JANUARY Last week, Josee said while praying, "Dear Jesus, thank you for the food, help it to make us strong. I love you, Jesus. Merry Christmas, Jesus." And so starts a new year to be filled with many happy memories and days closer to seeing our Jesus.

The eighth brought us home from celebrating Christmas with Royce's family in California. We had a great time exchanging ideas, growing into the next skirt/pant size (a plethora of food), while Jillionna and Josianne rode Smoky, a pony never known to trot!

Upon returning home, Josee was ecstatic to see her dog and exclaimed, "Clifford is like my husband." "A dog? Why?" Judy asked. "Because he's so kind to me." Royce, you're setting a good example!

We continue to Home School and are having a great time. What a privilege to see young minds maturing and growing in knowledge. The girls actually are disappointed when we have a day off. That's largely due to Grandma Wolter's enthusiasm in co-teaching. Objectives for the new year include additional attention to history, because when asked who made the first flag of the United States, Josianne said, "Ellen White."

After studying letter capitalization, Jillee was asked what was the capital of the "United States of America." She shot back the answer, "Capital 'U'."

FEBRUARY The girls were asked to feed the dogs one Sabbath morning. Josee said, "But isn't that work?" Judy said, "Well, honey, if it is, I can't feed you." The dogs were quickly fed.

Jillee continues speech class at Fletcher Elementary and is doing so well her lessons will be reduced to one day a week. Recently in speech class, it started to thunder and the teacher said, "God must be angry." Jillee responded, "No, I don't think so. Maybe he's moving the Arc of the Covenant around."

The girls are learning to tell time for a quarter, like Gramps (Roy E. Shipley, Royce's grandfather) used to do with Royce. When asked what time it was, Josee was first to respond and said, "It's either 8:44 or 4:88."

MARCH In the middle of the month Royce actually arrived home for lunch, and Josee, having just incurred a paper cut on her finger, ran to him saying, "It 'bleeded' right across there." After consoling her they got into a discussion about teenagers and Royce asked, "What is a teenager?" Josee said, "They're big and read boring stuff that little children don't like."

Fortunately, our little girls do like recitals. They called all the grandparents inviting them to Jillee's second piano recital and Josee's first. The girls did very well, though Judy cried from parental pride and elation.

The following day we went out to brunch with Gramee Bailey and when the waitress brought the bill, Josee said, "Daddy, let Gramee pay the bill 'cuz we're saving for a barn." (So the girls can have horses.) Jillee went on to tell Gramee that you can tell girls from boys because girls have long hair.

Judy played the harp at the Voice of Prophecy retreat in the Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C., with radio speaker Pastor Lonnie Melashenko. Jillee said she wanted to name her first child Hanna Melashenko Bailey.

We ended the month on the Hendersonville church campout. It was too cold to try to sleep in a tent or to listen to meetings out under the leafless trees, but we survived. Judy was lucky, because she got to stay warm at home with the excuse that she HAD to play the harp at the Biltmore House (George Vanderbilt's mansion) on Sunday.

APRIL One of Royce's spry 90-year-old patients stated that her 93-year-old husband wasn't feeling well. "He has trouble with his bowels," she said. "He's going to have a 'horoscope'." (Better known as a sigmoidoscope.)

We were studying about the sun and moon... Jillee was following the moon on the calendar - full, half,... Then while riding in the car one day she ecstatically exclaimed, "Look mommy, it's a full sun!"

As you may remember, we raise guinea pigs, just because. There is always at least one on a lap during worship time. Minutes after four babies were born, Josee said, "Look, its extension cord is still attached!" (Umbilical cord)

We ended the month by travelling to Illinois to film with Yolanda Innocent for her television show. Royce gave his miraculous near-death experience from 1993 and Judy played several songs on the harp.

MAY Grampa Wolter asked the girls to let him teach them how to cute, pile and burn brush. "I was 'teached' this, this morning," Josee replied. I can see that Language will be further emphasized in school this year also.

We asked the girls what the M.D. after Royce's name meant. Josee answered, "Medium Dad? No, he's better than medium!"

When talking about the hummingbirds at the kitchen window, the girls asked why the "boy" animals are prettier than the "girls." Judy told them so the mothers can be camouflaged while taking care of their young. Jillee said, "Well, you're a girl, but you're prettier than daddy." Royce concurred, and all was well.

You can always find Jillee anywhere in the house, because she sings about Jesus in a sweet falsetto, and Josee tells interesting stories in her closet.

We all had a grand time "camping out" (in a brand new house that we rented) with friends at our local camp meeting on Lake Junaluska (west of Asheville, N.C.). For all the camp meetings we've been to this one was the best. The girls rode their bikes around the beautiful lake to attend their meetings. What a sweet and unforgettable sight.

