Friday, December 10, 2021

Conti Christmas Chronicles 2021

If we thought 2020 was troubling, as another Christmas season approaches, the daily news is still very upsetting, not much different than that first Christmas when Jesus came as a tiny Babe born in a manger. “His name shall be called Immanuel, God with us,” the angel told Joseph. Jesus came to bring hope and peace into the hearts of all who accept Him. “In the world you will have tribulation,” Jesus told His disciples, “but don’t be afraid. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). “Peace I leave with you,” Jesus continued. ”My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). How thankful I am that “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8)! He is still in control, even in the midst of all the chaos of this world. His peace sustains us in the midst of trouble. And one day, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will rule and reign with justice and true liberty. What a day that will be!

A joyful event took place on January 16, 2021: Phoebe Ray Conti was born to our grandson, Stephen, and his wife, Naomi, at 2:26 p.m., weighing in at 8 lbs. 12 oz. and 20 inches long, making us great-grandparents. They live nearby. What a joy she is!

Our little pumpkin, Phoebe Ray (9 1/2 months),visited us at Halloween

This year has also been a season of loss. As I mailed out our Christmas letters last year, word came that Bob’s only sibling, Mary, who was 9 years younger than he, had passed away in Utah on December 20. On November 2 of this year, Bob’s only remaining uncle (age 86) died in Colorado leaving him and his two cousins at the head of the Conti family.

After three procedures on his varicose veins, Bob’s legs have healed, and he’s had no more scary bleeding episodes. Not being able to follow his daily routine of walking for nearly a year due to his veins, though, we were alarmed that his chronic congestive heart failure had become much worse. He could hardly function. After much prayer, changes in his medications, and a gradual return to walking, he is feeling much better now. PTL!

For the past 20 years, I have been seeing a pain management specialist for my back pain. My implanted spinal cord stimulator (SCS) I’ve had since 2007 was no longer providing sufficient relief. After a CT scan last December, he told me I needed to see a spinal surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgeries in NYC, where I was told I have very advanced degenerative disc disease. Many of the discs are totally gone. The surgeon prescribed 12 weeks of physical therapy in preparation for a 7-level spinal fusion in the lower thoracic-lumbar spine. After I had my SCS removed, I had further scans and MRIs that showed that in the past year I have developed significant osteoporosis that would make the outcome of surgery dismal. My pain management specialist suggested an implanted intrathecal (spinal canal) morphine pump, but when I had the trial injection, I had such severe itching that I decided against it. I continue with monthly chiropractic, massage therapy, and acupuncture, but I can’t tolerate any pain meds except aspirin and topical pain patches and creams. Bob takes good care of me. I’m still trusting God for healing.

This year, I was able to teach three all-day classes for the New York School of Ministry and continued to facilitate the local library’s women’s writing group every Wednesday via their GoToMeeting site until we discontinued them in late summer. In October, I also enjoyed an all-day meeting with ministry wives from our region. Bob is my chauffer in our new white pearl Toyota Camry. Even though we did get the vaccines, we haven’t gone back to church yet due to our “comorbidities.” Sadly, several of our friends at church have died of COVID. We miss seeing everyone.

The family is doing well overall. After teaching virtually for a year, Bob B. is back to the classroom. Sonny has joined Sabrina, Stephen, and Spencer in working at Adams, a local chain of stores that began as a farm-to-table store. Naomi works at Stewart’s. She and Stephen plan their schedules so they don’t need a babysitter. Sam gives Huguenot tours in New Paltz, NY. Sophia and her boyfriend visited from San Diego in August, and we enjoyed a family reunion at Bob B.’s. This year, after a stay-at-home last year, we are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family too.

My fifth book, Footsteps of Faith, was released this year. Its prequel, Frontiers of Faith, is being republished in the next few months by Stratton Press and will include an e-book as well as a paperback edition. They, as well as my Alaskan Waters Trilogy of historical Christian novels based on true stories my Personeus grandparents told about their early days in Alaska (Till the Storm Passes By, A Star to Steer By, and Beside Still Waters), are available through, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes and are featured on my website at

I love connecting with many of you on Facebook, and we look forward to your Christmas cards and letters. Best wishes for a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Love, AnnaLee & Bob



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