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we give each

other Christmas

gifts in his name,

let us remember that

he has given us the sun and

the moon and the stars, and the

earth with its forests and mountains

and oceans Ė and all that lives and moves upon

them. He has given us all green things and every fruit Ė

and all we quarrel about and all that we have misused Ė and

to save us from our own foolishness, from all our sins, he came

down to earth


gave us


Sigrid Undset


I know, I know, the heading is the same as last year, but I really like this so I guess it will become permanent.

This year seems to have gone fast. We actually have accomplished a few things- with a lot of help. We finally got enough nerve to take on a remodel of kitchen and utility. Having the floors done in the den and Calebís room made that possible. We found, with some help from Mike Wine, a wonderful wood worker (David Scroggins) who guided us through choices and got the job when he said he would with no problems, no mess.

When we reflected on how easy that job when, and knew David only did wood floors, we decided that we would also do the kitchen and utility in wood. We wanted him way more than we did tile, or anything else. We opted for a new stove, washer, and dryer- and microwave (but thatís another story). We decided to keep the same cabinets, eliminating some, relocating others and having them touched up. Danny Adams & crew, John Robert Sanders, Mike & John Michael Denman, and David Scoggins, and Kenneth Rowland did the rest. When they ripped out the old "red" formica, they found beautiful wood behind it, so we did not have to think about sideboards. We opted for a grey Corian countertop, which we love, and a movable island. Living through the ordeal was not fun.

The worst part, however, was unloading the cabinets and stashing anything we wanted to keep. We did lots of downsizing through this project. Our workman kept to their schedule and we just tried to stay out of their way. They did a remarkable job and we are very happy with the results. Mike loves his gas stove.

Another project that had been put off for awhile was getting reinstated as a Tree Farm. We have started the ball rolling there and soon hope to have that completed. The "local" forester, Jim Edwards, has been very helpful with his instruction and advice and I think we will like our advisor, Bruce Godbold from Grenada. We both took a tree ID course with the Forestry service as a refresher this fall.

Since Mike got to visit Annie at Thanksgiving 2012, I went in August. It was a marvelous trip. I didnít regret one little minute of it. I had fun seeing what all she does in Seattle- and where she and Dayton live. It was good to meet Daytonís mom and to see several of the old Cabaret troop and to make new friends. Annie, Dayton, Sharon, and I flew out to Kalispell on the Monday after I arrived and spend a week in Glacier. It was heaven. Mike and the zoo survived.

I was happy to get in a visit with Mikeís Birkner cousins. They are a delightful couple and have the best dog ever. My winter project is to get Mike to go through the Birkner family photos and send most of them to Seattle. We have decided Bob will make a much better caretaker/historian than we will.

We had a surprise visit from Michael Tsung during the summer. He stayed out at the Davisí, but we got to see him several times and catching up with his progress in school. He will graduate in April from Averett University in Virginia with 3 majors. We are very proud of Michael; he is a fine young man.

We recently had a visit from Leia Jackson on her way to a new job at a Polo Ranch outside of Houston, TX. We met Leia through our church when she lived here as Myrna Collie-Leeís assistant. We quickly came to appreciate her zany sense of humor and were so happy to have her stop for a few days on her way to TX.

During the Christmas holidays, Tanya, Calebís mom) along with her mom are coming for a few days. Tanya has been to Charleston before, so she should know what to expect. I have no clue what Bernice will think of this burg with little to do, but we will make the best of it.

Mike stays busy with his computer (I think he does gun blogs, but am not sure), his guns, mowing, walking dogs, watching movies, and reading. I still love to dig in the dirt, play with the zoo, do some volunteer work, read and watch movies. We try to keep in touch with our relatives, but are not as good at it as we should be.

Mikeís mom is still in Assisted Living in Batesville, MS. She has had some health issues this fall and does not seem inclined to help herself. I worry about her, but as Mike says we canít make her do anything. We try to check on her via phone daily and see her once a week.

Bevan still seems to enjoy his job in Tupelo. NEW (National Electronic Warranty) seems to become an Asurion company in the past year. We are still not to sure about the ramifications of that change, but so far, so good. Besides work and keeping track of Caleb, Bevan has time for little else.

Caleb is in the 10th grade this year. He has block classes, so his schedule changes every few months. Cheer took place of orchestra this year, but he continues his private violin lessons. He is enjoying cheer and is apparently very good at it.

Annie is busier than ever with being the Ravenna UMC Music Director, playing for the Pacific Northwest Ballet, private lessons, House Composer for Cafť Nordo, and any composing gig she can get. Dayton work on IT for Archie McFee and keeps up with his music. He was learning classical guitar this summer.

The Zoo has had a few ups and down this year, but everyone is fine now and making out their Santa lists. Scout wanted some stairs, so it would be easier for him to get down from Mikeís desk in the shop. It hurt his little legs to jump down, so Santa made that delivery early and he has learned how to go up and down.

Godís Blessings,

Mike and Fonda

Mozart, Payton, Red, Yoda, Piccola, Bowser, Diana, Scout, Tom, Bess, Grace Jones