2021 Christmas Epistle

A little chatty, I’m afraid.

The year for us emerged as it did for the majority of the country with restrictions on socializing and travel. We took our winter meals in our apartment at The Highlands at Wyomissing, http://TheHighlands.org and could not use the community areas like the fitness center or pool. Amy and I spent time walking outside, reading, and assembling a 2024 piece puzzle.

Amy became fully involved with knitting a wide variety of wearables when not creating a new look for the leftovers from our bountiful container meals delivered to our door by a rapidly disappearing courier. We were left with over a yard high stack of cleaned plastic “take out” containers which have been shared with family for take home “doggie bags” from shared group meals.

One morning in the electronic Wall Street Journal, I came upon the book Adam and the Genome co-authored by a scientist and a theologian – a read I thought timely with vaccines then available using the mRNA platform, and the use of maternal RNA in an approach to understanding evolution. Inspired by the Hebrew word for “to create” – bara’ – I was led to undertake a deep dive into the Old Testament using scholarly publications, studying creation myths contemporaneous with the writing of Genesis which led to writings around the purpose for the OT as a part of the story of God’s acts in Salvation History contained within the OT and culminating in the New Testament. Fifteen books; several months; and now re-reading.

It strikes me that a literal understanding of English translations of Hebrew words, likely leads to a misunderstanding of their original meanings. Discussion of biblical literature without an agreed upon understanding of the context of the literature, becomes for me a trap causing misunderstanding of the original biblical authors’ intentions. Example: Gen 1: “God created (bara’) the heavens and the earth.” Bara’ “describes divine activity of fashioning something new fresh and perfect. …not necessarily … out of nothing” Net Bible, 2nd ed, 1996.

In a similar fashion, having read several books on CRT, BLM, Marxism, Wokism, it is clear to me that taking only a surperficial look at the representation of these movements and ignoring the goals embodied within them can lead one to untold cognitive dissonance and dialectic chaos. Sad enough on a personal level, but the perfect porridge encouraged by those behind the movements above.


On April 1, we transitioned to Bergheim, our cabin in the woods in Pike County, 100 miles Northeast of The Highlands, for a seven month summer. Minimal schedule; maximal peace.

This summer was packed with outdoor activity: tilling and planting Amy’s 1000 square foot garden; felling and removing several very large deciduous trees (read: fewer Fall leaves for mulching); replacing two apple trees with a lavender leafed red bud and a copper bark Japanese Maple; replacing clumping bamboo with a lemon smoke tree; adding to the yellow and red twig dogwoods; replacing a dying blue spruce with a 14 foot Alaskan weeping cedar; planting a ten foot variegated dogwood; and placing a row of different colored hybrid cone flowers in front of the porch for our Happy Hour enjoyment. Lastly, in October we had installed a trellis to support the winter hardy kiwi. Shown below.

Hoping to entice family visits, we had the idea to add a spa/hot tub to the end of the porch. We have completed the site prep and the spa installer has inspected the site. I’ve collected the pieces for the electrical hookup, and next will look for the shower plumbing elements. The current delivery date is July, 2022. Two other projects have morphed into 2022: installation of two split system AC units and the addition of 5.6 kW of solar power.

Amy and I feel that we are well conditioned for outside work at Bergheim and for “aging in place” at The Highlands. Being blessed with a healthy family, we can wish for nothing more.

As one might hope for, everyone in the family is in good position for successful careers.

Peter https://towerhealth.org/providers/j-peter-barrett-dpm and Helga https://www.eyeconsultantsofpa.com/locations/wyomissing-office/ remain full time in their respective practices, Calvin is in his senior year at Haverford and has an internship with Northrup Grumman, with plans to take a Masters in Computer Science at Penn. Tessa is in her third year at Muhlenberg with plans to enter a Dental program.

Paul is the facility manager for GK Elite Sportswear, a manufacturer of, among other wearables, leotards for Olympians such as Simone Biles and Sunni Lee. https://www.gkelite.com/pages/gk-gym-athletes Tracie is a lead in the Research and Development Department at Sweet Street Deserts and is currently developing an delectable orange cake. https://www.sweetstreet.com Mason, nine years old in October, has taken to soccer and has made several goals in his first year.

Antje has become very busy with her monogramming business which now requires three 12 needle machines and one heat press to turn out an array of designs and products. https://www.annibmonogramming.com I shouldn’t forget that Amy, and occasionally I help with the large volume orders. Laz runs the Hollywood Cleaners operations which has had the same personnel shortages as the country. https://www.drycleanerslist.com/cleaners/32336/hollywood-cleaners-ltd/. Demetri is the Captain of the Wyomissing soccer team, has been accepted to several colleges and intends to study engineering. Alex is studying for the electrician trade. Katy excels in school and has not yet chosen a field for college study.

Amy and I wish you all a safe and joyous Christmas and New Year, observing care to avoid illness and aware of the blessings that we enjoy and cautious in coming out of this past year of fear and restriction.

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