The 1st Thomas Generation- Ted & Beth Thomas
Thomas Times - January 2007

 Dear Family and Friends,
   The year of 2006 has been a year of recovery for us. When I (Beth) see someone I haven't seen in awhile, they will ask (in a careful way), “How are you doing?” Then they will give me a significant look. They really mean, “How are you doing dealing with Andrew's death?” With God's help, and the comfort of His promises and the Holy Spirit, we are doing well. We think of Andrew often. We miss him. Sometimes we still cry, yet our thoughts have become more bitter-sweet than sharply painful. I spent many hours making an album to document his life, which was therapeutic for me. But don't stop praying for us, especially Ted, as we move on with our lives.
    Many good things have also happened this past year. Here are some of them....

Sarah in Oxford
    Sarah spent her spring semester studying philosophy in Oxford, England. Her tutorials/classes were “Philosophy of Mind, The Later Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, and The History of Christianity in England.” These were studied “while more or less consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep a night, and practically living in the libraries.” She visited Berlin over spring break, and spent two weeks traveling afterwards to Ireland, Nice, France; and Venice, Italy, with a friend (pictured here at the Berlin Wall).

    Her summary:
    Time spent away: 4 months
    Number of countries visited: 6
    Hours of sleep lost: about 150!
    Number of buildings over 200 years old: billions! (U.S. Is Boring now!)
    Number of pictures taken: between 3000 and 3500. (Yeah, digital!)
    Friends made: at least 26.
    Number of times I wished I could go back: millions and millions!
    Found out: “I'm completely sick of studying for the time being. I adore photography. Black tea is my ambrosia. Living in a house with 21 other people of both sexes can be really fun and a great bonding experience.” (Christian program- don't worry)
Lydia – Moving On
    Lydia graduated June 3rd at a private ceremony at our church, complete with speaker, diploma, and refreshments. Now everyone wants to know, “what's next?” Next = pursuing her interest in languages and the CIA. She attended a strategic intelligence camp in July where she got to play out intelligence (i.e. secret agent) scenarios. She has been working part-time, applying for colleges and scholarships, and managing all the hunters who call or come to our door asking permission to hunt. (She has more guys calling her than I EVER did!) Ohio State University has accepted her into their Honors program, where she plans to seek a dual degree in Chinese and Arabic!! I guess if anybody has the drive and determination to do it, she does. Her dressmaking continues, as she adds to her medieval dress collection. She was hired to make cloaks for 2 sisters in our church who fell in love with Lydia's.  (Here she is in a pirate outfit for a costume party)

Serena's New Baby!!
    Well, that got your attention, didn't it? But this baby is black and gray and jumps all over! After missing a dog since Satchmo's death in 2004, Serena saved her money, and picked a mixed Border Collie/ Australian Shepherd puppy from the Animal Shelter. Many trials, tribulations, and chewed/strewed items later, Ginny is gradually settling down, and you can sometimes pet her without a chewing session on your hands. As a working dog breed, she is a smart little bundle of energy who just knows that if she perseveres in her friendly advances, the cats or chickens will one day play with her. In the meantime, we throw lots of toys for her to chase and chew. Bought toys are great, but her favorite seems to be a half-squashed gallon milk jug! It makes a great noise, and slips out of her mouth to skitter away so she can chase it again.

    It's been rather relaxing this school year to have Serena as my only student. I've been able to actually sit down and teach (Lydia was mostly an independent learner), and watch our history lectures along with her. Serena isn't an enthusiastic student, except when it comes to Ancient Egypt, but she's greatly improved in her diligence to do assignments. Speaking of Egypt, we traveled to Chicago in June to attend the King Tut exhibit, and see the ancient history collection at the Oriental Museum. (I recommend it).
    Serena is in the midst of planning her second annual Valentine Tea, which was a smashing success last year. She does all the planning and most of the food preparation for this high tea – her Valentine gift to her family, and this year to some invited friends, too.

eThomasGroup in Transition
    Here's Ted to give you an update on his business:
    It's been 5 years this Jan. since I was laid off at PSST (now our client) and set up a home office. Much has happened! I spent almost 3 years doing my best to sell and customize Lotus Notes and other collaboration tools to the small-medium business market, but was not able to get traction. Two years ago I noticed a trend which I believe will come to dominate business IT in the next 10 years-- virtualization. If you don't know what that is, don't worry! Most of our business prospects only have a vague idea, and we are excited about getting out there to explain all the benefits. After much effort and prayer, we at eTG, Inc. have a virtualization lab up and running and I have the VCP certification. Our logo, marketing plan and selling proposition are currently in flux, so please visit us at in late March to find out all about the new eThomasGroup. For all of you who have prayed and supported us in the past-- thanks so much!... and we need it even more now.

House Plans
    I (Beth) am getting excited about our new house, even though the finished product is probably still several years away. UbuildIt is helping us to be our own general contractor. We plan to build a post and beam house with straw bale in-fill on the 27 acres we own on the east side of the farm. Right now, we're just getting started on the permit process, and putting all our ideas together into a feasible design. There's a lot of hard work ahead and many obstacles to negotiate, using a design/method that is non-traditional. We feel like we're standing at the bottom of a very tall mountain! I know the effort will have its rewards, though. Ted keeps saying how this will strengthen our marriage. Either that, or we'll kill each other!

Odds and Ends
    Speaking of our marriage, Ted and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in May. Serena fixed us a fancy tea, and we went out to eat on another evening, dressed to the nines (Here we are just before leaving to eat dinner at Buck's Restaurant in Louisville).

    Besides Chicago in June, the girls and I went to WV in May for a reunion of my mother's family, during which the Kappa Alpha Fraternity placed a marker at my great grandfather Wood's grave to commemorate his founding of the fraternity. Any KA's out there?
    One other milestone this year was the great attic cleanup. This was Sarah's summer job, and Lydia finished the task after Sarah returned to school. Between the 2 of them, they cleaned up the roofing debris and 50+ years of dust and dirt, threw away trash and broken objects, and sorted and cataloged what was left. It was a hot, filthy job that I am so thankful someone ELSE did! Some interesting finds include a civil war saber, a picture of the house right after completion (in 1900), and a first edition of Stanley's 2 volume work, In Darkest Africa.

    Ted also did some traveling in the fall. He was able to accompany his parents to Ben Allen's Navy squadron reunion in Baltimore, joined by his other siblings. November found him in Los Angeles for a business conference. Afterwards, he visited his brother, Stephen, who took him surfing. We have this photo to prove that he at least got into a wet suit... (with his brother and nephew Riley)

    That's it for another year! Send us a note to Beth(at) to let me know all this effort brought a smile to your face. Also, check out our updated website at (guess you found it, uh? :-) to see house pictures, a short class on keeping boxes (bottom of page) and a surprise video clip about ??? (you'll never guess). Don't forget the latest news at our new blogs: for family news, and for house building news; come see us, too!