Royce, while on yard duty, found some worms under a rock and said to the girls, "Let's take them and go fishing." Our six-year-old answered, "That would be fun to see their tiny fishing poles." Fishing obviously hasn't been scheduled for a field trip.

JUNE While driving to Nebraska camp meeting for which Judy was playing the harp, the girls had a 'tiff' in the back seat, which ended in tears for Josianne. She went crying up to the front seat where Judy was sitting in the 'ban'. (So nicknamed because when we first got it to haul the harp, Josee couldn't say her 'v's'.) Josee wailed, "Jillee hit me on my back, right where I am going to grow wings when I get to heaven." That night she prayed that they wouldn't be deformed.

While returning from the camp meeting, we stopped off at the Opryland Hotel for lunch. Overlooking the waterfalls and pond, Jillee said, "Look at that duck." Judy said, "What kind is it?" Royce stating the kind, said, "It's a Wood Duck." Jille cried, "No, it's a live duck."

Royce and his partner Steve Hildebrand continue to supply the cardiac services for Park Ridge Hospital, Adventist Health Systems in Fletcher, N.C.

We ended the month, in celebration of Jillee's eighth birthday, at the beach in waters of 88 degrees - ah, for a life of ease. But certainly our little girl can't be eight!

JULY Josee prayed, "Bless daddy to be a good doctor and may he get to be better and better every day. And may his patients get better." This prayer followed a wonderful Vacation Bible School.

It was then time to sell the baby guinea pigs (we have saturated our population of friends with baby guinea pigs). When selling the baby guinea pigs at the pet store, the girls thought they should get the money - six dollars each. Judy told them, "I paid for the bed chips and fodd pellets, therefore I should get the money." They said, "Yes, you did that, but we're responsible for them. We clean their cages and put food in every day." They have an answer for everything! They received their portion of the money and paid tithe on their increase.

July added another year to Judy and Royce. Josee, on Royce's birthday, asked Gramee Bailey, "How old are you?" Gramee responded that she was now 45 years old. Josee couldn't understand how Royce could be turning 44. Josee said in amazement, "You mean daddy is catching up with Gramee?"

We went to an old-fashioned camp meeting in the eastern part of our state. We stayed in a borrowed tent, cooked on a campstove, and had meetings under a giant tent. We enjoyed gathering with many new and old friends. The girls brought their bikes and had a grand time riding around the lake with some new acquaintances.

AUGUST This month turned out to be very busy but what a grand time we had. Speaking of grand, after Judy played the harp at the ASI (Adventist-Laymen's Services & Industries) convention in Albuquerque, N.M., we toured the Grand Canyon with a group of 25 good friends, new and old. It was magnificent!

We even met up with Royce's brother Hal and his wife Jodi, who are expecting child #1 (current name: Matthew Reed Bailey, at the moment) in late December. Counsel to my brother, "Those who sleep like a baby don't have one."

While on the road, we celebrated Josianne's seventh birthday with 20 other children at a snake farm - one of the many wonderful activities planned for the children at ASL. We did have presents and ice cream too.

We returned home for a week and then drove the harp to Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN-Galazy 3, Channel 23) for Judy to film 12 songs for television.

Then we headed for Gentry, AR, to play the harp for and attend Jaime Jorge's wedding, and have an extra treat in meeting all Royce's maternal relatives. It was wonderful to meet more of his family tree and what lovely people they are. We all enjoyed Jaime and Emily's wedding and Jillee says when she gets married she wants lots of candles too but doesn't want to kiss. Jillee has also informed us that she wants us to go on her honeymoon with her and her husband. Then upon returning home she wants to live in our house. This should be interesting - hopefully a concept to be short lived.

SEPTEMBER Home School started up as did the drapes for our master bedroom - Originals by Grandma Wolter. The girls observed how to measure and all the intricacies in making drapes. When writing the spelling word 'rule' Jillee wrote the sentence, "I will rule the drapes." Josee wrote, "I will rule the world." Are we in trouble here?

Later that week while reviewing spelling words, Josee said, "These are too hard for little children."

Both girls race to find the numbered songs in the hymnals each Sabbath. Jillee says, "It's fun to count in church."

Josee, while still in bed and drawing a picture of our house slipped and drew on the sheets. She came to Judy later and said, "Mommy, I 'haves' to share something. While I was drawing, my pen slipped. I guess I should have been steering it better, but it didn't leave a big blob, just 3 tiny dots. If I don't share these things, my heart cracks open." Forgiveness was hers.

