A New Year’s Surrender

I surrender!

Here it is New Year’s Eve, 2014, and I did not finish all my Christmas cards.  The intentions were good, but completion unsuccessful.

Now, granted, the year really had no major transitions, no major calamities, or no major successes; but that does not mean it was so nondescript that I should ignore it.

This creates a dilemma:  Do I go ahead and write an annual letter or do I simply skip it?

My head tells me I should write at least a year-end wrap up and send it out, but time is speeding past me and I just do not seem to have the drive to do it.

Therefore, I surrender.

Instead of the usual written, signed, sealed, addressed letter, here is my year-end report:

  • Winter began the year and ended the year.  Cold.  Who knows about the snow, why I can’t really remember how it went but we did have snow days that extended the school year a little too much.
  • Spring came in with Lent so hope revived with the first jonquils and the tiny little buds on the trees.  In fact, spring renews our lives mentally and physically.  Whew!  We survived winter.
  • The calendar says Summer comes in during June, but all teachers, students and their families know that it really begins as soon as the last class lets out in Spring.  The snow days lead us through the very end of May this year and with only one full day to close it out and then jump into the UMC Annual Conference mindset.
  • Summer, to be honest, was delightful.  The temperatures were mild, very little watering was needed for the flower beds, and some flowers bloomed that I had not anticipated after the last couple of dry years.  Why my brand new oak-leaf hydrangeas bloomed in their first year.  The blooms were almost as big as the plant!
  • Summer is such a respite.  I thrive with sunshine and warmer temperatures, the flower gardens, and even the pets outside with me while sitting in my swing.  Of course, structure is good for me and I am thankful we maintain a fairly solid routine with Bruce going to work and I continue with the weekly preparation for Sunday’s worship.
  • Summer brought about a bi-annual event–the Winter Cousin Reunion.  This year it was in Albuquerque, NM, and we made it!  Granted we did it in an extended weekend, but we added a few extra stops–Harley Davidson dealerships.  I think we only missed Amarillo because it was not open as we pulled out that morning.  And we did add in Santa Fe as we were making excellent time so took a northerly jaunt to Santa Fe.  We had a great meal in Old Town before we found the Harley dealer.
  • Now lets reflect on the reunion.  What a delight!  We are trying to maintain a 2-year pattern alternating between Missouri and new Mexico. I am so proud of my brother and sister(-in-law) for spearheading this, and Fred’s family commandeering it this year.  I loved it!  It meant so much to me and I thank God for the blessings of my family.
  • Vacationing is often wiped out by family responsibilities or financial challenges or work conflicts.  Yet, vacationing is educational, refreshing, exciting, and all too often ignored.  Our society has not done a very good job of encouraging workers to use their vacations and we succumb to a range of reasons why not to go on a vacation.  I suppose if I really did have a bucket list, I would have to add in one vacation of at least 4-nights a year.  (Really I would love two, but I do need to be real.)

Well, I had better get back to the year. It is so easy to begin reflecting on social issues.  Maybe a section of mine should be comments.

  • July is summer.  On the 3rd, we marked our 15 year anniversary.  On the 4th, Bruce’s grandma reached the grand age of 100, even with a recently broken hip.  There were other major birthdays and events, too, and the reunion.  Finally, though, the month ended with a decision:  we traded all the bikes and the trailer in for a HD Trike.  Wow!  What a difference that has made.  Vacations may not always be 4-nights, but the Trike may make a huge change in our mindset.  It is delightful!  Fresh air everywhere.
  • August ends educators’ summer.  This year the opening day of school moved up even more.  Students reported on August 16!  For me, returning to the school schedule and routine is healthy.  I cannot explain why, but I simply do much better when I know what time I have to get up, when to report to school (7:15 am), and when I get home (after 2:45 pm).  If I do better with the schedule, doesn’t it make sense that even kids do, too?
  • Autumn begins with school opening, not Sept. 20-21.  It brings about the Chilhowee Fair, which is a major event, and usually great weekend rides.  The weather this autumn made riding a bit more challenging but we did not have the multiple days of 100s in the summer and the fall rides were mild.  We did try a new restaurant off Hwy 13 S and took a ride through the Truman Lake back roads which was a highlight.  The last ride we took was in November with just jackets.  Pretty great.
  • Then Winter cycles back.  November was mild, but the insanity that begins during that month was heightened by the very short Advent season.  My head just spins as we go from Thanksgiving through Christmas, well really New Years.  I just learn that I must go day by day with just a peek at the calendar.  When it comes to a sudden stop, I real.  This time with a tummy ache and I did not even have any egg nog.

There are a couple of special notes to add in.  I trust our kids understand how proud we are of them and this is our way to tell the world.

  • Bruce’s son Jeremy has joined the civilian world moving from Oklahoma City just two weeks ago.  They are now living in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Of course, we must also announce that Haven and Jeremy had a third child in May–Hope was born May 27 and Bruce did get to be there (I was in school).  Their lives have been a whirlwind in the past six months, but all is good.
  • My son Jordan started 2014 off in fine family form.  He and Brandi had Andrew Cole on January 3.  I was fortunate that she had him right here in the Burg so got to go see him shortly after he was born.  So cute!  Red hair on that head.  To top all this off, Jordan bought a house in Trimble, MO and they have all moved in during the summer months and Aidan Mae started school in Plattsburg.  What a fun time!
  • Vada continues teaching kindergarten and running the before and after school program so her day begins about 7 am and ends anywhere from 4 to 6 pm–long hours and tough days (Teachers:  you know the rule of 7).  Chris also resumed a role he knows–school board member–in Chilhowee.  Add to their lives the grandkids–Aiden and Tegen (a third is on the way).  When they spend time with Papa and Vada, we get to be “great-grandparents.”

My one frustration is the lack of seeing family.  The face of our family changes so quickly with deaths and births.  I am thankful for the internet as we get to check in, but I fear sitting around a dinner table or on a porch is a lost art.  Please keep posting, keep journals, keep the calendars filled-in with firsts because it is important.  History will be thankful that you do, not to mention your own family’s generations.

You all know me, I can get wordy.  Unfortunately I am forced to SURRENDER.  I am posting this as a blog and publishing it so the family knows how much I love them, how proud I am of them, and I am sorry I did not get this out as a Christmas card.

For family and friends, I am going to try printing this out, too, and try to get a few in the mail.  If I fail, it is because I was forced into a full surrender. The calendar beat me.

 

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