Hi All. I just thought that would update you on what’s been going on recently and what’s coming up in our lives. First of all, Merry Christmas! Sharon and I are excited about our upcoming trip to Northern California to be Sharon’s family and with our kids and our grand-baby, Afton. Mandy, Brian and Afton will be coming down from Ketchikan, Alaska and Justin and Mariah are coming from St. Louis. Sharon and I will get there a few days before the clan to prepare the way! Sharon wrote a tremendous Christmas letter that had me in tears from laughter and from it’s beautiful and poignant story of what Christmas is all about. She has a way of doing this each year. Our Christmas card (which I’ll also post below) features our greatest blessing of this past year, little Afton May Morman!
Afton May Morman
I’ve been busy with all my music, missions and travel. Preparing for trips early next year to Kenya, Africa – Worthing, Ascot & London, England for a concert tour (Sharon is going with me too!) And then later on in the year to Guatemala, Honduras and possibly Cuba! I’d better be working on my Spanish singing and speaking.
If you’d like some Holiday music to cheer you up, you can go here to watch the YouTube video of “Christmas in St. Louis” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jirrY6ypdn8 or here to download some of the songs or buy the CD. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/randymayfield5 Enjoy!
Now, here’s that fantastic newsletter I promised. It’s a bit long but worth it. Be sure to read the final few paragraphs. And our 2014 Christmas Card is below also. God Bless and Merry Christmas! Randy & Sharon Mayfield
Another year, another fascinating update of our lives! For those of you who enjoy the witty sarcasm, read on. For those of you who don’t, just enjoy the adorable face on our card this year. Or go back to the news about Ferguson. That should make the season bright. Sorry. Too much sarcasm?
January 1st we brought in the New Year at the beach. Personally, I think it’s the best way to start a year out right. But the re-entry to St. Louis in January can be brutal. Magic always comes with a price.
In February Mandy came home for a quick visit and a baby shower that our friend Amy helped put together. Mandy was truly showered not only with really generous gifts, but more importantly with the love and warm wishes of the most wonderful friends.
In March Randy headed to Iraq while I headed back to the beach. If you’ve been getting these letters for awhile now, you’ll notice there’s a pattern here.
April was a really big month for Randy. The first week of April he put on a large concert that ended up raising several thousand dollars for The Micah Project, a very worthwhile ministry that Central has been supporting for several years. Randy occasionally tells me that when he starts losing his voice I have to let him know. Fortunately, that hasn’t yet happened. In fact, I think he’s just reaching his prime in that department. And judging by the response of the crowd that night, I’m pretty sure most of them would agree.
Later that month the model for our Christmas card arrived! Afton (like the river in Scotland, not like the town in south county) May Morman! She was due to arrive the middle of May, but health concerns dictated that she make an early arrival, so we ended up racing her to the hospital. We flew all day on April 30th, checking in with Mandy and Brian in between flights to see who was going to get there first (fyi, it takes 3 flights to get from St. Louis to Ketchikan). We arrived at the hospital with 1 hour to spare before Afton made her entrance. Then we spent the next 10 days pretty much just staring at this new little miracle. Well, staring and cooking and cleaning and doing laundry and changing the occasional diaper. Oh, and getting in as much newborn holding time as possible.
Randy has fully embraced being a grandfather. If you see him reach for his Smartphone and you don’t want to spend the next several minutes looking at pictures of his granddaughter, then run while you can. He has been waiting for years to be called Papi. He is sure that Afton is the cutest baby on the planet, and equally as sure that she looks just like him. I am still adjusting to the whole idea of being a grandmother/grandma/Mimi/nana/whatever. I just can’t quite shake the image of a plump elderly woman with gray hair rolled up into some kind of cotton candy bun on top of her head, rocking away in her chair while knitting misshapen scarves that nobody wants. I don’t even know where that image comes from because none of my friends who are grandmothers fit that description at all. Not even my mother, who is now a great-grandmother fits that description, but it’s there, and it makes me cringe when people call me grandma. Maybe it’s time to start a campaign to re-image grandmothers! Maybe I need therapy.
I won’t bore you with our travel schedule for May through August. Let’s just say that while I prefer the peacefulness of the northern California coastline, Randy is more apt to be found in the more recently war torn countries such as Ukraine and Iraq. We did, however, travel together to take a group on a tour of Paul’s journey through Turkey and Greece.
In September we headed back to Alaska to visit Afton — because she missed us. : ) We had a great time being with our little Alaskan grandbaby and her awesome parents!
The end of September unexpectedly found us back in California, but this time for the most bittersweet of reasons. My amazing grandmother passed from this life to the next one just 4 days after turning 104. I can only imagine how much fun she is having right now! Her funeral was a time of celebration and remembrance of a life well lived. She was truly a good and faithful servant.
We headed to southern California for Randy’s 40th high school reunion the second weekend of October. I’m just gonna leave that one alone. Okay, just one comment. Reality check. On the plus side, we did have fun visiting his brother and sister while we were there!
Justin moved back to St. Louis a few months ago. Even though we don’t really see that much more of him, it’s still nice having him in town. He and his girlfriend, Mariah, are involved in several artistic endeavors that seem to be growing more and more successful for them. When they’re not busy photographing weddings or other events, they’re working on creating websites and updating/re-imaging businesses that are beginning to see the need for becoming more current with their marketing strategies. Apparently you can teach old dogs new tricks, you just have to figure out how to motivate them. I think God is teaching Justin patience; lots of patience. Or maybe it’s payback… Justin also finds time to stay plugged into the music scene in St. Louis, with occasional performances at some of the local venues. Randy and I pop in to watch him perform every once in awhile. When we do we are reminded of how talented he is, and why we don’t hang out at bars.
And here it is the beginning of December, again. The Thanksgiving leftovers are gone. Nathan the Bloodhound now holds the 2014 National Dog Show’s title of Best in Show. Racial protests are popping up all across the country. And the whole Bill Cosby thing just makes me plain sad. Really sad. Naturally I have the radio tuned to the station that plays Christmas music 24/7. Amongst the fun, upbeat, and inspirational Christmas songs, there are also a lot of really depressing ones. Let’s face it; Christmas is not all merry and bright for a lot of people. For many it is a time of stress and unrealistic expectations that will go unmet and empty chairs that were once filled with loved ones who are no longer here. It is the end of another year, with all the reminders of goals unfulfilled and hopes unrealized. But in the midst of all the mess, a baby is born.
A lot of us have new babies in our lives this year. I know, because I look at Randy’s Facebook account every few days to see what my new granddaughter is up to, and when I do, I see all the other babies out there too. And there’s something about a new baby. There’s pride and joy and unearned love. There’s a sense of awe and wonder. There’s that feeling of utter peacefulness when you rock a newborn to sleep and hold that warm little bundle against your chest. Then there’s anticipation — a first smile, first laugh, first crawl, first word, first step … so many firsts. Every one of them exciting. Babies remind us that there is hope for the future. That while for some, this life draws to a close, for others it is just beginning.
For those of us who understand what Christmas really is — a time to celebrate the birth of a baby who came to save us from the messiness of this life — there is yet another beginning awaiting us. If you happen to get there before I do, say hello to my grandmother for me! She’ll be the one with the warmest smile and the brightest twinkle in her eyes, and she‘ll be so glad you‘re there.
Sharon & Randy