A 2015 Christmas Thank You from Tom and Michele Johnson

This was the year of the anniversary - our fiftieth - and we celebrated all year. The official date was March 26th, but we didn’t let that narrow window of time stop us from enjoying the whole year with each other, our family, and you. 

So, thanks to the people we love, who have included us in their love for a wonderful 2015, esp. to our children: Jason, Amy, & Sarah, their spouses (Helen, Peter, & Matt), and our three grandkids (Nina, Nathaniel & Sam). I guess you all meant it when you said to us last Jan, 1, “Happy New Year!!” It was indeed.

Thanks to friends at St. Augustine’s and St. Stephen’s Episcopal churches, and at Oak Harbor Lutheran Church with whom we prayed, sang, planned, studied, retreated, ate, and talked.

Thanks to all the people with whom we got older, grieved the loss of friends, read books, and shared coffee, beer, meals, a second annual (may there be a third, Go Seahawks) Super Bowl Party at our house, weekly pinochle, fantasy baseball (the George Fox University [GFU] league) and live baseball (nine Mariners and Tigers games), and just time together, listening to one another’s stories (more often now, medical) and enjoying with gratitude the lives God has given us.

The actual week of our 50th anniversary, we vacationed at Eagle Crest in Redmond, OR, and in June the family came to help us re-pledge our vows in Bend, OR at the Inn at Seventh Mountain. Our grandson, Sam (13), came out from Colorado for a week in July to party with us, fishing and crabbing. Thanks to Melahn and David for sharing their boat and crab-whacking expertise!

Other celebratory travels included a week with grandchildren, Nina (9) and Nathaniel (6.5), in Rockport, MA and a week with Michele’s family in Ludington, Michigan in late July-early August. In Newberg, OR, we celebrated with our friends, Dave and Melva Brandt, at GFU at the dedication of the new residence hall named in their honor, and then came back to GFU in November for a dinner honoring Michele for her role in founding the Accounting major there.

But the big event was our long-planned, three-week, Mediterranean trip cruising to Venice Italy, Dubrovnik Croatia, Athens Greece, Ephesus Turkey, Split Croatia, and the Greek islands of Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, and Katakolon and the third week in Assisi and central Italy, capstoning our year-long anniversary celebration. We will cross the finish line of this marathon of partying when the whole family comes out to Whidbey Island for Christmas at our house.

Footnotes to the year’s non-stop revelry
Tom taught a Bible study and biblical Greek class on Mondays and a seminar on the Minor Prophets, served on the boards of Whidbey Island Theological Studies and the Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship, co-authored a book Healing Church Strife in the New Testament and Today, assisted two authors in the editing of their new books, lectured for the GFU Leadership Forum, and helped to inaugurate the Johnson Leadership Forum at the University of Sioux Falls. 

Michele continues to do taxes (January through March) as a volunteer for the AARP free tax-prep service, serves as treasurer and volunteer for Island County Habitat for Humanity, participated in BeachWatcher environmental programs including detailed (e.g., species-counting) beach-monitoring, does the books and helps distribute food twice a month for the Coupeville food bank, known as Gifts from the Heart, went to Michigan in the fall to spent three weeks with her mother, Jane, in Ludington, and has recently taken up knitting.  

We thank you all for your part in these joys, and we are grateful for all the blessings and challenges that draw us closer together. 

Merry Christmas and a truly Happy New Year in 2016 from our house to yours!
Michele and Tom Johnson

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