So the good folks at the Oxford Dictionary have proclaimed “selfie” as the 2013 “word of the year.” I much prefer that to “twerk” and you can certainly bet that there would be no holiday letter with the Mardle’s/Murray’s “twerking.”
We trust this finds you and your family doing well this holiday season. What a year this has been. Brianna graduated from Seminole State College in May and is furthering her education at the University of North Florida studying Psychology and Criminal Justice. After I made her watch Silence of the Lambs, she decided the FBI is an option but lamb for dinner isn’t. She has been involved in campus activities and has been selected into Sigma Alpha Pi which is The National Society of Leadership and Success and focuses on goal fulfillment, community involvement and leadership. Their stated mission is “We Build Leaders Who Make a Better World.” On her holiday trips home, she continues to work at Walt Disney World’s “Rockin’ Rollercoaster, Tower of Terror and the parade. She just had her 3rd year anniversary of working for The Mouse. We are proud of her beyond words. Brianna enjoyed traveling this year to New York on spring break, Miami, Georgia and a host of places throughout Florida. She and I participated in the “Color Run” early in the year and she continues her love of sports in Jacksonville.
Conductor Frank continues to play with his trains and has extended his talents with cameras to include teaching private lessons and classes at the local Crealde’ Art Gallery. He is quite the camera aficionado. He is the proud grandfather, not by me mind you, of six grandkids ranging in age from 6 months to 12 years. Needless to say, he could open his own photography studio and stay busy 24/7. Frank traveled to England in the spring as his brother passed away. The silver lining was getting to see family that he hasn’t been with since childhood. As always, Frank remains the handyman around the house and is always finding little things and big things to fix and tinker with. He plays cabana boy in the summertime and is the techno guru that helps solve those pesky computer issues.
I am excited to have a new career working for a tremendous organization called Devereux, a leading nonprofit behavioral health organization that supports primarily children. Founded more than 100 years ago, we operate in 11 states. We inspire hope, ensure well-being, and promote meaningful life choices. It has truly changed my life as well. To learn more, check out www.Devereux.org In addition to a new and exciting career change, I was proud to chair Orlando’s National Philanthropy Day through the Association of Fundraising Professionals. More than 570 guests attended the event in November which hosted the president of the International Association of Fundraising Professionals. It was truly an honor and privilege. This has been a transformational year for me as I continue my quest to find 5-K runs that are challenging, meet with friends at LA Fitness at 5:30 a.m., and work with a trainer a couple times a week. I feel better all the way around. My favorite runs were through the “Master of All Terrain” series. From running at an abandoned airfield to the motorcross speedway in beautiful Bithlo, I was the oldest female to complete all three races. Watch out 2014!
Our dogs Penny and Bubba continue to entertain us by being themselves. They enjoy their car rides, trips to the park and fun near the pool in the summertime. This year we lost our dear sweet Haley cat. Over her 18 year life, she brought us joy and comfort. She is missed.
This year was a tremendous year for birthdays. Brianna was able to buy ME a drink as she turned 21 in June. I followed by turning 50 the same month and my mother June, turned 80 on November 1. To celebrate mom’s birthday, my sister Meredith coordinated a trip for everyone to meet in Kansas City at the Plaza where we invited 20 of mom’s closest Kansas friends and had lunch at the Raphael. It was a great time. While it was 10 degrees and there was snow, it helped to enhance the holiday feeling and made those of us coming from Florida even more grateful for the warmer climate.
Speaking of the warmer climate, we encourage you to come down or over for a visit. Florida has many opportunities for fun year-round. Whether it is a theme park, boating, the beach, or just enjoying seafood, we have it close by.
Well, it’s now time to go an make my winning entry for the holiday work party tomorrow. It’s a homemade gingerbread with pear and cognac pudding recipe. Ok, even if I don’t win, enjoying the “drunken fruits” of my labor will be well worth the investment of time.
Happy Holidays to You and Yours! Cheers!
Hi Valerie!! This was another great blog by you!!
Happy Holidays to you & yours!!