That said, I've enjoyed the activities that have taken me away. Besides the routine work schedule at the office, once the school year begins, most of the other activities involve getting together with good friends to ring and sing. Bell choir and "regular" choir practices at St. Paul have filled many an evening as we prepared for the Thanksgiving holiday and the MAS of CHRISTmas. What a beautiful, joyous and especially lovely time of year this is when we are again reminded of the greatest love; The Word, begotten of the Father, made flesh. He who is the ultimate love. The Lamb sacrificed for each of our undeserving selves. The One who takes away the lovelessness of man -- all of it -- every loveless thought, every loveless word, every loveless deed. This is the love of heavenly peace; the assurance of another promise yet to come. This is the peace which the old man, Simeon, knew when he held the Christ child in his very arms and rejoiced, "Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people. A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel!" One of these days, I'm going to take a turn sitting next to Simeon at the banquet table just to hear him tell about that day. That's one of my faves.
Well, in all that busy-ness of Advent and Christmas, the year 2012 ended with a bit of tribulation for us. Mom fell on December 8th and has been hospitalized since the 19th for what turned out to be two fractured vertebrae. I can't imagine the pain she was feeling before they figured out what had happened and she started receiving some much-needed medication. She is scheduled to have surgery in a few days. What a way to kick off the new year, huh? We are all hopeful of a complete and pain-free recovery, and the surgeon is confident that that will happen. If all goes well, both of my parents will be able to spend some time with the four of us "kids" (and three spouses) on Alabama's shore where we can all thaw out for a little while. If that comes to pass, I'll try to be a good girl and share some pictures upon our return.
It's not easy to look back on an entire year and recite all of the happenings, but, as with every year, 2012 had its share of ups and downs. Why waste time on the "downs" when it's more fun to recall the "ups"?
The first that comes to mind is my son's family's move from the big city out to the country. It's one of the best decisions they have made. The kids have adjusted to their new little school, and they've made a lot of friends. Each of them are finding their niches. My oldest granddaughter, for instance, is a cheerleader now. I'm so proud of each of them. They're all great kids. My son and daughter-in-law are pretty cool too!
One of the biggest events for our extended family was celebrating the marriage of my niece in July. The icing on the wedding cake was that she didn't move to the wrong end of the state and away from us. Just a couple of weeks before the wedding, we received the exciting news that my nephew and his wife welcomed the birth of their baby girl. She's a doll. Another doll is my other great-niece, born last December, who I got to meet for the first time at the bridal shower. Babies are da bomb!
Another one of the "ups" (albeit not as exciting as the birth of a baby or a wedding) was being allowed flexible schedules at work. Each member of our staff was given several choices. My first choice was to work four 9-hour days and one 4-hour day per week. As it turns out, serendipity was on my side. I got my first choice, but instead of rotating the 4-hour day each week as expected, my boss asked that it be a "standing" day each Friday to accommodate reception desk back-up duties. Score! I'm loving my Friday afternoons off.
In addition to a February vacation with my sister and folks to south Texas, my parents and I got together with some of our extended family out in Colorado. The accommodations were compliments of my Dad's first cousin. That was October, and the golden leaves of the Aspen trees dotting the Colorado Rocky Mountains were simply gorgeous. We had a great time.
Two of my cousins, Brad and Darla, visited from Idaho in October, and though I didn't get to spend a lot of time with them, we did have a nice dinner together before they returned home. Their father was a favorite of mine. He really knew how to "spin a yarn." My cousin, Darla, looks just like my sainted grandmother did when she was young.
Resolutions for the new year? Always. I hope, as I do most years, that I'll be better about keeping them. In the meantime, I'll be hanging out here at 304 trying to remember to take the "downs" in stride and be thankful for each "up" moment. Whatever 2013 brings, I hope each of you have a happy year!
Here are a few "out with the old" pics from 2012 in no particular order:
Dad and Mom's Dog Had Puppies in February. The big guy is my grandson, Conner. The little guy is Gus. He's not so little these days.
Sometime in August or September, the six of us visited a winery near Perryville, Missouri.
Another pic from February. This was taken near my friend's home in Edinburg, Texas.
This is my sweet little great-niece who was born in December, 2011.
This is another one of my sweet little great-nieces. She was born in July, 2012.
I took this picture of my cousin at Williams Creek Reservoir near Pagosa Springs, Colorado in October.
Driving through western Kansas on our way to Colorado in October.
The most difficult part about photographing Kansas is getting the horizon line level.
But just remember: God loves Kansas too.
Random photo of one of my handsome brothers and our Dad.
I don't remember what they were working on, but it looks very important, doesn't it?
"The Shepherds' Farewell" pre-service practice by
the double-quartet. Trust me, their voices blended beautifully, and
Carlo, the organist, is amazing.
Left to Right: Darla, Me and Brad. So good to see them!
This was taken during the recessional at Pastor Ball's installation
at St. Paul on December 16th.
Mom got a 4-hour pass to come home from the hospital on Christmas day.
She was tired by the end of it, but she said it was Merry nonetheless.
Here's another pic of Mom in her room at the hospital (12-28-12).
She had just had her hair done. All of her caretakers have been wonderful.
My grandaughter, "Jazzie", at the top of the pyramid.
The Happy Bride and Groom