Thursday, December 15, 2022

Wishing You All a Most Blessed Christmas!

This fall has left me behind.  When we got home from Britain the end of September, I had a cold (or something) which set me back.  October slipped by and winter arrived early on November 1.  Yikes.  So I haven't been writing much as I try to get all my ducks in a row.  I have good ideas for blogs but they never seem to make it to my computer.  Sorry.  Here's a joint project by Paul, me, and our cat, Josie.

Greetings from Montana!                                                                               Christmas 2022

I (Paul) just returned from a hike with a Thursday group called Over the Hill Gang.  It was a lovely sunny day and a cold start at 8 degrees.  It was a good time to think about this year’s Christmas letter as we hiked to a fire lookout overlooking Glacier National Park, The thought hit me on the way down after sharing the trip Frances and I took in September. We traveled to the British Isles after two years being postponed due to Covid restrictions. We flew to London and were met outside the terminal and led by hand to our hotel. It was so nice to let the tour director take it from there.  Twenty two days on land tour, 17 hotels and 3600 miles covered throughout England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Okay, so what has this to do with our annual Christmas message? Well, as part of the tour we were entitled to having a porter bring our baggage to our room and upon leaving pick it up outside our door in the morning.  Our pastor recently preached a series talking about the baggage we all carry around with us.  What did he mean about baggage?  The baggage of past mistakes, failures, fighting, revenge, gossip, just everyday mean thoughts or dislikes we carry with us.  In other words, our sinful nature.  Okay it’s another one of Paul’s sermons but please hang on.  You see Christ Jesus came to earth to carry our baggage of sin. He carried it to the cross for us.  We could do nothing on our own, as this baggage is much too heavy and bulky to carry ourselves. That’s it, all I have to say! Christ is the reason for our Christmas season. His birth and resurrection is for all who believe. We pray you recognize his love and grace for you.  Thank Him for carrying the load.  Merry Christmas, and God’s blessings in the New Year!

Okay, it’s my turn now.  Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Josie, the Erler’s cat for the past 4 years.  I came from the Humane Society as a very well-fed stray, over 20 pounds.  I want to make clear that Paul and Frances aren’t my owners. They’re my staff, being sure I’m fed twice a day, petted & cuddled often, and cleaned up after. My main activities are eating and sleeping. I also like it when Frances’ piano students come to pet me and say hello. I think there are 9 students right now. Most of the time I recline beside my scratching pole in the sunshine by the sliding door. I don’t like to go outside, and don’t catch any mice.  When they travel, I have to go to Emilie’s house on the other side of town. I hate riding in the car, and spend most of my time there hiding under Emilie’s bed. Mike, her boyfriend, pets me and calls me “Fat Cat.” I spent ten days there last spring during Spring Break, another two weeks in July when they went camping with dear friends the Sundbergs and Hazelbakers in Idaho, and a whole month when they went on that trip to the British Isles. And they never brought me any presents! () Emilie got some, though. By the way, they did see that pile of ancient rocks called Stonehenge. I also enjoyed getting acquainted with Frances’ brother Dan when he came in August.

As Paul already told you, he still hikes about once a week, Frances tries to get walks and Tai Chi classes in at the health club.  Both are singing in choirs again. They’re happy Covid restrictions are over—for now. Frances still writes books.  Her next one, “Lauren’s Dark Passage” is coming out in April 2023, and one more is in the publisher’s hands, too, probably for 2024. She’s kept busy with her Christian Women’s Club and a new Christian Writers’ Group called Footprints. Oh yeah, she’s also started acrylic painting, and even sold a couple of pictures. Paul still creates wall décor with upcycled piano parts. He is running out of parts, though, so if anyone has an old piano to take apart, he would love to have the keys. This year they were accepted for a juried arts and crafts show at the Kalispell Fairgrounds over Thanksgiving weekend. Frances puts photos of the products on her Facebook page: “Frances Erler” or you can email

Emilie and Jon are still teaching, though that job gets more challenging every year. I’m told Emilie is in her 16th year of teaching kindergarten here in Montana. Jon teaches Middle School Social Studies in Washington State. I never go to school, since I’m just a cat. But I’d rather sleep in the sun, anyway. Emilie goes hiking a lot, once or twice a week. Jon likes to camp and hike in the Washington Cascades, too. He and his roommate, Adam, have started gardening—flowers and vegetables—in pots on their patio. Emilie also gardens in pots on her deck. I don’t think Paul and Frances are much into gardening anymore. Visitors are always welcome here at my house. I may even jump on your bed.



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