If you are reading this in the future, say past 2021, then I’m sorry to say that this is not going to be of much help in understanding what happened in 2020. I’m sure by now, there’s been lots of commentary on 2020. This is not the place to find that.

For the rest of you (and dare I say virtually all), as you are reading this in early 2021, it’s probably too soon to want to read more about 2020 so I’ll be brief and to the point. This page is dedicated to what happened to the Barbieri family in Silicon Valley.

Ok, I know I said I’d be brief but, like this year of uncertainty, I am also uncertain as to how to proceed. The year started out pretty much like any other with the usual hopes and dreams — and then WHAM! On Alex’s birthday, our world changed. That event is so pervasive that as I try to remember what happened BC (before covid) I’m struggling to remember. (Are you catching the dystopian vibe?)

This letter may give you some perspective on how things went in 2020. As you read you will likely be wondering: when will this end. That’s how we all felt in 2020.

I see from the calendar that Lynda went and visited Janet in January and Uncle Rick was here in February. After that, the calendar gets unreliable as there are still things in it which never happened and I guess we gave up on the whole concept of planning or going places. One of those events we were planning but never got to was that Ray’s family were all gearing up to together at a wedding in October.

Lynda and I were both working at PBCC and having just rolled out a new church management system, Lynda was busy training and integrating it with the staff to be used for managing PBCC events going forward. Good thing the online giving platform was completed before the start of the year!

Alex had been getting more involved in theater, preparing as a cast member of Once Upon A Mattress at West Valley Light opera, which started it’s run in March. Sadly, it only ran one weekend before before it had to shut down. In addition, he, Travis and long-time friend Ian had been regularly attending a gym together.

Travis was singing with the Grace Notes, an A cappella group, and was hosting them here at the house for rehearsals as they prepared for more performances.

Travis, Alex, Lynda and I were working with Alfonzo & Harmon designing an ADU (a.k.a a 2 bedroom Granny Unit out back). The various state and local codes were in transition all last year, making it more advantageous for us to build one and in early 2020, we had clarity and were pushing to get our plans finalized and submitted to the City.

Ricky, still in Kansas City, was looking forward to the possibility of a new position which would have been more interesting and higher pay.

And while I’m not sure of the timing, I believe that Nana started the year at Villa Sienna but had a fall and basically spent the next few months in hospitals or skilled nursing after hip surgery.

For the boys, the lock downs effectively blocked all forward momentum and if it weren’t for computers, I don’t know how they would have survived. Alex’s job can be 100% remote and that’s what he’s transitioned to. Travis’ job can not be done remotely but their normal is already masks, gowns, gloves, etc so his job has continued unabated (if not more difficult due to the additional protocols for how to deal with covid cases).

As the word got out in early March that the government would mandate that we all stay at home, I (Ray) leapt into action to procure equipment and implement live streaming at PBCC. Having never done anything like this, I was able to be guided by a couple of PBCC attendees who had some experience in video. Miraculously (and I mean that mostly literally), thanks to the guiding hand of God, PBCC successfully live streamed immediately and has continued to do so successfully ever since. For a couple of months, Lynda and I WERE the entire production team! Read more here.

By the end of 2020, the ADU project was well along the way and is going fabulously well. We are spending the holidays painting the interior before they finish the floors and get to installing the kitchen, bathroom and so MANY other details.

Ricky’s job transfer fell through — most likely it was squashed by someone higher up the chain who was concerned about losing such a valuable employee. But he could still do much of his job remotely and has remained fully employed.

Lynda’s transition to working remote full time was an easy one for her. She enjoyed the short commute across the hall, the quiet of home and since her work is computer geeky stuff, working at home suits her.

Nana did recover from her hip operation but her mental health continued to decline. By the time she was ready to return to Villa Sienna, she no longer had the mental capacity for independent living and so Lynda went through the process of finding a new residence for Nana. She was particularly interested in finding one close to us. God lead her to a wonderful Board and Care home that was within biking distance; not an easy task as it was not possible to visit these places in person at that time.

October came with a shock. Lynda got a sudden call from sister-in-law Debbie that she had arrived home from church to find Lynda’s brother, Rick dead.  We miss him!

Unfortunately Nana’s health continued to decline and 10 days later, Nana went to be with the Lord. God granted her the opportunity to be conscious when Janet arrived (who dropped everything and drove up from SoCal). Likewise, we were all very blessed by the technology to have video calls with the immediate family so they could have their final words with Nana.

In another blessing from the Lord, things had opened up enough that Ray and Lynda were able to get away shortly after Nana’s passing to spend some quiet days grieving the dual losses in Palm Springs with the Bell’s. This was such a gift and I could see the burden being lifted from Lynda who commented how odd it felt to not have to be near her phone in case she gets “the call” regarding Nana.

For Lynda and I, this has certainly been a year of seeing God’s work and blessing despite the circumstances. We are amazed at how God used us in a very unique way this year. Since Thanksgiving my anger with the situation has given way to thankfulness and I work to remember to focus on appreciating the many, many gifts and blessings we have. May you be gifted with this now and in the future.

7 comments

  1. Ray, I’ve been thinking about you and your family all through the year.

    My condolences for the losses you experienced in 2020. On the other hand, I am elated to hear that you, Lynda and the kids are doing well.

    I hope that 2021 will be a better year for us all. Maybe we can even meet for lunch without the risk of getting Covid!

  2. Ray…so good to hear from you and glad you’re having such an impact on your church. The Coopers/Ulmers/Katie/….are all doing well despite the craziness of 2020.

  3. Hello Ray! It’s great reading your yearly messages. Thanks!
    Thanks too for the great help you’ve been! God bless you and Lynda, your family, and church!

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