Thursday, December 20, 2007



Our family has been blessed with a wonderful year—filled with joy and filled with challenges.

First the sad news: our dear buddy Garth, the best dog that ever walked the planet, died peacefully at home in February. He had some very rough months in his old age but always managed to wag his tail and find his nighttime spot next to Jeanne’s side of the bed. We still miss him.

Tom is still happily working as the Executive Director of the Valle Crucis Conference Center. He has excelled in raising funds this year to build 4 retreat cabins and a small chapel on the property. He continues to be involved in the local community with conservation issues & nationally with Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers.

Tom watched about 200 movies this year, thanks to Netflix. He also reads, reads, reads. He’s the only person I know who manages to read The New Yorker cover to cover every week—plus his books, newspapers and other magazines.

Jeanne accepted a call to serve as the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Asheville. This meant resigning at St. Mary’s in Blowing Rock and leaving many people she truly loves. She started at St. John’s in July and has discovered there are great folks there as well. She loves it. The position is part time which is perfect, as it gives her time for her studies and her writing. At least that’s the theory! She’s in Asheville 3-1/2 days a week and back up the mountain in Valle Crucis the rest of the week. She’s discovered and downloads books to listen to as she drives.

Originally established in the late 1880's, the current church building was constructed in the mid-1960's and is located in the Haw Creek neighborhood in east Asheville.

Jeanne continues with her postgrad studies at the University of Wales in Celtic Christianity and will lead a pilgrimage to Wales in 2008.

Strata Florida in Wales

Jeanne’s new position motivated a remodeling of our house (a 1927 bungalow) in Black Mountain to give us a home base there. What we thought was going to be a simple two week remodeling turned into a six month gut-the-house total re-do. There’s a book in this somewhere. The good news: we love the final results!

This is the kitchen when it was under construction. We took out the low, low ceilings and tried to add extra windows for more light.

Jeanne’s also had a lot of fun creating a blog where she posts her sermons and other random thoughts and photographs: Take a look:

Jody, Natalie, Cedar and Orien are still happily living in Colorado. Jody is a district manager now for Starbucks. Baby number 3 is due in May 2008 (Cedar will be 4 and Orien will be 2 when the new baby arrives). Both boys are adorable, energetic and brilliant. You can keep up with their family on Natalie’s blog:

Cedar ice skating out in Colorado February 2007

Smiling,happy Orien--with cousin Saeli in the background

Benares married Jeff, a fine young man, on May 12 here in Valle Crucis. A wonderful celebration with lots of music, great food, family and friends was enjoyed by all.

Part of the family gathers for a photo right after the wedding service which was held at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis. This photo was taken by our friend Dale Marie Shelton who is an amazing photographer. Check out her

Jeff & Benares are living in Asheville and playing lots of music.
Benares is also working for the Asheville Art Museum as a resident artist in the schools.

Jeff, Benares and friend Tom from Massachusetts playing at the summer Music in the Park concert series in Valle Crucis.

Tom & Jeanne went to Paris in November to see dear college friend Meredith Mullins & had a grand time touring around Paris & Brittany and enjoying good wine, great food and good times with a good friend.

Day at the Louvre

The Eiffel Tower really is amazing. We went all the way to the top.Beautiful!

Atop the ramparts at St. Malo in Brittany at sunset.

This will be our Christmas blogsite so we hope that you will at least come by annually and check it out.

In closing we pray that your life is full and blessed by the holy mystery of God.

peace & blessings,

Jeanne & Tom

Some books we enjoyed in 2007:
Sovereign-- by C.J. Sansom
The Camel Club—by David Baldacci
Heat—by Bill Burford
Eat, Pray, Love—by Elizabeth Gilbert
Water for Elephants—by Sara Gruen
Animal, vegetable, Miracle—by Barbara Kingsolver
The Bookseller of Kabul—by Asne Seirstad

Other favorite authors this year include Donna Leon, John Lescroart, John Sanford, and Kate Wilhelm.

Here are a few of Tom’s favorite movies for 2007:
Word Play

Jesus Camp
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Gunner Palace
The Lost Boys of Sudan
Thank you for Smoking
The World According to Sesame Street
Pursuit of Happyness
Sunset Story
Vera Drake
Pan’s Labyrinth
3:10 to Yuma
The Wind that Shakes the Barley Free
!0 MPH
Michael Clayton
Amazing Grace
Nobody Knows
Sometime in April

And remember:
If you’re lucky enough to live in the North Carolina mountains,
you’re lucky enough.