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Merry Christmas from Agape House in Ruskin, FL

Dear Family and Friends,

2021 has been something of a barnburner. Every time we thought we had things in hand, something would bust loose! I’m certain that we are not alone in this observation.

New Year 2021 in Ruskin was low key after 2020’s combination of tumult and triumph. We have realized that the original idea of traveling the country in our tiny house and parking it where the work takes us is unlikely to happen. My work life changed dramatically in 2019 when the need to devote time to clients onsite around the country was no longer a driving factor. I was still blessed to be able to work remotely via phone, Zoom and email. The new world of work indeed! The second factor was the realization that it is a bigger deal to hitch up and move a tiny house like Agape House than to do the same with an RV for short trips.

We started looking at RVs in January and would like to get one to allow us to see more of Florida and other parts of the country while still being able to work. As it turns out, everyone else had the same idea and the stock of available RVs meeting our requirements and budget plummeted and the prices became extremely high. On the plus side, it has given us more time to decide between Class C motorhomes and towable lightweight trailers.

Karen signed us up for real estate classes to help us find property to live in and to allow us to generate some passive income renting or using Air BnB with the tiny house. I postponed taking the RE coursework for a time when I started a new job supplying business development for a full-line federal marketing agency out of Atlanta in March. Unfortunately, despite great progress made in a short time, the runway for success was far too short for the 2021 federal calendar contracting season and I left at the end of June.

The flexibility was welcome as we had made plans to spend a week in Ocean City, MD with our grandkids and a sprinkling of family in mid-July!

The beach was beyond great, but we bought some trouble along with the Thrashers fries and deep-fried Oreos at the boardwalk on our way out of town. We returned to our son Drew’s house in Pasadena, MD intending to stay only a day or two but tested positive for Covid on the July 29th after becoming symptomatic and were there for two weeks. Fortunately, our doctor equipped us with prescribed therapies (ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine) and we were free of symptoms within 4 days. We also qualified for monoclonal antibody (Regeneron) treatment as an additional therapeutic and now have natural immunity.

We returned to FL in August and our brief stint as chicken farmers begun in April and were able to share fresh eggs with family and friends. We have since had to find new homes for the chickens due to our uncertain schedule through the fall which called us away for 2 months.

We headed back north and were able to have some special times with the grandkids going to the RenFest and then to a crab feast hosted by Karen's sister Wendy with her husband Joel and other members of Karen's family.

During this time and just a week after turning 95, Phil’s Dad Cecil suffered a perforated gall bladder and a series of strokes. After emergency surgery, it was touch and go but he beat off the sepsis and was able to return home 2 weeks later. He now requires 24/7 palliative care with family members rotating in and out to oversee his care. He is showing improvement daily and we are blessed to have him with us.

Our 2021 Christmas plans include a trip to MD for Christmas Eve with our daughter Holly and her husband Steve and grandchildren Jack & Sophia. They will host a Christmas Eve open house which will allow us to see extended family and our other grandson Joseph, Drew’s son.

We will head back to FL but on our way, will catch up with our son Kevin and his wife Taylor in Charleston, SC where they will be celebrating Christmas with her family. They are still newlyweds with just a year of married life under their belts.

In closing, we wish all our family and friends a very happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

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