A Mossy Christmas Letter

‘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.

Winter 2011

Ground Hog Day Shovel Fest

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.

Spring 2011

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).

Summer 2011

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.

Fall 2011

Maitz Wurts WhelanWe 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.

Advent 2011

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

Merry Christmas from the Moss Family

Moss Family Christmas eLetter

Moss Family Christmas Letter 2010

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

We are grateful for the Child born in a manger, come to save us all. We are grateful for our own children, born just two decades ago, now released upon the world, making it a better, brighter place.  We are grateful for the bounties bestowed upon us this year.  We mourn for the passing a grandmothers and cherish the memories their lives bequeathed to us.

Family Gathers in Winfield for Barbara Parsons' Funeral
Family Gathers in Winfield for Barbara Parsons' Funeral


Bitter cold snowy weather in January like I haven’t seen in Kansas since the 70s.  February/March attended the funeral of Barbara Parsons and visited with relatives in Winfield.  April/May traveled to Nebraska and Iowa to attend a couple of science fiction conventions.

Terry, Rachelle and Dan waiting at KCI for her flight to Germany
Terry, Rachelle and Dan waiting at KCI for her flight to Germany


Rachelle flew back home in late May, but only stayed a few days before traveling overseas to study abroad in Europe, specifically Leipzig, Germany.  She celebrated her twenty-first birthday half a world away from where she was born.  During her five weeks in Europe, she visited many cities in Germany, Austria and also Prague in the Czech Republic.  She returned to the States on the eve of the Fourth of July and remained with us for the rest of the summer.

While Rachelle deeply immersed herself in learning German, my grandmother began to suffer from rapidly advancing congestive heart failure.  Just two days before my daughter’s birthday, and actually on my grandmother’s 88th birthday, she passed away.

Doris Andrea Visitation Memorial
Doris Andrea Visitation Memorial

I was glad to have visited her in her final days and to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to her with my aunt and dad.  The next week became a blur as plans for the memorial service were ironed out and I offered my house as a staging area for family gatherings.   The first, and hopefully last time for many years to come, I actually took advantage of my bereavement leave employee benefit.

The following week, my husband finally attended his Social Security Disability hearing before an administrative law judge (via video conference since the judge lived in New Mexico).  We had been waiting years for this hearing, having been denied twice by bureaucrats in the SSA.  Just last week (middle of October), he received his first regular disability check, but the settlement check for previous years is still several weeks away.  The hearing, while stressful for Terry, relieved some of our agony of waiting.

In August, we mailed, er flew, Rachelle back to Texas and life settled back into it’s routine.  I’d joined a vanpool mid-Summer so I wasn’t putting any miles on any of my vehicles.  We received the welcome news that Terry’s appeal of denial of SSD benefits was awarded by the judge.


Telescope Birthday Present
Meade ETX-90

Fantastic birthday present from my father – an amazing telescope with a plethora of accessories, which I’ve been exploring and learning how to use.

We traveled to North Texas last week for Thanksgiving, leaving the dogs behind boarded at a local Leavenworth kennel and doggie day care facility.  We enjoyed the balmy weather and the kids.

In mid December, we will return to Texas, taking my dad with us, to attend my son’s graduation from SMU’s Guildhall, on Saturday, December 18, 2010. The best news of the year came in mid November when Derek informed us he had been hired by Halliburton for a very nice salary (close to six figures). If you’d like to send a card to Derek congratulating him, please send me an e-mail (jon@mossfam.net) and I’ll send you his mailing address, as I know most of you won’t be able to attend the graduation ceremonies.

Nic, Rachelle, Derek and Royna
Nic, Rachelle, Derek and Royna

We learned this week that Rachelle earned a retro-active scholarship for this school year (2010/2011) which allows her to attend UNT at the in-school tuition rate.  She’s being reimbursed for the out-of-state tuition she paid in August.

As with most years, 2010 had it’s ups and downs, and it’s sideways diversions, but we survived, we thrived, we lived and we loved.   And with God’s Grace, we will see many more to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jon and Terry Moss

And the angel said unto them,
Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
— Recitative (Soprano), Handel’s Messiah

A hard copy of the above will be included with our annual Christmas card mailing to family and friends.

And if you’ve made it this far down on this post, why not take a couple more seconds (or minutes) to vote on my unHoliday decorations poll?  🙂