Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014

Scout aboard Whispering Jesse in Biscayne Bay
Dear Family and Friends,

Greetings from Miami, where it doesn’t feel much like Christmas, even with all the strings of twinkling lights wrapped around the palm trees. Nan, Scout and I have been here for over a year now, long enough to experience all the seasons, and there isn’t much of a difference from one to the next. We’re enjoying the cooler, drier "winter" weather right now but dreading the heat and humidity just a few short months away. Maybe we need a trip to Colorado or Wisconsin to regain our perspective.

It has been a transitional year. Nan’s mother, Mary Claire Mullins, passed away at the end of May at the age of ninety-one. She lived a fully engaged life, dedicated to her family, her church and her many causes. It was her wish to live out her days in the home she and her husband Jim shared with their twelve children in Manitowoc, and she was able to do so with the love and support of her family.

John has continued as a software engineer for CareCloud, an up-and-coming healthcare information company located here in Miami, and Nan has volunteered her time and talent at Baptist Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables. Scout still gets plenty of attention, with morning and afternoon walks through shaded neighborhoods to the bayfront and the local dog park.

Our sailboat, Whispering Jesse, has been moored at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club since late May, after an uneventful six-day sail up from Isla Mujeres, Mexico with friends Mike, Kevin and Paul. Newly added improvements make the forty-foot boat more easily sailable by a small crew, and we have been taking advantage on weekends, exploring Biscayne Bay and trying to give Scout his sea legs. A few weeks ago, we boarded Scout and sailed to no-dogs Boca Chita State Park for an overnight, but all the tie-up spots were already taken, so we sailed farther south and anchored off Elliott Key. It was such an enjoyable experience that we’re going back on Christmas Day for a two-night stay, and taking Scout this time.

June 2 marked our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We celebrated in September with a trip to Ireland for sightseeing in Dublin, followed by a week-long Wayfarers walking tour of the Ring of Kerry. With her Irish heritage, the Emerald Isle was a place Nan had always wanted to visit. Her sister Monica and Monica’s partner Vicky shared the adventure with us and chronicled it in photos. Many are in a slideshow on our blog at

We’re off to Isla Mujeres again in a few weeks to celebrate Nan’s milestone birthday. Not to say, but you can guess which one this is. It was her choice to return to Mexico, and she already has her big day entirely planned out, if we can squeeze it all in. It will be fun to visit in January after learning about Mexican summers during our three-month sojourn there last year.

These are interesting times, and it is easy to lose sight of what really matters. We wish you peace, prosperity, and the time to reflect during this holiday season.


John, Nan and Scout