Monday, January 05, 2009

The Year in Review

I saw this idea on Alysa's blog,modified it a bit, then shamelessly stole it!

1. Where did you begin 2008?

Well, Darren's and my tradition is usually to stay at home, cook a really great dinner together, and then watch a movie. However, last year it snowed heavily on New Year's Eve so Darren had to shovel, not only at our house but the church parking lot and sidewalks as well. It took him about 6 hours so I ate a sandwich by myself and went to bed around 10. Thrilling. New Year's Day we always spend with my parents, having brunch and just sitting around chatting. It's so relaxing; I look forward to that day every year.

2. Name a difficult challenge this year.

I know I had challenges this year, but this question is really evidence that the phrase "This too shall pass" is really true. I know I came face-to-face several times with the reality of the vulnerability of my children's safety: from someone we knew and liked being convicted of assault on a child to when we lost and found Elaine...whew. OK, I'm getting a little stressed just writing about that stuff.

3. Were you in school any time this year?

Not officially, though apparently I was in kindergarten at least part of the time seeing as I had to make a native drum and Indian vests for my fellow students.

4. How did you earn your money?

At my job in the now severely injured publishing industry.

5. Where did you go on vacation?

Door County, twice--once for our anniversary in the spring and once for family vacation in the fall

6. What did you purchase that was over $1,000?

A kindergarten education, which should have covered drums and Indian vests. Not that I'm bitter.

7. Did you know anyone who got married?

A couple at our church. It was a beautiful wedding in November. We're mostly at the stage of life though where all our friends have been married for quite awhile. There was a point where we seemed to spend half the summer going to weddings.

8. What concerts/shows did you go to?

I went to an Agatha Christie play with my mom, Ann-Marie, and Juliet in the spring. In the fall, Darren and I saw a theater production of "The Hiding Place." And then we saw Selah in concert a few weeks ago.

9. Describe your birthday.

Ahh, my last birthday in my 30s. I spent it at the Japanese gardens with my family. I got my favorite purse ever (Japanese) and three seasons of NCIS on DVD. Fabulous!

10. What's one major change in your life this year?

Losing my job at the beginning of December. Big time change. More on that later. I'm still adjusting!

11. What was your favorite moment?

It's very hard to pick one, but I think I'd have to say successfully surprising my mom for her 75th birthday. Seeing Lucy lead her into the room filled with all her oldest and dearest friends, singing "Happy Birthday"...a great moment. She was so thrilled.

12. What's something you learned about yourself?

Too long to just write a sentence about. A blog post on that will be forthcoming later this week!

13. Made any new friends this year?

This is my favorite question and what I will remember most about 2008. I've had so many great "friend" moments this year...if you're my friend and I accidentally skip mentioning you, please don't feel hurt! I've got four incidents that really stand out for me. One was in June: somehow the stars and planets aligned so that my two best friends from Moody and I could get together for lunch. Seeing as we all live in different cities and have seven kids between us...that's actually 10 schedules in which to juggle and fit in a lunch date. But we did it! It was a blast, and we hope to someday even have a Mom's Weekend together...maybe in 2009?!

Secondly, on a whim, I decided to do an online Bible study, called No Other Gods, through Beth Moore's site. It seemed like most of the people (I think around 3,000 signed up in all) were doing the study in small groups. Something in me just didn't want to do this one solo, so I looked at the other attendees from around the world who were going solo, picked one who lived in a neighboring state, and asked if she'd be interested in studying with me via email. I didn't have huge hopes--after all, we were total strangers. However, Cindy has turned out to be a wonderful new friend. We are at totally different stages in life, but we both found that the study made a powerful impact on our lives. She's the best Bible study partner I've had, other than my mom. We've kept in touch even though it finished at the end of August and hope to do another Beth Moore study together this summer.

The next incident was through facebook. In high school I had a best friend, Kirsten. We looked and acted and thought so much alike that we just dubbed each other "Sis." Neither one of us actually had a sister, so it was cool to pick the perfect one out for ourselves. When we went off to separate colleges though, we just lost touch. I've always missed her over the years and wondered whatever happened to her. Then one day in August, she found me on facebook! We have had a blast reconnecting and furiously emailing back and forth. It's been like meeting a great new friend--except one you already know and love!

The last incident is my favorite. In April, I wrote a tribute to my friend who was killed in a car accident in 1986. I feel like I've missed and remembered him all alone for all these years and just wanted to get out in print how much he meant to me. Six months went by after writing that. Then one morning, I saw a comment on my blog from my friend's younger brother! I guess he randomly googles his brother's name occasionally to see if anything will ever come up. Nothing ever did...until my blog post! He said it made his day. He has thought of his brother every day for the past 22 years but the worst part was that he felt he had been forgotten. As for me, I felt like, for a few moments in time, not only did I get a new friend, I got my old friend back as well.

If you check the comments of that post, you'll see the nicest comments from both Gordon's brother and his sister. I was telling my mom this story and she said, "I think you got a little foretaste of heaven!" So true.

So, though 2008 didn't start very auspiciously, it has been a wonderful year. Mostly I have so many great memories of my two little girls...Lucy graduating from pre-school and celebrating her 5th birthday, Elaine riding her tricycle around the neighborhood even though her feet don't touch the pedals, having our summer cooking school together, sending Lucy off to kindergarten, spending mornings in the Japanese gardens with Elaine, walking all around and finding "treasures," reading countless books together, singing at the top of our lungs in the car, taking two little black cats trick-or-treating, seeing both girls sing for the first time in front of the church, Elaine blowing out the candles on her Peter Rabbit cake, attending Lucy's Christmas program, opening presents together, tucking two wiggly girls into bed each night with a kiss, praying together... It's been a wonderful ride, and while there were some moments I would have gladly skipped over (such as making drums and Indian vests; have we covered that?)--we made it through. I never could have anticipated all that has happened.

That gives me a lot of hope for 2009!


Melanie said...

Great post...oops I see I'm behind on reading other ones too! It's wonderful to see you writing so much again, Alice! Have a happy Monday!

Jill said...

So sorry to hear about your'll have to fill us in on that'll probably see that I commented about that on your FB page, too....are you looking for something else, or just enjoying being a full-time mom for now?

Alice said...

I'm busy this week signing up for all sorts of freelance sites. I hope to freelance edit and see how that goes this year. I'm also considering teaching some courses--I used to do that until Lucy was about a year old...

Ann-Marie said...

One of my favorite activites in 2008 has been reading your wonderful blog - and all the great support you gave during the secret phase of my miracle pregnancy!

You're the best, and I hope you have a happy 2009 - with lots and lots of great jobs (with Bill Kurtis).

picturingme said...

Reconnecting with you is one of the blessings in my year, too. I'm so glad we found each other again.