It has been a challenging year for everyone. So much sadness. So many people sick. Staying home instead of going to holiday parties. Most of you have probably know at least one person who has died or know someone currently in ICU. You probably know someone who is high risk, or maybe you are? I wondered how to even begin to write a Christmas letter this year. While pondering the year 2020 … I started to think about 20/20 vision, that perfect vision that we all wish we had. What is there in the year 2020 that we really need to see? That led me to pick up my Bible. I asked the Holy Spirit to lead me to some helpful verses.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
No matter how bleak things seem right now, God wants us to have hope. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking for ways to be kind to people around me. A little kindness always makes everything a little brighter. In a world that seems to be divided right now, we all need to try to pull together. God wants us to look for the things that cannot be seen, and to have faith in Him.
I don’t have a lot to share about this year. I quietly celebrated my 19th year Cancer-free in the fall. I have mostly been at home. I’m high risk and so are my mom and Amy. We don’t’ get out much. I’m trying to keep us COVID free. I do grocery pickup. I am becoming highly creative when it comes to getting whatever we need without going in stores. I have done a lot of painting classes, scrapbooking, needlework, sewing, and Bible journaling. I took a one-week class on how to write children’s books. A gift shop in Oklahoma City closed their doors due to the pandemic, and we bought their shelving for my craft room. Since we got those installed, I have been organizing all my craft supplies. I help decorate lunch sacks for homeless meal delivery in Norman. I have completed several Bible studies on my own. I sure miss my Bible study ladies, it is not the same without our discussions, and when we meet again two spots at the table will be empty. This year has been so hard.
Allen had to travel a lot this year with his job. We really hope that will improve this coming year. We had the weirdest 36th anniversary ever. He was out of town, so we talked on the phone. We wouldn’t have gone out anyway because of the pandemic, but it was strange to celebrate without him here. The recent ice storm in Oklahoma brought down a bunch of tree limbs. That triggered tree trimming, and we have really cleaned up the yard. We refurbished 4 metal deer and covered them with lights for our Christmas light display this year. They were a lot of work, but it was fun working together.
Amy is 29. She has really been struggling with her health again this year. Her Lyme specialist is trying to get her into remission. He finally sent her to a Mast Cell specialist. That has been suspected for a long time, but we did not have a referral. The new doctor gave her a MCAS diagnosis. The medicine has been making her extremely ill, so they just changed it. Her POTS is either getting worse or the medicine isn’t working well. She has passed out several times in recent weeks. She is spending December in a month-long heart monitor. Her doctor’s appointments have been almost exclusively virtual. We have only made one out-of-town day trip to a doctor for testing all year. I took a zoom, basket-weaving class with her, and we each made two baskets.
Lucy the Pug and Minnie the Rat Terrier mix are doing well. Lucy is getting a little gray, but so am I. We still have our three cats: Figaro, Bagheera and Thomas. Figaro is in early renal failure. He lost a lot of weight, but he is doing a little better. Amy also still has her two Parakeets. They are getting old, and Bert is sleeping most of the time. We know he probably will not be with us next year, but they were rescues and have had a good life with us.
David and Courtney bought a house in Ft. Worth. I have only seen pictures, but it’s beautiful. David has been teaching a mixture of in-person and online classes at Austin College and Paul Quinn. He also is the Youth Minister at their church. He spends a lot of time writing and presenting papers. Before the pandemic, Courtney was traveling to England for work. In the spring, they were going to take a trip to Italy with the kids, but it was cancelled. They have attempted to reschedule that trip. Fingers crossed for them. Courtney has been working from home with international clients since the original lock-down.
Hannah is 6 and in First Grade. She was not a big fan of distance learning, but she loves to read. Now, she is back in the classroom. She loves gymnastics. She is into Disney princesses, My Little Pony, foxes, and Star Wars.
Joseph is 3. He loves school and gymnastics. He is into cars, Star Wars, Spiderman, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
They all came to Norman for a visit in the fall. We spent a beautiful day in the park together. Pictures and phone calls are awesome but seeing them in person was priceless for this Nana.
My mom had surgery in Houston in January to remove a pre-cancerous spot on her head. Thankfully, this surgery was less complicated than her surgery in 2019. She celebrated her first-year cancer-free and had a wonderful checkup in Houston in the fall. She had diverticulitis but recovered from that without a hospital stay. In August we welcomed Hattie to the family. She is Robert and Susan’s first grand baby. Mom looks forward to meeting her third great-grand. Mom’s boyfriend, Ted, got C Diff and landed in the hospital this fall. While he was in rehab, he ended up with COVID. He is doing well, but still very weak. We are hoping he will be able to return home soon once the physical therapists think he is stable. For now, they talk on the phone or make facetime calls.
Allen’s mom has been locked down most of the year. She lives in Independent living at Concordia. They deliver their meals to their apartments and take wonderful care of the residents. Allen has visited her infrequently, because he does not want to expose her to COVID if he is encountered it in his travels. She has spent her time sewing, crafting, watching movies, singing, and with her plants. She laughed that over the past year, her plants had formed a jungle. I think they are going to have a Christmas sale to benefit charity at Concordia with some of her plants.
I believe God wants me to stay safe and wear a mask to protect those I love and myself. But I also believe that he wants my faith and trust. I am working on it. Please contact us and let us know how you are doing. We miss all our friends and contact with the outside world. Take care and stay as safe as you can. Please let me know if I can pray for you.
Missy, Allen and Amy Schones