Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2012

Here is our Christmas thoughts for all of you,

December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to all, and our wish for a Happy New Year.

This Year has been a special one for us, with all the surprises we could want and God’s blessings through all of the year. We didn’t send a letter last year because when I put one together, it seemed much too sad, and in reality, 2010 had some bright spots too, brought into focus by looking backwards over time.

We celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary in 2010 and decided to go back to Montreal and see if anything had changed. Our trip had all the mystery of France, with a convenient North America location, coupled with a side trip to Quebec City, for the crowning Francophile experience. We stayed at the Queen Elizabeth, as before, and got caught up in the Montreal, Philadelphia hockey play off game excitement. Chicago won the Stanley Cup, the first since 1961, and I was very proud to be able to watch the games and root for the Blackhawks.

A year ago Deb was diagnosed with right side breast cancer, confirmed by a biopsy, a shock really, especially since all the exams had been normal. Chemo started in early December and a mastectomy followed in May. The good news is that Deb is doing well and getting her strength back, slow but sure and still working full time. The breast cancer had attached to her liver but is thought to be stable. She will have another CT scan Monday to see how things look.

I had my right hip replaced in May, so for almost a month we convalesced together, enjoying our time together at home. Deb returned to work and eventually so did I, for a week, and then retired on August first. Not only do I really like being home, Strider is thrilled to have me here so she can nap on the love seat next to me.

I was in Michigan in August to visit Kathi, Erin and Kris. Kris and Bud live in the Grand Rapids area so I spent some time with them and the grandkids, Mitchell and Madelynn. Then I went to the Pontiac area to visit with Kathi and Jim and to attend a Pontiac Central High School band reunion. I think my friend Peggy and I were the oldest ones there. I’m glad I wasn’t asked to play anything.

Erin and Quinn were visiting in the area so we all congregated at Kathi’s and later had dinner at the Clarkston Union restaurant. Erin’s husband Rob, a career USAF member, returned from his yearlong duty in Korea, and they have now moved to his next duty station near Pensacola Florida. Erin hopes to be there long enough for Quinn to complete high school. Quinn is sixteen.

Sadly, we put Gabby, our cat, down in June. She was sixteen years old and had come to have just too many health challenges to go on without being miserable. Our vet and her team sent a nice sympathy card and Gabby’s paw prints to help us remember her. It is so difficult to lose a loved pet, after so many years. It’s hard to believe Strider is nine years old now.

We are part of a great small group through church that has helped us keep our balance through all the ups and downs. There have been times and days in the past year that we were scared, overjoyed, angry, in denial and riding the roller coaster of emotions as our situation evolved, but through it all we were comforted by great friends, family and most of all our Lord, who marked a path for us through this year and gave us the strength to survive.

Someone wrote that the secret of happiness is to walk slowly through life, savoring the exercise, and to make no left turns while driving. Three right turns make a left turn, as you all know. And statistics show most senior driver’s accidents come during left turns. I want to be around to continue my driving Deb up the wall.

We have enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving and look forward to Christmas and New Year. We hope and pray for healing for Mary as she battles leukemia, Jack as he treats for skin cancer and keeps an eye on his lymphoma, currently in remission. We mourn the passing of our friends Jill and Herman from cancer, and the health problems that seem to visit everyone we know.

This year we have tried to look at our life and feel the contentment that comes from knowing that God has given us so many blessings, and that He has only asked us to be good stewards of those blessings and to share them with others. We are certainly blessed by your prayers and petitions to our Lord asking for healing for us and we’ve seen the results of those prayers in the recent positive medical exams.

God Bless each of you in 2012

Dan, Deb and Strider, the wonder dog
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