Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Day of the Year

Today’s post is part two of yesterday’s ending the year with gratitude theme.  I wanted to share a snapshot of some joyful moments this past year.

· There was a particularly warm day in February.  Our house had just gone under contract.  The projects that Billy and I had been feverishly working on for a month were over with.  So on this warm day, we sat outside in our tshirts, drank beer, soaked up some sunshine and dreamed about what life would be like when we found our next house.

· A few months later when we closed on the house we purchased, I drove by the house on the way home from work.  We closed that morning but didn’t have occupancy for a few more days.  I drove in the valley that night and had a full heart knowing that our dream was coming true.

· Sister Runner and I ran a half marathon together.  Now while the actual running was a bit of a burden, I am grateful that I have the ability to run.  And the scenery was amazing.  And Sister Runner was incredibly motivating.  And she posed with me every time she saw one of the photographers.  She’s hilarious.

· The night during those dark days in August when we went to bed and Katy wanted to talk all about my mom and how special she was. 

· Halloween night we had a bonfire with the neighbors.  We stayed up late (way past my 8 pm bedtime) and laughed.

· The day my dad closed on his houses.  Seeing his relief and finally some hope again for the future.

· Watching Lucy in the church Christmas pageant.  My quiet Lucy had a speaking part.  This Christmas was a difficult one, and seeing the confidence Lucy had in herself made my heart joyful.

· This current vacation that I’m taking.  I’m enjoying some much needed time off.  And not that work has been so overwhelming, but I have been in such a desperate need of a break from the day to day.  We have organized, hung up pictures and stayed in my pajamas.  I already feel rejuvenated and still have a few days left.

I’m hopeful that 2015 will bring more joyful moments than sad ones.

I’m hopeful that 2015 will bring some much needed healing to my family.

Seems fitting to end the year with hope.  

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Positive Notes

As this year draws to a close, I can’t help but feel relief.

Some of you had a great 2014.  I get that.  I am genuinely happy for you.

Some of us had a 2014 that….left a lot to be desired.

To be honest, this year was heartbreaking with joyous moments filled in the cracks. 

And it would be really easy for me to get down on this year.  But leaving the year with negativity is not how I want it to end.

I’d rather end this year with a spirit of gratitude.  Gratitude for those people and moments that have helped me get through.

So for the next two days, let’s focus on that.  Let’s focus on the positive from 2014.

Today, I would like to share a bit about some special people from this year.

· My family rallied like no other.  Those two weeks in August were obviously the worst of my life.  I am grateful for the people I spent them with.  I can’t describe the exhaustion we all felt.  It seemed that when one of us was fading, another would carry this burden.  I am grateful that I didn’t have to experience those dark days of August alone.  And on that note, when I found out the news about my mom, the news that it was time to say goodbye, I am so grateful that Sister Runner just happened to be visiting.  I hope she gets a real vacation in 2015.

· While I thought I had a challenging year, Sewer Sister had way more obstacles.  I am so grateful that she is healthy.  And I am grateful that her children did such a good job taking care of her.

· My brave dad is daring to continue his dream.  He is teaching me that life must go on, even when we don’t know how. 

· Billy is steady and strong and keeps the balance in this house.  He keeps his opinions of my crazy trauma to himself, or at least voices them when I am out of earshot.  He carries the burdens when they get too heavy.

· My beautiful girls have handled so much change this year with grace and positivity.  They are quick to give a hug when they sense I am feeling down.  And they are always up for a marathon of Doctor Who. 

· When we were in between houses, Billy’s parents took us in.  Even our ridiculous animals.  They always made us feel welcome.  I still miss happy hour with his mom. 

· I am grateful for old friends.  Friends that provided kind words during hard times. 

· I am blessed to have coworkers that I consider friends.  They were there in those first weeks of my mom’s diagnosis, to picking up the slack when I had to disappear in August, and have been understanding of my trauma since I got back.  Their prayers, good thoughts and words of encouragement have helped me regain my confidence as a professional helper.

· When Billy and I moved this summer, we knew the location was amazing.  I had no idea that the neighbors could match.  We have had bonfires, parties and just everyday fun that I have so desperately needed. 

These people have helped me through 2014.  I suppose that’s when you understand how important people are to you.  When they help you carry on during those dark moments.

I want to say to all of you, thank you.  Thank you so much.  Thank you for bringing humor back into my life.  Thank you for giving me hope in the darkness.  Thank you for being part of my life.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I have to say, it was a bit challenging celebrating a day of thankfulness this year.
A couple of years ago, people started posting what they were thankful for every day in November.  I really loved reading those.  But then I noticed the negativity set in when others would post, “we should be grateful every day, not just in November.”   Were they really getting upset over someone else’s gratitude?  I think those people missed the point of the exercise. 

There is power in words.  And there is power in being grateful.  On purpose.  Even when the world seems to suck at times.
Gratitude can change perspective.  Gratitude heals.

So here are some things that I am grateful for…right now.  Because I need this right now.  I need to be intentional with my gratitude.
· My oldest sister visited over Thanksgiving and cleaned the worst baking pan known to mankind.

· I found amusement in watching my stick-thin niece get creative with her many helpings of Thanksgiving dinner.  An open faced turkey, gravy and mashed potato sandwich.  Genius.
· I finally got to watch the second Hobbit movie.  In my pajamas.

· I was more active this weekend then I have been in weeks.  Hiking, biking and “yoga.”  Quotes are necessary if you would have seen my moves.
· Although going back to work after a long weekend was difficult, I was grateful to return to a job that I love.  And I am grateful for the memory of when I found out I got this job. My mom was in the grocery store parking lot with me, and we got to share that special moment.

· And I’m grateful that in a moment of intense grief, when I silently wondered how I could ever return to this work and listen to other people’s pain, that an old friend of my mom’s told me that I was doing the work I was meant to do.  And she couldn’t have possibly known how much I wanted to run away from this work…and how much I needed her to tell me to stay.
How does that happen?  How does it go from movies in my pajamas to serious?  This grief thing has a mind of its own.

Certainly this list doesn’t capture everything.
But the point isn’t to capture everything.

This is about the power of gratitude.  The power of saying that despite life being hard, there is still good in the world.  This is about hope.