Mark and Kristen Howerton’s
“Fabulous, Fabulous Christmas Letter 2001”

Hello friends,
Well, it’s that time of year again, and so much has happened since last year that it’s hard to know where to begin.[1] There is so much to tell about our Fabulous, Fabulous Lives in this year’s Fabulous, Fabulous Christmas Letter 2001.[2] We enjoyed the opportunity to travel this year. We started in San Francisco, where we rang in the New Year. We took a trip up the coast for a friend’s wedding, and of course stayed at one of the best hotels of the city. [3] Believe it or not, this was my first time driving up the California coastline. We also took a road trip to the Monterey/Carmel area for another friend’s wedding later in the year. In February, we went on a mission trip with our church to India. While we were there, we took part in local customs,[4] learned age-old Indian traditions,[5] and sampled exotic cuisine[6]. Also, I caught a nasty bug[7] that kept me close to my bedroom[8] for about a month. So that was fun. This October, we took a trip to New York with some friends to catch up on the Broadway shows. We stayed at the finest hotels[9], ate at the best restaurants[10], and enjoyed a week of romance away from home[11]. Then in November, we went back to New York City to serve with the Salvation Army for a week, and served food to the people working at the tragedy site.

Mark continues to work at Rock Harbor Church, though he transitioned to a new position this year. He has left youth ministry to serve as the Director of Spiritual Formation, where he oversees some small groups, seminars, does occasional speaking, and is starting a recovery ministry. We’ll definitely miss the many nights a week we spent at youth group and having our house toilet-papered on a regular basis[12], but I believe that this new position is going to really stretch Mark. Yes, our Mark is growing up, and I can assure you that since accepting his new position he has been the model of maturity and propriety.[13] This year saw some career transitions for me as well. You may remember that this time last year I was enjoying the challenge[14] of working three jobs. I finally left my research position at UCI in order to pursue counseling on a full-time basis[15]. I am still with Journeys Counseling, and we recently moved off the college campus and into an office suite.

Oh, I almost forget – the kids are doing great.[16] Our three-year old triplets Chelsea, Amber, and Tiffany are growing up so fast!.[17] Chelsea was recently accepted at Dartmouth. Amber just got her MENSA card in the mail, and Tiffany will be playing violin for the LA symphony this year.[18] And we can’t forget our feisty pure-bred golden retrievers who sleep at our feet every night.[19]

But seriously, we continue to enjoy this time in our lives when we can focus on our marriage and continue to learn more about ourselves and each other. As I write this, I can’t help but think how blessed we are by our friendships, and we hope this letter and the coming year finds you healthy and happy.
Merry Christmas, Mark and Kristen Howerton
[1] Statistics show that this is the best way to start a Christmas letter.
[2] This is the first of many lies
[3] San Francisco Youth Hostel
[4] That’s the bathroom?
[5] You use what for toilet paper?
[6] Let’s hope that’s chicken.
[7] literally
[8] bathroom
[9] Best Western
[10] Street-side hot-dog vendors
[11] Shared a room with our friend Isaac
[12] Like you miss a bunion after it’s been removed
[13] Today is opposite day.
[14] Stress and chaos
[15] Full-time meaning as few hours a week as possible
[16] Okay, so we don’t have kids yet. Back off.
[17] But seriously, how much would you kill us if we named our kids Chelsea, Amber, and Tiffany?
[18] I know, it’s a little much. But you were kind of impressed for a minute, right?
[19] As if. We can’t even keep a fish.