St. Stephen’s Day Letter

Most years I get around to writing a Christmas letter.

Sometimes it goes out by post, sometimes digitally.

And sometimes it goes out so late that it can’t properly be called a Christmas letter at all.

Sorry.

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bearDear friends and family-

Merry Christmas! We hope you are enjoying your holiday season.

We greet you this year from our first home. In March, we moved from our apartment in Lenexa to Gardner, way out on the edge of the Kansas City metro area. It was the last house we visited after a day-long search with our realtor, Greg Pyka. As soon as we came through the door, we knew it was the place for us. The previous owners had added all sorts of details and landscaping that we loved just as they were. But Christmas has been a great opportunity to make the place our own. Our tree full of animal ornaments is in the window and Lindsay’s wreaths are on the doors.

This season brings a happy change in circumstance for us. Lindsay recently resigned from her position at the Insight School of Kansas. She is looking forward to pursuing her own projects and spending time with our nephews and niece.

Andrew and his colleagues continue their adventures with Insight Labs. The Labs team designs projects that help various organizations tackle intractable challenges for the common good. Partners this year have included TED, Ashoka, and Harvard Medical School. Each project includes a meeting of smart, creative folks from outside the field under consideration; part of Andrew’s job is synthesizing the ideas generated once the discussion is over. This work brings him to cities around the country, but he spends most of his time under his headphones at Starbucks. You can see what the guys are up to at http://www.theinsightlabs.org.

This year, Andrew also participated in the Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18-mile fundraising walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Along with his sister Jenny and Jenny’s fiancé Loren, he walked in memory of his mom, Joan, who died last year. Andrew and Jenny also launched Mom Squad, an initiative to rally all of the teams walking in memory of mothers. In next year’s walk, the Mom Squad will pitch in by raising money to provide transport and lodging for teams who might otherwise not be able to participate. Jenny is also making a film that will tell the stories of how children make sense of a parent’s suicide. You can follow all of their efforts at http://www.facebook.com/MomSquaders/.

As with most of our recent years, 2012 saw several comings and goings. Andrew’s grandmother Victoria died in her sleep just a few weeks ago; she will be missed by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Lindsay said goodbye to her beloved cat Mu-shi, who had been in her life even longer than Andrew. We welcomed into the world our niece Elena Marie, who was born to Lindsay’s sister Brooke and her husband Jimmy in August. We also welcomed a new member into our family when Andrew’s step-sister Erin married Dan Guenther; we look forward to Jenny and Loren’s nuptials in California in 2013.

In case you would like to reach us, our new address is 881 S. Sycamore St., Gardner, KS 66030. You can also e-mail us at albnelson [at] gmail.com. We look forward to news from you and wish you a wonderful new year.

Sincerely,

Andrew and Lindsay Benedict-Nelson

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