Happy New Year 2018!
I opted to do a Happy New Year letter this year and wish you a very happy 2018. The Christmas card is a dying tradition, sadly in my mind, and the New Year letter or card seems to be in vogue. I just plain ran out of time to write a Christmas letter so this will take its place. I appreciate the cards and letters I still receive and hope you do as well.
A big year this year in many ways, and not all of them good. The year started with ham and black-eyed peas on January 1 and as we slogged through the doldrums of winter we were blessed with many visits from our kids and grandkids. We are lucky to live in the same town and we see them often, always for Sunday dinners at our house. I love this regular time we have each week, it allows the week to start off the right way: family, food, and God.
I am teaching at Trinity here in Midland still, but gave up the golf coach gig. We won the state tournament this year and it was time to spend more hours in the classroom. We changed the way we teach and have reorganized into trimesters which allows for more electives and choices for our students. I was able to design two new courses: Civil War and American Presidents which has been a blast doing. Missy is teaching out at Greenwood and takes Tori each day. They both enjoy the laid-back atmosphere.
In March we spent a week in Dallas at a cool campground called Cedar Hill. We were joined by Tommy and Marilyn (Missy’s stepdad and mom) for a week of trying to build a fire and enjoying each other’s company. We took our RV and met them in theirs, they just bought a huge fifth wheel and a new truck, so more trips are in store for us.
In April I planned a Civil War Battlefield trip that I took in June when Missy went to Texas State for her annual Math camp. It was great, for full information click here, seven battlefields, Thomas Jefferson’s second home, Washington D.C. and over 4000 miles, loved every bit of it, except for the awful motel in Jackson, Tennessee. A great trip and a wonderful way to prepare me for my new course.
My niece, Jordan Freese, graduated from college in May from high school in Tempe, Arizona. All of us headed out for the occasion and were very proud of her. As it turned out it would be a very important trip as it would be the last time I would see my brother, Chad.
Missy, Tori and me all took a trip this summer in the RV as we traveled to Ft. Davis, Guadalupe River Park and finally our much awaited and well-planned trip to South Padre Island. Missy found us a great three bedroom condo almost on the beach and the whole family came with. It was fabulous as we sat on the beach, visited the Wanna Wanna, ate all over the island, chased some dolphins and found a great little bookstore. My trip was cut short as my Uncle Stu passed away. I had the honor of conducting his “celebration of life” service on the Peninsula up in Long Beach, Washington. Uncle Stu was a constant in my life and I will miss him dearly.
School started and we began the routine of teaching school and balancing a family. Missy and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary on September 16. We had plans that weekend, but decided to celebrate the next weekend with a trip for her and I to Fort Davis here in Texas. We took our RV and planned to hike, read and cook while enjoying the mild climate and beautiful landscape.
Our lives were forever changed as we were completing a long hike back down the mountain. My brother-in-law, Mo, called and gave me some news I thought I would never hear: Chad died. My brother Chad was only 44 years old and was in good health. I was shocked beyond belief and still find it hard to say or think about. We still don’t know the cause of death. I was asked to officiate this funeral too, it was not much fun, it was very hard. Life is difficult as we grow older as those we knew when we were younger sometimes die. I understood my Uncle Stu’s passing at 85, but find it hard to reconcile my brother’s death at 44.
We all attended the funeral and returned home as we tried to return to the routine of daily life. I find it difficult at times and it has made me question much about how I am living my life. I made a decision to do the things today I had been putting off for so long. One of the things I did was buy a few acres of land in Missouri. I have been wanting to do this for two years. I was waiting for the perfect moment and decided today is always the perfect moment. I fell in love with the Ozarks two years ago when we stayed at Table Rock Lake near Branson. So I pulled the trigger.
Missy and I also decided to buy an acre of land and build a home in the country just outside of Midland. We plan on moving in this summer, I will update our progress on my blog.
To add insult to injury, one morning I walked out to get in my truck and found it had been stolen. I must say this was not a welcome event. I have never had a vehicle stolen or even broken into, it is quite unsettling. As I write this I have not had my truck returned and sadly it looks like it won’t happen. I will have to settle with my insurance company, big bummer.
Todd Jr. and Megan are doing well. Todd was sent to Albuquerque and San Antonio by his company, Bubba’s 33, a restaurant and sports bar. Todd is managing the restaurant
here in Midland and hoping to get his own store sometime in the near future. Megan is doing a bunch of catering and marketing work for Texas Roadhouse and going to college at the local JC and both are raising those two beautiful babies who are my grandkids, Kennedie (3) and Todd III (1.5) and doing a great job.
Taylor and Jeremy are raising my other granddaughter, Emmalyn (2) and also doing a tremendous job. Jeremy has been in Puerto Rico for almost two months. He is a lineman and is helping to restore power to the island after the destructive hurricane earlier this year. It has been difficult on Taylor and Emma in his absence, but the financial reward is well worth it. He may be gone much of next year as well, we will see. He is supposed to come home every 60 days. Taylor is a mom and full-time student. She has done a great job making the Dean’s list and is going to graduate in a little over a year.
TK is working full-time at Texas Roadhouse and has won honors as the top waiter in his restaurant. He will be returning to college this spring if all goes well. He is also an amatuer bodybuilder and is huge! He has grown a tremendous amount and has also decided to grow out his beard and hair. If anyone needs to cast a Jesus character, I have your man. He is doing well and just turned 21 years old last week. Happy Birthday, TK.
Speaking of birthdays, Tori Kay is 12 years old today. She has had quite a day already as we have had a big breakfast, went bowling, seen a movie and are preparing to watch the Denver Broncos lose and then head to dinner at Roadhouse and eat some great looking ice cream cake after which we will open some great presents. Tori has become an excellent student and is a huge lover of gymnastics, she attends twice a week. She also is the second chair for the clarinet at her school, pretty busy girl.
As I write this letter it is 19 degrees and snowing. I have come to dislike this weather the older I get, too hard on an older body. But I am blessed as we have celebrated Christmas and will celebrate New Year’s with my sister Kimi, her husband Mo and their two sons, Aiden and Zack. We have had a great time, thanks for coming out to Midland, we love having you. We would love to have any of you come and see us. Just drop me a line and we will make plans.
May God bless you this year as you live your life with all of its twists and turns. I am hopeful 2018 has less loss and more hope, but no matter what may happen I trust the one who holds the world in his hand. Keep up with us on www.toddbfreese.com, we would love it. We would also love to hear from you, click here to contact me. We still do a podcast over at www.twoteachersintexas.com, check it out.
We have some big plans this year, hope you do too, until we speak again, peace.