‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a Rottweiler was stirring, nor even a mouse
The stockings were packed in the basement with care,
Along with the tree and decorations to spare
This time last year, we were in Texas celebrating our son’s graduation from SMU. In fact, I mailed my Christmas cards out as soon as I returned from our second North Texas Thanksgiving and wrote my annual Moss Family Christmas letter very early in December 2010 (publishing it electronically via this blog). I sent out fewer cards this year and waited until now to finish writing this year’s letter. I also opted not to print and mail the letter. I’m sharing it here for family, friends, and anyone else who stops by.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. And boy did it ever! The first two months of this year dumped more snow, that I had to shovel without the assistance of my son (who fled south in 2009 to Texas to finish college and settle into a warmer climate). I spent most of Ground Hog day either shoveling the driveway or baking bread. At least I didn’t have to drive in it, since I had joined a vanpool in the Summer of 2010.
Rachelle visited us in January and grouted our entryway tile floor. Except for live streaming concerts broadcast by her college (UNT College of Music), I didn’t see her in person until Thanksgiving last month. She opted to endure more than one hundred days of one hundred degree heat in one of the driest and hottest Texas summers on record. But I’m jumping ahead.
My home state, Kansas, turned 150 years old in January.
Terry and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary at a flooded Table Rock Lake resort. No, we didn’t take in any shows in Branson. We did see evidence of flooding in the area, but nothing that interfered with our stay (since we didn’t plan to water ski or tour the lake by boat).
We enjoyed surprise visits from my uncle Ron and son Derek and his wife Royna near the 4th of July weekend. We spent hours visiting and enjoying the cool air from my newly installed and updated central air unit (well, newly installed in December, but not tested until the heat arrived in June).
Home renovation began with the roof, followed by the driveway and then the fireplace. Our experience with the roofers left us euphoric, while the driveway contractor caused us ulcers. The first torrential rain waited weeks to arrive, and when it did, we still had a leak next to our fireplace. Every roofing contractor we had bid on our roof assured us the leak would be sealed by the new roof. Unfortunately, while the extra care taken by the roofers to seal around our fireplace did not fix the broken cap and mortar none of us had noticed. We found a highly recommend chimney repair contractor who replaced our cap, some firebrick and the mortar. We are happy to report that the recent rains (before and after Thanksgiving) did not result in any new fireplace leaks. We did discover our gutter draining into a basement window well, but we’ve solved that minor water mishap with some weaterproofing and gutter run-off upgrades.
On the 1st day of August, I celebrated my 15th anniversary with my employer.
We attended one of the largest SF conventions (the infamous Dragon*Con) in the country in Atlanta, Georgia (the last state of the lower 48 that I needed to visit). We won’t be returning to the venue, as the sheer number of people crowded into five huge hotels in downtown Atlanta blunted our enthusiasm for the events. I did get to meet three of my favorite artists: Don Maitz, Janny Wurts and Michael Whelan. We spent a pleasant evening with Don and Janny at a local steak restaurant.
A first for me (but probably not the last) attending a funeral on my birthday.
The Third Annual North Texas Thanksgiving gathered in Derek and Royna’s apartment in the Colony, Texas. A strange name for a community (or maybe not so strange) but a very nice place to live.
December started with a ‘changing of the guard’ with respect to my vanpool. I became the sole driver. I managed to find three new willing riders, in addition to the remaining Hallmark rider. We finished our second full week together and we’re settling into a routine, just as we approach the holidays. I’m praying for good weather, not just because I’ll be the one that has to navigate the ice and snow, but also so my kids can travel safely home next week. Derek and Royna are driving up from North Texas on Christmas Eve and Rachelle is flying in on the Tuesday after Christmas.
While I’m looking forward to seeing Derek, Royna and Rachelle again, I’m also concerned about my husband’s health. As I mentioned last week in my request for prayers, something new has cropped up to dampen our festive moods. He did see a specialist last week and a biopsy is scheduled for three days before Christmas (so please keep those prayers flowing!).
No matter what the storms of life may bring, though, I will take time to ponder the wonder, the pure joy, of the greatest gift of love ever bestowed on such an unworthy world.
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given,
and the government shall be upon His shoulder;
and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
— Chorus, Handel’s Messiah