Well, 2014 has come to an end.  We had a roller coaster of a ride; as many of you know in these last few weeks Mary lost her battle with cancer; however, she is now home with our heavenly Father.

Has I look back on 2014, it all started last Christmas when I called my mom and said, “Billy Joel is coming to Raleigh, you want to come and go with me?” My mother ever the unselfish one said no you and your dad go, you’ll both enjoy it.  So in February we did. Of course my father came with a clear message to leave school behind for the weekend and to remind me that my mother was sure that there had to be better school for me, than where I was at the time. And as only mothers can do; I got a phone call that weekend, for not one but two jobs.  I got offered both and made the hard choice to leave my students and go to a new school in March. In March, my dad headed to Haiti; my parents true passion, and Becca headed north into a small snow/ice storm that knocked the power out for 4 days.  While Becca and I stayed with my aunt in Raleigh; Becca was asked about going back to school and moving to Texas to live with Mike’s parents while going to culinary school.

In April, my parents came up to North Carolina to help me look for a new apartment and left Becca in Georgia; packing her car to drive to Texas. By the way the best directions are when the GPS tells you to stop, park on the side of the highway and walk to your destination. Mike got the opportunity to travel a little this spring/summer as he traveled with Becca to Texas to help her get settled in in Houston. Then come to North Carolina to help me move to Durham (Home of the Bulls). After helping everyone move and putting my mom on a plane back to Atlanta, dad and I hit the road headed to New Hampshire.  We did make a few stops in Connecticut, so he could go by his grandfather’s home with a little help from our GPS (I guess I should be more scared that the house looks the same.) We also got to go the blessing of the fleet in Gloucester, Massachusetts and see the Newport Mansions.  We even saw Derek Jeter play at Yankee Stadium, where, go figure, my dad got a nap.

Mike then did his adventure with the church teenagers to Dallas and got to stand in the street in downtown Dallas on the spot where JFK was shot. Did I mention the street isn’t shut down; enter at your own risk.  Which gets us to August for our last family vacation. We all meet up in Atlanta and drove to Tampa Bay to get a Potato Head, yea a Potato head! We also spent some time at the beach and by the pool. We found the most amazing banana cream omelet at a little place called the Frog Pond and ate fresh caught grouper at the Seafood Shack (talk about hole in the wall … shack on the dock).

The fall as many of you know was tough, but as I started this letter Mary’s journey home was complete; but while she was here she impacted so many and shared her story to inspire others. As I think back over the last year there were so many times she just knew what was going on. It was like my mother knew as the bible says in Jeremiah “I know the plans I have for you”.  She pushed Becca and I in so many way this year and supported us.

Mary pushed me to look for a new school and helped choose an amazing school in Oxford, North Carolina as I started at a new school, as Becca went back to school in Houston.  In August she pulled together a family vacation for all of us to go the beach in Tampa Bay (because everyone needs a Joe Madden Potato head). But we spent four days together enjoying the pool, beach and each other.  We all traveled out to Houston in September to visit Becca at school, where by the way she is at the top of her class, she is going to be an amazing chef one day.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. ~~ Luke 2:9-11

We hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. We close by wishing you all the best for the coming year!

With Love to all Michael, Sarah & Rebecca

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  ~~John 16:33 NIV

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~~Philippians 4:7