Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


Christmas, Western-Style

From l-r: Melanie, Mikaela, Micah, Mama, {Bentley}, Papa, Lauren, Jonah, Susanna

It was high noon on a chilly December day. I was perched on my office desk (a black, well-used bean bag), a chick’o’stick in one hand and a cup of joe in the other (tea, Trader Joe tea, to be precise). All of a sudden, she swept into my office.  Her face looked of trouble itself; her piercing eyes probed my forgotten reflections.  “Are you surprised to see me?” she asked as I tried in vain to mop up the spilled tea using my hideously patterned tie.

“Of course not,” I managed. “Don’t you usually visit this time of year?”
“Yes, but this time I really need your help.  I have some new suspects here on this paper,” she said, handing me a rumpled napkin. “I’m counting on you.” 

“Sure,” I said, rubbing my chin, then looking up to discover she was gone. Seven suspects. OK, let’s start at the bottom. The sheriff (otherwise known as Jonah)? This will be interesting. See, whether you are good or bad folks, if you come a-visiting our town, you will probably be arrested at some point. Don’t let that stop you, though; it isn’t hard to break free (he’s allergic to tickling and kissing). And so I called him in for an interview (called down the hall, that is). “So sheriff, what’s on your record for this passing year?”

“Say what?” he asked, one eyebrow raised.
“What did you do?”
“Oh… well I got myself a spring-field bolt action WWI Sergeant York
“I bought me a gun. I also did a fair amount of reading and writing and
“And I’ve enjoyed some of your works of art.”
“Yeah. I like animals too,” he said salivating as he eyed my chick’o’stick sitting on its saucer. “And let’s see… well, back in May, I entered the double digits.”

Next I headed down to the diner where I expected to see the cowboy and some yummy grub. It took me a little longer to recognize him this time, ‘cause he never stays the same height for longer than a week anymore. He has now passed from the tenors to the basses, and he has just recently stolen my place in the town’s hall of fame for “the tallest westerner who is not the Mayor.” But I am OK with that now (counseling helps a lot). “Cowboy Micah, how’s it goin’?”

“Hey small.” See—it’s not that bad. “So you wanted to ask me some
“Yeah, uh… the first one is: what did you do with your year?”
“Well um… I’ve done a lot of studying lately. I really enjoy history. I also
like to play the cello, and I am working on a Bach Cello Suite.”
“Sweet! Oh yeah, I mean—I’ve heard it. How has it been for your first
year as a teen?”
“I like it. I like being able to sit on the front seat of the wagon.”
“And I know you are always helping with stuff around town.” I closed, looking up at him as he nodded his head.

It was now time for a new approach, so I decided to stalk the person third up on my list. The Scientist. And in my investigation I found out that it is a very good idea to stay clear of the purple laboratory when the chemicals come out (my poor gummy bear), as well as the roads when she gets a hold of the reigns (she’s working on it). She also has become quite good in her piano-ing. And as for her Thursday nights? Well they are spent working for a Bible certificate, which she just completed! The Scientist (or Melanie to some) also taught a group of kids for a week long summer camp. All the kids walked away with a new understanding and love for science.

“O.K. Miss Teacher (To those of you who do not have her as your teacher, you either need to change that, or just call her Mikaela): how was your time used this year?”
 “I teach music to lots of great kids…”
“Hence the teacher part,” I said with a smile.
“Right. The Writer and I also just started serving on our symphony
“Y’all seem to love music…and speaking.”
“Yes, we do! Back in March, the Writer and I spoke at a girls’ conference
up in Gig Harbor. It was a lot of fun.”

The fifth suspect on my napkin is the Writer. She and the Teacher have always been pretty close to each other. “So Writer what have you been doing as of late?”
“Well we have been working on our columns (blogs). We just started one for Christian Heritage, and of course we’re still writing on One Bright Corner.”
“Yes—I was wondering how that’s going?”
“Good—it has been a phenomenal experience! Speaking of which, can you write another poem for me, detective? After your first one won that award, I’d love to post another one!
“Well, I’ll see what I can come up with, Writer.  Now haven’t you also been playing some concerts lately?”
“Yes!  We just did a benefit concert in November and a few more are
coming up!”

