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Happy Holidays!

Franzen Family Card & Letter

I was terrible at getting cards out in the mail this year and the added stress of getting letters printed (I know, I know, first world problems...) was just too much. So I went with mailing the cards and sticking a little piece of paper in each envelope directing people to this URL link. There is one household I know of that doesn't actually have a way to go online (my mom and dad), but they're up to date so I don't feel bad doing it this way this year. Maybe I'll revert to the old way next year or maybe I'll love this so much, I will never look back.

Anyway, card and letter follows:

Happy Holidays!

As you may (or may not) know, Ernest-the-Turtle sadly passed away this past October… But before he did, he penned his final holiday greeting to you all:

Dear Humans, It’s me, Ernest. Mom told me I wouldn’t be able to write the Christmas letter this year because I was going over some rainbow bridge to be with Puss Puss, so when she told me she’d include a greeting from me if I wanted to write one early, of course I said yes! I’ve been awfully tired. I was fine at Christmas when I wrote you that last letter, but since February or March, things just haven’t been right. I’ve seen that lady in the white coat several times this year who has helped care for me since I was a baby, and while she’s been pretty helpful, even she hasn’t been able to make me feel better. I can’t use my back legs anymore – that makes hiking (which I love) hard. For this and other reasons, I am on a bunch of meds now… I take them every day, but honestly, I really hate them. At least I don’t need my back legs to write… Anyway, mom crocheted me a Christmas sweater again this year but gave it to me early since I’ll be on vacation at Christmastime. Jesse and the cats didn’t get theirs early; I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m mom’s favorite. I mean, I *am*going on vacation and they’re not… Sorry I will miss you this year; maybe when I get back from visiting that bridge I’ll write again. But I might just pass that torch to the cats – I sure am tired. Well, I just wanted to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and all that jazz. Love and Crickets, Ernest

While the Franzen Household was quite saddened at the loss of Ernest this year, there was quite a lot for which to celebrate and be grateful!

Reagan is still local!! While she doesn’t plan on living in Charlottesville forever, she is being very wise in realizing that forcing something is usually a pretty good way to get burned. I have every confidence she’ll move if/when it’s right, but for now I have my precious girl “home.” Her music is really quite amazing, and she has been producing some pretty stunning art. If “success” in the music business was only dependent on talent and product quality alone, she’d be a shoo-in rockstar… But she’s got more than that! She’s networked and made some pretty stellar connections with record labels and agents, so if things don’t go the way she wants, it’s certainly not for lack of talent or hard work. I’m so proud of this young woman. 😊

Gigs started coming back for Eric last year and they haven’t really stopped. I’ve been able to join him on several in 2021 (vocals and harp) and have really enjoyed “working” with my hubby. I’m still NOT performing with him more than I am, but it’s been a welcome change this year.

Eric got the “Backyard Project” completed enough that we were able to enjoy dips in our fancy “Redneck Pool” this past summer! Ernest even joined us before we chlorinated and had almost as much fun as we did. We look forward to having this little oasis to enjoy every summer. There are just a few finishing touches on the surrounding decking and pergola to complete!

We took a TWO-WEEK trip back home this past July. What a wonderful couple of weeks spent with family and friends in Minnesota! We always love being back home and this year definitely did not disappoint. We were able to spend time with my family and both sides of Eric’s family as well. Additionally, the road trip allowed us to experience 9 states, 4 of the 5 Great Lakes, and many of the things that you can only experience “up nort.” Plans are in the works for another extended trip back home in July of 2022!

I am still working for Natural Retreats... May of 2022 will mark 7 years! After sitting out 2020, I was back to travelling for work this year. I had work trips or conferences in Big Sky, MT, Charleston, SC, and San Antonio, TX. Highlights included the beautiful landscapes and distinct cultures of each destination, the local culinary treasures, seeing industry friends for the first time in over a year, getting to visit with my cousin Andrew in TX, and even winning the inaugural, Revenue Manager of the Year award! In addition to work, I continue to crochet obsessively… But many of my projects are nearing completion, so there may be a respite in sight.

Eric will celebrate 10 YEARS at Immanuel Lutheran Church (ILC) in 2022! It’s hard to believe ILC has been our church family for almost a decade now – my, how time flies! The congregation continues to be a blessing to him and us – we are thankful that they are our family. Eric also continues to teach and play… He recently joined a blues band (organ trio) in the area – Dara James and the Soul Disciples. They’ve performed at several venues and have been featured on one of the radio stations in town to rave reviews! It’s hard to believe he has any time left after all his music-ing, but he still manages to maintain the house, keep the animals happy, and be an all-round good hubby to me.

Speaking of 10 years… We celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss this past October! We were fortunate enough to spend it in the 30A area of Florida (where we stayed in a fab Natural Retreats-managed home)!! The photo on the card was taken on one of those beautiful, white, sandy beaches.

As always, you are most welcome to visit us any time!! We don’t have white, sandy beaches, but we love visitors (we loved having Mark visit this past summer) so know the “FranzenBnB” is always open. There are a couple cats and a horse who love attention, too, so if you lean in the misanthrope direction, we won’t be offended if you choose them over us.

[Contact info redacted due to public nature of this blog, but please reach out via this site if you don't have our most recent contact information!]

We wish you all a peaceful and joyful holiday season!

With Love,

The Franzens

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