This year has been a hard year. But as 2012 comes to a close, I wanted to look back at all I've been able to accomplish. There have been many drafts of this post, but as saw the awesome collages on some of my favorite blogs, I had to one of my own :) This post is a bit long, but have fun!
Mosaic Mini, 2. Valentine's Day Table Topper with Sarah, 3. Baby quilt for Jen & Family, 4. RWB Blog Hop, 5. Starburst blocks for Stash Bee, 6. Samantha in SF, 7. Nicholas, 8. Chemo caps, 9. One of my bulletin boards--I love the reverse silhouettes!, 10. Sarah, 11. Me in SF, 12. Ruffle Quilt Squares, 13. the 30-miler, 14. My center block for Quilt U Be Mine, 15. Heirloom necklace remake for Jenell, 16. Holiday Lane Blog Hop.)
In collecting these pics, I realized how truly blessed I am. I had more pictures that I wanted to include, but this is a good sampling of me.
My year started off with finally making my blog public. That was a huge accomplishment for me. I wanted everything just so and it took me weeks to learn how to do the backgrounds and do all the little design elements. The direction that it's taken is a little of a surprise for me, but I'm enjoying it. Hopefully in the coming year I'll be able to return to the more diverse ideas I had in the beginning. I want to do more with general ideas and a family tracking/history. I love my sewing and feel like I've truly found my creative outlet there, but I want to include more of the things I love and love to do. There is so much more to me and my family than my sewing and quilting :)
Just days after I made my blog public, my oldest came down with an intractable headache that has since been diagnosed as New Daily Persistent Headache. NDPH is a chronic condition that has taught me more about empathy, patience and compassion than I could have ever imagined. Helping a 15-year-old struggle with chronic pain is a heart-wrenching, soul-stretching journey. Just last week, we finished 3 days of injections--her fifth attempt to break the headaches. As we enter the new year, I fervently pray that we find answers for her and her life can re-normalize.
Just after Sam's first hospitalization, my husband was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. He's had pain on and off for several years, but it finally became bad enough that it could no longer be ignored. When they did the blood test, they started his treatments immediately. His treatment is low-dose chemotherapy that he takes orally once a week. The side effects seem to have leveled-off over time, but he is still wiped out for 2 to 3 days each week. I'm amazed by his strength and perseverance.
Our other two kids are adjusting to the new normal. They've both had amazing achievements of their own. Nicholas turned twelve and is progressing well in Scouts. He loves campouts and archery and is adjusting (slowly) to life in middle school. Sarah is our social butterfly and World of Warcraft aficionado. She loves playing with Rhett's guild. Both of these guys tested for TAG earlier this year and are learning to play chess through one of the enrichment programs.
Because of my blog, I have been able to do many new things this year that I could only have imagined previously ... First and foremost, I learned how to quilt. While I am far from expert, I have become quite adept at matching points and creating projects (not to mention picking out stitches & seams.) I also joined an online quilting bee--the Stash Bee--and am challenged each month to stretch my skills and color theory. I participated in two blog hops, one fabric swap, and three quilt alongs. I learned that I don't always need a pattern. I learned that the online community is so fascinating as well as supportive. I've won several prizes for making comments and participating in other online events and am amazed at the talent and quality I have been able to learn from.
There are many aspects of my every day life that are not shared here. For one, I am an avid volunteer. Most of my love and energy are spent working with the Young Women's organization in our church. I love teaching, organizing activities and doing things with them and for them. I also volunteer in several capacities at my kids' schools. I discovered a love of bulletin boards and hallway decor. My favorite place to be is in the classrooms and libraries, so I hope to get back to that, too. In addition to volunteering I enjoy the outdoors. This year I went on a 30-mile hike with the YW and it reminded me how much I enjoy hiking and camping. I certainly live in an ideal location so near to so many natural resources; I need to take more advantage of that. I also have other hobbies that I dabble in from time to time. I enjoy crochet, toll painting, reading and baking. Hopefully, I'll be able to squeeze more of these into the coming year, too.
Looking back, I know that I am so blessed. Rhett teases me about using that term too freely--but I really feel like I am. My kids are older and pretty self-sufficient so I can take a break when I need to and and not worry about everything falling apart before I return. Rhett works hard to provide the necessities in life and I have a job that allows him to be home when I'm not. I have a great relationships with my immediate family as well as our extended families even though they're far, far away. I could go on and on.
Thank you for being part of my journey in 2012--I hope to see a lot more in 2013!