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It feels like yesterday I was hugging their necks. I miss them so much. I miss the feel of my Dad’s rough hands, I miss the sound of my Mom’s laughter. Five years seems like such a long time; but it also feels like just minutes ago.

Hug your loved ones today. Tell them you love them. You are not promised tomorrow!

Note: 2012 Year in Review for those interested.

Initial Summary:

Where were you when 2013 began?
SLEEPING! I worked New Years Eve and New Years Day on dayshift, so I needed the sleep. Plus, everything going on in my life at that time (Cancer, job losses, family overrunning my house, etc) really made me not feel like a party was in order.

Who were you with?
Fankie and Lucky off and on. I snuggled with Benjamin before he went to bed, and Justin came in and tucked me in, but I fell asleep by myself. I don’t think Justin got in bed before midnight either.

Was 2013 a good year for you?
Eh, it has its ups and downs.  There was a lot of chemo, radiation, death, etc in the early part of the year and work was INSANE, I struggled to develop myself as a leader and I was pregnant. So, no, not really, but it set the stage for 2014 to be pretty amazing AND ended in the birth of my second son — so there is a lot of redemption there, obviously.

What countries/states did you visit?
Visited Tennessee in the spring and Mississippi in the early summer.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions? 
Nope. I did good till I got pregnant though!

Did anyone close to you give birth? 
Yes! Megan had Brooklyn April 20th, Niki had Emryn December 23rd, and I gave birth too :)

Did anyone close to you die? 
I found out sometime after the first of the year that my Aunt Karen passed away at the end of 2012. She was my Dad’s sister and the last time I saw her was at my Grandmother’s funeral.  We were never close – estranged, I think the word would be – but it was still sad to learn of her passing. 

In May and June we lost Justin’s grandparents on his Dad’s side – Mimi and Papaw.  It was the first time Benjamin really had dealt with death.  He’s still a little too young to really understand, but he did pretty good.

Not-as-close-but-still-hit-me, one of our officers lost his wife to cancer. Christine was an amazing lady. Casey’s father also passed away – Casey is one of my younger brother’s best friends, and like a brother to me.  Very sad… but Casey did an amazing job at the service.

What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 
December 31st, 2013 – The date we welcomed Eli Leonard Sullivan into the world!

Experiences:

What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Saw a counselor.  That was an interesting experience.  Had a second pregnancy and a delivery in a hospital.

Did you have fun in 2013?
I did. I also worked really, really hard.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Exercised!! I got sick, tired, and large and stopped doing it like I needed to.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Had less heartburn? This question is always so hard.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 29 years old, and Teresa and I went and saw Sara Bareilles in concert once I got off work. All in all it was a really fun day.

What did you want and get?
My husband surprised me with a kindle paperwhite!! I love it a LOT and read a LOT more than I did last year!! He is the best!!!

What did you want and not get?
I hope people don’t take this the wrong way, but I was hoping to have a girl for my second child.  Justin and I really wanted one of each.  However, we tried for several months to have a girl (there are ways to try to tip the scales in favor of one), and during the months we were giving it a break (so we wouldn’t have a November or December baby) we got pregnant with Eli. So, all in all, I’d have to say that God was pretty clear this was what he wanted. Now that he’s here, of course, I can’t imagine having anything other than his beautiful face.  I did offhandedly mention to Justin that I hoped this little boy had brown hair, and BOY did that happen! 

I also wanted a new refrigerator, but that’s on the “goal” list for 2014.

Others:

Whose behavior merited celebration? 
Benjamin’s! We successfully potty trained this year (yay!) and he is growing up to be a very bright young man.  He has an awesome personality and is well liked by pretty much everyone he comes in contact with.  He has a LOT of charisma (which is normal, I know, for some kids this age) and is learning about the importance of good behavior.  He’s also extremely excited about his new baby brother – he loves to snuggle him and give him kisses.

Also, the staff in the Communications Division where I work.  We had a ridiculously stressful year with TONS of upgrades, mandatory training, overtime and very little to give them to thank them for all their hard work.  I think everyone surviving the upgrades of 2013 with their sanity intact was pretty awesome.

Whose behavior made you appalled, depressed, or sad?
I had a few issues with a few people; I don’t tend to get appalled depressed or sad, just disappointed. 

Did somebody treat you badly in 2013?
Meh. I don’t know. I don’t think so, really.

Who were some new people you met?
Leah, the new records supervisor, who is super cool.

