Holiday Greetings from Tin Can Gulch

Passages.
That’s the word that popped into my mind when thinking about writing this year’s letter. So, of course, I looked up the definition for inspiration. Google gave me this.

pas·sage
ˈpasij/

noun

1. the act or process of moving through, under, over, or past something on the way from one place to another.

there were moorings for boats wanting passage through the lock

synonyms: transit, progress, passing, movement, motion, traveling

their passage through the country

I’ve done more than my fair share of “moving through, under, over or past something on the way from one place to another” in the last five years. In fact, 2016 marks the culmination of a five-year travel plan John and I embarked on in 2012. I thought I married a lawyer and sailor only to discover soon after that I needed to add “master planner” to the list of descriptors. That handy skill set has enabled us to safely and economically navigate multiple passages around the world. Thanks, sweetie!

Our first international passage this year was back to Istanbul, one of our favorites. From Istanbul, we journeyed to some fascinating sites in Turkey – Laodicea, Pammukale, Cappadocia, Aphrodicea, and Ephesus. Leaving the outdoor museum that is Turkey behind, we travelled to the south of France to explore Lyon, Toulouse, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes. Then we headed home where I stayed put while John visited our friend, Robert, in England. The guys enjoyed a jaunt to Mallorca; then John travelled on through Eastern Europe across the Black Sea with a boat full of drunken Georgians (natives of the country, not our state!) to explore their country before returning home.

We circumnavigated the world in 63 days during the fall, journeying from Atlanta to London then on to Istanbul for a few days to visit friends. From there we flew to Kuwait and then forged on to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Coming home, I saw the super moon rise in Hong Kong and arrived in Los Angeles hours later on the same day to witness it again. Life does grant do-overs on occasion!

Not ones to sit still, John and I begin the next five-year plan in 2017. It starts with John attempting to complete a personal goal of hiking all 2,200 miles (3500 km) of the Appalachian Trail. I’m on board for part of the adventure, providing moral and logistical support along with occasional companionship on the trail. James will join his dad in late May while I return home to focus on finishing my second novel. Then, I will produce, publish, and promote or perish trying! My transition from wannabe writer to (self) published novelist will be a passage I’ve longed for since childhood.

I continue to bear witness to my father’s final passage as he succumbs to Alzheimer’s. I have humbly watched my mother care for him these last few years, but this spring saw her in the hospital and my father necessarily moved from home to a memory care center. I have been awed by my younger sister, Kim, as she has assisted my mom in securing hospice care, evaluating and choosing a memory care unit, and monitoring his medical care every step of the way. Their sacrifices are beyond words.

James Taylor said: “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” Such simple and true words – right up there with “Lord, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end…” But of course, they always do. That’s why most of us don’t relish the passage of time. We want non-stop sunshine, blinded to the necessity of shadows to help us relish the light.

In part, that’s why the holidays are my favorite time of year. The season calls to our better natures, summoning our inner lights to shine brightly even in the cold, darkness of winter. May your light continue to shine long after this holy season fades into the New Year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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