“Well, thank you for your time,” I said, straightening my tie over the brown stain in my shirt. Ma is the next suspect? Yeah, right! Ma wouldn’t offend a spider. But I’ll follow her around, since she was on the napkin list. First of all, she’s an amazing woman that the whole town looks up to and admires because she does it all. She’s a cook, waitress, counselor, activities organizer, maid…and the list goes on. She has also been through a number of surgeries, the last one being in mid-November in Georgia. It was amazing to see how God worked all that out, from free airline miles to the Doctor being a strong Christian. Also, we are very hopeful that this surgery will be a permanent solution to all her pain, so we have much for which to be grateful.

Last but not least, the seventh suspect (or first, since we started from the bottom): the Mayor. As I observed our Mayor, one thing mainly stood out to me… He is kinda sweet on Ma. But that is OK, ‘cause I am pretty sure he likes the whole town. He also stays busy with church stuff and work stuff. This year he and the Cowboy cut down a couple trees near the town, and they have a foundation all ready for a small house (they call it a tree house, but forget the detail that it’s not in a tree). I also got the impression that the Mayor doesn’t like me wearing his ties (or using them for washcloths for that matter).

After I got back to my Office to write a full report of my investigation, I realized I had forgotten the Posse. My very best friend who was at my side for as long as I could remember would not give up her fight to stay with us. So back in March, our beautiful curly red-haired Sadie had to be put down. We were privileged to have the best of all dogs for over 14 years.  In August, we finally found a new sheriff’s deputy named Bentley—a puppy with an adorable curly tail! 

Now we are at the end. Where did the time go? In answer to this question that has been the theme of my investigation, I can proudly say it was spent…carefully. In love, laughter, sometimes tears, but it was always shared together. Oh, and if Miss Ghost-of-Memories- Past happens to come rushing in on you as you’re enjoying  a peaceful cup of tea, would you mind telling her my conclusion? (And hold on to that cup!) I only ever see her once a year. Wishing you all the best for Christmas, this is Susanna, Private I. Signing off.                                

All Our Love,
From Our Family to Yours


  1. Hi guys! I loved loved LOVED this newsletter - well done on an entertaining and informative investigation! I read this aloud to some of my family who all really enjoyed reading this. We might have to copy this concept one year for ourselves, if that's OK?

    Thanks again for the smiles!
    Love, Jess

  2. Susanna,

    VERY well written and so creative! We always struggle with our yearly Christmas letter. I'm going to show this to mom. :) She'll enjoy it!


  3. I love the names Susanna came up with for each of you! :)

  4. That is so fun, Susanna! Nice work!
    My favorite Christmas letter from our family was an invitation to the circus. It had brief descriptions of the different acts. "Jumping J___", "Marvelous M____", etc. :)
    And, we were able to find the perfect circus-y font on a website called dafont.
    Would it be ok if I used your letter for inspiration for next year's family review? I think it would be a big hit!

  5. Jess--Susanna did such a great job, didn't she! I have to say I'm quite proud of her! You're welcome to use the inspiration if you like!
    Emily--We often struggle with the letter, too, but Susanna hit the nail on the head this year, I think!
    Sarah--I especially love "The Scientist" (-;
    Gabrielle--The circus theme is a creative idea! I'll have to ponder that one! And you can go ahead and use the letter for inspiration--thanks for asking!

  6. Susanna is a talented gal--as are the rest of you! That was incredibly fun to read. :)

  7. I looked for a mention of you guys in the Focus on the Family site but couldn't find it - is this a future plan?

    I loved the post, maybe you should enlist Susanna as your third blogger? Then you could go back to more than one a week, I miss Friday posts!


  8. Jo--Thanks for your sweet comment! I hope you had a great Christmas!
    Samantha--Actually, it's not a blog with Focus on the Family, but with Christian Heritage homeschool organization, and I linked the words "Christian Heritage" to the website, although the color makes it hard to see! We're taking care of publishing all the posts there, although they're not signed by either of us.
    That's a great idea to enlist Susanna! I'd love to have her post more here, and I miss the Friday posts as well. Hopefully we can reinstate them soon! Thanks for stopping by, Samantha!

  9. I loved the Christmas letter! (Great job, Susanna!!) And, I love, love the photo at the top of this post!! Too cute! :)


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