Favorites/Least Favorites:

What was your favorite month of 2013? 
December. The rest of the year pretty much sucked, but December is always full of Christmas anticipation and plus I HAD A BABY!

What was your favorite moment of the year?
I was thinking, of course, that my son’s birth would be my favorite moment. But he came out with trouble breathing and was pale and everyone was worried about him, so that kind of bummed me out.  I think my favorite moment is two things – the first is when we told Benjamin he was going to have a baby brother.  He was so excited!!  The second moment was when Justin told me he’d eaten lunch the 31st with my emergency $20.  That requires a bit of back story.  See, my Mom always carried an emergency $20 dollar bill in her wallet.  I remember her pulling it out every once in a while – when she really needed it (and once when she was craving chocolate and we were broke, hah!) and commenting about how important it was to have it.  The day we went to the hospital in labor, Justin forgot his wallet at home.  And, because we didn’t plan ahead well enough, we hadn’t eaten prior to getting to the hospital.  So he was starving and when he finally got to sneak away to grab some food he used my emergency $20 that I keep in my purse.  I didn’t realize any of this until that night, when I realized he’d eaten but not had his wallet.  When he told me he used the emergency $20 I started crying, because I really miss my Mom (especially on big days like the birth of my son) and something that was SO HER was used, and it was kind of like she was here in spirit, even though she can’t be here to hold her grandson there’s still a part of her that I carry with me, and that helps, and I’m crying again. Dang it.  So yeah.  Getting to have that at Eli’s birth was pretty amazing.

What was your least favorite moment of the year? 
Probably the few minutes after Eli’s birth where he wasn’t getting enough oxygen and I looked at his little arm and it was ash grey.  So not cool.  So glad he recovered quickly!

What was your favorite TV program? 
I don’t really have time for TV most the time, but I did watch Walking Dead and enjoy that, and I’m getting into Burn Notice.

What was the best book you read? 
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It had been on my list to read for a few years because it came highly recommended by my friend Maria, and it was definitely well worth the wait.  I may or may not have sobbed at the end of the book.

What were your favorite films of this year? 
The Desolation of Smaug is definitely the best, hands down.  SO glad it was better than the first Hobbit movie!!!  I also REALLY liked “White House Down”.  I thought it was going to be a lame action movie with lots of eye candy, but oddly enough it had great action, plot, acting and Jamie Foxx rocked it as the President.  Plus, who doesn’t love to watch Roland Emmerich blow up the White House?

Runner ups: Man of Steele, Star Trek Into Darkness, and very far below that (mainly for the war scene at the end), Enders Game.

What was your favorite video game you played this year?
Diablo III!!! I was very excited they rolled it out for the PS3. 

What was your favorite new technology/application?
Cozi! Phone calendar app that is more user friendly than Google (once you get used to it).

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Two songs.  

“Say Something” by A Great Big World.  It’s not very often that a piece of music is really something I would consider “art” but this is absolutely art at it’s finest.  It’s a song that can mean many things to many people.  Wonderful.

“I see Fire” by Ed Sheeran.  It’s the song that plays during the credits of The Desolation of Smaug and I’m kind of in love with it.  It played on repeat while I was in labor with Eli.
 
What was the best thing you bought? 
This: https://www.etsy.com/listing/78491208/original-abstract-modern-fantasy-tree?ref=favs_view_5

Self-reflection:

What was your biggest achievement of the year? 
Carrying another baby!

What was your biggest failure? 
Gained too much weight (in my personal opinion, doctor had no issues but I wish I had gained less)

Did you suffer illness or injury? 
My allergy stuff. Still.

Where did most of your money go?
Debt, food, and 800 dollars to getting a dead tree off the property. Oh, the joys of homeownership!

What kept you sane?
I’m not entirely sure I stayed sane this year, but the thought that “this too shall pass” was very helpful.

What political issue stirred you the most? 
Pass.

Who did you miss?
My family and Amy.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? 
HAVING ANOTHER BABY!!! !

Compared to this time last year, are you:
I. happier or sadder? Hmm. Hard to say. Last year at this time Justin told me we could try for a second baby, now I have the baby! But I’ve also had a very trying year at work. If I had still been pregnant at the end of the year I would have been about the same, I suppose, but since I’ve had Eli I’m definitely happier :)
ii. thinner or fatter? FATTER
iii. richer or poorer? POORER

Did you fall in love in 2013? 
Over and over again!

