Friday, December 27, 2019

Thirteen-Year-Old Memories

We are one of those families who generously share our year’s happenings with acquaintances in a Christmas letter each year. Here’s one I found recently.

December, 2006

John 10:  10:  I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.

Dear Family and Friends,

What’s new with the McKinseys?  We have three kids in high school this year.  We love saying that, and we are still amazed by it.  We remember when those same three kids were in three baby seats in the back of our little white car.  Now they’re all nearly as tall as we are.

Other than that, we are basically healthy and marginally sane.  We put one foot in front of the other, each day, longing for our promised reward.

Ping-Hwei has been working at the Metal Fabricating company now for over two years, doing general factory work, packing, loading, and the like.  He seems very happy to be there.  He has a good sense of humor, and helps keep our household organized.  Ping-Hwei loves to take himself places.   He goes to the local library 3 or 4 times a week to use the computers, and takes a train to down town Cleveland several times a month to watch a movie and play the arcade games.  Our church has begun a young adult service on Tuesday evenings, and Ping-Hwei enjoys attending.

Caleb is a junior in high school.  He is a serious student of the Bible, is thinking about college in less than two years, and he’s hoping to get a guide dog next summer.  He’s still in marching band, and loves it, in spite of the football team’s record.  Caleb seems to enjoy his classes, especially psychology.  He often has psychological things to talk about, including body parts, processes, and theories.

Rebecca is a sophomore, and she has a whole new look this year—contacts, longer hair (remember that her head was shaved for a fund raiser, less than 3 years ago?), and no more braces.  She and Murray have been having a delightful(?) time this year as Rebecca learns to drive.  Kathy is thrilled because Rebecca will be able to take her places.  She is still playing the violin, and this year even practices often.  She is also thinking a lot about college.  Rebecca is very studious, stays up late, gets up early, always a textbook open.

Sarah is a freshman in high school.  She is more sweet and unpredictable than ever.  She is adapting to High School better than we might have hoped – seamlessly going from studying when she had to in middle school to studying all the time -- with all her teachers saying that she is a great student.  She sings in the choir at school and in the shower at home.  Sarah has a weekly paper route now, so she enjoys having a little money of her own.  When she is lucky, Murray even bags the papers before she gets home from school.  Sarah enjoys going for walks in this city, and has been involved with the high school youth group at church.

Benjamin is in fourth grade, and has almost hit double digits.  He’s a great math student, according to his teacher.  He is getting better about doing school work without prompting.  We can only prompt so much.  He loves reading magazines including SMART COMPUTING and PC WORLD, and has his own subscription to both of those.  For a week after he gets SMART COMPUTING, he tells Murray about the many different programs he thinks should be purchased for the household computer.  He’s still taking piano lessons, spends a lot of time using his own personal computer, and tolerates school.  For reasons unknown, Benjamin enjoys rap.  We are trying, a little, to steer him toward Christian rap. 

Murray keeps busy with helping kids with their math homework, and operating the McKinsey Family Taxi Service, math homework, teaching Sunday school, math homework, delivering food to those hungry people with Meals on Wheels, math homework, helping out with the Ohio gubernatorial and senatorial  elections (he’s never been on the winning side before), math homework.  He is thinking about getting a doctorate. In anything – sociology, theater, special education, history – he would just really love to be addressed as Doctor McKinsey.

Kathy has been working at the Cleveland Sight Center for six years now, and she enjoys the many interesting people she gets to work with.  Because of changes in the supervisory chain, she has assumed a few of the administrative duties in the department.  When she is not too tired, Kathy asks Murray to put in a West Wing CD – they are on the third year.  Kathy is having a good time watching the kids grow, develop, and mature.

Murray and Kathy will reach 20 years of marriage during this next year.  Held together by the bond of the Spirit.

We praise God for His goodness and faithfulness to us.  We pray that you know how much Jesus loves you, 

If you get emails about Nigerian money laundering schemes, stock tips, or foreign lotteries, please forward them to us.  We could always use the money.

Merry Christmas!

Murray, Kathy, Ping-Hwei, Caleb, Rebecca, Sarah, Benjamin

Friday, December 20, 2019

He Brought Abundant Life

John 10:10-11: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Jesus came to bring abundant life, far greater than we could ever imagine.

Jesus gave Zacchaeus, the tax collector and sinner, the privilege of becoming generous, and having Jesus as a guest in his home.

Luke 19: 5-6: When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

For the man possessed with demons, who could not be held with chains and who spent his life crying out and cutting himself with stones, Jesus gave him back his mind.

Mark 5:15: When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.

For the woman so ashamed, she came to the well when no one else would be there, he loved her so intensely she shared it with the whole town.

John 4:13-14: Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

By his grace, God called David, someone who committed adultery and murder, a man after his own heart.

Acts 13: 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’

And for lonely me, he set me in the middle of a family with a delightful husband and five amazing kids.

What abundance does he bring to your life? I promise he wants to.

Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Christmas in Kathy's Kitchen

This year I want to bring back some of my memories from Christmas when I was a kid.

I’ve made rice krispy treats, Murray and I made fudge, and I still plan to bake Boston brown bread, all wonderful things my Mom made when I was growing up. I hope they’re half as delightful as I remember.

Helpful hint: I found this recently in a crockpot chili recipe.

“Keep hot dishwater in the sink so you can clean up the kitchen as you go and while the food is baking or cooking.”


4 cups sugar
1 13-ounce can evaporated milk
¼ cup margarine
1 pint marshmallow cream
12 ounce package chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
Nuts, optional

Bring sugar, milk, and butter to a boil.  Let boil nine minutes, stirring frequently.  Use heavy pan.  Remove from heat; add remaining ingredients; stir until chocolate chips and marshmallow cream are melted.  Pour into buttered 9 by 13 inch pan and cool.

Friday, December 6, 2019

A Christmas Prayer

I found this from a couple years ago and decided I wanted to remind myself of it again.

Father God, at this precious season, your children want to celebrate the joy of the gift you gave us, your son to pay the price for our biggest need.

But many families are filled with heartache at this time of year, for sorrow and loss, for terrifying disease, with many fears and uncertainties.

Thank you, Father, that you are the God who cares about our daily sorrows, who comforts our hearts in ways our minds do not understand. Lord, please wipe our tears this Christmas.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34: 18

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46: 1

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103: 13