She grabbed my arm and looked at me and I almost lost it.
I was walking around the sanctuary of the church when the pastor said they needed me to rehearse walking Krista down the aisle. She grabbed my arm at the end of the aisle and I looked at her and that's when my emotions when into overload. The tears were just behind my eyelids, a new experience for me. I couldn't talk.
More in a minute about Krista and Adam's wedding. For Gladys and me, this past year has been a turning point. There have been lots of changes, but one important thing remains the same. This verse from my devotion this morning summarizes our hope going into the New Year with all the uncertainty that seems to be present in all our daily lives right now:
Our lives have been touched and eternally affected by the reality of John 1:14 that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. God came to earth in the form of a real person, Jesus Christ and this reality gives us the only hope that matters. We pray that you see his presence in a new way in 2009.
Where do I start?
GLADYS LEAVES CLASSROOM
Gladys retired from classroom teaching this year. She felt it was time. She loved teaching, loved working with her students, but she felt it was time to "pay forward" to another teacher the daily joy of doing lesson plans and correcting papers.
However, she's still involved in education. On three days a week, she tutors two young girls from Burma who came to this country from a refugee camp last September. She's helping them learn English.
In January, she will start as a student teacher supervisor at Spring Arbor University. It's a position where she can share what she's learned on the front lines of classroom teaching.
She's a fan of the television show, Prison Break and has developed an addiction to the show "24" where you can't watch just one episode from past seasons. I almost forgot to mention that Gladys is on Facebook.
Her blog--Mrs. Thorp's Third Grade Classroom--has had visitors from all 50 states and several foreign countries. Google third grade spelling words and check the first few entries and see who you find.
BLOGGING ON DEERFIELD
I'm still very involved in blogging. My collection of blogs is growing along with the number of persons that I'm helping to learn to blog. As blogs and the web evolves, I find that I need to continue learning new tools and skills. During the week I go to two breakfast Bible studies, one where four of us are going through the Psalms and another with a group of guys downtown.
My highlights from this past year would include my first Social Security check in October, spray painting our garage, serving as a member of the city board of ethics, being involved in our neighborhood association and spending time talking at the dinner table with Gladys.
As a couple, we've been regular attenders at Christ The King Anglican Church. It's part of the AMIA movement, Anglican Mission In America which we got turned on to when we attended Justin's church in Washington, D.C. We decided to look for a new church. It was time for a change. It has been and continues to be an adventure.
We have spent many hours talking about our wedding verse, Romans 1: 11-12 and where we stand in helping each other nurture our faith in Jesus Christ as individuals and as a couple. That's really been great.
What about our kids?
MEET KRISTA AND ADAM JONES
Krista's wedding was the first Saturday in October and it was an event to behold. Wow. She married Adam Jones whom she met during a mission trip to Bosnia. A native of North Carolina, he's an ordained Wesleyan pastor who has a burning desire to help those who are in need.
Their wedding was pure them. It honored God in a major way as the head of their marriage. While not stuffy or pretentious, it had a quiet elegance that made it very special for both of them and for those attending. The dinner and celebration were held outside the church with weather that was reserved just for them.
JUSTIN LIVES ON THE HILL
We spent six days at Justin's over Thanksgiving. He lives in a one bedroom apartment just down the street from the U.S. Capitol. This past January he left the Library of Congress to work for a startup company, Clearspring, a widget-maker. It's a piece of software that dramatically changes the way content is distributed over the web.
Justin is their manager of community development for web developers around the country. He has spent about two weeks every month traveling someplace, particularly Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
During our Thanksgiving visit, we spent lots of times seeing new sights and revisiting ones we had seen before. We had a special tour of the Pentagon from a friend of his who works there as a web developer. He made duck for our holiday dinner, along with four bottles of wine specially bought for the occasion.
This past year has been a watershed year for us. Gladys retired from classroom teaching. Super-pumpkin got married. Justin has really settled into East Coast life. And I've still kept most of my teeth.
But, we are constantly reminded of Jesus Christ and the real purpose for this season. He gives real hope for all of us regardless of the circumstances. It's not dependent on who sits in the Oval Office, the fate of the auto companies or the weather we're getting in Michigan. The hope is there for us to take and to grab and hang on.
Stay in touch--
Wes with Gladys
P.S. Gladys has a blog--www.mrsthorp.com; Justin has a blog--www.drinkingoatmealstout.com and Adam has a blog--http://coffeewithadam.wordpress.com. You can always find me at www.dailygrit.com .