2021 Christmas Letter

We started 2021 with a big snow. It was very pretty and a sign of a new start. Although this year was not all that different for our family. Allen is still on the road a lot. He’s taking online classes, so that also takes up a lot of his time.  It seems like his time at home is full of chores and homework.

I turned 60 and have now celebrated 20 years cancer free. I’ve spent a lot of the past year watching online scrapbook and art classes. Allen got me a new toy this past spring. I now have a Silhouette Cameo and I’m in love! I have painful joints in my hands from Psoriatic Arthritis, so paper piecing was getting increasingly difficult. Now I can cut complicated pieces for my scrapbooks, and it’s so much fun!

We got vaccinated, but Amy’s doctors do not want her exposed to Covid. Her blood brain barrier is open due to her autoimmune encephalitis, so Amy and I stick close to home. I think we only had to make two trips to Texas this year for tests. The rest of her remote doctors have been doing tele-med. I could get used to that! We do have to see some local doctors, but it’s been nice to not have to hit the road several times a month. We are adding two new doctors in the next month or so. She’s got an appointment with a new mast cell specialist (the last one was boggled by her complex case). We have a referral for a sleep specialist. The ones in Oklahoma say she doesn’t have sleep apnea, but her sleep remains an issue. She may be getting an implanted loop recorder soon, because her cardiologist thinks she might have afib. Some of you helped her celebrate her 30th birthday this year by sending cards. Thank you for making it special for her.

Amy lost her sweet parakeet, Bert, this year. He died in her hands. It was very traumatic. His mate Mary has adjusted well to being alone, but she still misses him. Our dogs, Minnie and Lucy, are doing well. Lucy had to have a few teeth pulled this year, so her smile has changed a little. She often has a pink tongue hanging out with that one tooth showing. Minnie spends much of her time trying to catch squirrels and trying to find the fox that we believe lives in our yard. Our cats, Figaro, Bagheera and Thomas are still co-existing. Ro is in early renal failure and very thin. Baghee is attempting to show that he’s now the dominant cat, so he’s turned into a grumpy old man. Thomas is a hoot. He’s the youngster in the group. He’s playful and looks for chances to bat at one of his brother’s tails.

David accepted a new position as the Director of the Veterans Onward program at Austin College. He is also teaching in the Religious Studies  and Classics departments. He’s Youth Minister at Trinity Episcopal Church in Ft. Worth, so he wears many hats these days.

Courtney is now the Vice President of Private Deal Operations at Oak Hill Advisors and has been very busy expanding and training her new team.

Hannah is in second grade and is interested in all things magical. She particularly loves reading about dragons and other mystical creatures, as that encompasses her other passion which is animals.

Joseph has turned four and is getting ready for pre-k next year. He is getting really good at counting and writing his letters. He loves everything to do with Spiderman and superheroes.

The kids visited in July and again in December for an early Christmas. Allen sees them more often when he’s in Texas. Visits are good medicine for Nana and Dodah (their name for Amy). Nothing makes my heart happier! Video chats are awesome, but they just aren’t the same as a hug.

We had an epic hailstorm in April. Our neighborhood looked like a war zone. Many windows were broken, and no one can get glass to replace them. We were lucky that we only lost one window in the sunroom. We still need a new roof, but it’s not leaking. Our deck roof is gone. That also needs to be replaced. It totaled Allen’s car and damaged mine. It took 6 weeks to repair my car, and then a second huge hailstorm came within days. We lost my new windshield and the one in Allen’s new car. Both need to be repaired again. I’m done with crazy Oklahoma weather.

My mom is doing well. Robert took her to Houston for a check up this year. She’s cancer free. She still has shortness of breath, probably due to her thymoma surgery a couple of years ago. Ted started having more trouble getting around this year and having issues with dementia. As much as Mom hated it, he was getting to be too much for her to handle on her own. He’s now in a skilled care facility. She’s lonely, but able to go to church and Bible study regularly (things she couldn’t do while caring for Ted). She also stays busy running up and down the highway to visit Ted. It’s just challenging to get out in the world during a pandemic safely, when you are high risk.

Allen’s mom is doing well at Concordia. She’s resumed going to church and working with their Women’s Auxiliary. She also sings with a group in Memory care every week. She’s always busy making a quilt while watching Hallmark movies. She does beautiful work.

Hope all of you are doing well. I really miss all my friends and family. I must admit that I enjoy social media even more, now that I am cut off from most in-person activities. It’s nice to see your smiling faces and hear what’s going on with all of you. Thankfully, Amy and I are introverts, so we’re doing okay. But we pray that these variants will die down, so that we can start to get out a little more in 2022. Please take care of yourselves. And I pray for a blessed new year for all of you.

Much love,

Missy, Allen and Amy

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