Did you lose anything important this year?
My sanity.

What was your proudest moment of 2013?
Giving birth. There’s really not much that can top that, honestly.  It’s hard work!

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2013?
Hahaha, giving birth!

Gauge your:
(On a scale of: Very Good, Good, Fairly Good, Fairly Bad, Bad, Very Bad)
• Relational Health – Good
• Emotional Health – Fairly good
• Physical Health – Fairly bad
• Social Health – Bad
• Spiritual Health – Fairly bad
• Intellectual Health – Fairly good
• Financial Health –  Good

In the future (authors note: filled this out in early 2014 so it wasn’t in the future, just the recent past):

How will you be spending Christmas? 
I spent Christmas lounging around the house, feeling very 2 days overdue with a swollen belly, watching Justin and Benjamin enjoy their presents.

How will you be spending New Years? 
I was in the hospital after delivering a baby – I looked up at the clock, whispered “Happy New Years, Baby” to Justin and went back to sleep.

What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? 
Smooth moves. One of the things Justin got me for Christmas was the promise that we’d take dancing lessons sometime this year!

What are your plans for 2014?
Raise baby, take Benjamin to see “real snow”, have a family reunion, pay off hospital bills / continue to save money, buy a fridge.

Will you make any new years resolutions for 2014?
I didn’t bother. I’ve got a newborn and a toddler.  Keeping up will be my resolution! :)

In Conclusion:

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013: 
You don’t become the person you want to be overnight, and you usually have to make a lot of mistakes in the process.  I’ve learned this lesson before, but this year was a good reminder.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: 

And I am feeling so small.
It was over my head
I know nothing at all.

 

I’ve seen a few different parents do this and thought it would be fun for Benjamin.  I did it at the end of a long day, so I’m not sure I picked the best time, but I still got some pretty cute answers.

1. What is your favorite color? “Orange”
2. What is your favorite toy? “Cars are my favorite toys”
3. What is your favorite fruit? “Cherries” (really Benjamin?) “Yes, Cherries!” (really: apples and grapes)
4. What is your favorite tv? “Wonder Girls!” (you mean Powerpuff girls?) “Yes, Wonder Girls!”
5. What is your favorite movie? “Just Wonder Girls” (he had just gotten done watching Powerpuff Girls for the first time – said it was his favorite even though I’m pretty sure Curious George should win)
6. What is your favorite thing to wear? “Underwear!”
7. What is your favorite animal? “Zebra and birds”
8. What is your favorite song? “I like songs”
9. What is your favorite book? “Oh the places you’ll go, and Wocket in my Pocket”
10. Who is your best friend? “Aedan and Kaylee”
11. What is your favorite snack? “Fruit”
12. What is your favorite drink? “Orange Juice”
13. What is your favorite breakfast? “Tuna salad”
14. What is your favorite lunch? “I don’t know”
15. What is your favorite dinner?  “I don’t know”
16. What is your favorite game? “The balloon game”
17. What is your favorite thing to play outside? “Shark play”
18. What is your favorite Bible story?  “God is my favorite story”
19. What do you sleep with at night? “Friendent!”
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? “I don’t know”

It was a pretty interesting time. I was a bit surprised by some of the answers – cherries, for instance… we hardly ever eat cherries.  Breakfast was just the first food he thought of, because he’d refused to eat tuna salad for lunch.  “Wonder Girls” is a mix of Powerpuff Girls and Word Girl (I think, totally guessing).  And we obviously need to sing more songs with him.  He doesn’t have to tell me though – his jam is “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5.  Can’t wait to do this again next year!

Dear Benjamin,
Six days ago you turned three. My mind still can’t wrap around that entirely. Where did the last year go?!

Year two was definitely the year of the superhero. You have embraced a world where superheros exist and it is weaved into the fabric of your life.

You have learned so many things in this past year.

You have learned about cancer. You have learned about hospitals and beeping machines and how Nanny is sick and there’s nothing we can do to fix it but take her to the doctor and pray.

You have learned about death. Having to explain to you that Mimi (your Papa’s Mommy) had died was difficult for us. Making that decision on whether or not to take you to the viewing was a tough one to make. And now, just a few weeks later, you’re in the car traveling again to Senatobia for her husband’s funeral.

