Tag Archives: holidays

Adios 2013

I can honestly say I’ve never been so glad to send a year on its way to the land of remembrance. This year proved such a strange mix of the very good and the very challenging, with the latter easily winning that contest. In many ways, it is hard to believe it is the end of the year, thinking of all the things I planned to do that never materialized, and of course all the things that happened that no one could have predicted.

As I look back to the start of the year, I realize now –in ways I could never have anticipated– that my 2013 one-word resolution held true. Perhaps in a be careful what you wish for manner, but the word held.

Here’s the section from last year’s post:

Discover.

1. To notice, especially by making an effort;
2. To learn something about;
3. To reveal or make known;
4. To obtain sight or knowledge of for the first time.

I shall discover things about the wonderful new town and state where I live.
I shall discover new things to learn, to study, to share.
I shall discover things unknown, big and small, about myself.

2013 for me, then, will be the year of discovery.

As I read that passage, it’s the last line that rings most true here at the end of the year – to discover things about myself. That happened.

I discovered a depth of endurance, patience, acceptance, frustration, respect, and resolve as we battled major health issues this year. My two surgeries pale in comparison to my husband’s experiences, with 5 hospitalizations and 2 surgeries, for a total of nearly 7 months in the hospital. We met a variety of health professionals, both good and bad, but the joy of the good ones mostly outweighed the disaster of the bad ones.

I discovered that I do have a capacity that can be reached – physically, mentally, financially, emotionally. As a result, I’ve grown a bit more adept at managing those limits, keeping it at no more than water hanging at the lip of a glass full without spilling over. Things are still too full, too much, but able to be controlled. Just keep the glass steady. Easier said than done, but I’m learning.

I learned new things, mostly healthcare related, but also work-related, as I tried very hard to balance all the things this year. I’ve been able to try new ideas, accept new challenges, and explore new educational opportunities that have helped make some of the other stuff more bearable. I’ve also learned that I can step away from things, that I can choose and be okay with the consequences when things need changed, or can’t be done.

I’ve discovered a deeper level of love and friendship. The support of family, friends, and colleagues were one of the only reasons we survived this year with any semblance of good humor left. Thank you for asking and listening, for caring and sharing, for knowing when to be near and when we needed space, for being our ears and shoulders, our sounding boards and our rocks, and for understanding when our focus was inward instead of out. I learned a new depth of the love I have for my husband, not only at the moment I almost lost him but in every action, every breath, since then as we learn new routines and new rhythms, taking even greater pleasure in the simple act of being together. It was very heartwarming to hear frequent comments from nurses that noticed how we function as a team, how we respond and balance each other. And I relearned the pain of loss when we lost my husband’s mother, my second mom, the day after Thanksgiving.

None of this was on my wish list of things I wanted to discover this year, and despite the very difficult challenges, the things I did discover I will carry with me as valuable knowledge. I discovered things about my environment, my universe, and most of all myself. Which, in the end, was what I set out to do.

Thanks for sticking with this blog during the sporadic postings of 2013. I hope the year was good to you, even if in unexpected ways. Best wishes for 2014!

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Giving Thanks

“We all owe everyone for everything that happens in our lives. But it’s not owing like a debt to one person–it’s really that we owe everyone for everything. Our whole lives can change in an instant–so each person that keeps that from happening, no matter how small a role they play, is also responsible for all of it. Just by giving friendship and love, you keep the people around you from giving up–and each expression of friendship or love may be the one that makes all the difference.”
― Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club

There are so very many things to be thankful for today. We’re missing spending Thanksgiving with family and friends, but we have the amazing good fortune of friends near and far, friends of the heart that wrap each other in warm thoughts no matter the distance between us.

It’s been quite a year. Today I’ll be spending the day with my husband at the hospital, taking in a carry-out turkey dinner. Five months in, the good news is that they expect him to be home by Christmas.

I hope this day gives you many opportunities for the giving of thanks, in whispers and quiet moments, in the hustle and bustle of friends and family.

May the banquet table of your heart always be overflowing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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yaD sdrawkcaB yppaH

falling up sxc

Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

!etarbelec dna yzarc gnihtemos oD

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National Escape Day

escape snail sxc

We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives. ~ Lewis Thomas, The Medusa and the Snail, 1979

Last year on National Escape Day, I dreamt of escaping January cold and snow, of walking on a beach far away from the cares and troubles of daily life. I commented that perhaps I’d plan for next year’s Escape Day while staring at a photo of a beach on my computer. Little did I know that in just a few weeks time from that day, I would send off a resume that would bring more change, more “escape,” than I could have ever predicted.

So today, as I sit here in our new town, settling in to a new job, I know challenges and the regularity of daily life await just around the corner. But I’ll push those out of the way today.

It is going to be more than 70 degrees, in January.

I will escape for lunch outside, under a tree (unless it decides to rain!).

This year’s escape may be at just a snail’s pace compared to 2012, but I’m okay with that.

So escape away, enjoy the day, and let us know how, even for a moment, you got away….

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Monday Moments: Memorial Day

cleaning up cemetery placing flags

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~ From a headstone in Ireland

My father was a quiet man. Not just in tone or in spirit, but in nearly everything. In part, I’m sure, this came from spending much of his time by himself, out in the fields or working in the timber. He was far more content to sit and read than to listen to the radio or watch television. He was never one to make a fuss, or to want a fuss made about him.

Our primary piece of farm acreage was old family property. The remains of an old schoolhouse were barely visible under the growing timber and brush. Remnants of the old family cemetery were strewn about one section. Every winter, when he couldn’t be in the fields, he was in the timber. He’d clear out dead trees and provide firewood for the fireplace at home. He’d beat back the ever-encroaching brush from the edges of the fields. And he would work on the cemetery. He’d try to match old, long-broken tombstones with the right bases, and he’d try to set right what weather and the occasional vandals took down each year. One of his quiet actions in life was cleaning up the cemetery, year after year, stone after stone.

He did this as a labor of love, to his family, to the people buried there, and to the families of those who were forever wedded to that piece of land. Without fuss, without caring if anyone knew or noticed or helped. It was his task. His remembrance. His service. He was a young child when the U.S. entered World War I, and by the time World War II rolled around, he was exempt from the draft as a food-producing farmer. He never talked about not going to war, like he never talked about a lot of things, but I always believed that he wanted to do more, give more, for the country whose history he taught me. So he did what he could, quietly. But occasionally someone would notice and say thanks. letter to the editor about my father cleaning up the cemetery He’d stammer and get uncomfortable, but he appreciated the sentiment. And each Decoration Day, as he always called it, he’d help put flags out on the graves of those who served.

Now living near a very active Air Force base, I see people every day who serve quietly, without seeking honor or notice or attention. Because it fills them from the inside out. Because it’s just what they do, oftentimes without notice. So today, as we should do every day, take a moment and express your appreciation to someone who willingly serves, who has lost someone who sacrificed themselves for what they believed. Who lives each moment to make sure we have our freedom.

A friend of ours, Adam White, who happens to be a very talented filmmaker, put together a marvelous tribute to those who volunteer, those who serve. Please take a couple of minutes to watch the clip, and to remember all those who have served and those who now serve.

Today and everyday.

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