Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Reflection

Our Christmas letter this year:

Dear Friends & Family,

You are all so very dear to us, and we are blessed beyond measure to have you in our lives. Although many of us are apart this Christmas, we cherish your role in our lives and are praying for you continually. As we enter this new year, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on all that 2012 held:

*January We launched a home school group, reading and discussing the works of the Inklings, great British authors like C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, Sayers, and Williams.
*February Lent began.
*March We hosted a 24 Hour Famine with our church’s youth group, fasting from food and media, and participating in a food drive to collect food for the community.
*April We celebrated Easter! I accompanied Clint and his class to the LA Cathedral, and lead a tour for our Inklings students at the Norton Simon Museum.
*May I started a Book Club with a group of friends where we met to catch up and discuss our book of the month.
*June We had a bittersweet time moving out of our first place. Clint finished teaching for the school year and then flew to Notre Dame for six weeks to continue working on his Masters degree in Church History, and I moved into the Becher’s house (a fun and generous family we met through friends at our church).
*July We spent the 4th apart, but both of us found a dear friend with whom to celebrate. I worked the Compassion International booth at Fish Fest and was overjoyed to see dozens of children sponsored! The highlight of our summer was celebrating our first anniversary in Chicago, complete with an art museum tour, four-course meal atop the John Hancock, and a river cruise with fireworks! Clint certainly outdid himself in planning this romantic day! The next day we drove across the border into Indiana where we spent the week at Notre Dame, then returned to Chicago and enjoyed sharing some sweet time with his parents. At the end of the month I was delighted to welcome Clint home and to rejoice in his hard work.
*August Clint was named the Youth Director at our church (St Matthew’s Church in Newport Beach) and we had a bonfire with the students at Huntington Beach. The Dallas Cowboys training camp was in Oxnard, so we traveled up to see the team. On the 31st we moved into our beautiful new apartment in Orange, which we affectionately call “Perry-dise” (a pun on “Paradise” thanks to Coldplay).
*September We spent the month getting settled, shopping for furniture and planting my herb garden, and Clint started his second year at Saddleback Valley Christian School where he teaches honors Bible classes, called “religious studies,” in which he reads great books with his students and discusses them in a seminar style, classical education model. We celebrated our Epic Event Weekend with the youth group which included pizza and hot dogs, bowling and an Angels’ game. Additionally, we were delighted to visit Clint’s mom at her work conference in San Diego.
*October I was accepted into the MBA program at Concordia University in Irvine and started my first course, Financial Accounting, while continuing to work full-time as a Quality Control Specialist at ECCU.
*November I had the joy of co-hosting a jungle-themed baby shower for my sister, who is due with their first in January. Clint and I are super excited to become Uncle and Auntie very soon! The following weekend Clint’s family flew out for a delightful visit of “super fun,” visiting the beach, touring a museum, and lots of shopping!
*December We are observing Advent by serving in an Operation Christmas Child service project with the youth group at the beginning of the month. Later we will celebrate Clint’s 28th birthday, see some of the new movies that we have been eagerly awaiting all year (anyone else exited about Les Miserables and The Hobbit??) and spend a merry Christmas with my family in Ridgecrest.

“Walking Briskly”
A poem by Tori Perry 

Running through the grocery store,
Well, “walking briskly” is much more
Accurate to describe the feeling:
Appearance of decorum, concealing
The stress and exhaustion that lies
Under this festive, glittering guise.
For cookies to bake, gifts to buy,
Parties to plan and bows to tie
Leave little time for me to muse,
To wonder at that glorious news
Declared by angel choirs bright
On that anything but silent night
The humble virgin did give birth,
Glory to God and peace on earth,
When divinity in manger lay –
Resplendent heaven in the hay.

Perry Reflections - Advent
Many times the weeks leading up to Christmas are hectic and exhausting with festivities galore, but we pray that it will be a time of preparation for us all, that we might sit in wonder at the glory and mystery of Christ’s coming and His promise to return again.

This past Sunday (Dec 2nd) our church inaugurated the beginning of a new Christian year with the season of Advent, even as we see Christmas on the horizon with all its festivities. One of the prayers from the service captures the heart of Advent:
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

May the Lord bless you during this season and fill you with hope as we await with expectation the coming of Christ at Christmas. Peace be with you!
Clint & Tori Perry & Shiloh ; )

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