Dear Friends and Family,
I don’t know about all of you, but as the year progressed, I found myself feeling as though I was on a runaway train because it was moving so fast. Yet, here we are as the 2014 train is pulling into the station for us all to transfer to the 2015 locomotive. All aboard as we take a look back at how far we’ve come this year.
Let’s start with the bad news that I’m hoping will be avenged early next year. My Denver Broncos made me proud by sailing straight through the NFL playoffs right into the Super Bowl, but things took a bit of a turn for the worse right around the Joe Namath botched coin toss. The rest of the game, which we Broncos fans affectionately refer to as “The Bruno Mars Concert,” is a bit of a blur. While this season has had its ups and downs, I remain hopeful we’ll get another chance at that ring come February.
Having enjoyed our cruise last year so much, Andy, Janet, and Lincoln embarked on a Disney Cruise at the beginning of the year. Mom and Dad came to visit me in March when it was still snowing here. I think the snow lasted into April. I lost track. It started to get easier to count the days when it didn’t snow. We did visit the zoo in an attempt to see our new panda bear, Bao Bao. She was sleeping, of course.
Sadly, during Mom and Dad’s visit in March, we lost my great uncle, Charlie Peacock. He had been a surrogate grandparent to my brother and me and all the cousins on mom’s side of the family treating us like we were his own kids and being proud of all our accomplishments. The world lost one of its most loving and gentle souls. I miss his laugh and his “how you?” every day, but his legacy reminds me to linger a little longer with the people I love, to follow my dreams, and to never take anyone for granted.
In April, Andy turned the BIG 4-0, and mom and dad celebrated by taking a cruise, just the two of them, to Cozumel, Mexico. Ok, so maybe that’s not why they went on the cruise, but it just happened to coincide.
In May, my friend Jessica and I had the incredible privilege of attending the NFL Draft in New York City. It was on my bucket list, and a very dear friend of mine was able to secure tickets for us to all three days. Not just any tickets though. Practically Radio City Music Hall orchestra pit tickets. Being one of those few people who watches every second of the Draft every year, getting to attend it in person with nearly front row seats was amazing. I looked around the theatre when we got to the last pick on the third day just to take in the small crowd of us who were still there, and I thought, “these are my people,” but the one thing that I took away from it was that those of us who were there weren’t there just because we were fans of any specific team. We were there because we love football, every aspect of it.
The NYC fun didn’t stop there. We also attended the monologue rehearsal for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Every day, a couple hours before the show taping, Jimmy Fallon brings in a small group of people to run through all the potential jokes for that night’s monologue. He’s tests them on us to see what works. Since we were there on a Friday, he also tested the thank you notes on us. It was a highlight of the trip, and it was clear to me that Jimmy Fallon is as advertised: kind, funny, and genuine.
In late spring and early summer, Alabama added to their national championships with wins in Women’s Tennis and a repeat in Men’s Golf. Also, Mom and Dad returned for a summer visit right before I took off for another bucket list item.
In early August, I flew to Colorado to attend…wait for it…Denver Broncos Training Camp. I have always promised myself I would go to training camp before Peyton Manning retires, and with that probably coming sooner rather than later, it was now or never. I got to stay with and visit my friends Brad and Vanessa Leonard and their kids. I was their youngest son’s first Bible class teacher at our church when they lived in Virginia. It was so great to have that time with them. We all went to training camp at the stadium and had such a blast. I’ve even recognized some of the plays this season as ones I saw that day. Vanessa took me on a world wind tour of Denver and Colorado Springs to include stops at Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Academy Chapel, and the Olympic Training Facility. The whole family and I made the trek up to Pike’s Peak on my last day there. I’m hoping to make another trip out there for training camp next summer.
When I returned, my college roommate, Stefanie, came to visit for a girls weekend (sans husband and kiddos). We took a tour of the White House, had lunch at the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives approved restaurant Tune Inn, went shopping til we dropped, laughed until it hurt, and went to dinner with some of my friends here who have heard me talk about Stef just as much as she’s listened to me talk about them. Everyone loved each other as I expected they would. It was so much fun. I’m still surprised either one of us let her get on that return flight.
This school year, Janet started a new position as a teacher evaluator for the Hillsborough County Schools. Lincoln is now in first grade and turned seven in September. He has already earned a perfect report card as well as the Super Reader Award. He loves hockey of all things for a kid growing up in Florida. Go Bolts?
In October, my friends Dianne, Darlene, and I spent a week at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We relaxed, walked the beach, got massages and mani/pedis, searched for open ice cream parlors, shopped, tried every hushpuppy any restaurant would offer us, and toured lighthouses. I climbed to the top of both the Cape Hatteras and the Bodie Island Lighthouses to see some spectacular views of the edge of the world. We wonder daily why we’re not still there.
In November, Janet turned the BIG 4-0, and for Thanksgiving, she, her mom, Andy, and Lincoln went to New York City to take in the sights of the holiday week. They saw the Rockettes, Toys R Us in Times Square, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade before coming home in time for the Sunday Buccaneers game, of course, which I attended with them. Everyone has to make sacrifices from time to time. 🙂 I’m just sorry I couldn’t bring the Bucs any luck.
As the year comes to a close, Alabama finds itself the #1 seed in the new College Football Playoffs with a chance at our 16th National Championship if we win the next two games. My diabetes is stabilized to the point that I’ve been able to reduce the dosage on some of my medication and my doctor has stretched my check-ups to annually instead of every six months. The coming year has much to live up to since 2014 set the bar so high, but I think it’s up to the challenge. I hope all of you have had a year full of love, adventure, and laughter.
Until next time…Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,