Merry Christmas 2003 and Happy New Year 2004!

Another year has passed, and now it's time for another Linder Christmas Letter®.

In many ways, the year started off quiet, not a lot of activity. Normal life permeated the Linder household: work, school, play. Roger and Cece shopped around a bit to look for a good deal on repairing their truck, which had been in an accident last December (Brad's second of the year.) They bought some used parts, found a place that would do it for a reasonable cost, and finally got it fixed in March.

In late March, things began to happen. Matt turned 23, and suddenly lost all of his family medical benefits and had to enroll in his employer's plan. Roger got involved in television production, becoming the Co-Executive Producer and Musical Director for Sacramento Lutheran Television, planning a weekly Lutheran talk show for the Sacramento cable system. Cece got busy buying paint and got started on painting the bathrooms. Brad left his teens with his 20th birthday. Cece's school year ended in mid-May with the retirement of the teacher she had worked with for the previous three years. All she knew for certain is that she would be working with someone else come Fall. Summer arrived, and soon they found themselves too busy to take any trips, along with a bit of uncertainty towards future paychecks as California's budget hung in the balance for a couple of months.

They managed to finally squeeze in a weekend trip to Ventura, Solvang and Hearst Castle in late July. However, the day before they were scheduled to leave, Brad sprained his ankle. Not enough to put him on crutches, but he was a bit uncomfortable with the walking during the trip. The trip over, it was time for Cece to go back to work, and about time for Matt and Brad to return to college. Matt was in the final session of day camp at the school where he works. He went on a field trip with the students to the local skating rink. Roger received a call at work that Matt had fallen, broken his leg and was on his way to the hospital. Cece was back to work on her first day when Roger called her to tell the news. Since he was in good hands, they waited until they were off work to go and pick him up. After a couple of days of visits to the doctor, he was up on crutches with a temporary splint. Ten days later he was in a cast and wore that for six weeks; then a boot for another six weeks, still on crutches; then off the crutches, but still the boot. As this is written, another month yet to go with the boot. Because of the difficulty getting around, he dropped out of college for the semester.

In the meantime, production began on "Lutherans ALIVE!," the weekly talk show that was in the works for the previous four months. Nine shows were taped before its premiere on September 6. An additional four shows were taped in October, including one which featured Calvary's How Majestic music team. All of the original thirteen episodes have aired, the next three were taped on December 3, and the remaining eleven episodes to finish the season are scheduled through next May.

Production got into a groove, Roger got used to occasionally appearing on TV, and life slowed down a bit. Cece went back to work with a new teacher, and then later re-assigned to another. Roger quietly finished up his 25th year at Department of Water Resources, appearing twice in the Department's bi-monthly news magazine and once in an article on his Division's news web site.

Halloween came and went and then Roger and Cece had a new opportunity crop up: the chance to have a makeover and appear on a local TV news program. On November 8, Cece's 47th birthday, they went to the salon for the first of two sessions. Hair got cut and dyed, eyebrows got plucked and shaped and suddenly, ten years had disappeared. Then, on the following Monday, they went back and Cece got a full makeup job, while Roger got his hair dyed once more (there was a lot of gray!) Then on to the Channel 10 studio to appear on the midday news show to reveal the results to a curious Sacramento audience.

The makeover occurred just in time to debut a younger-looking Roger for his 50th birthday. No one could believe the transformation. Of course, the videotape of the makeover segment was the hit of the day. A series of pictures showing how they arrived there was also an interesting side trip.

Now, the Christmas season is upon us and the Linders wish you the best of this holiday season, and hope that you have a great 2004.

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