You have learned how to sing. It makes me so happy to hear you in the back seat of the car singing about how the Wonderpets are going to save the baby deer. “Wonderpets! Wonderpets! We’re on our way! To help the baby deer and save the day…” Even though I think that show is a bit obnoxious.

You’ve learned about counting. We’ve been teaching you about counting for ages, but you’ve finally learned how to *actually* count things. You can tell me how many fingers I’m holding up, and if I ask you to count how many of something there are (like, apples, or shoes on the floor) you can usually count each item and give me a relatively close number. Instead of just counting to 12 really fast, you’re taking the time to count now.

You’ve learned to say “I love you,” and “you’re pretty,” without prompting. Oh, my, how you melt my heart when you do.

You’re so young, and the world is still so full of magic. I hope we can keep that alive in you even in spite of tragedy, struggle and heartbreak.

You have a baby sibling on the way – you keep telling me you want two baby sisters. I keep telling you that you only get one, but I’m not sure you’re convinced. We had initially only planned on having you, and adopting another child, but the more we thought about it the more we thought you’d benefit from another sibling earlier in life. We’re still open to adoption or fostering, but we’ll see how this new baby fits into the family first. Girl or boy, I have high hopes that you will be a great older brother.

You have a lot of friends, you’re quite social. You call all small children “my kids!” If Aedan and Kaylee show up to play: “My kids are here!” If Dylan and Noah show up: “My kids!” When you leave church, “I had fun with my kids!”

For your third birthday I asked you what kind of party you wanted. You said, “I want a Batman party!” When I asked you a week later, “I *said* I wanted a Batman party!” So we had a batman party, and we invited Batman to come to the party. We spent WAY too much on a really good Batman costume rental, but considering the adults had as much fun as the kids did, I’m calling it a success. You were afraid of him at first, when he picked you up and tried to take you away from me you burst into tears and snuggled into my neck for safety. Once he introduced himself to you, though, you warmed up to him. It was amazing. He played with you and “your kids” in the backyard and through the house. I’ll probably never tell you that “Batman” was played by your Uncle Cory.

Oh, son. This was such a fun year. You’ve been a beast for quite a lot of it, I won’t lie. You’ve spent lots of time in the corner with your hands on the wall for various transgressions. But you’ve also spent a lot of time having FUN. Running, playing, swimming, jumping, and going on adventures. I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us.

Love,
Mama

One of my friends posted about this poem on facebook, and I thought it was worth posting here.  Happy Father’s Day to my amazing husband who is one of the best Father’s I’ve ever known!!

A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me.
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear he’ll go the self-same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whatever he see me do, he tries.
Like me, he says, he’s going to be,
The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see,
That little fellow who follows me.

I must remember as I go,
Thru summers’ sun and winters’ snow.
I am building for the years to be,
In the little chap who follows me.

by Rev. Claude Wisdom White, Sr

On February 5, 1988, I was 3 1/2 years old.   We had been going through the process of moving to a new house. I don’t remember much about that time period; just glimpses and flashes of memories – an empty house at 2655 Sierra Street, a mattress on the floor, a stuffed animal held tight at night.

On that night, 25 years ago, I went to the hospital with my Dad. Honestly, it might have been the day after, but for purposes of this blog we’re going to pretend it was the 5th, OK?

I was so excited! I was wearing a purple shirt. I walked into the hospital room, and saw my mom.  In her arms she was holding my brand new baby brother.   I walked into the corner, by the couch, and stood there until she beckoned me closer. I peeked over the edge of the bed, nervous, but excited.  I saw, for the first time ever, my youngest brother.

I didn’t know then how much joy he would bring me.  I didn’t know the love I would feel teaching him something new - the first thing I ever taught him was how to spell “Banana.”

 I didn’t know how much I would tease him, how much he would tease me.

I didn’t know he would have the power to break my heart and yet make me feel more loved than any of my other siblings during a lot of my younger years.

I didn’t know he would love me so much, hold my pinky so fiercely, turn to me in times of need as much as he did. I didn’t know what it was to truly love another person because of who they were before he came around.

I didn’t know how he would drive my mom crazy with his mohawk, I didn’t know how he would live so close and yet so far away and drive me crazy.

I didn’t know he would be my adventure-buddy, my friend without judgement.

All I knew was that this little bundle of joy was my brother; his soft cries made me so proud.

In fact, he made me so happy that I didn’t want to leave the side of his bed, so happy in fact, that I peed in my pants, making my dad take me back home in wet britches.

HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY JAKE!

