Last year I decided not to mail out cards and I started this blog instead.  I managed to get it out for Christmas.  This year, no cards and no Christmas blog. Will you accept New Years?

Thank you to everyone who sent cards this year.  We have enjoyed reading them and promise to get back into gear with cards for Christmas 2011!

With 2010 in the history books I look back it was a another huge year of change.  Personally, I have branched out and am back in charge of my own career and business and am loving every hard working, tear-shedding moment of it.  As part of this I will be moving this blog into it’s own URL this coming year and managing it a little differently.  If you want to check out my business you can do that here.

I have also made great strides at being vegan 75% of the time, and vegetarian the rest.  Time and $ make the vegan thing tough, but I feel the best I ever have and it is fantastic.  Freeing myself from gluten is also a constant battle but one I get closer to winning with patience and perseverance.  Whenever I “cheat” my sinuses clog up so there is a constant reminder to stay on track.  Chris has been so wonderfully supportive with this and has even enjoyed some of the cooking I have been doing for myself, but he still loves his meat and whole grain breads.  I am just thrilled to be adding veggies and reducing some gluten in his life through my food so we meander on together in this way.

The highlights of the year were once again times with family and friends.  We started a new tradition this year and will be hosting a Labor Day Weekend Party each year until further notice.  Our first annual, this year, was phenomenal.  It was “sub-zero” on the grand scheme of things, but the pool heater worked and the day and night were none the less filled with laughter, great friends, fellowship, and great food.  The fireworks that Chris put on and the singing around the fire-pit will be a cherished memory for many of us.

We hosted Thanksgiving for our immediate family and the Benington’s again, and hosted Christmas with Chris’ family.  It is so wonderful to have that love fill our home and to spend that time with those we hold so dear to our hearts.  I put a little vegan and gluten-free spin on the festivities, too, and my dishes have been hits so far!

I did the triathlon again this year and while I improved my time from last year, I know I have to train much more to really see improvements.  Chris had a great time boxing and getting fit until he tore his meniscus and had surgery the end of September.  He has made a full recovery but is worried about getting back to boxing and re-injuring anything so he is taking some time off.  He stays busy with work and maintaining the houses and needs a vacation sometime soon!

I spent a magnificent long weekend in Barcelona with my folks in May.  We really had a great time and I was grateful for a wonderful trip and the time with them.  These days time seems to be the greatest gift and I want to spend as much of it with family and friends as possible.  Keeping to that accord, I went to VA in December for a little over a week with my sister-in-law, two punk nieces, and the dog, Rudder.  Unfortunately, my brother was away on business but we had fun none-the-less.  I cherished spending time preparing for Christmas with them.  In 2008 I gave Aspen a “Jesse Tree” ornament collection.  Aspen, great reader that she is, read each passage outloud then she or Delaney hung the ornament on the Manzanita branch.  It was fun to participate and I loved helping her read “Isaiah” each time, a challenge when she was sounding it out.

Just after my return home, on December 19, I attended Christ Church Cranbrook’s service of Advent Lessons and Music called “The Great ‘O’ Antiphons”.  If you have heard the carol “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” then you may know a little about these texts as they are the basis for the song.  It was a festival, in preparation of Christmas, of the nine lessons and carols and celebrated each name given to Christ in the Old Testament: Wisdom, Adonai, Key of David, Rising Dawn, King of Nations, Emmanuel, and Root of Jesse.  There was the Jesse Tree again.  The song that was sung was “A Spotless Rose” by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) A spotless Rose is blowing, sprung from a tender root.  Of ancient seers’ foreshadowing, of Jesse promised fruit.  The Rose which I am singing, whereof Isaiah said, is from it’s sweet root springing in Mary, purest maid, for through our God’s great love and might, the blessed babe she bore us on a cold winter’s night.”

And we prayed a prayer I will share with you.

Oh Root of Jesse, You reach deep down into the darkness of the earth and stir the world’s longings for deliverance and hope: raise up within our own lives a spirit of courage and strength, of wisdom and insight, that we may add to the coming of the kingdom through the merits of the one we know as the beginning of the ages, even Christ our Lord. Amen

We wish you dreams come true in 2011: goals reached, lives touched, time with those you love- no matter how brief, and success in all you endeavor.  Happy New Year everyone… we love you all.

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