I decided today would be my day to write out a few Christmas cards. In case you aren’t on my regular list, here is the letter I’m including in the cards of people to whom I usually send a yearly update.
By the dating of this short missive, I am sure you can believe that I can’t believe it’s already Christmas. When I do send out cards, it’s usually sooner than a couple days before, but it’s been a full year and time got away.
For those who were unaware, I basically left social media in 2020. It was more depressing and irritation-causing than it was uplifting. I posted on or near New Year’s Day, 2021, to let people know not to bother posting there as I wouldn’t be checking. I still have an account because several groups I belong to are more active on Facebook than elsewhere, so when I’ve hopped on a couple times, It saddened me to see people posting on my timeline anyway. While I understand that for some, social media is the only way to keep in touch, that fact saddens me more. Now I’m not a great fan of sitting on the telephone, but I enjoy writing letters and notes. I have a nice collection of good fountain pens and a couple bottles of ink as well. I use them more for my day-to-day writing than ballpoints, gel pens, or others but certainly put them to use for keeping in touch with people outside this house. Nonetheless, it’s been a quite year as far as sociability is concerned. However, for those of you who feel the need to communicate through online means only, you can find me at @arneal8 on Twitter, where I connect to a vibrant writing community. I changed my blog as well this year, to agnubloom.com. When I write, it does post automatically to my Facebook author page. There is a ‘contact’ page that will send me an email. I’ll reply to that, so feel free to stop by. However, the way to my heart is always through my postal box.
On the professional front, I have left Grand Canyon University after seven years. I work for the University of Charleston’s Doctor of Executive Leadership program as an assistant professor and Year 2 Coordinator, so I’m still in the academic-doctor-making business. I’ve also been doing more (just a little, but as God wills, there will be more to come in the new year) to develop my own leadership model and branding. You can find the start of this work at r-leadership.com. I am looking forward to doing more with it, particularly as a channel to support a couple of unique causes: Shoebill conservation and Flying Fox safety. You can see more if you visit R-Leadership (the About) page.
On the personal front, Glade and I remain partnered. Getting hitched may be on the horizon, but we’ve not made any specific plans. We are looking forward to moving out of California, with hopes of doing so in 2022. His sister lives in Philadelphia and all but one of the people I consider in my family circle (that would be you, Cousin Arthur!) live east of the Mississippi, so it’s time for a new adventure. As University of Charleston is in West Virginia, we are exploring the surrounding environs as our next territory, with a trip back east in the works for spring – Glade has Wampanoag heritage, so part of the adventure will be to visit tribal lands in Massachusetts, in addition to popping by other family on the coast. Ultimately, Glade wants some raised vegetable beds and perhaps a few chickens, while I look forward to a bit more land and trees around the house to look out upon as writing inspiration. It is my prayer that the next communication you receive from me will have a new address. Our animals are also doing well. Sputnik is nine this year and you can see the grey in her brown-red fur. Woola is eight and his chin is grey as well. It makes me sad to think of them not being here, but it is a reality for us all. Fyzzgyg is two, and swears he runs the house. I didn’t include a photo, since his coat is in terrible need of a shave; all that long Maine Coon hair gets quite knotted and he hates the groomer, so we take our time and let it be worth the struggle.
Of the other interesting things that we did this year, the highlight was likely seeing Stevie Wonder this month. We attended his 23rd House Full of Toys benefit concert in Los Angeles; I’ve missed the chance to see other performers and before we leave California, I didn’t want to miss Stevie. At 72, he’s still amazing.
Well, that’s the short of it – if we were together, sharing actual space and time, I expect there would be many stories to share. I pray you and yours are in good physical, emotional, and spiritual health. As God wills, I’ll see you in ’22 …
And there you have it. My year in snapshot … Blessings to you and yours. Here’s hoping for a brighter tomorrow and a joyous one at that.