Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Good Kwanza!
However you say it, the meaning is basically the same . . . it's the holiday season, time for love, family, friends, love, gifts, food, song, love, laughter, parties, love, giving to others, beautiful lights, and did we mention . . . LOVE?
This is our holiday newsletter, the Holly Herald. It's been in production since 1984, when it was first lovingly created on an Apple IIe computer, printed on an Epson dot matrix printer, and sent out to family and friends via the U.S. mail. My my, how times have changed. The content, however, remains steadfast . . . we lovingly offer up our life together to you, the reader, because you're our family or our friend, and we love you. So enjoy!
We have lots of photos below, but first, here's the narrative of our year in review . . .
In January 2013, Dora decided to take a break from the work world due to health concerns and we've been waiting for our benevolent government to approve her disability application - hopefully good news on that soon. So we had plenty of time to PLAY this year! In March we took a trip to Oklahoma to see my brother Dan and our cousin Maude, who just turned 94. My sister Ruth and her husband Craig met us there and we had a wonderful time catching up on family history and visiting. One of Maude's desires was to finally meet Dora before she (Maude), in her words, "kicks the bucket." On the drive we stopped in Albuquerque to see Frank Romero, an Air Force buddy of mine whom we haven't seen since 1987. Fun!
May was graduation time for our niece Taylor. She graduated Peoria (AZ) High School in the Top 15% of her class -- we're so proud of her. Watching her grow into the smart, funny, and beautiful woman she is has been such a blessing since we moved to Arizona in 2005. She started at Glendale Community College (where I work) this fall and she's doing great. Her high school grades were so good that she earned the Presidential Scholarship here at GCC - a full ride for two years!
We also got to "share the love" when our friend Aline graduated from ASU with her BA in Social Work. Aline was one of my student workers at GCC back in 2007 and we've had her over for dinner a few times and followed her success ever since. She's continuing at ASU to earn her MSW.
In July, we took a tour of Arizona and visited the Grand Canyon (for the first time since moving here 8 years ago), Monument Valley (which you've seen in dozens of Westerns) and Canyon de Chelly, the best kept secret of Arizona. Be sure to view the photos below.
I'm still employed at Glendale Community College, managing the ACE Plus program, an early outreach program providing over 500 local high school students the opportunity to take up to 24 college credits before graduating high school. I have a great staff and we have much fun assisting the students.
In November, I attended the National Orientation Director's Association conference in San Antonio and Dora joined me. We stayed with Dora's dad, Bill, and had a great time. While there we had a mini-reunion with more Air Force friends whom we hadn't seen since 1987 - what a wonderful evening. Thank you Facebook! We also got to see cousin Thelma - we love you Thelma!
This year, we're celebrating Christmas as we always do - with family. I'm planning to cook the Christmas Eve dinner at our home and Mike will cook Christmas dinner at the McKenney residence . . . after we open our mountain of gifts on Christmas morning
We are truly blessed and have so much to be grateful for this holiday season, especially your friendship. As we celebrate this holiday season, let's "go beyond Jesus" to celebrate the re-birth of the Christ within each of us. This Universal Christ is represented by Love - the Love that's the cornerstone of our very soul. Dora and I are giving you a hug and a reminder to let your Love and Light shine forth to yourself and everyone and everything on this planet. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and have a wonderful new year!
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Out with spiritual friends to hear Marianne Williamson talk, Jan 2013. The pretty lady on the far right is Reverend Karen, our minister.
A roman candle on our anniversary dinner table, Wrigley mansion in Phoenix. We thought the fire department might be called -- Jan 2013.
Anniversary dinner at Wrigley Mansion, Jan 2013.
In March we took a road trip to Oklahoma and stopped in Albuquerque to see Frank Romero, one of Mark's Air Force buddies, who we hadn't seen since 1987!
