Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review

"Summing up, let me just say that I reject, repudiate, renounce, denounce, dismiss, and utterly regret 2008." And so Kathleen Parker begins her column in the 12/31/08 morning newspaper. Her words challenged me to assess how I feel about this past year and I have decided to celebrate, honor, value, and cherish the past 12 months. This is not to discount the tragic amount of pain and suffering in our country and in the world this past year. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the financial collapse, rising unemployment, and a disastrous conclusion to the Bush presidency are all to be lamented. But I choose to focus on those things that have given me joy and hope.

February 3, 2008.....The New York Giants win the Super Bowl. As a lifelong Giant fan I have experienced the agony of defeat and the joy of victory. Watching this game, surrounded by family members (all NY Giant fans, a requirement), I was able to share the excitement of the game with three generations. Here is a summary of the game as described on Wilkapedia. "The first three quarters of Super Bowl XLII were largely a defensive battle, as both teams combined for only 10 points, with the Patriots leading 7–3 entering into the final quarter. New York finally scored their first touchdown with 11:05 left in the game to take a 10–7 lead. New England eventually responded with a touchdown of their own to take a 14–10 lead with 2:42 left. Then came the defining play of the game: faced with third down and five yards to go from their own 44-yard line with 1:15 remaining, Giants quarterback Eli Manning avoided what looked like a sack and completed a 32-yard pass to wide receiver David Tyree, who made a leaping catch by pinning the ball on his helmet which put them at New England's 24-yard-line. Four plays later, New York wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught the winning touchdown with 0:35 left.[13] Manning, who threw both of his touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, was named the Most Valuable Player." Here's a photo of Granddaughter Jena and I preparing for that memorable day.

February 22-March 21.....For the second year in a row we had the opportunity to spend a significant part of the winter in Central Florida at a small rented Villa. John, Mary, and I adopt a relaxed daily routine while we are there that includes sitting on the porch, squeezing fresh orange juice for breakfast, walks in the sunshine, visiting with friends, lunch at Gator Joe's, dancing outdoors in the evenings at The Villages, and scenic drives.March 23.....Easter in Savannah, Georgia where I was born almost 64 years ago. We had two wonderful days in this old city of great charm.Every Tuesday.....Tai Chi classes at The Tai Chi Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. I am in my third year of learning this ancient internal martial art. The practice of Tai Chi has improved my overall health and is an effective tool to manage stress.

June 1 to present day...I was appointed as the clergy member of a three person Transition Team to serve a small local congregation during their pastoral transition. My duties have included leading workshops on transitions, occasional worship leadership, pastoral care, and other pastoral duties. I am thankful for this opportunity to work with a small but dedicated group of faithful people as they struggle to discern what the future holds for them.
August 2......Daughter Sarah married Todd Mraz in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at Lanzi's on the Lake. We gained not only a great new son-in-law but a new granddaughter, Morgan.
August 25-27...John and I camped in the popup trailer at a State Park on the shores of Lake George. A great one on one time with John as we set around the campfire each evening telling stories and singing songs.

August 27-September 2.....Our annual trip to Diamond Point on the shores of Lake George. All of the children and grandchildren were able to gather for this end of summer time.

September 17-27....Our son, Joshua, and his family purchased a home in Waitsfield, Vermont where he began a new job. I spent ten days working beside him to prepare the house for their moving in. We stripped wallpaper, tore up floors, sheet rocked, painted, and laughed together through long 16 hour days.

October 13-24....Mary, John, and I took a cross country road trip to visit Mary's family in Iowa. It was a great adventure that included a visit to Galena, Illinois and "The Field of Dreams" in Dyersville, Iowa.

December 24, 25, &a 26.....A wonderful three day family celebration of Christmas. the 15 of us attended church together on Christmas Eve at 4pm and then gathered at our home for pizza and wings and some gift exchanges. I led worship at 7pm at Grace church and it was a warm and inspiring experience of singing, communion, and candlelight. Josh, Elizabeth, and Noah spent the night so we were able to share the excitement of Christmas morning with a 4 year old. The remainder of the family gathered in the afternoon for more gift exchanging and a dinner of ham and turkey and all the fix'ns. On the 26th we helped the children make a ginger bread house at Suzi's.

And so, to you and yours, I wish a Happy New Year!

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