Saturday, December 24, 2011


Alvin and Jack

There will be some new pictures tomorrow, but this was our trip to the movies last night.

Christmas 2011

This was going to be the year my Christmas letter died.

Who really wants to read about problems and heartaches, aches and pains?

Who really wants to hear how wonderful someone else's grandchildren are?
I do because I love nothing more than a good long newsy Christmas letter, but then I am not normal.
I have NEVER wanted to be guilty of being the "everything is over the top wonderful at our house' letter writer.

For the last three years I have blogged our lives so a Christmas letter seems to be repeat...But then I realize most of you are not blog readers.
If you really want to catch up you can always go to or for my holiday blog.
That's where I log life weekly.

This last month has been the end of a very long year. I had my first tree decorating injury in probably 1,300 trees and 17 years.

It happened near the end of the season which was a blessing, but it has been a PAIN. I wish I could tell you I was stretching across a 24 foot tree, but I missed a step in a clients garage and my ankle may never be the same. Just happened to be at an orthopedic surgeons home.
It was ugly.

It caused me to miss work for the first time in all the years I have been in business. (And at the moment I cannot remember when I did not do trees)

My ankle was not broken, though some have told me that would have been better BUT it required an ER visit, crutches, a boot, and spending two weeks doing nothing more than elevating and icing. It is slowly healing but the emphasis is on slowly.

Never underestimate the value of ELVES (friends)! My elves carried on and finished the season. They decorated my home more beautifully than its ever been plus took care of my every need.

See how wordy I am...There is no such thing as me writing a short letter. I really had one purpose in this letter and that was to share a story from the summer.
Before I do I will catch you up on US!
Rehab would sum our lives up in 2011. When I wrote last year Jack had just had a stroke. This year has been spent finding a new normal.

Some days I do it well, others I fail miserably. He is 95% back to normal but that other five percent is a constant reminder to him that he had the stroke.
So everyday, he works out, hauls little's to and from school, and strives to regain that 5%...

Greg and Dana are relieved parents as Austin had successful heart surgery in Little Rock this summer. They are so happy to have that behind them. Gray is Greg at 2...Total twins.

We took a little family trip tonight to celebrate Austin's 10th birthday. I love the fact the Gray and Jack are best BUDS and Parker and Austin are best friends.

Amanda and Micah moved to a beautiful new home this fall in one of the most gorgeous areas of Shreveport. Great things happened with Micah's job that enabled them to make some dreams come true. Amanda is still in nursing school(making all A's, forgive the brag)

Parker, the BABY that changed everything is a TWEEN. That means in May he will be a TEEN. I can't tell you how that makes this Grammy feel. Twelve years ago he changed my world, he still does today.
His little brother Jack, will be 4 in January and no kid has EVER made me laugh as much or as hard as he does. He stays with us often while Amanda is in school and his one liners are book material. 
Amanda really should rent him out to people who are having bad days.

Years mean nothing in real friendships. I learned that anew this summer. In late summer Jack and I had the privilege (which seems an odd word)to spend two weeks with two old friends at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. Keith was there waiting on a liver transplant.
We did something we have never done before and may never do again, but we stayed for two weeks for no other reason than just to be there for them. I wish I could explain it, but all I know is it was just something we were supposed to available to them.

Some days we stayed at the hotel, some days we went and talked over old times, some days we just prayed that the transplant team would come bursting through the door announcing they had a liver.
The transplant world was something I knew little about. Hope is all they have. Hope for an organ. With that hope comes someone's else's loss.
Keith didn't make it. He had waited six weeks, getting more critical by the day. Before a liver became available, a massive infection ravaged his body. That last night as I left his room and said goodbye, knowing it probably would be the last time, as I got near the door, he said "Thanks for staying"!

I think he knew too. I knew as I walked down that hall, tears pouring, I would never miss an opportunity to ask others to be organ donors.
So if you get nothing else out of this letter, in honor of Keith Whatley, please sign up to be one.

If you are like me, you know so many people hurting this holiday season. Dianne's heart is broken as she celebrates her first Christmas in 38 years without Keith.
My friend, Gail will celebrate her first Christmas without her Mom and best friend this year and then a few weeks later losing her sweet dog of 17 years. She is hurting.
In the past weeks, a dear tree client and friend of many years found out she has a form of blood cancer. Please add Mischa to your prayer list.

One of Jack's former players, Greg Luman died suddenly this week, far too young.
No one checked on Jack more since his stroke. I want to be a
 GREG LUMAN, an encourager.
I could fill a legal pad with names of people I know that need encouragement. Friends that are going through extreme pain and looking for HOPE.

I am sure you can too.
Most of you know I am a snail mail lover and sender. I challenge you today to get a card, get a stamp (yes they are expensive) and encourage just one person.
Let someone that is drowning, know you care.
and I would love it if you would let me know you can email me at

From our family to yours, we wish you a year of
New Beginnings!

With love,
Teresa and Jack
Amanda, Micah, Parker and Jack
Greg, Dana, Austin and Gray