I have a sourdough starter in my refrigerator. It’s been there for months.  When I first made the starter, I had grand visions of delicious sourdough bread.  However, life happens and before too long it was placed into the back of the fridge on the shelf of forgottenness.  Back when I started the starter (heh!) I named it Goob, after the adorable character from Disney‘s “Meet the Robinson’s.”  If you’ve seen the movie, the rest of this post will make sense to you. If you (by random chance) haven’t seen it, drop everything and go watch it.  Seriously. It’s amazing.

So at any rate: Goob was good to me, and then I abandoned him, and now he stinks.

I opened the fridge today to put away some pizza, and there sat Goob.  My failure out front, in the open, for all to see.  I turned to my husband and sighed.

“I’ve got to take care of poor Goob. I’ll try to look it up tomorrow and see if there’s anything I can do to save him.”

My husband immediately pops up with: “Go back in time, don’t neglect him so much.”

I love my husband.

One of the joys of parenting is watching my son discover how he fits into the world. 

I have, in my opinion, a highly articulate 2.5 year old.  He speaks in full sentences most of the time, although his standard answer is very 2-year-old-esque: “Because I can” or “Because I can’t.”  Occasionally we’re able to get better sentences out of him.  He has two new things.  One of them is to tell us about something he wants to do, or something he wants to happen, and then end it with, “That will be a good idea.”  The other new thing is to “match” things.

For example: “I wanna go see Skye and Brian and Papa and Nanny and then play with my race cars and then pet Lucky and that will be a good idea!”

He was laying on his Nanny’s bed, watching Dumbo with her. I brought him Friend-Ent, his favorite stuffed animal, a very tired Dumbo that has been with him almost every night since his birth. He held up his stuffed animal to the TV screen.  “Look Nanny, it matches!”

“I want chocolate milk. That will be a good idea, Mommy!” To really feel the genius of this one, you have to mispronounce chocolate – think “cschok-lit.”  He pronounces other C-words correctly, but Cschok-lit? I’m not correcting that one until he graduates high school.

For Christmas, his cousins Teresa, James and Mandy gifted him 2 really awesome Dr. Seuss puzzles.  When he unwrapped it he got very excited.  We asked him what it was and he said, “It’s Dr. Whouss!”  Hmm. That’s another thing I’m not correcting.  He thinks Dr. Who and Dr. Seuss are the same, and who am I to argue?!

He’s already put both puzzles together and taken them apart multiple times.  One of the puzzles is from his favorite book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”  The night he put it together for the first time we read that book at bedtime. He paused on the page that the puzzle is inspired by and said, “Look Mommy! It matches my puzzle! Let’s go put it together. That will be a good idea.”

Benjamin at Christmastime

Some days are crazy and insane. But some days end with him snuggled in my arms, and especially on days like those I find myself unable to articulate how lucky I am to be his Mommy.

The players:
Benjamin – on a natural christmas high from getting presents and being surrounded by family and love all day long.
Various friends and family – scattered throughout the house.

The background:
Papa and Nanny bought Benjamin a fake black and decker tool set for Christmas so Benjamin could “help” Papa work on stuff.  He had cycled through all of his toys at least twice already that day.

The scene:
Christmas night, 9pm, at home.  Benjamin is playing in his playroom, there’s several people in the kitchen baking cookies and Benjamin’s parents and Aunt Charla are in the living room standing around talking about the days events.  The weather outside is, appropriately, frightful.  Low 30′s with a severe wind chill.

Aaaaannnd, ACTION:
Dim lights. Three adults speaking to each other in murmured conversation as they hear loud footsteps.  All heads turn to see the two year old running towards them, still in Christmas best, wild sugar-fuled eyes, small pupils, a large smile, and his left arm raised into a 90 degree angle with his hand holding a small plastic hammer.  The child runs through the kitchen, deftly dodging the cookie-bakers, straight at the small group of adults.  At the last minute he swerves to the right, still at full speed, towards the closed back door.  Without a word he flings the door open with his empty right hand and starts to push against the cold breeze.  The adults watch as the cold temperature registers in his brain and he steps back, slamming the door, and turns to look at the small group of adults who up until this point have been silently watching.

JUSTIN: Benjamin, what in the world are you doing?!

The child looks at his father with the wild, excited eyes of a two year old on Christmas night.

BENJAMIN: I WANT TO BANG THINGS!