The Reed Kids! Mark, his sister Ruth and brother Dan, March 2013
With 93-year old cousin Maude and Ruth at our great grandfather's grave site, March 2013
Precious Allie, seven months old, fixated on a bird outside. March 2013
Allie loves to sit on the recliner while Dora's on the computer, March 2013.
At Wildlife World Zoo in Goodyear, AZ. This guy was a real b'a'a'a'ad ass -- March 2013
Wildlife World Zoo, March 2013.
Mark's staff, L to R: Fred, Julie, and Harry. We order t-shirts for the students and staff each year. This year's was, of course, blue. :)
A former co-worker of Mark's graduated from ASU. We're so proud of Aline! May 2013.
At Aline's graduation party, yucking it up! May 2013.
Bill came for a visit, May 2013.
Honors ceremony for Taylor. She earned a full-ride for the first two years of college! May 2013.
Pre-graduation party. Lots of gifts and cupcakes! May 2013.
Taylor's graduation ceremony! Where is she? May 2013.
Taylor's graduation! Pretty. Cool. Pretty cool. May 2013.
Taylor's graduation! Proud aunt and uncle! May 2013.
Taylor's graduation! Dora with her sister Wanda and father, Bill. May 2013.
Dinner party for friends and co-workers. June 2013.
Birthday lunch at work. Happy birthday Fred and Julie! June 2013.
Happy birthday Dora! June 2013.
Dora's birthday dinner with Mike, Wanda, and Taylor at Bella Luna. June 2013.
We vacationed on the big island of Hawaii in June! It definitely IS big. We drove around the entire island in about 10 hours and saw . . . lava beaches . . . and . . .
Waterfalls, and . . .
Jungles, and . . .
Roadside coconut stands, and . . .
Five star restaurants, and . . .
Active volcanoes from a helicopter, and . . .
More beautiful beaches, and . . .
Sandy beaches, and . . .
And finally, a cute restaurant on the water.
We even found a Center for Spiritual Living (our faith) only 200 yards from our condo.
"Mr Kona Duck" visited us on our lanai each morning at our condo to get a daily fix of sweet bread
And we had to have plumeria in our condo so we could take a big whiff every time we walked by the bowl!
On the last leg of our "Driving Arizona" road trip - brunch with cousin Cindy and Ernie at Darby's in Pinetop, AZ. July 2013.
"Driving Arizona" Road Trip: The Grand Canyon
"Driving Arizona" Road Trip: Monument Valley
"Driving Arizona" Road Trip: Canyon de Chelly
Taylor and Wanda, Wanda's 50th! July 2013
Sweet Allie, one year old, Aug 2013.
We attended a Clint Eastwood-themed Bunco Party... fun! Here's Mark posing with Clint and our friend Fish. Aug 2013.
Beautiful Sherry, Aug 2013.
At a Cardinals game, Sep 2013
Taylor and Bill, Taylor's birthday, Oct 2013.
Taylor turned 19 this year. Wow, where did all the years go?? Oct 2013
Mark's birthday dinner with friends, Oct 2013
Halloween fun at work, Oct 2013
Playing cop and robber for Halloween, Oct 2013
November visit to San Antonio: Bill and Dora with beautiful roses from his garden, Nov 2013
November visit to San Antonio: on the Riverwalk, where we honeymooned in 1980. Nov 2013
November visit to San Antonio: Mini-reunion with Air Force friends from the '80s. Nov 2013
November visit to San Antonio: Air Force buds Stephanie and Kris. Nov 2013
November visit to San Antonio: Air Force bud J.T. and his wife, Diane. This seemed weird (but so much fun), I hadn't seen these guys for almost 30 years -- we were all in our twenties then and now we're a bunch of old geezers... LOL. Nov 2013
November visit to San Antonio: Air Force friends Kris and Ron. Nov 2013
Mark's work colleagues (clockwise: Julie, Harry, Fred), Halloween 2013
Foolin' around at work, Halloween 2013
Mark played Santa again at work for the students' holiday party - check out the photo slideshow!