Christmas Letter 2008

Happy holidays! I cannot believe that it’s Christmas and another year has flown by. I will be very happy the year I write my Christmas letter to you and don’t have to mention that our troops are still in danger and away from their families. Please keep them in your prayers and acknowledge them when you can. We have had a whirlwind year, let me tell you! Some sad events, but mostly happy, happy things for us once again! Now, where do I begin???

I mentioned last year that Thea and Jason were expecting a baby in May 2008. Unfortunately for us, God called the baby home in December when Thea was 18 weeks along. They didn’t waste any time, though, and just a couple of months later they announced that they were expecting again! Thea gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on November 22nd! They named him Andrew Michael and he’s just the sweetest thing. Her labor was about 14 hours. She was such a trooper and her wonderful husband never left her side! It makes you look at your daughter differently when you see how strong they can be through something so difficult. It was so special to be there and see the little guy being born. I’m so glad that they invited me to be with them. I will never forget it! Pictures from his birthday are on my website, so you can see for yourself just how cute he is!

My Dad continued to deteriorate from his pulmonary fibrosis when he got home from New York last year. He insisted on living alone, although we got him to seriously consider moving into his RV on the side of our house. We began to prepare for him to live with us – pouring concrete for him to park the RV on and so forth – and we got all of his financial stuff in order too. Starting in February he was frequently in and out of the hospital. In May he had a bad breathing episode and we took him to the hospital again. This time the doctor told us that he wasn’t going home. We got him set up in a long-term hospice facility, and he actually seemed to improve slightly. We all knew that it would only take one illness to bring him down. On June 14th he called to tell me that he thought he had another urinary tract infection and felt horrible. Thea and I went to visit him and found him in serious discomfort. We talked for just a few minutes and he said we should leave because he wanted to rest. We hugged him and kissed him and he put his hand on Thea’s belly to feel the baby. The next morning the hospice nurse called and said that we should come down to try and calm him. He was very disoriented, combative, and wanted to know what was going on, why they weren’t taking him to the hospital (he previously said that he did not want to go when the time came). So we tried to calm him down and explain that he just needed to relax and get some rest. At that point they weren’t sure if he was transitioning or not. A few hours later and several frantic episodes later, he was able to understand that he was dying. He was SO HAPPY! He kept asking, “What do I do” and the nurse kept telling him to relax, that his body knew what to do. He would occasionally wake up and give us the “thumbs up” sign to let us know that he was okay! Tom, my brother Les, and I sat with him and even though he was unconscious, we talked to him (and about him) the entire time and then, he just stopped breathing. He was gone. I miss him every day, but it’s hard to be sad because it was exactly what HE’D wanted for so long…

So we all pulled together and got the rest of the house cleared out. I was able to sell his house to Jason’s (our son-in-law) brother and his new wife. So I was grateful that the house would stay “in the family”. They love the house and I’m so happy for them.

During the time when my dad was so sick, I was still studying for the CPA exam. I finally passed all four parts! I wish my Dad had known, but I didn’t find out until after he was gone. I have filed my application and paid my money, so now I just wait! It can take up to 5 months to actually receive your license!

Tom turned 50 this year!! We got the trailer out for a few days and visited Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly for his birthday in October. That was fun. I did NOT miss the traffic sounds and other city sounds that just become acceptable background noise when you live in the big city. The reservation was beautiful. The weather was cool, but very windy. We got many, many awesome shots of the monuments. You can see these on my website, too. Now that I have a little more time, I’m trying to keep my website updated with current things, so keep checking it out! In case you forgot, the address is .

Tom and I are still at the same jobs. It’s been a rough year for Tom in the auto industry. We continue to pray that something will give and people will be confident enough to start spending money again. My company moved to a new office building in January. I now have a big ‘ole corner office with lots of windows! It is so conducive to my well-being to have windows and natural light. I love it!

Well, let’s see, I think I covered it all – baby; Dad; trip; jobs; and the dogs, Sheba & Kodi & Boots (my Dad’s dog [For rent cheap: One 15 year old Beagle, perfect for keeping those pesky cats out of your back yard – just kidding]) are hanging in there and are as cute as ever! 

We hope 2009 is a very special year for all of you! Stay healthy, stay happy, and may God bless each and every one of you!