ADULTS: [Laughter]

JUSTIN: Son, that feeling will never go away.

The child, unaware of why his comments are funny, turns from the adults and starts to hammer away on the closed door.  The outside chill, for now, forgotten.

Last years, if you’re so inclined.

Initial Summary:

Where were you when 2012 began?
At Uncle Scott and Aunt Tina’s house.  Benjamin stayed up almost to midnight and LOVED the fireworks.  He kept calling them BOOM.

Who were you with?
Justin, Benjamin, Tina, Scott, Serena, Logan and Mandy.  We had a LOT of fun!

Was 2012 a good year for you?
Mostly. It was a pretty insane year – LOTS of changes – LOTS of projects – LOTS of weddings – Did I mention lots of changes? Yeah. BUSY.

What countries/states did you visit?
California to see my sisters and best friend get married, and Mississippi to visit some of Justin’s family.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions?
YES! I am SMOKE FREE! Yee-haw!!! But, I’m not really sure I did very well with living a life of balance. This year was really, really crazy.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Jake and Reba had their baby Feb 14th, 2012!  No one else super close to me, but there’s some friends I have made at church with young ones, but the babies were born before I met the parents, so I’m not counting those.

Did anyone close to you die?
For the first time in a long time, no deaths of anyone close to me.

What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Hm, Teresa and James got married March 3rd, and Amy and Keith got married May 5th, so I think those days will be remembered fondly each year.

Experiences:

What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Matron of honor (x2!), flew with a 2 year old, become an instructor, taught an 8 hour class, served as a vice-chair on a committee, attended my first “gala”, received my first real promotion, became a supervisor, ran a food truck at a charity event, stood by my husband while he quit a job he had grown to be dissatisfied with, and most recently I sat on the couch while someone I love very, very dearly told me they had been diagnosed with cancer. 

Did you have fun in 2012?
Yes. Definitely. I also spent most of it exceptionally tired.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had trusted God more with my money. I’ve stressed out unnecessarily.  No, things aren’t perfect, but they’re not terrible either.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eating unnecessarily! :)

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28, and I worked, and my birthday this year sucked pretty royally.  My coworker was irritated at me, which made me irritated at her.  The only upside was that my husband bought me a really awesome old desk. 

What did you want and get?
To find Cherry Lake!!!

What did you want and not get?
To put some work into my savings account. Life happens though.

Others:

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Two people come to mind.  My husband, for being my rock, my motivator, and my calm in the storm.  My husband, also, for having the strength to quit his job and step out in faith to be the best stay-at-home-dad that Benjamin could have.

This year I’d like to add my mother-in-law, who is an incredibly strong woman who is dealing with a cancer diagnosis with grace and trust in God.

Whose behavior made you appalled, depressed, or sad?
I’m usually very non-specific here.  However, I’ve witnessed so many people recently be so ugly and judgmental in a negative way. I’m still not getting specific, on purpose. Can we just agree to love and respect each other despite our differences? Respect means the most when it’s towards someone you disagree with. Anyone can love someone who agrees with you. It takes real strength to love – truly love – someone who vehemently disagrees with you.

Did somebody treat you badly in 2012?
Not really.

Who were some new people you met?
New coworkers, new church people. 

Favorites/Least Favorites:

What was your favorite month of 2012?
May. My trip to California took up half of that month and it was pure awesomeness.

What was your favorite moment of the year?
Again, as usual, several:
Toasting James and Teresa at their wedding. I cried, but only a little.
Toasting Amy and Keith at their wedding. I cried, again.
Finding Cherry Lake with my sister Jean. That priceless moment when she screamed out the window of her car in excitement.
Finishing up my first SAFVIC for TCPs class. It was pretty amazing.
The look of relief on my husband’s face when we finally decided it was time for him to quit his job.
Getting the phone call with my promotion job offer.
Any of the number of times my son squeezed me and told me he loved me soooo much!

What was your least favorite moment of the year?
Listening to one of my officers call for assistance.  It was a recording, and I already knew the outcome when I heard it (that they were all OK), but listening to it gave me goosebumps and shook me to my boots. I love these guys, especially the ones in that recording, and hearing it made me realize how close I came to losing one of them. 

What was your favorite TV program?
I worked my way through Monk this year, and I have to say, it was awesome. I totally loved it! Very well acted and scripted.  Got a little boring at parts, but not too bad overall.  I tried working through the Mentalist next, and while it’s good it wasn’t able to hold my attention in the long run. Now I’m happily watching Dr. Who reruns, when I get the chance.

