Posted on Dec 19, 2012 in Blog |

Dear Loved Ones (that includes all friends and family!),

I started this letter as Jeff and I flew back from a week’s vacation in Naples, Florida for Thanksgiving week. It seems more difficult each time to return to ‘real life.’ Eight days alone together was just the recipe for restorative healing in the physical and mental realms. It is the first time in decades that I can remember sleeping 9-10 hours nightly with no interruption.

Listening to the gulf waves easing onto the beach became like breathing to me, each wave, each breath as deep as the horizon in front of us. Paradise.

Heather – Heather continued her studies at George Mason University. And on December 20th, less than a month away, she will walk the stage to accept her Bachelor degree in Mind and Body Wellness. She has applied (and with her almost 4.0 GPA, I think she will be accepted) for the Masters in Social Work program also at George Mason.

Heather also finally took the plunge and resigned from her position at the hair salon in order to teach yoga full time in addition to finishing up her undergraduate degree. It has been an honor to watch Heather find her passion and accomplish her goals. Her journey is just beginning in some ways and I can’t wait to see how she changes the world that she touches!

Heather had back surgery in June to repair a ruptured disk that had probably been there for two years. She had to stop yoga for six weeks. But she did everything the doctor told her to do and she has made a full recovery. Back surgery is no small deal; so we are all relieved she came through it so successfully.

Heather was also named an Ambassador to lululemon. Her photo is on the big wall at Tysons Corner. This is a very high honor among yogis. ?

Joey – Joey and Cortney are still together and planning a 2013 wedding. They are still in Simi Valley, CA. They have moved into a small house and Joey has started his own vegetable garden.

He had some knee problems this year, but we hope they are resolving. He is still working at Milgard Windows.

Stephen – this time last year, Stephen was freshly healing from collarbone surgery. We tried taking him back to Old Dominion University in January, but he still couldn’t carry a backpack or sleep lying down. A week later, we brought him home and decided a ‘gap year’ wasn’t a bad idea. He needed time to heal.

He picked up a few courses at the local community college and is there this fall as well. He works for me part time (which is working fine, thank you) and we are all getting along with him living at home. I know what some of you are thinking and you are right. I LOVE having him home. He is thinking of applying to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond for next fall.

Jeff – Jeff’s honey endeavor is thriving. Dissention lingers about which harvest is the best. We have different tastes in our honey flavors, so one of us is always VERY happy with what comes out of the hives. We have our bottle filling and labeling assembly fine-tuned now. It is truly a Mom and Pop operation. If the label isn’t on straight, I am responsible. If you are interested in purchasing Jeff’s honey, just email him at His Backyard Eden Honey page is on Facebook at . His honey is still being used at one of the finest restaurants in the country (which also happens to be in Great Falls).
Jeff didn’t get in much fly-fishing this year. We escaped to Rose River Farm ( one weekend. The cold water held onto most of the trout there, but he caught a few.
It was too cold, or windy, or something to fish much the times we were in Florida this year. Hurricane Irene came to visit while we were in Florida one visit, so we came down an ‘extra’ time to try to compensate. Yes, the weather ‘events’ seem to follow us wherever we go.
Jeff started an Aquaponics garden this year. He had tomatoes, basil, cabbage, and peppers before anyone else had planted their seeds.
His organic garden had about 200 square feet of kale alone this year for my green smoothies. I helped him harvest it as well. Pulling kale gave me an even deeper appreciation for Jeff’s daily efforts in the family garden.

We made it through the first year of grieving after Preston’s death on March 28, 2011. I ask that you continue to keep Gayle and Brittany in your prayers. Stay connected with them. The loss doesn’t get any easier. Thank you again to everyone who has prayed for us, talked with us, hugged us, shared tea with us, sent us cards, emails, notes, letters.

Pets – Ralphy, our big fluffy dog of 14 years, died in February. It was agonizing to say goodbye to her. Death sometimes takes us in pieces, and it was doing so with Ralphy. It is never easy to know when to say when, but we did the best we could and she died in Jeff’s and my arms.

Reagan, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, became VERY depressed after Ralphy’s death. I have never seen an animal so profoundly affected by the loss of another until now. I started walking Reagan daily and those helped him tremendously, but he was still obviously lonely, clinging to Jeff and me day and night. In late March, we visited a breeder and came home with Riley. He was already 7 months old. ‘They’ say that female Cavaliers love their owners, but that male Cavs fall IN LOVE with their owners. Evidently, it is true for Riley with me. Most of you know I am NOT a dog lover. But Riley has captured my heart and soul with every breath. Reagan adores his new playmate, except when it comes to sharing toys and Jeff’s attention.

Jammer and Cleo, our Bengal cats, are still with us.

My work continues at myNeighborsNetwork and Neighbors Foundation. myNeighborsNetwork will have a mobile application within the next month or so. The foundation is still busy with the annual Great Falls Fireworks and sending care packages to the troops in Afghanistan.

Donations have waned a bit for both causes, so we are still gratefully accepting donations for both!

This year’s fireworks were delayed a few weeks because of the ‘derecho’ in late June. This weather