Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Our Christmas Letter 2014

At Christmas 2014
This is a rambling account of our year. Please feel free to stop reading at any point. There were pictures in the .pdf version. Ask me and I'll send you that version as well.

On January 4, the day the family left after a wonderful Christmas time together here in Coupeville, we were in the airport ready to leave for San Jose del Cabo, when we noticed a hemorrhage in Michele’s eye. Checking it out, we discovered that it might be serious, and so took the shuttle back to the Island and had an emergency appointment with an ophthalmologist. Canceled the Mexico trip. Eventually, we found the cause, no surgery needed, the bleeding stopped, and eventually the floaters became less visible.

Michele kept busy all year working as a volunteer with the Lighthouse Environmental Project, accountant for Habitat for Humanity, tax preparer for the AARP free tax prep service, and at our local food bank, Gifts from the Heart, where she is the treasurer and distribution helper.

Tom continued all year to teach the Gospel of John to a growing (now 25-30), ecumenical group, and Greek to four fearless senior adults. He also serves at two churches (Episcopal and Lutheran) in a variety of roles (worship leading, committee chairing, teaching) and serves on the Boards of
Whidbey Island Theological Studies (WITS) and Whidbey Island Community Education. He also had a couple of dysplastic nevi removed from his back with more to come.

We hosted a Super Bowl Party in early February, and with a lot of shouting, beer, and snacks, we celebrated the Seattle Seahawks win. Not sure about their fate this year, but there is still hope.

Amy and Tom finished their translation of Sophronius’ Life of Mary of Egypt, which will appear eventually in a book Amy is writing on this saint who lived from about A.D. 344-421. Tom is also co-writing a book on “Strife in the New Testament” with a friend who is a professional conflict mediator and fellow Presbyterian pastor.

We saw about ten Mariners games this year, including the 3-game series with Detroit in May-June. We missed the playoffs by one game, which will be easily made up for by the acquisition of Nelson Cruz, right? I am not talking about the George Fox fantasy baseball league, where I dwell so close to the cellar perennially that there is mold on my bat and glove.

Jason, Helen, Nina (8), and Nathaniel (5.5) visited us for a week in April, and we spent a week with them and the rest of the family in July at their beach house in Rockport, Mass. Hiking, boating,

and relaxing. Helen also ran her first marathon this year! We are all very proud of her. Jason works for Merck as a VP for “scientific informatics.” 

In March we spent a week at Eagle Crest, and we are planning to do the same this year to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. That celebration will be extended in the fall, God willing, during a three-week trip to Venice, Italy, cruising the Mediterranean and to Assisi.

Michele spent a week in Michigan in April with her Mom and sisters, who live north and east of Grand Rapids in Remus. We will both go there this summer as well. Jane is 94 and doing well.

We just got back after Thanksgiving from a short week with Sarah and Matt at their new house in Roseville, MN. It is near Sarah’s teaching at St. Thomas University (psychology dept.). Matt commutes several days to Rochester, MN, where he works for the Mayo Clinic designing new software for patient/staff interface. Basenjis Ruby and Momo were glad to see us too.

Grandson Sam (13) came out here for a few days of fishing and crabbing this summer. He caught his first salmon. We shipped it back on dry ice to Colorado, where he also had a thriving crepe business in Leadville. His crepe cart pulled in up to $200 a day! Peter’s new business, crafting models of the CO mountains (and other spots), is going well. Amy continues to be an associate editor for The Christian Century magazine, but doesn’t have to travel to Chicago monthly anymore. She travels too for speaking at and attending writing and spirituality conferences.

Our friends from college days and beyond, Dennis and Sharon Eicher came for a few days in August, and we have stopped in at their place in MN the past two Thanksgivings. In October we went to Kauai with our friends Dwight and Judy Smith. We really enjoyed exploring this beautiful Hawaiian island.

It has been an eventful year. If anything, we feel that it has been too busy, but for us that is way better than the opposite. We both like to stay active in service and enjoying with thanksgiving the lives we have been given.

Grace and peace at this joyful Christmas season, 
Tom and Michele Johnson 

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