JANUARY We brought in the New Year in sunny Ojai, California and came home to a beautiful blanket of snow and no electricity. Didn't we do that last year?
Judy is the family taxi, chauffeuring to piano lessons, gymnastics, speech, weekly trips to the library and Wal-Mart (the girls' second most favorite store next to the Dollar Store).
Judy is trying to gear up to record a long-awaited Christmas album. Usually during January, after having had a busy holiday performance schedule, she doesn't even want to look at the harp. So while the music was still fresh in her mind and calluses hardened, she practiced for Gifts From My Harp - A Christmas Collection.
Jillionna lost a front tooth (too late for 'All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front...'). Josianne said, "Now her 'permament' tooth will come in."
The girls are to feed, walk, and play with their two dogs (called the "boys") daily. With the "boys" on leashes they end up taking the girls for a walk.
The girls' memory verse one Sabbath was the 5th Commandment. Jillee said, "Honor your mother and father so you won't be lonely." Josee recited, "Honor your mother and father so you can live."
FEBRUARY The first of this month brought another blanket of snow which made us homebound for several days. Royce did manage to get to work and Judy took the harp out for vespers but she and Grandpa Wolter had to remove a fallen tree blocking the road near the church.
Judy finished recording her Christmas album and received a call from Germany requesting the recording of another album - no rest now for four months.
In the department store Jillee wanted to go up the "alligator" (she meant the escalator).
During worship we were talking about Heaven. Josee looks forward to it and will be glad because she won't have to wash her hands after petting her animals. Jillee is glad because she won't have to brush her teeth.
Upon returning from church and opening the garage door, we saw that the "boys" had tipped over the trash can and strewn trash all over the garage floor. Judy asked Josee to pick it up and she said, "I'm sorry, I don't work on the Sabbath. It will have to wait until tomorrow."
MARCH Jillionna had her first piano recital for which she played flawlessly, "London Bridge." She was such a little lady and even almost bowed after her performance.
March literally ended up in a bang. Grandpa and Grandma Wolter, Jillee, Josee, and Judy planned to drive Grandpa's one-year-old red Ford F-150 truck back from San Diego. Then Royce flew in to tell everybody that Papa Bailey had elected to have coronary bypass surgery (instead of the recommended angioplasty) after an abnormal angiogram. As expected, Papa called all the shots, and since he'd helped with dozens of heart surgeries himself, seemed to think it not much of a problem. Fortunately, he was a hero and was back in the gym in two weeks. Then it was back to San Diego to pack up the Wolters for North Carolina (they built a house near us). We loaded the largest moving van they had, Royce flew home, and the rest drove to North Carolina pulling a small U-Haul trailer (packed to the gills). All went well until Texas. Judy was at the wheel and the rest of the crew were asleep. The radio station said it was 40 degrees at 6AM, but she hit black ice on an overpass and used all four lanes while out of control. The truck slammed into the side rail, and Judy yelled, "We're going over!" The Angels, that night, were weight lifters and they held the truck back but it spun around ending up with its tail bumper on the side rail with the trailer whipped around and turned over. Everyone was able to get out except for Grandma, who had cracked several ribs from the seat belt. The ambulance came and took Grandma to the hospital with Judy, Jillee, and Josee as passengers. The emergency crew commented that they had never seen accident victims so calm - and Judy said, "Well, I'm going to call my husband now, so you can now watch me fall apart." To make a very long, dreary, and painful story short, the truck was totaled, Judy obtained airbag burns on her chin and wrist, Jillee and Josee thought they just went over a big bump, Grandpa tried to find his bruises but evidently they never surfaced to the skin layer, and Grandma was unable to stand up, sit down...by herself for six weeks. Definitely not our favorite trip of all time, but will be remembered for all time for God's graces.
APRIL Royce gives mental and physical help to all, including his family. Judy gets back to the harp and completes her album for Germany entitled, Faszination Harfe 2. In English, it is distributed as He is Worthy (Judy's eighth harp album).
Judy gets a home page, featuring her harp on the internet. She is now seen and heard around the globe. Sample her music, see pictures of us, even this Christmas letter at http://members.aol.com/harpists4u. E-mail us at email@example.com.
Jillee and Josee have their own language: a broom is a sweeper, a paintbrush is a painter, and a barrette is a clipper.
When talking about "Hell" in church, Josee said, "But Daddy's brother's name is Hell." (really Hal)
Blackee (one of the "boys") came into the yard with parts of a dead skunk. Royce asked Jillee, "How big was it?" Jillee, puzzled, answered, "I don't know. I did not see it put together."
MAY Judy and Royce take a long weekend to Florida for a pharmaceutical meeting. The time together was treasured and special. Judy stays busy with symphony performances, yard, children, and...Royce. The yard is greening up and all the flowers look absolutely beautiful!
We attended camp meeting and shared a house for the week with the Hadleys. It was such a treat and a wonderful blessing for us. Jillee and Josee had a grand time; they can't wait until next year's childrens' program. Four-year-old Matthew Hadley recited his memory verse "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath," but instead said, "It is awful to go good on the Sabbath."
Josee asks during prayer, "Dear Jesus, please help Blackee and Clifford (the "boys") to live so our kids can play with them when we're all 'growned' up."
Jillee is so tender-hearted, she wants to know why everybody doesn't love Jesus like she does.
JUNE The family goes to Charleston, S.C. for a long weekend and enjoyed the beach, water, and sand. We return to start Vacation Bible School, another event the girls enjoyed immensely.
Jillionna celebrates her 7th birthday with 30 friends, swimming, and games, followed by lots of food. Jillee requested an orchestra to play her Happy Birthday song, so our musical friends came with a flute, violin, trumpet, guitar, piano, and harp. What a great sound!
