A Treasured Tradition – Part 6, Personal Touches

See Part 1 for the beginning of this story.

In addition to composing beautiful poems and putting them on cards, Jim and Hazel Kistler gave gifts of encouragement by complimenting us and telling us we were special in their lives. Jim’s humor was also included in what he wrote, often interjected in the middle of his reflective thoughts where it snuck up on you as a delightful surprise. Below I’m sharing select portions of personal notes they sent to us with their cards through the years.  They made us feel special and valued.

If you’ve ever wondered how to encourage others and let them know they are important, just use what Jim and Hazel did as a model. I can tell you first hand that their words are effective because they caused us to feel appreciated and important.  Both sentimental and humorous, here they are by year.

October 29, 1989

Saw this [card] today and knew it was for you. 

1989 front

We miss you terribly, and all the joy you brought into our life, and the lives of all those you touched. Both of you just contributed  so willingly and so much to the church and the children of our Sunday School……we appreciated that you left your mark, and you left it well. 





Another Christmas and another poem, hoisted on you whether you want it or not. 

In this season we remember again our dinner last year and  the lovely time we shared with the three of you.  Memories can and do bring sadness, yet far better to have them than never to have had them at all.  We cherish all that came our way with deep appreciation.

May this Christmas with your new child bring the promise that comes with Christmas to all of you, along with God’s blessings throughout the year.


Gratefully, we can write you that all is well with us.  We hope and pray that it is the same with you and your family.  Though so much time has passed since you departed this area, it often feels like only yesterday, and the memory of that time we shared is always with us.  Thank God for Christmas allowing us to keep in touch. 

The years move swiftly on with everything slowing down but time.  Christmas is no sooner gone than it appears again, fulfilling the wish of our childhood, that it never end. We pray that the promise of Christmas will be with you and all your family each day of the New Year.  God Bless, and Much Love. 


Our memories of you and the times we shared together still enriches our lives.  God Bless and Much Love.


How swiftly it comes, and yet how wonderful, for what would life be like without this season? This annual message is always a joy for us, and receipt of yours gives us an even greater pleasure. A reminder of the times that enriched our lives and continues to do so through your friendship and your love.

The news of your MS diagnosis shocked us, and saddened us, yet so like you to make light of it. God does have a way of testing us, while giving us the strength to endure. Your faith is already showing through your attitude as expressed in your letter, and we thank God for that, but those of us who know and love you, must somehow find that faith ourselves. You may be sure, Kerri, that our prayers will be constantly seeking miracles on your behalf, and your family as well.  And with your families, and the number of friends with whom you surrounded yourself, we have no doubt that God will be bombarded with a multitude of prayers.


The gift for us is always the zillions of friends, near and far, with whom we are still in touch, and the great joy we get from hearing from all of them. Not the least of these is YOU, so know how much you are in our thoughts and hearts.

May this season bring you the warmth and love and joy that we are already beginning to feel in just the pleasure once more that comes with making contact with you, bringing back again the memories that continue to be treasures beyond measure. May your Christmas be filled with reunions of your own, and many blessings in the coming year. With love to all, Hazel and Jim

About the ‘Twas the Night poem: we decided to use it for our Christmas poem this year. Hopefully you will like it too, or suffer being stuck with it.


We greet you in this Season as we always do, with great love, and with great thanksgiving for all of you who continue to bring great joy into our lives. ‘tis the season for memories, for remembering what we had and what we shared and thus reminding us again of how much we owe to so many.

We hope that your Christmas, like ours, will be filled with friends and family and we wish for all of you the warmth and love that only Christmas can give us all year long if we would but keep it in our hearts.


May your Christmas be filled with His love, and the love of family and friends, and may the year ahead bring you health, peace and happiness, Y2K notwithstanding.


Once again, in this very special season, we bring you to our hearth, as we travel to yours. May not be the same as a personal visit, but neither time nor distance can separate us from those we love.

We come to you with the good new is that all is well with us, and we hope and pray it is thus with you. We count our blessings, for they are many, and the memories of past Christmases once shared with all of you, continues to fill our lives to the brim.

We hope that this Christmas brings togetherness with your families and loved ones, and that you might take the time to raise one little glass to us, as we shall surely raise hours to you, with love.  Merry Christmas, and A Healthy, Happy Year!


The good news is plentiful. Our granddaughter delivered to her husband a son, which graduated us from grandparents to great-grandparents all in the blink of an eye. Amazing, isn’t it, how rapidly one can age just by sitting still.


Well, well, it’s here again. That wonderful time of the year when we can greet each other and speak to each other to let you know that this is the time when we miss you the most, when just the memories bring us tears of joy, when we can really feel the love and warmth that Christmas always brings because that’s what Christmas is all about

Somehow we are all awakened to yearning for Christmas all year long that love and warmth that only the spirit of Christmas can bring it takes us back to our childhood, so be it. With both of us having reached 90 this year, better to have reached it then not, we are sure you’ll agree.

Thank God that we can say we continue to enjoy good health. Our lives are still filled with church and the good fellowship that always brings. Our wish is that all of you likewise feel blessed as we once again share another Christmas together. With much love, Haze and Jim


This season as always we cherish the gift of Christmas, and the joy that is ours from the greetings that come to our home from so many. And for the opportunity it gives us to thank you for your love and friendship.


Favorite quotes of Jim’s:

“The years move swiftly on with everything slowing down but time.” – Jim Kistler
“Amazing, isn’t it, how rapidly one can age just by sitting still.”  -Jim Kistler

As if the greetings of their Christmas cards and poems were not enough to fill our hearts, one year Hazel also stitched homemade ornaments for our two sons at the time.

IMG_0871 (2)  IMG_0866

We are grateful for their giving hearts and what they have contributed to our lives through the years.

About Climbing Downhill

Wife and mother of grown kids, in my 60's and dealing with MS, making life's moments count and trying to offer something of value to others along the way. https://climbingdownhill.wordpress.com
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3 Responses to A Treasured Tradition – Part 6, Personal Touches

  1. JoAnne Simon says:

    Friends strengthen you with prayers, Bless you with love, and encourage you with hope.

  2. Great quote, very true. Thanks for being a friend by sharing it here!

  3. Pingback: A Treasured Tradition – Part 4 | Climbing Downhill

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