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12.16.15 Letter to Friends

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Frost fog, frosty fog, fog frost? who knows?

It is a gift to be surrounded by so much beauty that there is no way to contain it in oneself, it must be shared.


I am happy to say that life has continued 🙂 Mike is feeling better in spite of unremitting pressures of being a small church pastor. Anyone of you that work in a small  church with a staff that consists of a pastor (plus part time music, secretary, custodial) will understand what I am talking about; the expectations are immense.  Mike desires to do it all and do it flawlessly.  I am not so fixated on perfect performance instead I am just terrified of dropping the ball.  We make a very calm  and composed couple (how do I indicate irony?).

Okay, we are almost never calm or composed and sadly we have a lot less fun than we should, wasting time fretting and stewing over things we can’t control.  BUT we do enjoy a challenge!  We love to think about ways to do things and make things, to dream and vision, it’s our favorite pastime.  So we are trying to work out of our strengths and change some of those ingrained habits that rob us of our joy.  Since November, Mike has been trying to slow down and share the burden of responsibility as much as possible, but every day “has enough trouble of it’s own”.

For example, last week, we lost another dear congregant.  God was merciful, Bud passed away rather suddenly, but he had had a wonderful life and he was ready to “go home”.  Bud’s funeral was the 8 or 9th funeral Mike has performed since he started here.  Between preparing an extra sermon that week, funeral arrangements, and his regular responsibilities there were three other congregants hospitalized that week, including the 20 year old son of our friend/church secretary (for pneumonia)!

Hospital visits, church renovations, Christmastide events at the church, like; dinners, hanging the greens, concerts, caroling…  The days are always full.

Plus this is birthday season for us, Mine, Sam’s and Mike’s all fall across three weeks (too much cake!)


SAM at 18!!!!

Sophia organized a surprise 18th birthday party for Sam. His friends from the SciTech  in Pittsburgh,  Sasha, Jimmy, Mark, and Aiden rode up to New Castle on a bus, I picked them up and drove them back to our place and surprised Sam!  He was so happy.  They played games, went to the Chinese buffet, played Dagorhir ( where you hit each other with foam swords) and talked.  It was a lot of fun.

In the first week of November, Sophia and Tessa did a wonderful job acting in the Neil Simon play, Plaza Suite . They each enjoyed getting to know kids at school better and learning about acting. 

Sophia played the role a disgruntled, middle aged wife.  It was a unbelievably challenging role for a 16 year old.  She memorized 45 minutes of dialogue and in both performances acted amazingly. She and her co-star Logan were photographed for the paper. Tessa had the role of a reluctant bride and spoke only one line, but worked hard with Thespian club and was beautiful (but Mom and Dad were not quite ready to see her in a wedding dress!)  

Riah won second prize for his science fair project on phosphorescent algae.

 He was very proud!  Last week, he was featured in the Sharon Herald in an article about Yoga in schools (

 He also has started taking Spanish at the high school and is doing very well.  That’s pretty cool, but what it is even more cool is the fact that, after complaining for 4 years about taking Spanish at PUCS, he realized that if he stopped working on it he would forget all the Spanish he knew.  So he went to the middle school principal and asked if he could give up a study hall and go over to the high school to take Spanish!  Then he came home and told me about his plan!  He tested into High School Spanish 1 (Go PUCS and Rachel Matos!) and he has an A so far.

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(a glimpse of the only snow we’ve seen yet this year)

May you have a Peaceful and Blessed Christmastide and holiday season,

Blessings,  Nicole

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