Overcoming health challenges: Cathy undergoing surgery to remove a benign brain tumor in January & Jeff’s bout with COVID in October. We’ve both recovered and are enjoying morning walks together again in all kinds of weather.
Good timing: Our moms (and Cathy) getting surgery when they needed it during a crazy year for hospitals.
Vacations! In February we got a planned trip to Florida in before COVID took off. TJ and Will flew in to surprise Grandpa Ted Wesolek on his birthday while Jeff and Cathy spent an entire week recovering from the stress of Cathy’s illness in 2019. When we discovered the fall semester at Bethel University would not include any breaks, we braved the heat to visit Austin in July to see the boys. We enjoyed our first Airbnb experiences—it’s a great way to social distance on vacation. We ate meals we grilled or the boys picked up at their favorite restaurants, watched movies, and talked.
Work. We got both of our church services online in less than a week last March when life started to shut down. We also made it through an in-person semester at Bethel University teaching in First Year Experience blocks; Jeff team-taught sociology with a writing teacher and Cathy taught writing with an Exploring the Christian Faith professor. We both had great students. It was an intense semester, but we finished before Thanksgiving which was fabulous.
TJ and Will: The guys rented a new house in Austin with two friends after the couple they had been sharing a house with bought their own home last summer. They’d been thinking about moving closer to downtown Austin, but after working at home during COVID they decided they’d rather have a real yard and larger bedrooms for more comfortable workspaces. Will is still working in finance for Bazaarvoice (which sells software for online reviews to companies), and TJ has a new job with Social Solutions, a company that helps non-profit organizations improve their online presence.
Learning A LOT--Especially about technology as Cathy upgraded to using Pro Premiere video software for church and learned how to Zoom for Bethel, Bible studies, and Children’s programs. Jeff learned how make technical decisions while learning about tech on the fly! Huge thanks to our son TJ, Trinity UMC for the timely new AV system, and one of Jeff’s Bethel students who set up our online format for fall Bible School and helped Trinity to start live streaming.
New Ways of Doing Church. We managed to adapt some “traditions” at our churches for the quarantine world beyond having online services and live streaming. We did an online Bible School in partnership with our friend Beth at Wakarusa United Methodist Church, created a socially distanced version of Christmas in Tyner to bless the community, and went outdoors on Christmas Eve at Trinity UMC with a nativity, luminarias, and the choir singing carols. It was a joy for us to see people at our churches step up to use their gifts in ways that blessed people in our churches and beyond.
Inspiration. We chose “pray” as our word for 2020—a good choice in any year, but we had no idea what was in store for the world when we chose it!
Yes, there was a lot of “bad” in the world in 2020, but God and some great people brought a lot of good to our lives. Praying for you as we begin 2021!