A friend on Facebook noted that although many of us seem eager to see 2011 draw to a close she didn't want to wash away the good memories the year brought. She has a valid point. Although the predominant theme of our year seemed to be struggle, both physically and emotionally, some very good things also happened.
John had long overdue knee replacement surgery in January to address damage sustained in an oilfield injury years ago. It went well, and he worked hard on his physical therapy. He leg is now perfectly straight, and he walks with a normal gait and no pain... what a blessing!
After much deliberation, my daughter decided to relocate to a new city for a new lease on life. No more walking around in sad memories, and working in a place with endless staff conflict. I am so very proud of her for planning and carrying thru on such a big life decision! She now lives about 60 miles from my son, near Nashville, has a nursing job she likes, and God willing, will find her way out of hibernation and into a bit of social life as the seasons change. More than anything, she proved to herself she can!
We spent our 3rd Anniversary in Las Vegas, thanks to an all-expense paid trip from John's boss in recognition of 30 years of employment with their store. Wow... 30 years is almost a rarity anymore! We had a wonderful time there and didn't spend a dime of our own money!
At the end of October we took a week-long road trip to Tennessee, saw John's in Memphis, and then spent a few days with my kids checking out the highlights of Nashville. All along the way trees were turning gorgeous colors, the kind of beauty that takes one's breath away and makes you never want to leave. The weather was beautiful, and I could see myself happily living there if we were independently wealthy and could retire.
We took a few three-day weekend trips as well, to places not as far. Getting away together is always fun, and really good for recharging batteries. We spent Christmas weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas - a small city of German heritage, where the little shops and all the colored Christmas lights brought back wonderful memories of childhood. It was magical! While we were away, several inches of snow fell here, making a white Christmas with limited travel for everyone. Where we were it was much nicer, cool and crisp but not cold and the road were dry, so we were blessed in that too. When your children all live far away, being alone at home for Christmas is too lonely. This was much more fun!
In the past two years of my employment with the truck dealership, the office has gone thru SIX office managers/supervisors, largely due to pay not measuring up to hours and expectations. The continual turnover and readjustment took a toll, with much of the work reverting on to those of us who remained and worked short-handed to cover all the bases. I was blessed to have, for a very short period of a few months, one lady who was by far the nicest, most professional, best supervisor I've ever had in all my years of employment. How I wish she would have stayed, but I didn't blame her for leaving, which came shortly after the announcement that our family-owned business was being sold to a large corporation. That change came at the beginning of December and though I tried to keep an open mind, it rapidly became obvious that we would continue to work short-handed and underpaid while more and more responsibility landed on my desk. At the point of exhaustion and total frustration, I finally said enough, realizing this was not what I wanted for the coming months and years of my life. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband who understood my need to leave. So with the new year comes the very intimidating need to secure new employment as a nearly 58-year old office worker with a ton of experience, but no Barbie Doll looks. Surely there is someplace out there who wants someone responsible, dependable, and who doesn't bring continual young-person life drama to the workplace! I have to believe God has a plan for me and that everything will work out for the good.
The year ahead is truly an open book for me. Anything is possible. It will be what I choose to make of it, and everything depends upon my attitude and how I chose to deal with each day and what it brings. Truthfully, although change is scary, it's also healthy and in its own way exhilarating. I know well how important it is to make every day count, not just for myself, but also in my relationships with those I love. We need to make good memories everyday, to share love everyday, to take times for those we care about, and get our priorities straight. Life is short, or at least if feels that way on the high side of 50. I want to make my days count and I want my life to count for something too. Taking a deep breath and facing the future with hope... here goes!