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Our Christmas Letter
Friday, December 26, 2014 by Susan Lyttek

Merry Christmas from the Lytteks! We hope and pray that 2014 treated you well.

As far as we go, it has been a year of amazing blessings and awkward trials. But we are leaving this year on a better note and hope it bodes well for 2015.

Erik is twenty. One of the two is no longer a teenager. His year has had spurts of crazy busyness and frustrating lulls of nothing happening. While he finished college coursework the end of last year, he officially was awarded his degree in March. After that, he studied for and took the GRE a few times—trying to raise his composition score. Once he got that where he wanted it, he started applying to grad schools and for jobs. For the longest time (mom speak, you know), nothing seemed to happen. During that time, he prepared for and went on a high-adventure trek along part of the Appalachian Trail with a group of friends. Then, in September he had three interviews in one week. Out of that, he acquired two part-time jobs: one at a new Dick’s Sporting Goods and one at a Huntington Learning Center. Between the two, he works about forty hours a week. He is still applying to grad schools and hopes to start next fall. In the meantime, he’s saving up all his money with hopes of investing in a rental property with his Aunt Wendy.

Karl is sixteen. He began the year as second officer for the new Trail Life troop. Part of that required collecting dues and balancing the budget. He stayed late many nights trying to make sure everything was just right! For his sixteenth birthday, my parents flew him out to Chicago for almost a week (including the Wrigley Field tour in the picture). He traveled totally solo, but seemed to enjoy the adventure. In August, he attended my favorite writers conference with me to enjoy the teen program. It was fun having him along, but I think he got tired of meeting people who have heard about him over the years. He is working on his junior/senior year of high school. Once he completes the coursework we have on hand, he will have finished all his high school requirements. Maybe by next year he’ll decide what he wants to do post high school.

Healthwise, Gary has had a rough year. Most of the unfortunate circumstances began in May when he and I were diagnosed with an intestinal parasite. Since only the two of us got it, it was deduced that we got it at a restaurant—sharing a meal. That kicked his chronic fatigue into overdrive. In spite of having to work from home quite a bit and taking more than the usual sick days, he received an outstanding evaluation at work this year along with a nice bonus. The after-effects from the parasite have had other unusual and lasting reactions.  He hopes that 2015 will be a positive heath-filled year! He continues to work with Awanas as able and did a fantastic job remodeling our bedroom this year. The pale blue walls make it so restful!

 I had the sick bout mentioned above, but seemed to get over it quicker. Even so, physically, it has been a painful year. The bug forced me to give up meat for the most part—just can’t cope with it. And my fibro’s been worse. Spiritually and emotionally, though, it has been one of my best! Three books came out this year. First, in February was Guzzy Goofball—a comedy for kids.

Then in August the second Talbott family mystery, Killer Field Trip, released.

And just this month, the third Talbott family mystery, Plundered Christmas came out.

Also, I won first place in a national short story competition in the speculative category for an elvish take on Snow White called The Grumpy Chronicles. The book that has the winners’ entries, Out of the Storm, releases next month.

I also had a great visit with Angela and the Montgomery daughters out in Colorado Springs in August with Erik. That was his graduation present. And my sister Liz and I had a lot of fun when she came to visit me in September. I continue to work with Write At Home, teach a middle grade class at STARS on Thursdays, volunteer at Awanas and try to make certain Karl stays on track with school. If you feel so inclined, I’d love you to check out my blog posts on my website: sajlyttek.com.

Now that you’re more or less caught up with the Lytteks, I’d like to remind you that we send you this annual letter because you are important to us. You have made an impact on our lives over the years and we want you to remember, at this blessed time, how special you are.

We love you and wish you every blessing from the hand of our mighty and gracious God in 2015.

Jesus is born! Alleluia!

Gary, Susan, Erik, Karl… and Checkers, too!

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Times of Transition
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6/6/2015