Royce heard for the first time, "Daddy, I don't have anything to wear!" Already?!!
Jillee calls hiccups "hippups." Josee asks, "When we're up in heaven will our hearts keep beating?" After describing the Godhead being 3 in 1, Josee asks, "How many are in the body?"
JULY Royce enjoys another birthday (just being glad to be alive) and Judy enters a new decade on her birthday (unhappy with the number of the year and the razzing). We all flew to Seattle for the World Harp Convention and thoroughly enjoyed the concerts and lectures. The girls were absorbed with the Suzuki Harpists and both wanted to start lessons. (We'll see if this urge still exists in a couple of years.) Many of Judy's relatives live near the convention center and came to celebrate her birthday while Jillee and Josee enjoyed all their second cousins. After the convention we went to Uncle Hal's and Aunt Jodi's house to celebrate, yet another time, Judy's monumental birthday. Gramee, Papa, Cindee, Neil, and Hal all showed us a great time but didn't try to soften the blow into the next decade for Judy.
Josee: "I know why Daddy's favorite color is red, because he takes care of hearts." Jillee: "I know why Mommy's favorite color is blue." Why? "I don't remember."
AUGUST Josianne enjoys her 6th birthday with 32 of her friends with swimming, games, and food. We have the pattern for this birthday thing down pat.
Josianne starts piano lessons like big sister. Big sister starts Suzuki Piano Book 2.
Josee and Jillee want to get married and are asking "those" questions. Jillee asked, "How do the baby guinea pigs get into their mommy's tummy?" Judy quickly answered, "Their daddy put them there." That satisfied them for now. Jillee asked to be able to hold Cricket (her large talking doll) while she gets married. Cricket will be in a beautiful flowered dress, Jillee says. Josee asks, "Where do you go to find a daddy? (husband) Where did you (mommy) find Daddy?" "If you wait on the Lord, he will find you a Daddy," we said. (And under our breath, "When you're 30.")
Jillee is upset with Josee when choosing favorite colors because Josee said, "I get pink because I'm the authority of pink."
Jillee recited her last three memory verses without a mistake. Josee's version of her memory verse for this week was, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, with liberty and justice for all."
SEPTEMBER Judy was called for jury duty but after three hours was let off due to knowing the defendent's attorney's wife.
Jillee, Josee, Judy, Grandma, and Grandpa (Royce was on-call at the hospital) enjoyed the church campout with a borrowed tent and paraphenalia of years gone by. Jillee and Josee brought their bikes (without training wheels for the first time) and enjoyed the flat unending road. The girls loved the camping scene and the rest loved watching the girls love the camping scene. Judy took her lap harp and reveled in a dream come true by playing with the guitarists around the camp fire.
Gramee Bailey came to visit and watched the girls while Royce and Judy celebrated their 4000th day of marriage away for the night. No other details are available but everyone had a great time.
Judy joked with our dentist Bill Moore about her very first crown on a tooth. Now with harp and newly acquired crown, she's ready for Heaven.
The marriage discussion continues when Jillee informs Judy that she wants to get married on July 4 and walk down the aisle to "Stars and Stripes Forever." Wouldn't that be romantic?
OCTOBER Our family continues to expand with the long-awaited birth of three baby guinea pigs. We've been trying for baby "pigs" for 14 months and finally figured out we had two males. This is not conducive to pregnancy. You'd think a doctor and a nurse with her Masters Degree would have figured this out sooner. Priscilla, the mommy, was so young and only half grown. Jillee asked, "When will she be 'whole grown?'"
The Voice of Prophecy Radio Team with Joady Melashenko (Joady is Lonnie's brother, Lonnie had been hurt in a bike accident in California and couldn't come) came to Fletcher and Judy helped with the program. In group piano lessons, we studied Beethoven and Mozart. Gramee asked Josee who Beethoven was and she said, "That's a picture of Beethoven." When she held up Mozart's picture, Josee confidently said, "That's Melashenko."
For Josee's annual physical, she learned from the nurse that at 6 years old she didn't need a shot. She said, "This is turning out to be a good day."
NOVEMBER The girls entered gingerbread houses for display at the Grove Park Inn - a family tradition.
Gramee comes to visit us again and helps us as we overbook ourselves. Royce has outpatient surgery (revision of his colostomy). He was "sorer" than he expected post-op, but is doing fine now. The girls slept in Gramee's bedroom in their sleeping bags and woke her up early each day (N.C. time) for their morning story. Gramee had to go home to recover her circadian time schedule.
Judy starts her busy holiday performance schedule, so her personhood will be absent most evenings.
Josee hurt herself and Jillee came to tell Grandpa. Grandpa diagnosed her with a bent toenail, but upon examination concluded that it was an ant lost in Josee's belly button.
Thanksgiving found us hosting our sixth annual potluck at church for those who have no local relatives or place to go for dinner. We all enjoyed "Charlie," this year's veggie turkey. We started it because we had no place to go either, except to be by ourselves.
DECEMBER We enjoyed a weekend in Charleston, S.C. with the Wolters. Grandpa is the interim pastor there until January. Judy took her harp for several performances in the historic city. The girls are getting involved with Judy's concerts and are each playing their piano pieces and singing.
Josee lost her front tooth and has several more that are loose. Now we can sing, "All I Want..."
Jillee came in from feeding the "boys" and said, "Clifford is such a naughty boy. He looked up by dress!"
We will be leaving for California at the end of the month to celebrate Christmas with Royce's family.
What a diverse year we've had. We can be so thankful for God's blessings, His guidance, direction, and most of all, His protection. Philippians 2:14-16; 4:4-7