Carolyn Wing Greenlee

Christmas 2015

December 16, 2015

Dear Ones,

It’s clear and cold here in Lake County. We have had lovely rain — steady and gentle with breaks in between. No one is complaining about the wet weather; we are all so grateful that fire season is over. There’s nothing like having to decide what should go into the car of everything you own. It makes you realize what’s really important. It changes you.

Speaking of changes, a lot has happened this year. I changed my diet three times, learned a lot more about trauma and stress release and healing (using myself as a Guinea pig) and am happy to say I can still see, I can still walk, I can still breathe, I can still swallow, I can still digest, I can still think, I can still hear, I can still type, and I can still sing. I had a couple of hard falls and broke no bones. At my age, I take none of these things for granted.

Because of greatly improved health and stamina, I was able to make some strenuous road trips to Southern California to work on my documentary on sculptor Betty Davenport Ford, and one to Oregon to present at the annual Women Writing the West conference two workshops on unblocking writers block. I also finally completed “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled,” my album of original Scripture songs and did a couple of concerts at churches here in Lake County at the end of the year with the help of people from different churches and my friend Dan Worley, who produced the album through hundreds of hours of work during the seven years it took to record, mix, and master the album. We’re hoping to take it to other churches to teach Scripture that is easy to memorize because it’s set in catchy melodies.

In a way, 2015 has been almost a vacation. I took a year off from book writing to learn more about access technology, though I managed to produce a chapbook of ten years of unpublished poetry, most of which I assiduously and ruthlessly edited into poems worth sharing. I am now confident enough in the new tools that I’m excited about getting back to two books I have worked on for years, but couldn’t complete because of the changes in my ability to see. It’s slower and more cumbersome, but at least I can still write, and that’s a great gift indeed.

Hedy is nearly ten. She has a little white under her chin, but moves fluidly and still likes to romp, forever puppy-brained. She really is a good guide, though, just as they told me she would be in the last years of her working life.

Christmas letters tend to sound cheery and triumphant, and in retrospect my year has been that way, but I assure you there have been many serious bumps, ruts, and potholes along the way. I am reminded that caterpillars do not simply stretch out stubby legs and develop compound eyes. They go entirely fluid inside the delicate shell. It’s those crushingly difficult times that provide the pressure required to melt us from what we had and were before, transforming us into something entirely new. It has been five years since Dennis and Daddy died, and in the chrysalis of pain, unknowns, loss, and empty places, God has been transforming me in ways I really like. Life is very different from what I thought it would be, but I know it’s going to be fun to fly.


  1. Annie Gustin

    December 27, 2015 - 3:01 PM

    Hi Carolyn!

    I have thought about you often lately. I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well. Finding your blog here is such a treat! It’s nice to know that you and Dan are still working together. This is Annie Bermingham (Gustin now, actually) btw… I’m hoping you remember me from the Childrens’ Theatre group you and Dan ran over 10 years ago… I played Christine in Even In Shadow… Anyways, that was a great experience to have at my age. I was able to gain a lot of confidence and have so much fun! I’d love to hear more about what you’ve been up to in the past years if you have time. I’m married now to a wonderful man. We have a 6 week old daughter and we live in Germany. So, my life has changed a lot. I still think of you and Dan very fondly though. :)


  2. Sue A. Lehman

    December 20, 2015 - 9:01 AM

    Always enjoy hearing how you’re doing. Glad you are appreciating every day and all you are still able to do! I think this past fire season has indeed made folks really look at what is important in their lives. I know it has affected me that way, even though we still have our home and animals. A tennis friend suddenly passed away a couple of days ago and that has made its’ mark on all of us who have known him as well. Embrace change and look forward to each and every day! Hard to believe Hedy is already 10 years old! How long can she continue to guide you? Enjoy the holiday season with the ones you love and we’ll stay in touch this coming year. Merry Christmas!

  3. Linda Tinkham

    December 19, 2015 - 7:34 PM

    I always love reading your letters. They remind us to be greatful for what we have. I have high hopes for 2016, things are heading up hill for us. I have a new job with a vet office. Wesley (our son) has moved back to CA with his family. Plus it’s raining! So it has to be a good year.
    We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Great New Year

  4. Kathie Fong Yoneda

    December 19, 2015 - 2:37 PM

    Your heartfelt Christmas message serves as a reminder to all of us that life is full of curves, bumps & unexpected roadblocks in our journey, but also gives us pause to enjoy the lasting memories of people, places, accomplishments, dreams fulfilled, talents found, profound discoveries & the warmth, support & love of family, friends & colleagues that continue to move us onward & upward! Carolyn, your wonderful messages & treasured friendship mean the world to me & I thank you for that gift! Hugs to you & Hedy! xoxo kathie

  5. Mary E. Trimble

    December 19, 2015 - 1:57 PM

    Thank you for this lovely Christmas letter with its many messages, Carolyn. I’m so happy to hear that Hedy is still going strong. How wonderful for you both!

    Merry Christmas, my friend. We’re celebrating Christmas Eve with family here at our home.

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