Blog Ideas
Susan Lyttek
5/30/2015

Mercs Next Door, Part 2
Susan Lyttek
5/23/2015

Mercs Next Door, Part 1
Susan Lyttek
5/15/2015

Getting to Mom
Susan Lyttek
5/9/2015

To Blog or Not to Blog
Susan Lyttek
5/2/2015

Driving Lessons
Susan Lyttek
4/25/2015

Gaming Education
Susan Lyttek
4/18/2015

Fast Lessons
Susan Lyttek
4/11/2015

Resurrection Thoughts
Susan Lyttek
4/4/2015

Power of the Coupon
Susan Lyttek
3/28/2015

Spring Planting
Susan Lyttek
3/21/2015

Showing My Age
Susan Lyttek
3/14/2015

Teaching Women
Susan Lyttek
3/7/2015

Beware the Ides of... February
Susan Lyttek
2/28/2015

Honoring a President in Fiction
Susan Lyttek
2/21/2015

Gratitude Lessons
Susan Lyttek
2/14/2015

The Pros and Cons of Research
Susan Lyttek
2/6/2015

Off the Hamster Wheel... Part 3
Susan Lyttek
1/30/2015

Off the Hamster Wheel... Part 2
Susan Lyttek
1/24/2015

The Homeschool Hamster Wheel
Susan Lyttek
1/16/2015

Etiquette Education
Susan Lyttek
1/9/2015

Ready Stance
Susan Lyttek
1/2/2015

Our Christmas Letter
Susan Lyttek
12/26/2014

Sharing Christmas, Part Two
Susan Lyttek
12/19/2014

Sharing Christmas
Susan Lyttek
12/12/2014

Swedish Christmas Education
Susan Lyttek
12/5/2014

The Worry/Grumble Antidote
Susan Lyttek
11/28/2014

Milestone Days
Susan Lyttek
11/21/2014

Volunteer Education--via Operation Christmas Child
Susan Lyttek
11/14/2014

Veteran Education
Susan Lyttek
11/7/2014

Reformation Education
Susan Lyttek
10/31/2014

The Reluctant Vegetarian
Susan Lyttek
10/24/2014

What I Didn't, Couldn't Teach
Susan Lyttek
10/17/2014

Learning to Stand
Susan Lyttek
10/10/2014

Christian Work Ethic
Susan Lyttek
10/3/2014

Animal Education
Susan Lyttek
9/26/2014

Changing the Love of Learning
Susan Lyttek
9/19/2014

Blog Block
Susan Lyttek
9/12/2014

Educating Mom
Susan Lyttek
9/5/2014

The Debate
Susan Lyttek
8/29/2014

Interview with Jane, a non-homeschooling friend
Susan Lyttek
8/22/2014

The Homeschool Rebel
Susan Lyttek
8/15/2014

Other Countries, Other Peoples
Susan Lyttek
8/8/2014

George Washington Lessons
Susan Lyttek
8/1/2014

Interview with Heather Day Gilbert
Susan Lyttek
7/25/2014

A Creation Education
Susan Lyttek
7/18/2014

The Blessing of the Church
Susan Lyttek
7/11/2014

Free to Homeschool
Susan Lyttek
7/4/2014

The Best Thing
Susan Lyttek
6/27/2014

School Lite
Susan Lyttek
6/20/2014

Homeschooling Poetry
Susan Lyttek
6/13/2014

Homeschool Preschool
Susan Lyttek
6/6/2014

AWANAcation (or Awana Education)
Susan Lyttek
5/30/2014

Drowning in the Ideal Schedule
Susan Lyttek
5/23/2014

Penpal Encouragement: An Interview with Sandi
Susan Lyttek
5/16/2014

Unexpected Education
Susan Lyttek
5/9/2014

When Is a Homeschool Mom NOT a Homeschool Mom?
Susan Lyttek
5/2/2014

Relax, It's Just Writing
Susan Lyttek
4/25/2014

Purpose Driven Homeschool
Susan Lyttek
4/18/2014

The Heart of the Music
Susan Lyttek
4/11/2014

Music Lessons
Susan Lyttek
4/4/2014

Teaching My Testimony (Part 2)
Susan Lyttek
3/28/2014

Teaching My Testimony (Part 1)
Susan Lyttek
3/21/2014

Glimmers of Homeschooling
Susan Lyttek
3/14/2014

Failed Days
Susan Lyttek
3/7/2014

Other Side of the Homeschool Table...Leanne Hanson
Susan Lyttek
2/28/2014

Fairy Tale Theology
Susan Lyttek
2/21/2014

Things I Love about Life and Homeschooling
Susan Lyttek
2/14/2014

Limitless Creativity by Bonnie Rose Hudson
Susan Lyttek
2/7/2014

Weaving Christ into Math
Susan Lyttek
1/31/2014

Paula Mowery Interview
Susan Lyttek
1/24/2014

Historic Field Trips
Susan Lyttek
1/17/2014

Snow Days... Homeschool Style
Susan Lyttek
1/10/2014

Homeschooled Mom Resolutions
Susan Lyttek
1/3/2014

Off Schedule
Susan Lyttek
12/27/2013

Teaching Christmas
Susan Lyttek
12/20/2013

The (Writerly) Benefits of Learning Together
Susan Lyttek
12/13/2013

Homeschooling reinforced that I am not perfect
Susan Lyttek
12/6/2013

And they said homeschooling would be easy...
Susan Lyttek
11/29/2013