Merry Christmas 2013!

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from the USS Nimitz!  Redgie and I are currently on a “Tiger Cruise” on board the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier! A Tiger Cruise is when a Navy ship that has been on deployment is on its way home and along the way friends and/or family members of some of the personnel assigned to the ship come on board and sail to the home port with their “sponsor” (military personnel responsible for their “Tigers”.)  Redgie & I met Brooks in Honolulu, HI on December 3rd when the Nimitz pulled into the Navy yard at Pearl Harbor, and on the 5th we checked onto the Nimitz as “Tigers” and began our cruise towards San Diego.  We are having a blast spending time with Brooks, learning about his experience as he was deployed with the Nimitz in the Middle East these past 8.5 months and learning a lot of interesting facts about life on board an aircraft carrier!  We will arrive in San Diego on Thursday, December 12, 2013 where Brooks will be reunited with his wife Christina after his long absence.

A quick review of 2013 reveals quite a bit of change and travel for us in 2013.  On December 31 we rang in the new year with our annual New Year’s Eve party at the “BBH”.  A lot of friends and family (including my sister Vickie, her husband Jim & their youngest son Justin as well as Brooks & Christina who were visiting from CA) were there to celebrate with us.

New Year's 2012 IMG_0847

Also in January I accompanied Redgie to Orlando where he had to attend a conference.  We stayed in the Ritz Carlton and enjoyed a few days of warm weather (and at least for me) a few days of relaxation!

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In February Redgie went on his annual Myrtle Beach golf trip with several of his buddies from Altoona, PA.  The trip usually lasts around 5 days and in that amount of time they usually play 8 rounds of golf.  Redgie looks forward to the fellowship and fun of that trip all year long.

March was a red-lettered month as that is when we officially finished the remodeling of our condo in Dillon, CO.  Ever since we purchased it in June 2012 we had been working on remodeling the condo from the bottom up!  Thank goodness for the help we received from our friends Ray & Donna Kent or else we may not have finished the job in time for our first vacation rental guests who checked in on March 7, 2013.  We are very pleased with how everything turned out and our guests seem to have been very pleased as well!  To date we’ve received 18 five-star reviews on our listing at http://www.vrbo.com/382 !

Also in March we spent Easter weekend in San Diego with Brooks and Christina before he left on his deployment.  We were glad for the opportunity to spend some time with them before Brooks left.  The Nimitz carrier strike group was supposed to return home from this deployment in October but on September 1 they were diverted to the Red Sea because of the situation in Syria, which extended their deployment until December.  Christina stayed busy with frequent trips due to work obligations and personal reasons.  In fact in September she went to Africa with a group of family & friends and climbed to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro ….quite an accomplishment!

In June we took a short trip to Islamorada, FL with Redgie’s company Perdue Farms, Inc.  We got to stay at the Cheeca Lodge Resort which was right on the beach and very nice.  Also in June we hosted a BBQ lunch up at our Dillon condo for the “Colorado Iron” biker group of which Redgie is a member.

The biggest change for me happened in July when I retired!  I had worked for VRBO/Homeaway for over 11 years but finally came to the decision this year that it was time for me to resign from my position as US Manager of Email Support. Since then I have been enjoying all of my free time and have not yet committed to anything else on a regular basis.  After the holidays I may see if I can find another job that interests me, but I’m not making any promises!  : -)

We spent the 4th of July in Dillon again this year with Ray & Donna.  Every time we get to spend some time in the condo we pinch ourselves to make sure we aren’t dreaming!  The condo is so comfortable and the view of the lake & the mountains is breathtaking!  Immediately following Independence Day Redgie & I flew down to Hot Springs, AR to attend a reunion of the “EnPsalms” which is the vocal group that Redgie was a part of during his years at Liberty University.  Seeing all of his old friends from the group was wonderful….in some ways it didn’t feel as if hardly any time had passed since the last time we were with them.  The weekend flew by with lots of laughter and good music, fellowship and love.

In August Brady experienced a big change in his life….he transferred to Colorado State University!  He had decided that he wanted to experience life on a large university campus during his last years at college.  While we were happy that he was going to be closer to home we were also disappointed that we would no longer be attending football games at Augustana College.  We’re crossing our fingers that Brady might be able to try out for & win a walk-on spot as a kicker on the Rams football team next year.  Brady is studying Business Administration at CSU.

We went RV camping at Golden Bell camp in Divide CO with Dave and Lynn over the Labor Day weekend.

Reg in hammock

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Later in September Redgie traveled to Altoona to participate in the annual Precious Life Gold Tournament…another time of reunion and fellowship with his Altoona buddies.

In November Redgie traveled to Lynchburg VA to attend a football game at our alma mater Liberty University.

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Then we celebrated Thanksgiving at the BBH with family and friends.  (Dave & Lynn were in California so they were not able to be with us on Thanksgiving.)

Thanksgiving 2013

And so we are back to the beginning of this letter where Redgie & I are on the Tiger Cruise for another three days.  We fly back home to Colorado on December 13 and will be home for exactly one week before we have to leave again!  This time Redgie, Brady & I will be flying to Ft. Lauderdale where we will meet up with Brooks & Christina, my Mom & Dad and my sister Vickie, her husband Jim & their youngest son Justin.  We will all be boarding a Royal Caribbean ship (the Liberty of the Seas) for a Holiday cruise that will stop in Belize City and Cozumel before returning to Ft. Lauderdale on December 26, 2013.

