Strange that it's generally the only time of the year when we slow down long enough to take a look at what's transpired, and to pause (even if only briefly) for contemplating what lies ahead.
Who said you HAVE to wait until Christmas to reflect on the days gone by or the ones ahead?
Think about this for a second.
Your past and your future are constantly present.
How's that for a conundrum? And don't try to argue the point, saying that the future is not the past. Because as soon as you try, it already is.
[pause and reflect]
Now that I have you thoroughly distracted, let me make an admission of guilt. Maybe you'll miss it.
We didn't send Christmas cards last year.
It was my fault ... the ball dropped from the juggling act. I vowed to get back on track this year. As we have in the past, I thought it would be nice to send out a note. But as I started reviewing the events of the year, I realized it would fill up pages and pages. Nobody sends a family Christmas BOOK! The traditional media ... a card, photo, or sometimes a letter. And that's good. I love getting them. We all do!
But there's so much to share! Hmm ... a quandary.
Then it hit me (perhaps from a medically-induced fog as I sit here on the 21st of December recovering from the crud) ... "Why not capture the year somewhere online, and just include the link in the letter?"
A stellar collision of the traditional mailed piece, stamped and all, with the efficiency and perpetuity of technology!
YES. YES. YES.
So some of you have wandered here because you got a piece of paper in the mail. These days, that's like the winning lottery ticket. Congratulations. Savor it. For it may be your last. (Just kidding.) Well, savor it ... just in case.
If you didn't get the memo, please don't be offended. Even though our network of friends and family has grown larger ... to be honest, if we sent out something to everyone that we'd like to send to, we'd be in the poorhouse! We have so many extended friends through church and on places like Facebook and via other outlets.
It's my hope that this Year in Review provides you with a glimpse into our zany world. So that you feel connected with us ... and that you know we truly do wish you a very Merry Christmas. From our home to yours. And that our prayer for you is a bright and blessed 2015!
So let's get started, shall we?
|My car is on the right. Other abandoned vehicles|
were scattered along the hill.
February, 2014A relatively quiet month, compared to what we experienced in January. I traveled to New Orleans for a IABC event, Leah was gearing up for winterguard season, and Chaz and Amy were rehearsing for Honk! And as usual, Veda was the glue holding us all together. I'll foreshadow this point. She held us together ALL year. I am truly thankful to have her by my side "doing life" together. In addition to keeping the kids in motion, she still works from home and sacrifices for us all. Another batch of snow swung through in February, but a walk in the park compared to January.
March, 2014Leah's winterguard squad won top honors for their class at Kennesaw Mountain, and were automatically promoted to the next highest class. That was two class promotions in the time she was at Hillgrove, which is amazing. To get a sense of what the retreat (after the awards ceremony) looks like, and the camaraderie of a team that comes together to celebrate their victory, just take a look.
We also enjoyed Amy and her friend Kelly performing at the Kemp Elementary School talent show. What did they sing? "Let It Go" from Frozen, of course!
Wrapping up March was the honors banquet at Hillgrove, including Leah's selection into Who's Who for the senior class. So proud of her accomplishments!
One quarter of the way through ... are you still with me? It just gets better and better. Let's keep going!
First up ... a fantastic family cruise to the Bahamas. It was relaxing and energizing all at the same time, and we truly had a blast.
We were able to "extend" the family and had Mom and Dad Moore with us, along with our "third daughter" Allison!
But we had to get home ... as Amy and Chaz were preparing for their performance of Honk! What a talented cast and crew.
|JayBird and Rooster|
A few days after Honk! closed ... we let Amy be part of an audience ... at the Fabulous Fox Theater for a showing of The Lion King. Amazing theater. Amazing show. (And a pretty fabulous dinner at Chow Baby before it all got started!)
May, 2014The countdown begins to graduation. Leah introduced one of the speakers at the baccalaureate service. Then we hosted one of most epic graduation parties in the history of graduation parties ... three families collectively throwing a block party in our cul-de-sac. It was so much fun ... and we only had one real complaint about the noise! I don't have any photos from the party, because I was grilling! And line dancing. Of course! We had yard games, firepits, makings for sundaes and S'mores for dessert, and a photo booth for general craziness. And twinkly lights.
|Going to be in 6th grade!|
|Graduate with (um) some honors!|
June, 2014Do we start to slow down yet? Nope. We enjoyed some family outings, such as hiking Kennesaw Mountain and visiting the Etowah Mounds. We're fortunate to be surrounded by some great natural opportunities for getting out and enjoying some activities like these. By mid-June, it was time for Veda, Leah and I to head to Western Carolina for colorguard auditions and for college orientation.
|Juney Whank Falls, Deep Creek, NC|
We returned that evening to find an exhausted daughter who was not feeling great and had concern about her audition. A trip to a local restaurant got her mind off it ... until we discovered that results had been posted on Facebook and that Leah made it on the Pride of the Mountains Gold Line!
During orientation for the next two days, we met some very nice band families and are still in contact with them to this day. Sticking together ... it's what band families do.
|Leah leaving for England|
With Leah across the pond, Veda and I then took Chaz and Amy to meet Mom and Dad Moore for the start of "Camp GG" for them. We met at the Peach Park near Clanton, AL for the exchange, and had a yummy lunch and took in all things "peach." Leaving there, we savored the brief moment of what "empty nesters" is all about. Some benefits, but you sure do miss them!
