It's been a long time since I've updated the blog...sorry to those of you who check it frequently. We've been busy having a very special Christmas. I felt exceptionally good throughout the holidays, and we spent lots of time celebrating with friends and family. We stayed up late, played games, laughed, visited and figured out ways to enjoy Christmas food without sugar. Many have stopped to ask me what my special gifts to the girls were this year....I completely forgot that I wrote about it a while ago and didn't realize that so many were suspiciously waiting to hear about them. I wrote a book for each of them called, "My Wishes for You". I filled each book with pictures of me and them and wrote about my 12 top wishes for their lives. Each wish fills up a page, so it was a lot of writing. I know it's a gift that they will appreciate even more in the future then they do right now. They do love them already, and each book has found a special spot to be kept and protected. I have walked into bedrooms after tucking them in to find them reading their books with a flashlight under the covers. I hope that one day the pages are worn out from being read so often. I was able to make a gift for each family member this year: knitted scarves for my sister-in-laws, personal picture calendars for our parents, a letter for my brother and the hardest of all: a book for Darryl. There was no way of saying what I wanted to Darryl because the words of expression that he deserves don't exist, so I didn't even attempt it. Instead, I kept it light and made a top 10 book for him. I listed all sorts of things in it: top ten dinners out, top ten camping trips, top ten vacations etc. It was a fun way of remembering how blessed we are right now and how blessed we have been for the past 20 years! These gifts were so fun to give, and a joy to make. They took tons of time and thinking, but they meant a lot to me and to the ones who received them. I also received many thoughtful and heart warming gifts from friends and family. I was so touched by the thought and meaning that each gift represented in my life and relationships. Aside from gifts, we focused more on why we celebrate Christmas: because Jesus came to earth as a baby to save us. We enjoyed the presence of loved ones around us. I savoured each moment as best I could and tried hard to not let my mind wander out of the present. I tried my best to not jump ahead to wondering what next Christmas would bring and rather returned my mind to being thankful for this year.
I have already felt myself slip into low moments as Christmas has come to an end. The gifts that I have spent so much time on are now given. The parties and social events are almost over and life will return to "normal" again, but I still am not sure what my "normal" is. But I'm more prepared this time. I'm learning that transition times are extremely hard for me, and I need to brace myself for them....how? By making plans. I will join a Bible study group at my church to help encourage my soul, I will continue to go to my Yoga class which helps me feel physically better and stronger, I may possibly volunteer more in a school setting to keep my mind thinking like a teacher, I will get back to my routine workout regime so my body continues to get stronger, I will continue to discover new recipes that contribute to my health, and I may start writing more and taking on more speaking engagements. Having a plan helps keep my mind focused on now. Having purposeful plans helps me feel useful and needed. Many will set New Year's Resolutions in the next few days. Mine is to keep defining my new normal and figuring out who I am as I learn to live the life I have been given. I have learned that pushing problems aside is not the best way to handle them. Trying to solve every problem that hits me isn't the answer either. It is better to embrace problems and live through them, so I am transformed into what I was intended to become - I am looking to see what God is telling me through these problems. I have no idea what "problems" lay ahead this year, but learning to embrace them and accept them is a gift that I am slowly understanding and even appreciating.
Today has been a sad day for me. One of my dearest cancer friends passed away yesterday. We were diagnosed with genealogical cancers only 4 months apart. We had the same doctors and although our treatment plans were very different; we understood each other. When I was down after finding out my cancer was not curable, she was doing well and was one of the first ones on my doorstep encouraging me to keep fighting. She started getting worse in August and continued to get more sick. I'm incredibly sad for her family....she was a beautiful mom and wife. What an enormous loss for them; a complete tragedy. I am happy that she is no longer suffering; I know with all of me that she is now in heaven. Her and I talked about heaven a few times. I remember one particular conversation when we dreamed together of how wonderful life would be in heaven without cancer and all the consequences that a life with cancer brings. I know she is now happy, healed, and completely at peace. Her life is and will continue to be awesome for eternity, but this is almost no consolation for her family. They want her here to love her and be loved by her. She will be missed, she will be remembered, she will leave a beautiful legacy, and we will be reunited in eternity. There is a part of me that wonders why her and not me? I have no answer to this question, no one does. But I do know I will think of her everyday for the rest of my life.
Happy New Year......set resolutions that will make your life better and the lives of those around you better. Cheers!