Dear Family and Friends,
I hope that this letter finds you well this holiday season. Each year, I think life will slow down, but no… Thanks to our adventuresome children (and a bit of adventure in ourselves!) we have had an amazing year, which will culminate with an amazing trip. So here’s a quick recap:
Rob spent his spring break on a mission trip to Honduras. He flew with a team from the church to Tegucigalpa, where they did general painting and handyman chores for an organization called “The Lamb Institute.” Rob continues to serve on the constituent school board and the faculty senate, as well as coordinate Darwin Week in Charleston and play the retirement home circuit with the other members of the Intelligent Design Quartet. This year Rob and a couple colleagues described a new species of freshwater snail, Physa carolinae, common in swamps and ditches throughout the southeast but entirely overlooked by science until now. This earned him a starring role in a video on YouTube!
Ginny continues her studies at Oxford, but has spent much of the past year traveling around Europe, mining archives of 17th century newspapers for nuggets about Transylvania. This included brief trips to Budapest, Hungary and Cluj-Napoca, Romania in spring; a whirlwind tour of Germany in the summer; and now has her freezing in Uppsala, Sweden. Ginny makes it back to Paris every couple of months, and Eric comes to visit her, as well - wherever she is. Thanks to Skype, we still get to talk to her at least weekly. Ginny and Eric did get back to the States in June for the wedding of her cousin and our niece, Katie (Photo left - click for larger). It was a lovely wedding and a great visit. A highlight was the pool party at my sister and brother-in-law’s. It was so good to see all the cousins and their offspring!
Bryan completed his volunteer service in AmeriCorps in July. he spent most of his ten months in Louisiana, where he helped build houses, clear debris, and salvage reusable materials. Yes, he was on Bourbon Street when the Saints won the Super Bowl! I am not sure how he acquired the 50 pounds of Mardi Gras beads that he sent home. What happens in New Orleans stay in New Orleans! Since returning home, he has kept busy applying to graduate programs, helping with odd jobs around the house and applying for real ones.
I have joined a book club! I am having so much fun and am reading book I might never have picked up. Best Book: The Help Worst Book: Loving Frank. Current Book: Three Cups of Tea. I have “retired” from directing the music for the Kirk Club at church, but remain active in the choir. At school, we were elated to earn an Excellent/Excellent on our school report card. I am now busy helping prepare for our Charter renewal this Spring.
Did I mention travel? In addition to Rob’s trip to Honduras and family visits to Virginia for Katie and Peter’s wedding and “Thanksmas,” we traveled to Denver for Bryan’s AmeriCorps graduation. We are so proud of him and his fellow volunteers. After the ceremony on Tuesday, we enjoyed the rest of the week site seeing, shopping (me), hiking (the boys), going to a Colorado Rockies game, climbing Pike’s Peak, and touring the "golden circle" of mining towns. The Grand Finale of our year will be a trip to France! We fly out on the 19th to join Ginny and Eric in Paris for a few days of site seeing before we drive to his family’s home in the province of Gascony for Christmas. We are looking forward to meeting them all, and I hope they will be patient with our attempts to speak French.
Nous vous souhaitons de joyeuses fêtes et une heureuse nouvelle année! (We wish you joyful holidays and a happy new year!)