<%@ Master language="C#" %> Christmas Letter 2007

This year (2007)

It wasn't as bad as we thought!

Ray surprised everyone by shaving his mustache.

 The year started out very busy with Ray and Lynda at new jobs, Travis in school full time, Alex a Senior and Ricky on Varsity V-ball and learning to drive. As we said in last years letter, we were a little concerned that it would be a very busy year - and so it was. What was in store for us was Ray's getting laid off (yes again!) and Travis transitioning to a full-time job

All of us remained healthy during the year so we know that God was looking after us. We won't spoil the ending by telling you how it all worked out.

Suffice it to say that we are all healthy, eating well and live in a nice warm house.  Both the cat and the dog appreciate that I can tell you.  Despite the business, this year, we have had the chance to have some fun as you will see in these pages.

Ray and his jobs!

Some of you know Ray to be a hard working, industrious, smart, capable guy (we don't know what the rest of you think!). So, why is it that Ray has such a hard time keeping a job? Basically, there are two reasons: the job market for managers at startups is very fluid; and Ray is trying to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

Many man have mid-life crisis's.  Maybe you're thinking that's what's going on with Ray.  Well, he did pass the half century mark this year (I know, he doesn't look it but it's true!).  But we don't think that is what's going on.

Ray has been toying with the idea of becoming an IT consultant as his 2nd career.  The allure of new s/w technology is not as strong as it was and so learning the latest-greatest gets harder and harder (and did we mention the thing about a half-century?).  Seriously, Ray's desire to be closer to the customer has grown steadily and this is another reason why he thought he could leverage all his technical know-how into his next career.

Ray's sister Audrey's reaction to the layoff.

 Basically, Scalix lost their funding last year. We made the release by the end of the year as we were working towards.  They were acquired by Xandros (another Linux vendor) in a fire sale by the end of the spring and let most of the management go.

So, Ray was "looking" again in May.  All along he's seen his journey as a "god thing" and so he spent a fair amount of time trying to seek His will and guidance.  In the end, he felt that God was saying "do whatever you want, I will glorify myself in whatever you decide to do."

Ray met Jason in the April time-frame.  Jason has a small IT business supporting companies of 50 or less and Ray wanted to learn all about what it takes to get into that business.  Jason and Ray hit it off and it turns out they had much in common. Ray realized that to start into this business would take a significant investment so he continued to look for either an IT position or an Engineering management position.  By the end of Summer, Jason called back saying he had an opening for a part-time technician and Ray accepted.  Ray's been working 3-days per week at Proactive IT Consulting (proactiveitc.net).

Another highlight for Ray was Ray and Bill's Birthday party.  Both turned 50 this year and they have numerous mutual friends so they decided to have one big party together. It was a blast.

Happy 50th Ray!.

Then HUGE surprise came in August when Ray's brothers surprised him.  Audrey, Ray's sister, and her family were visiting when there was a knock at the door. When Ray opened it, there stood his two brothers (Jay and Chuck), Jay's wife, and all of Chuck's family!  Ray stood there like a zombie - completely surprised.


It was topped off by a fantastic dinner at Maggiano's where Lynda arranged a private room. We had so much left over food that we were still eating take-home days later!  But it was fantastic and Ray totally enjoyed the whole experience.

Some of you have noticed by now that this year's Christmas card web site isn't as fancy as in prior years.  Well, take today's date as a clue (12/22/07).  I started this first thing in the morning and I'm just getting to write this part now!  Oh, I could blame it on Vista or Microsoft's Expression Web.  Or, I could claim that all the activities leading up to this weekend such as dancing, odd jobs for various clients including Elcor, Ingrid, TKA and PBCC (to name only a few)  But I won't.  I'll just say that I put it off to the last moment and leave it at that.

Wishing you a very very Merry Christmas (isn't it great that we're allowed to say that again!) and may God grant you a truly blessed and prosperous new year.  It is with anticipation that I am looking forward to what 2008 may bring!