NewsLetter for 2009

Posted On December 30, 2009

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Well, as is so often the case, it’s way past time for our Christmas newsletter, so this is officially a holiday letter instead! As I’m writing it, things are as they should be. Allison and one of her volleyball buddies are at ACU lifting weights; Matt is lying in bed reading; I’m listening to mellow music and watching the snow float down. I think Mark’s drinking coffee and listening to NPR. I guess all is right with the world—at least in our little corner. Here’s a brief glance at our year’s events.

Matt still fills his time with academic competitions and drumming. He’s playing in the jazz band this year. We got to hear a couple of their Christmas concerts which included traditional favorites, along with a new Christmas classic: Thriller! I think they played it because they know it—and who doesn’t like Thriller! Last spring I got to go to the state math meet with him. He competed in number sense (doing problems in your head), math (doing problems with pencil and paper), calculator (doing problems with a calculator, duh!), and science (guessing—at least for Matt). He had great results is everything except science, which he only competes in because he’s already there. This year in the school academic meet, he also competed in impromptu speaking, which required wearing a dress shirt and tie! He won on the strength of his speech covering the topic: A World Without Weapons. His third and, undoubtedly, most convincing point was that, without weapons, the Mission Impossible movies would be very dull.

Matt had a very challenging year physically. He had major back surgery in April that kept him out of school for a month. Complications included a reopening of his incision, requiring weeks of treatment, including a wound vac which was attached to the site 24 hours a day for a few weeks. He also developed an infection along the rods in his back, which eluded diagnosis for most of the summer. He ended up spending the majority of the summer lying down. Eventually, a PET scan illuminated the problem. He’s been on two varieties of high powered antibiotics since August and has a couple of months left. Just in the last month or so, he has started to regain his strength enough to push his manual chair. We are grateful that he is on the mend!

Allison is a junior at Wylie High School. Her volleyball team had a great season this year. They were defeated in the regional final—just one game away from the state tournament. They only had one senior this year, so hopefully, next year they will have another successful run. Allison is playing middle blocker and she and a 6’3” girl from Graham were named outstanding blockers for our district. As a little 5’8” kid, that’s not bad. We went to watch OU and UT play over the Thanksgiving holiday. After the match, I asked Allison if she was inspired. Her answer: “Yeah, to grow!” Well, that’s not going to happen, which is why she’s at ACU right now working on her vertical! Now that volleyball’s over, she’s starting, well, club volleyball. She’s also reffing youth basketball. My mom and I went to watch her, which she found extremely embarrassing. That’s reason enough to go right there! She and Mark ran the White Rock half marathon in early December—Allison’s first. They finished in just slightly more than two hours, which was about 15 minutes faster than the winning runner finished the full 26 miles! She’s also hoping this spring to have a little more time to study. She’s taking pre-cal, physics, and chemistry. I was hoping that exposure to these great subjects would sway her to regard the sciences with the affection they deserve, but no.

Mark’s big news is that he was granted tenure. It will actually go into effect next fall. Great news for him! We’re still teaching business-y things at ACU. It’s fun and always interesting (obviously, because we get to pick what we cover in class!). We’ve both been spending a little time trying to learn the names of our spring students. I’ll have to hit that a bit harder now that Christmas is over. If your kids are headed this way, let us know. We’ll welcome them with the special mix of sarcasm and love you would expect!

(from Mark): Laura continues to be a much-loved teacher in a much-despised class (Business Statistics). She continues to keep us all on schedule, as well as providing healthy meals and reminding us to brush our teeth as needed. She is also the leader of the Women in Business group at school, as well as mentoring a young woman we have both had in class. She hasn’t been as mobile lately, since Allison seems to always be driving Laura’s car around; new wheels are on schedule for 2010. (end of Mark’s section)

I hope and pray that 2009 was good for you and your family and that 2010 gets off to a great start! We love you all.


PS If you want to read about Mark’s exploits in a class with a bunch of iPhone equipped students, visit