Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
I always enjoy getting Christmas letters from friends. So I decided to try one myself this year. I’ve asked my four adult children to each write their own recap, which you’ll see below. Mine first:
It has been a busy year. I’ve co-founded an online Colorado Almanac and Small Business Directory with Robert Schwab and Scott Rogers. Robert was a business writer for the Denver Post before serving as editor for ColoradoBiz Magazine for 7 years. Scott has an incredible background as a digital engineer, developing an Internet presence for some of the top media outlets in the country. We launch in January, to get a peek at the beta test version, see http://pioneerhq.com/
I’ve started the Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Inc. to serve as the umbrella for the IDEA Café Startup Workshops and Franklin Circle Peer Advisory Groups I’ve been organizing since 1994 and 1996. The idea of the new Small Business Chamber is to cooperate with local chambers across Colorado and beyond to help them start similar groups. For more see http://www.smallbizchamber.org/
One of my motivations for forming the new Small Business Chamber is to encourage local chambers to do more to motivate their members to participate in the 2012 Colorado Caucus, what I believe is the best chance for the common person to serve in elected public office. Our wonderful Colorado caucus-assembly system for nominating to the primary ballot has been a pet project of mine since 2002 since a few of us formed Save the Caucus to fight Amendment 29 which would have killed the system. We were outspent 1400 to 1, but beat it 60% to 40%. For more see http://www.cocaucus.org/
Do you enjoy a good discussion? Since the Friday after 9/11 I’ve been helping to lead discussion groups here in Colorado. Inspired by Chris Phillips book called Socrates Café (his new book is Constitution Café, he thanks me in the acknowledgements) and I’ve now formed a group to help people who are thinking of starting a similar group, see http://meetup.com/Socrates-Cafe-Beginners
I’m enjoying being a member of St. Ignatius of Loyola parish where I serve as one of the Eucharistic Ministers, and a couple of weeks ago I helped for the first time with a weekend retreat for homeless men put on by the Ignatian Spirituality Project. http://www.ignatianspiritualityproject.org/
My mother Jane Wren celebrated her 86th birthday in July. She has had some health struggles, and although she now needs some help each day she is still living at home, an inspiration for us all. Her support and encouragement are very much appreciated by me and my brothers Jay (who has gone back into business for himself) and Randy (who turned 60 this year.)
I want to share something about my wonderful “kids” with you in this letter. It seems best that you hear directly from them, so I sent them this email yesterday:
Roads just too bad to get together for lunch as we planned. Instead, would you each take a few minutes to write me a Christmas letter about your last year that I can include in my letter to my friends? Let's do it this once, if we like it we'll make it an annual tradition, OK?
Here are their emails they sent back to me to share with you:
Regan Jane Wren Hall, Aurora, CO (Married to Tim, mother of Joshua and Monica.)
2011 has been a blessing and a challenge for us. Tim is now the owner of Mile High Technical sales. He is enjoying working for himself, but launching a business has its challenges- especially in the area of time. There never seems to be enough to get it all done! All in all he is doing well and we are excited to see his business grow in the future.
Josh is 12 and in the 7th grade. He is a very kind young man and we are very proud of him. Like many 7th graders, he does alright in school- but school work isn't his favorite. He does enjoy his social group and his many hobbies at home. He is a great artist and enjoys magic tricks and "poi" along with riding his skate board and bike.
Monica is 6 and is in kinder garden. She is our family cheerleader and has never met a stranger- everyone she meets is her friend. She loves school and riding the bus, which she has named Gus. She is the drama queen of the family and loves to sing and dance. Anything princess sends her over the moon and a recent favorite (after seeing the new Muppet Movie) is Miss Piggy.
I am taking classes at our local community college for a degree in Social Work. I took the fall semester off for a much needed breather, but I'm excited to get back to class in January. Along with school I volunteer with a program in our church called Celebrate Recovery. It has been very instrumental in my own healing and I enjoy giving back to others who attend the program.
Have a beautiful Holiday Season- Regan (Wren) Hall
Brook Elizabeth Wren Sisan, Houston, TX (Married to Ned, mother of Tyler and Jeffrey)
I love when people send out Christmas cards with what they have been up to for hte past year... and I always think... I should do that! But, then I never find the time... or the writing skills to pull it off. :(
Tyler and Jeffrey turned three in March. They started pre-school three days a week and are loving it and so is mom! They had their first onstage performance this December singing Jingle Bells in the school performance. Mom and dad were so proud! Ned is busy with the buildings and an addition of a new fixer-upper house has kept him very busy lately. He's a great coach with the boys and they have fun playing tackle football, hockey, baseball... and anything else they can manage to fit in at the end of the day. Brooke turned the big 40 this year and had a big Mexican Fiesta to start of the new decade right! We are all enjoying the wonderful snow that Colorado has giving us for a Christmas gift!
John Thomas Wren, Englewood, CO
Despite countless options, John Thomas remains single. His Dr. has recommended high levels of stress, anger, and frustration, so he is currently employed as a Bar Manager at Fox and Hound in Littleton. When not repeatedly banging his head into a wall at work, JT finds his peace on the golf course. (This explains his horrible demeanor during the snowy season). He is thankful this year for his amazing friends, terrific family, and the chance to celebrate Christmas with his family.
Allie Eliza Wren, Houston, TX
I've had a rough year but in it I'm sure I've gained some strength. And who doesn't have rough year sometimes? Coming out of it though, I work at a little community library in Houston and have even made a couple of friends:) I thank god for the grace and for my family and friends who have really helped me pull through. Besides my mom and sister and her family I am not fond of Houston. Luckily though I Have lived in some great places. Colorado for one, and Spain and Mexico, and New Mexico and Washington State. So I can't complain. I've read some great books this year, "Little, Big" the "Wicked" Series, "Cutting for Stone", stuff by David Sedaris and Augastine Burrows, Neil Gaiman, "Toughest Indian in the World" and a bunch that I've already forgotten. As far as movies go I saw "Hugo" with my nephew Josh, which was really neat. I have learned to knit and do a little bead work. I also taught Tyler and Jeffrey, Brooke's boys, the word 'weird' and I've enjoyed hearing the uses they come up with for it. I also started going to a Quaker church. In the coming year I'll work for NAMI a little bit and continue with my library job. And I may get a dog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Liza Wren
Thanks “kids”. How many would do this for their old dad? I’m blessed to have each of you in my life.
I’ve decided to post this on my website JohnWren.com, which I’m trying to make more and more into just a personal journal, transitioning it from the role it has played in my business and political activities since 1994 or so. Next year will we all have scrapped everything else and just be on Facebook? Or will Facebook be replaced by something else in the next 12 years? We’ll see what Santa brings us all in 2012.
For now, I’m grateful for my life, my family, the work I’ve been given, and for you my friend. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. God bless us all!