Brand: Carolyn Earle Billingsley

2007 Christmas Letter

Carolyn Earle Billingsley
2100 Pleasant Grove, Alexander, AR 72002; 501.847.0114 and
Jim Billingsley
2301 Billingsley Lane, Alexander, AR 72002; 501.847.0402

Isn’t it an odd facet of human nature that, as we look back over the year, we have a lot easier time remembering all the good things that happened, rather than the bad? Thus, once again, I write you to say our bunch has had a good year. There was probably some not so great stuff that happened that I’m just forgetting, but oh well, you didn’t want to hear about that anyway, did you?

image of damage to Jim's home Jim has been doing well; almost two years after prostate surgery, his test results are still perfect. Unfortunately his left shoulder finally wore out, requiring extensive surgery and physical therapy. Right before that, the orthopedist also found three ruptured disks in his lower back but amazingly, Jim doesn’t seem to be bothered by that since he quit trying to do so much heavy work. He’s back to playing golf regularly, which the doctor didn’t think he’d be able to do. And he’s got the farm looking marvelous, bush-hogging all the time and trimming limbs.

Jim also has been busy dealing with repairs and insurance after storm damage--the top of a huge oak crashed down on the corner of his house; it damaged some of the house but destroyed the patio furniture and gas grill.

Jeff and AmberJD turned 40 this year. I don’t know if it bothered him but it bothered me to have a son that old! He and Carmen are the parents of Jeff (14), Amber (10), and Jase (3). So now we even have a grandson who’s a teenager—and acts like one sometimes too!

Here’s Jeff with his cousin Carrie. At his age, he probably would rather be hugged by some girl other than his cousin!

Jd with Jase But corralling that three-year old may be the toughest job of all. Here’s JD trying to hang on to Jase.

Carmen’s been learning to sew and she’s so creative, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with—in her spare time trying to raise three kids, with everything else she does!

Amy's in the middleAmy and Mike seem so happy to be back home and here at the farm with the rest of us. Mike’s working for G.A. B. Robins Insurance Adjusters and Amy works for the Arkansas Crime Information Center in the Criminal History Department. Now that they’re country folk again, they have added an outdoor dog (adopted stray) to their “son” Chester, a strictly indoor dog.

I know Amy works hard, but somehow, she and her officemates had time to create the winning Halloween door decoration, for which they won gift certificates and an extra hour off.

That’s Amy, the ringleader, in the middle.

One sad event of 2007 was the death of Mike’s father, which has been very difficult for Mike and Amy. Mike’s mother still lives in Denham Springs, Louisiana.

farm scene Robbie and Andrea mostly chase around after Trulie (4) and James Nathan (3). During the summer, they’re the ones who take care of the pool most of the time and Andrea does the bookkeeping for the farm. Oh, yeah—they have real jobs too: Robbie still works for the Central Arkansas Water Department and Andrea has her own business doing insurance billing for doctors.

great-grandmother, Jean Nel, with the three girlsThe big news with Sarah and Brent is the addition of a third daughter. Miss Caledonia “Callie” Isabella Wood, was born 21 November 2007 (the day before Thanksgiving), weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces, 20 inches long, with blonde hair, and a beautiful fair complexion. Aunt Amy was with Sarah and Brent in the delivery room. I think maybe Callie looks just like her dad.

To the right is a photo of the three sisters with their great-grandmother Jean Neal.

Carrie (11) and Lilly (4) seem to be quite pleased with their new baby sister. Some of us worry about Brent in a household of all females though!

He’s a state coordinator for AFLAC and one of their top salespeople; in fact, he just won a trip for two to the Bahamas. Luckily the trip isn’t until spring, so it won’t be so hard to leave the baby. Sarah will continue her maternity leave from the City of Maumelle Planning Commission until mid-January probably.

fall scene The farm looks great and it’s beautiful in every season. For the past few years, I’ve had 500 daffodil bulbs planted in one field near the entrance. Last year was pretty spectacular, and we know it’ll just keep getting better and better as we continue to add more and as they spread. We have six cows, one heifer, and a bull; the six cows should be having their calves by the middle and end of February

Carolyn & Jim Billingsley This year, Jimmy and I took a fabulous vacation in July-August. We flew to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and spent a couple of days there; drove through the Grand Tetons; then spent three nights in Yellowstone; drove through Montana, Oregon, and Washington state; and ended up at my brother’s house in Medina, a suburb of Seattle, where we visited for a few days until we flew home. If I wrote thirty pages, I couldn’t begin to describe to you what a wonderful trip it was, how many amazing experiences we had; and the beauty of that part of the country, especially Yellowstone Park—although I also just loved the Petrified Forest in Washington.

And do you know somebody with a sense of humor named a town in Washington “George.” We bought some fruit at a stand there and the woman admitted she got a lot of laughs when she told people she was from George, Washington. (There was a restaurant there called “Martha’s” too.)

Here’s our fifteenth try at taking a photo of ourselves with Jim holding the camera! I think he looks so sexy in that hat, I made him wear it all the time!

Carolyn Billingsley As for me, I’m still trying to complete my project for the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies Fellowship I was awarded. I had a few lecturing jobs, locally and in Lufkin, Texas. I was appointed to the faculty of Akamai University in Hawaii, which is a distance learning institution; the courses I teach will be online, and via telephone and email, for anywhere from one to five students at a time. The plan is that I will become program director of their newly instituted BA in Genealogical Studies, one of the few in the US.

I was also elected to the Association of Professional Genealogists Board of Directors, and I’m still a board member for Arkansas Genealogical Society. I plan to attend the National Genealogical Society National Conference in Kansas City in May, run my course for Samford University for a week in June, and then attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies National Conference in Philadelphia in early September, where I was also chosen to present two lectures. The last thing on my conference schedule, so far anyway, is the Southern Historical Association conference in New Orleans next October.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, Jimmy and I are going to take another vacation, but we haven’t yet decided where we’re going— maybe northern California and Oregon, maybe to see the Redwoods, Yosemite, Death Valley, or . . . well, as you can see, we can’t decide! I might even try to talk Jimmy into a trip to Austria, but with the Euro so high, that might be difficult.

So we’re now the proud grandparents of eight, ranging from newborn to age fourteen. I keep nagging about more grandchildren, but I have a feeling Callie will be the last. Well, I guess eight is enough! Here’s a photo of all but Callie; the photo was taken almost a year ago now, so they’ve grown.

picture of the grandchildren

 

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