklahoma!

8.  Susanna’s 1st week of summer vacation saw her busy with crafts and books til the pigs flew the coop.

9.  Mid-summer, following a rewarding trip to speak in Columbia, MO, I quit my job at St. Kate’s to dedicate myself fulltime to writing and speaking about spirituality, sexuality, and welcoming all. See my website at https://tothetune.wordpress.com.

10.  We biked miles and miles!

11.  Again this year Margaret & Meredith teamed up to lead a travel trip for adults with special needs (through Margaret’s work); this time to Stillwater’s lumberjack days.

12.  The ELCA (Lutheran church) voted, with much drama, to allow for blessing same-sex couples and ordaining them as ministers—but the backlash has stifled any sense of wider welcome.

13.  Besides buying a house in rural (& beautiful) WI, just across the river, Meredith now works as the Spanish ELL liaison in 2 St. Paul public schools and Joe (still w/St. Paul PD) is now a motorcade cop.

14.  My book, To the Tune of a Welcoming God: Lyrical reflections on sexuality, spirituality, and the wideness of God’s welcome, sold its 1000th copy. You can support the work of welcome—and help keep groceries in our cupboard—by buying a copy for yourself or as a gift at http://www.davidrweiss.com.

15.  We celebrated Kaleb’s 1st birthday (September 29th)—and also Brett Favre’s 32-yard pass to Greg Lewis in the endzone with 2 seconds to play, a good omen for the birthday boy, no doubt.

16.  Ben is a senior, busy protesting the college’s switch to Sodexo (cafeteria outsource), starting a club for religion majors & minors, leading Zen meditation, and writing a senior paper: “Deep-space Deities, Cosmic Causation, and Interstellar Interconnectedness: The Influences of Hinduism in Babylon 5.

17.  Waverly seems to have been raised by a pack of feral cats as her preferred vocalization is a growling purr; Kaleb, meanwhile, totters about with a distinctive “stroll.” (Waverly skipped crawling altogether and recently joined him becoming bipedal.)

18.  For her 2nd straight year Margaret had a record setting (well in the black!) year of bringing vacation joy to adults with developmental difficulties: 560 travelers on 100 trips!

19.  Instead of buying gifts for each other, we all pool our “gift” $$ to make donations to charities chosen by our 5 children: protecting dolphins, Decorah’s (IA) Ryumonji Zen monastery, the Ben Doran Foundation (HS friend of Meredith’s), a women’s shelter, and the Twin Cities Animal Humane Society.

20.  Next year Ben heads off to a Masters program in library science, in OK, MN, or WI—who knows.

21.  June 5, 2010 Megan and Bobby get married!

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