Unfortunately, Shannon & Robert are not able to join us on our holiday cruise.  Shannon has spent this year developing her Personal Chef business.  She has a couple of regular clients (including Dave & Lynn at the BBH for whom Shannon cooks on a weekly basis.) She is hopeful to be able to acquire a few more regular clients.  She & Robert still live in Parker not far from us.

As always, at the close of this letter we send our love & wishes to you all for a wonderful and blessed Christmas holiday.  May we always remember the Reason for the Season, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Redgie, Valerie, Brady (& Bebe!)

IMG_1069IMG_1062IMG_1071IMG_1054IMG_1052November 2013

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Ft. Collins, CO

Aug 10, 2013 – Ft. Collins/Lincoln Center

Ft. Collins is a great midsize college town located along the Colorado Front Range 65 miles north of Denver and is home to Colorado State University. The elevation of Ft. Collins is 5003 feet above sea level.

Ft. Collins has a local music circuit influenced by its college town atmosphere. There are a number of well known microbreweries. The city hosts a number of large Festivals each year in the historic downtown district.

The Lincoln Center (where we saw the Brian Regan concert) is the principal venue for the performing arts in Ft. Collins. It is located at 417 W. Magnolia St.

(Credit given to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Collins,_Colorado#Culture .)

Too much fun!

Coors Field

This past weekend was so action-packed that I am grateful that I have today to recover from it instead of having to jump right back into the work week!  Just being able to say that gives me a little burst of joy….I wish everyone could be in this same place in their lives!

We had so much fun this past weekend, it was almost fun-overload!  Here is a rundown of our weekend…

FRIDAY

We had tickets to the Rockies vs Pittsburg Pirates baseball game at Coors Field.  We chose this particular game because Redgie & I are Pirates fans.  Redgie & I rode the light rail system to Union Station downtown and walked over to the ball park.  There we met our friends (Clouses, Benefields, Giannatalas & Lairds) who all happen to be Colorado Rockies fans.

We ate Rockies Dogs for dinner (bratwursts with sautéed peppers & onions) and during the game snacked on peanuts & popcorn.  It rained a little bit but not enough to interrupt the game or make it too uncomfortable in the stands.

Despite the rather rude & rabid Rockies fan who sat behind us & found great fun in heckling Redgie (who was wearing the Pirates colors)  we had a great time watching the game and  visiting with our friends.  I especially enjoyed hearing from Jan about the birth of their darling new grandson (while trying not to be too jealous as this is their 10th grandchild while we have none!)  🙂

Unfortunately the Pirates played miserably and lost the game 10 – 1!  What a disappointment!

SATURDAY

Saturday morning began with a fun breakfast at the BBH hosted by Dave & Lynn for their former Sunday School class.  About 40 people attended.  Since the original class no longer exists and many of these people now attend other churches, it was a rare treat for them to reunite and spend time fellowshipping and catching up on each other’s lives.

Everyone brought a pot luck item to share, and what a feast it was!  Dave made his famous banana/walnut buckwheat cakes, and others contributed egg casseroles, potato casseroles, bagels, danish, cinnamon rolls, fruit, yogurt and juices.

After eating and some fellowship time, Mark Stout shared a little of what God has been teaching him about the promises of God.  It was so great to hear Mark’s teaching again, and to enjoy it with all (or most of) the original members of the Upper Room Class.

That afternoon Redgie & I picked up Jan & Vini and drove to Ft. Collins where we met the Benefield family at Red Robin for dinner.  We were attending the Brian Regan concert that evening at the Lincoln Center in Ft. Collins.

This is the second time we have traveled to Ft. Collins to hear Brian Regan.  We really enjoy his comedy!  He has such a funny way of looking at ordinary every-day occurrences.   The funniest bit (in my opinion) was the one about checking into a hotel & when the agent cannot find your reservation they ask if perhaps the reservation was made under another name!  hahaha!  I found a clip on YouTube that contains this bit….this was the appearance that Brian Regan made on the David Letterman Show last summer:

After the show Jan, Vini, Redgie & I enjoyed some delicious ice cream at the Walrus Ice Cream shop located at 125 W. Mountain Ave in Ft. Collins.

SUNDAY

We decided to go to the early service at Denver First Church of the Nazarene on Sunday.  We usually go to the later service, but since Redgie had to be back at the church at 4 pm on Sunday afternoon we thought an earlier service would be better to give us more time at home before coming back to the church.

I enjoyed the different experience of worshipping in the early service.  It is not as heavily attended as the second service and I could tell the early service was more popular with the younger crowd.  The music was more edgy/contemporary than we normally hear in the second service.  But I enjoyed the music led by the Alpha Band and Shawn McClellan (our church’s worship leader.)  It was a nice change of pace, and I definitely enjoyed getting home sooner than we usually do on Sunday after church and lunch.

Then at 4 pm we were back at DFC because Redgie was playing the saxaphone in the Jerry Nelson “Hymns & Gospel Sing” Concert that evening.  While Jerry & the choir & orchestra rehearsed Jan & I were helping Rachel set up media sales tables and learning what we needed to know in order to help at those tables before & after the concert.

The concert started at 6 pm, and the house was packed!  Jerry is an amazing talent both on the keyboard and also in arranging music for all instruments.  His selection & performance old and new hymn favorites was certainly enjoyed by everyone present.  The added talents of Shawn McClellan and the Rocky Mountain Singers choir created a memorable experience.

As you can see our weekend was unusually busy and action packed.  This is why I am saying today “TGIM!” (“Thank God it’s Monday!”)  🙂

(For more information about the places mentioned in this post please click on “The ‘Where’ is here” page.)