2018 Family Christmas Letter

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Dear Family and Friends,

It’s hard to believe we’ll soon be closing the door on another year. It’s gone so quickly and everything’s such a blur. I’m thankful to have the time to slow things down and reminisce a bit before opening the door to a new year. As my fingers move across the keyboard, I remember…

This year kicked-off with a big change for me in the form of a new job. After eight years with Healogics, I moved into a new area of medicine with a great company: Outpatient addiction treatment with CleanSlate Centers. A former colleague who now recruits for CleanSlate reached-out to me regarding the company’s expansion into Florida. They were operating in Tampa and Orlando and were interested in opening in Jacksonville and developing the north Florida market. So, long story short, I joined the team and opened a treatment center for them in Jax. The great thing about this change is all my travel is local. No more interstate travel with days away from the family. I’m home every night and to me that’s important and meaningful because I no longer miss out on things like dinner, the mundane day-to-day chore of homework, school activities, or sporting events.

Yep. Sports typically plays a big role in the Hanks household and this year was no exception. As usual, we kicked-off the year with Upward Basketball through the local church. This is a great program that focuses on character development and sportsmanship, rather than competition. Needless to say, this is very important for our hyper-competitive Adam, who equates “fun” with “winning.” LOL. In addition to basketball, Adam played another year of Cal Ripkin baseball with the Julington Creek Baseball Association in both the Spring and Fall seasons. His game has improved considerably and he got to lead the team from the pitchers mound this year. As for Alex, he started learning taekwondo and works hard at it as evidenced by the sweat pouring off of him after training. This year he earned his yellow stripes and we’re very excited to see what he does this year! Oh, and what year would be complete without Jax Shrimp Baseball?

As you know, we love Disney and have spent a lot of time there over the years. This year we decided to forego our annual passes and branch-out a bit more in the coming year. But not before Cindy’s Mom and Son Getaway weekend, followed by Cindy’s birthday celebration at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort (here, here, and here)! The highlight of the trip being the Louis Vuitton handbag she’s wanted for a long, long time! We may pick-up again with annual passes in the next couple of years, but for now, let’s bring on Universal Studios, Seaworld, and other great “staycation” locations in Florida!!

And speaking of staycations, we traveled a lot less this year than we have in previous years, choosing to say close to home rather than extended stays in other locations. In fact, except for our planned trip to Virginia for Christmas, I think for the most part, Orlando was the extent of our traveling this year. Still, we had plenty to do on the water, like taking the boat out, going to the beach with visiting family, or just hanging-out in the pool!

One trip we didn’t care for was our rush to Virginia to visit my dying grandfather. My mom’s dad, Lee “Pa” Collins, died this year. He was 99-years-old. I’m thankful he got to see the boys before he passed away and they, him. This was the first time Alex and Adam had been to a funeral and I was concerned about how they would react to Pa’s death. I was somewhat surprised and rather proud of how mature and respectful they were. Anyway, the funeral was nicely done with my cousin Mark, a Methodist lay minister, performing the ceremony. It was a rainy day and as Pastor Mark observed, as a farmer, Pa would’ve appreciated the weather.

And on that somber note, I’ll bring this letter to a close. Each year, as I type this letter I’m reminded how unforgiving time is and how very precious is each moment that passes. I’m sometimes left feeling a little melancholy because I didn’t make the most of the time I had. Still, I find strength in the nostalgia brought on by this reflection and it serves as a reminder to carpe diem quam minimum credula postero or rather, “seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow.”

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with happiness and prosperity.

Warmest Regards,

– Jody, Cindy, Alex, Adam, and Charlie (woof!)