Archive for December, 2015

CavChristmas 2015

The barrage of Christmas letters has begun so it must be time to prepare and send ours. But then I did the mental math as something approaching the current postage rate (I’ve lost track of increases), and thought … the blog.
A Crazy, Sad Spring
As you might imagine, we began spent Christmas and New Years with Amie’s family at the Farm. If I recall, the weather was wildly inconsistent. But we still got to do some skating on “Wheeler Pond”. I spent a day in NH visiting my parents. As you may recall, my mother has Alzheimer’s so this was mostly to spend some time with my father. It is hard to have a mother who doesn’t recognize you, and a father whose life has shrunk so much. While we were in NY we discovered that we were being sued by the woman who ran into Amie nearly a year earlier. She of course claims Amie hit her with the only car on earth that goes sideways. But that’s another story. It did dredge up old wounds w/regard to my lost Deep Purple CD.
Shortly after we returned from vacation one of our long-time, and much loved, members entered the hospital. Eventually George was home but under hospice care. At the same time a number of other people had surgery, so I spent much of the winter and spring doing visitation. One of those surgeries was Eli’s first bone graft in LA in March. It was a successful surgery. In late spring George passed away. Since his widow no longer drives, we were able to sell my 2001 CRV and purchase their 2011 CRV. About the same time the kids had their end of the school year recital. Jadon did dance and classical guitar while Eli and Micah did acrobatics. As you might imagine, Micah did great. We were glad Eli actually did the routine since he can be intimidated by new things. His timing left something to be desired, but HE DID IT.
In May Amie and I were deposed for the lawsuit. We think it went well, but the other woman’s lawyer is not really open to settling despite the physical evidence backing Amie’s version of events.  The big news of the day was that we finally had lunch at a place that is supposedly a Tucson landmark known for steak fingers. Disappointing to say the least.
It wasn’t all bad. We had some fun as a family. I also went to see Switchfoot at the Pima County Fairgrounds. It was a great show, but much too short. I also went to the home opener for the D’Backs. It was a fun time even if they didn’t win.
A Strange Summer
Summer started with a bang, so to speak. I went to Chattanooga for General Assembly in June. I roomed with an old friend from the Winter Haven days. We stayed at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. I had wanted to stay in an old rail car. He thought that looked romantic. Guess where we ended up? I slept in a day bed, but slept more than he did since I tended to go to sleep earlier, and snore like a freight train. Appropriate, right?
From TN I flew to Orlando to perform a wedding ceremony for another friend. Amie flew out a few days earlier so the kids stayed with various friends. We enjoyed time at the wedding catching up with a number of people. The next day we had lunch with some friends and it was off to the airport, our whirlwind return to FL over.
As you expected, we spent our summer vacation with Amie’s family. First was a few days at the Shore (the beach for people not from NJ). We witnessed an incredible lightening storm while there. Then it was up to NY where it rained quite frequently. We made a trip to NH to see my parents and enjoy some time poolside with the Beatties. My mom did fairly well with the kids, better than our previous trip to see them. One day I hope to bring the kids to the White Mountains. Then was an extended-family weekend. I spent much of my free time on vacation editing my book. The editor and I made some structural changes that required quite a bit of work, but made for a better book.
When we got home, Amie noticed an ad for 3 free hamsters. Jadon had been pleading for a hamster for about a year. So why not 3? While they were free, they have been expensive but she spends lots of time playing with them. And making a huge mess on nearly a daily basis. There were a few scares as one would go rogue, but they always turned up.
The D’Backs played better this season than last, but they still weren’t in the race. They did, however, retire Randy Johnson’s number. So a group of friends decided to go for the festivities and enjoyed a close game against the Reds.
A Busy Fall for Hotel Cavallaro
In mid-September Eli underwent his second bone graft. It went well, and hopefully he’s done with surgeries until he’s in his late teens. Maybe. Hopefully. In late September we had Ed Eubanks spend a few days with us before he and I went to Presbytery in Flagstaff. When we got back, one of our missionary friends Mary Lou Smyth and a traveling companion spent a few days with us before heading back to NJ. In November we enjoyed a visit from Amie’s parents, and a shorter visit by her sister Jeannine and husband Dan, for my 50th birthday.
In the midst of all this, we had the privilege of attending the promotion of Chaplain Chris Reeder to major. I’ve known Chris for about 15 years when he was a seminary student. About a year and a half ago he was stationed here in Tucson. I was grateful for the opportunity to pray for him during the promotion ceremony.