July, 2014Nothing says "Happy Birthday, America!" like a trip to the beach! Complete with fireworks over the lagoon at Gulf Shores. I love summer. It was a great visit with Mom and Dad Moore and a chance to pickup Chaz and Amy. Also experienced my first time ever of running out of gas. Car died just as we rolled into a gas station. YIKES! Once we got back, we prepared for Leah to return from her mission trip around the 10th.
Celebrated my 25th anniversary with The Coca-Cola Company in this month as well. Hanging in there!
|Jasmine and the Sultan|
Believe it or not, that's about it for July. But here comes August ...
August, 2014Let's start the month with an early back to school for Chaz and Amy around the 4th. Then we have to get Leah up to Western Carolina for band camp around the 7th. We connected once again with the Smiths and the Blades (other freshman band families) during the trip. Honestly, August really just became a blur. But apparently we did it all OK. Kids were in school, and Leah was at college. Now do we get to slow down? Apparently not.
Oh, and a note here ... Amy takes up violin in the school orchestra. Does extremely well.
September, 2014I opened up the month with a trip to Austin, TX to meet with the new installment of the IABC Southern Region board. What a fun group to work with! It was my first time in Austin, and I learned how to deal with an extreme number of access roads.
|Hiking during WCU Family Weekend|
And it was SO good to see Leah and spend some time with her. We stayed at a beautiful townhouse in a golf club in nearby Whittier. The kids seemed to have a great time reconnecting with each other. They especially seemed to enjoy watching their Dad fall in Deep Creek while he was trying to cross over to the waterfall on the opposite side. Good times. No photo.
|Gabe, Chaz, Will and Diego.|
And their chaperone.
It's trips like this one that remind you of how blessed you are and how all kids are different. It was fun to see their strengths and weaknesses and how they played off each other. My little group was like hosting the cast of The Breakfast Club ... they each had a little personality to reckon with.
I hadn't been to Rock Eagle since I was a kid, and my young wards were astonished when I pointed out things that were still there that I could remember. "Dude ... he said this pavilion thingy was around when he was a kid. It must be ancient or something!" Nice, kid.
|We made it on the lake!|
Once we were out on the water, he immediately went into triage mode for another kid who was panicking in another boat ... shouting over to him that it was going to be OK ... that they both were going to be OK. Just love his heart!
|I'm watching you, Red.|
Or is Red watching me?
October, 2014Leah was home and we took a family day over to Stone Mountain. It was a little disappointing because the Great Lawn was closed for all the construction to make the ramps, etc. for Snow Mountain. Ah well, we found a spot on the side of the lawn for the laser show. Always fascinated at how they do that. I made a repeat trip to Austin for the Leaders Summit of the IABC Southern Region conference.
Veda and her parents went up to Cullowhee to see Leah in action for one football game, and then I took my parents up the following weekend. Unfortunately, it snowed on "my" weekend, we couldn't get to our rental. Yikes!
|A selfie with George Bush. Be jealous.|
|Peter Pan and Humpty Dumpty|
November, 2014It's time for another show! Chaz and Amy were once again on the stage at the Mable House Amphitheater ... this time for the musical production of Shrek. Amy was cast as Humpty Dumpty and Chaz was cast as Peter Pan. It was very entertaining and we thoroughly enjoy watching them sing, dance and act. They are quite the Thespians!
|Kempy the Cougar in action!|
So Chaz did it the entire time, and he was an absolute NATURAL! Giving out hugs, high fives, and posing for pictures. Honestly, he's got the making of a college-level mascot. And if you knew him personally, I think you'd agree. So proud of that young man!
And you guessed it ... there was Leah on national TV! A quick glimpse ... but friends sent us still shots from their DVR. She spent the entire week in NYC and had a once-in-a-lifetime blast. We're so happy she has made connections and friends through band and through her classes at school. I'll give you a sneak peak into the end of this year's story ... she's going to be on the Dean's List. Booyah.
December, 2014Are you still with me? Bully for you! We've made it all the way to the end of 2014.
|Maxwell, Dixie, Brother Sam and Alice|
What an extremely fun time we had in our rehearsals and preparations leading up to the show. It's my hope that someone in the audience during those three nights got to understand the truest meaning of Christmas ... that's it's not about the shopping, the gifts or the food ... it's about THE Gift ... the Child who was born to save us all. The fact that we had fun in the production was icing on the cake.
Veda and the kids headed down to Gulf Shores for the merriment and celebration with her family mid-December, while I stayed back recovering from some type of crud (as a precaution not to share it with anyone). Tough decision ... NOBODY wants to miss any of that kind of present-swapping and food-eating! They are a very loving family and I'm blessed to be a part of them, even when I'm apart from them.
So now what? There's no sequel to this yet ... you'll have to wait until next year. Perhaps you'll be thinking of how to chronicle YOUR year in review ... we'd love to read it! Until then, I leave you with one of the best moments in television history:
And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them!
And they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not!
For, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all my people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David,
a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you:
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.”
And suddenly, there was with the angel
a multitude of the Heavenly Host
praising God, and saying,
“Glory to God in the Highest,
and on Earth peace,
good will toward men."
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.