Christmas Letter 2011

December 11, 2011

We are sitting in our new “great room” in front of our Christmas tree on this Sunday afternoon, reminiscing on the great blessings of this year and reflecting on the many changes.  A year ago we had no clue that we’d be spending this Christmas in our new house in New Jersey.  In September Wendy began a new call as “Regional Presbyter” to the two presbyteries in central New Jersey, Monmouth and New Brunswick.  In this position she works with all 86 Presbyterian congregations across the middle of the state from the Delaware River to the Jersey shore.  An installation is scheduled for January 26 at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Wendy is excited that Mike Cole and Stan Ott will be traveling up for the occasion.

The move has been remarkably smooth.  We found a house we love in Hamilton township.  On 1.4 acres, next to a corn field and with a horse farm behind, we feel like we’re in the country.  And yet, we’re only a few miles from shopping in Hamilton and the small towns of Allentown, Yardville and Bordentown.  Our closing on the house was on September 28, and the moving truck showed up two days later on September 30.  We welcomed our first overnight guests (Michael and Terrie, who helped greatly with the moving in process, and then my parents) two weeks later and were completely “moved in” in time to host Thanksgiving dinner in November.  Blessed to have Wendy’s distant cousin, Ben, and his friend, Carolin, visiting from Germany, it was a perfect “American Thanksgiving”.

Yesterday we accepted an offer on our home in Texas which (if it all continues to go smoothly) will complete the move.  We are, of course, missing our friends in Baytown and Houston (and good Tex Mex).  After 13 years in Baytown, we gave up great friendships at the Baytown Little Theater and Faith Presbyterian Church.

It’s been especially hard to leave the BLT as they are moving ahead in the building of the new theater.  Wendy was elected vice-president of the board in April, and then worked at finding people who would be able to take responsibility for the many “off-stage” tasks we both have been doing for years.

Dwayne is trying to connect to some local theater groups using the Kelsey Theater at Mercer County Community College, but it takes time to get reestablished in community theater.  He spent the past few months visiting churches near our home, and decided he’ll be joining the Allentown Presbyterian Church in Allentown, NJ.

Moving across the country has been so consuming of our attention these past few months, it’s hard to remember the blessings of the first half of the year.  In February, Taylor Dobbs, moved in with us.  We were happy to open our spare bedroom to her as she recovered from a broken leg.  (Yes, she literally “broke a leg” a week after her show, The Last Five Years, opened at the BLT last winter.)  We loved having the twenty-something BLT folk over to the house to swim and eat and converse with us.  And, we loved having Taylor’s help in keeping the house clean and ready to sell as we put it on the market.

Kate and Ben, July 2011

Only a few days after we found our house in New Jersey, we traveled to Denton to help Kate and Ben move into a new apartment.  Ben and Kate have been dating for over a year now.  We are so happy to welcome him to the family.  He fits in well being as he is both a performer (magician) and geek.  The two of them adopted a Black Lab this fall named Rogue.  Rogue joins Kate’s Cairn Terrier, Pippin, in making a full and energetic home.  Kate is still working for the University of North Texas and taking Master’s courses in Linguistics.

Two of our nephews (both named Michael, incidentally) were married this year.   Kate and Ben were able to join us on Long Island in July for Mike and Amanda’s wedding; and we were lucky to be able to drive to Warren for Michael and Jenna’s wedding in October.

Like always, we want to be sure you know that you are always welcome to come for a visit.  We are now a little more than an hour from NYC by train and less than an hour from Philadelphia.

We wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a blessed 2012!

Dwayne and Wendy