Flying (Not So) High Again
Early in the year one of the deacons took Eli and I to a fly in breakfast in Benson. It was a good flight there, but not as good back to Tucson. We took another route on the east side of the mountains. The winds were higher, and we kept bouncing. I was glad my pancakes didn’t reappear.
In July, since I came back a week before the rest of the family, he and his wife flew me up to Pine Top for lunch. A four plus hour drive was a one hour flight. It was a good trip and a good lunch.
Church Life
Our building project dragged on and on and … In January we re-started SS anyway. I did a series adapted from my book. Our limited space was full as we ran a communicants’ class for the growing number of kids ready to partake of the Lord’s Supper. It has been a year of growth with the Session busy interviewing people for membership. We recorded the membership class this time through and made it available for others online. This fall we also had 2 baptisms. One was for a child adopted by one of our couples. Another is the long-hoped for child of another couple.
Finally, in September we were able to use our new office and classroom space. We had a building dedication service the weekend after Presbytery, and one of our former pastors preached for the service. In adult SS we’ve been studying Love Divine & Human in the OT (Ruth & Song of Songs to be followed by Hosea this spring). We had a visit from one of our church planters, Phil Henry who preached for us one Sunday. We also had our second Fall Fest, which went very well. We had 120 people visit us to enjoy some free food, games and prizes. It is great to see most of the congregation help to make something happen for outreach.
In October I was asked to fill in for another pastor on their church’s radio show. The two assistant pastors and I talked about the life of Joseph and how it points us to Jesus. It was fun, and hopefully they will ask me back.
The Book
Much of this year was spent in editing, as I mentioned. I’m trying to finish this round of editing before Christmas (I’m close!). The last estimate I heard was for release in late summer ’16. I’ve got a few well-known people lined up for advance copies so they can write blurbs to recommend it.  A book to which I contributed a chapter, Not Alone, is about infertility and miscarriages. It was released December 1st making a suitable gift for those you know struggling with those issues.
The Family
Everyone is doing well. Praise God there have been no strange injuries this year. Amie continues to teach group exercise at the Y. She has been there 5 years now, and got her 5-year pin and a gift card to Panera. She still maintains her thyroid board and helps people with medical issues. She and the kids still go to BSF and are currently studying Revelation there. The kids are doing fairly well with their studies, but tears often break out when new math concepts arrive. Amie deals with most of the educating, Jadon is still taking dance, while Eli and Micah are still in acrobatics. Asher is … well Asher. He’s loud (Guinness record for loudest kid on record) and often feels left out. We call him our “fragile flower”. Jadon has been making animals out of clay, and has some people interested in buying some. Her singing is much improved, and we hear it often in car when Toby Mac is blaring. Eli has been getting into reading. He likes his Action Bible and graphic novels. He is very excited about seeing The Force Awakens this winter (Ash too). Micah loves to draw and is getting very good at it. We’ve been playing quite a lot of Uno in recent weeks. Along with BSF homework it is becoming part of our post-dinner routine.
Lulu is a little more mellow, except when visitors come over. But she is still an amazingly cute dog, as Jadon frequently notes. Deep Purple keeps swimming around his bowl, surprising us with his longevity. Jadon notes this will be the last fish, which will make life easier when we go on vacation. I never imagined I’d be in a house with 4 kids, a dog, a fish and 3 hamsters. It can get a little crazy sometimes.
The Joy of Appliances
We said no freak injuries this year, but we did have other mishaps. After Eli’s 2nd surgery, while Amie and the other kids were getting ready to pick us up at the airport she heard a noise upstairs. When she investigated she discovered that our washer door had popped open and water was pouring out. She was able to get it off and used just about every towel to clean up the water. But the ceiling downstairs paid the price. Water lines follow a number of the drywall seams. Meanwhile LG has been stalling on paying the claim. So if you visit us, don’t look up.
In recent months I’ve been trying to get us all in the habit of closing the dishwasher door. Results had been typically inconsistent. So the day after Thanksgiving I was prepping some food and turned to put something in the garbage. That’s when my ankle caught the dishwasher door. I was off balance, grabbed the top rack which obviously wasn’t designed to hold a man weighing 190 or so pounds. Then I stepped on the door which also wasn’t designed to hold said man. This all meant we were going shopping for a dishwasher.

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