The girls are devouring book two in Suzuki Piano. Jillee is starting to read notes and practicing her Christmas carols from the same book Judy learned from as a child. She is also playing duets with Judy on the harp - what sweet sounds, most of the time.

OCTOBER Jillee broke her clavicle on our anniversary (4384 happy days of marriage). It snapped the romance right out of "our" day. The clavicle fracture occurred due to sibling induced forward momentum and sudden deceleration upon reaching the terra firma. Since we had planned a trip to Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast, we took our wounded with us and packed the beach paraphenalia (mostly toys for Royce) for our sand castle creations. Bicycling was scratched off the "to do" list but we kept very busy nonetheless.

The girls look forward to Primary Sabbath School every week and as Judy and Royce help lead out, it is a family affair. Of course, learning the memory verse is a must and sometimes very amusing. For example: Acts 4:12, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," as recited by Josee.

A blond "fifty-something" lady was giving special music at our church. Royce felt sure she had had facial plastic surgery. Jillee reached over and asked, "Daddy, is she Oriental?" That answered Royce's question.

NOVEMBER Grandma Wolter asked the girls what "deciduous" means. No one answered. Then Josee said, "Oh, that's when it's cold and God gives us pine trees, so we can have Christmas."

We have been endeavoring to eat healthfully including low fat. Many recipes have to be changed, but we are hanging in there. While consuming lunch one day, something tasted a little different and Josee said, "It probably has something good for you in it. 'Cuz if it tastes good, it's not good for you and if it doesn't taste good, it's good for you."

When Jillee was asked in a reading lesson if she could be any age she wanted, what would it be? She said, "I just want to go along with the numbers." Such a contented child. Josee informed us she wanted to be 16 so she could get her drivers license!!??????

Josee and Jillee are each taking turns reading to US for worship time each night now - Wow! What a rewarding treat. We can no longer spell words we don't want the girls to understand, like S-P-A-N-K. Josee said, "Who's getting a spanking?"

Both girls are looking up Bible texts to find the answers in Sabbath School, worship, and bible class. Royce asked them to look up Hezekiah 2:4, "Thou shalt not tease." Royce was frequently reminded of this text from Gramee Bailey when he was tormenting his younger siblings while growing up. Jillee cried, "You're fooling us, daddy. There is no such book in the bible." I guess kids are smarter these days. :)

DECEMBER When talking to the girls about boys, Judy said, "When you get just a little older, we won't allow the boys who are visiting at our house up in your bedrooms." Jillee gleefully said, "Oh, good! Then can we start now?"

Judy has, as usual, a very busy performing harp schedule with the symphony, choirs, churches, Biltmore House...and much solo work. This year, however, is extra special because in several of the concerts, Jillee and Josee are singing and playing the piano while Judy accompanies them on the harp.

Jillee slipped in our pool area and split open the underside of her chin. Josee had done the same 3 years ago, requiring stitches, but Royce super-glued the skin together this time. It looks great and there is much less psychic-induced trauma from the E.R. Jillee says that she wished that Satan would not have made her slip.

We started horseback riding lessons and the girls love it. In the beginning, Judy was very ambivalent, having done nursing on a neuro-rehab (head trauma) unit, but has now warmed up to the idea, as long as they wear their helmets. After riding one day, Josee, out of the blue, said, "Daddy, I wish Satan wasn't bad, so everyone could go to heaven!"

The gingerbread house on this year's Christmas picture was created by the girls by Royce's request and by Judy's supervision. It has become a family tradition that Royce won't let lapse.

Royce's '46 Packard is in hot water again for dying on the way home. It almost made Judy late for a performance at the Biltmore House. Josee said, "Mommy, don't be mad at Daddy's car." Judy said, "That is not a car. It is scrap metal that has been formed to look like a car."

The Christmas tree has fallen over only once this year, actually there was no help this year from our two cherubs. Josee said to one of our 'chronologically-challenged' friends, "You look older than Uncle Harry." (He really is 5 years older.) When she was questioned about it, she said, "I mean, he looks younger than you look." Nice try, but we need to work on her social skills a little more.

Judy's latest two albums (numbers 9 and 10), "He is Worthy" and "Gifts from my Harp" are selling well, thanks to distribution through Chapel Music, Verlag Klaus Gerth, Asslar and Royce's mother (Doralee "Gramee" Bailey). Judy's albums are now available in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Guam, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States.

There is more Bailey fun on Judy's Web Harp Page at http://members.aol.com/harpists4u.

Remembering God's message of peace has a Bethlehem postmark. Incidentally, it includes a birth announcement of world-shaking importance. May Christ be your Christmas.