What was the best book you read?
I reread the Hobbit and that was pretty awesome.  I read several training books at work and enjoyed those, but other than work related stuff and blogs I haven’t really had a chance to read anything. 

What were your favorite films of this year?
The Avengers and The Hobbit, and yes, I know how nerdy I am.

 What was your favorite video game you played this year?
Borderlands 2. I really like Tiny Farm too (I play it on my phone) but Borderlands 2 is the game I play with my hubby, so it wins.

What was your favorite new technology/application?
No clue. I’m getting too old/busy/bored to keep up with it…

What was your greatest musical discovery?
KRISPY KREME! Just kidding. Epic Rap Battles of History! I show everyone when they come visit at my house. It’s becoming a tradition.
 
What was the best thing you bought?
My desk, and my hubby bought it, not me. I love it!

Self-reflection:

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Promotion at work!!! I have worked very, very, very hard for this position and I’m VERY proud of myself.

What was your biggest failure?
Gaining back all the weight I lost last year. Fail.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yeah. I messed my leg up at the end of the year, and allergies continue to be the bane of my existence certain times of the year.

Where did most of your money go?
Family.

What kept you sane?
Love.

What political issue stirred you the most?
Meh. Pass.

Who did you miss?
My sisters and Amy. Leaving them in California is very difficult each year I get to visit.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Weddings!

Compared to this time last year, are you:
I. happier or sadder? I don’t know, but I never know. This has been a pretty stressful year, and my mother-in-law is facing lots of health issues.  I’m about the same, I suppose.
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter. Ugh. So mad at myself.
iii. richer or poorer? Definitely poorer.  But, we’re a 1 income family and still surviving. It’s worth the trade-off.

Did you fall in love in 2012?
Every year I say “over and over and over again” but every year it’s true.  I love my husband so much, he’s my best friend.  I am incredibly blessed.

Did you lose anything important this year?
Immediate family being cancer free, I suppose.

What was your proudest moment of 2012?
My husband deciding to quit his job. It took a lot. I’m very proud of him.

What was your most embarrassing moment of 2012?
Having to admit that the reason for my ankle injury is because I made a stupid, stupid decision to run in the dark in the grass.

Gauge your:
(On a scale of: Very Good, Good, Fairly Good, Fairly Bad, Bad, Very Bad)
• Relational Health – Very Good
• Emotional Health – Fairly Good (less good than last year. Too many little things stressing me)
• Physical Health – Fairly bad (Ankle. Nose. Headaches. Need to visit a chiropractor. Weight gain. Lack of exercise most of November/December due to ankle injury.)
• Social Health – Good (I’ve hung out at least a few times a month with at least 1 friend, and participated in several church functions.)
• Spiritual Health – Fairly Good (I’m still a lame slacker, but I’m learning to trust God more.)
• Intellectual Health – Good (Teaching and attending training FTW)
• Financial Health – Fairly Bad (I’ll just say, sometimes there’s not a lot you can do to help this one – maybe next year!)

In the future:

How will you be spending Christmas?
At least part of it at the hospital with my mother-in-law. We’ll bring the presents to her!  The rest of it with my brother and his wife and my niece.

How will you be spending New Years?
Working the day before and the day of… so… sleeping!

What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Haha, a second kid, maybe? 

What are your plans for 2013?
Get back on track with my health.

Will you make any new years resolutions for 2013?
Last year I resolved to stop smoking, and I did. This year, I haven’t decided yet. I think I’ll resolve not to buy any candy at the store. Or something like that. Something else challenging and health related. Maybe do 20 push ups a day?  Hmmm. We’ll see.

In Conclusion:

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:

The world is broken. Evil exists in this world. There is not really a whole lot we can do on a legislative level to stop evil.  We can’t increase laws and get evil people to stop being evil – sorry, but we just can’t.  It won’t work.  On an individual level, I think we all need to do our very best at trying to saturate the world around us with as much love and goodness as is possible.  You can turn something like the Newtown tragedy into a sound bite for a law you want to pass, but I don’t think that’s the best we can do.  I think we can do better.  I am choosing instead not to debate gun control (or even mental health, in spite of how much as I am passionate about it) and choosing instead to try to increase my output of good into my community.  We can debate gun control and mental health another day; I think an appropriate response to this type of evil is not legislation, but love.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

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