Wow. Time just flies by. As I look back over the past year, the thoughts are very bittersweet. In December '07, I lost my mom, followed by my dad in June '08, Jim's mom in October and then this last Monday, my sister Suzanne lost her 24 yr battle stemming from injuries in a car accident. It's been quite a year of loss. All is not bleak, however. I celebrate every day of their lives and I have many wonderful memories to keep me content in having known them.
I also have much to celebrate, as well. In February, I learned that I had received an $8000 grant that would allow me to take my father on a trip Germany to solve a mystery. (See my other blog for about this once in lifetime opportunity. You'll have to go back to earlier posts). I went on a second mission trip to our sister church in the Dominican Republic (another blog is in the works for that story. It's lovely). I took a trip to Maine with good friends and got to share with them the beauty of my home state and just have fun in Maine after so many trips there for sad reasons.
I started two blogs! Whodathunk? I've always wanted to just write about whatever, but never knew what form it would take. Blogging has opened up new doors for me. At some point, I will use blogging more regularly to write more and maybe develop a more consistent form. Who knows? Blogging has also connected me to new "friends" who mean much to me even though we may never meet. I love how blogging brings the world into my home. People are fascinating and I so appreciate the glimpses of those who allow me a peek into their struggles, joys, and points of view. What a gift I've received.
After years of struggle, our little church, Horizon Ministries, just celebrated 10 years of outreach and ministry. Yeeha!
As I look to 2009, I have great hopes that the year will bring new adventures. I look forward to my daughter's graduation after her long journey through school. I pray she'll find a teaching job she can love next fall. I plan to spend three weeks with our "family" in the Dominican Republic. I just want to live with them to learn their language. No interpreters allowed. I want to eat what they eat, I want to live the way they live. I want the challenge of feeling what it's like to be like some of my students---in a foreign world with a foreign language I don't know and customs I must adjust to. I want to climb a coconut tree! I want to grow stronger in my faith and be a light in the world. I want to be better than I've been and as good and kind as I use to be before unkind people caused me to retreat and become bitter. I want to grow.
Life is a journey and every day brings new adventures. I want to see the magic and adventure of each moment. I want to strengthen friendships and develop new ones.
"I want, I want, I want..." Sounds so greedy or self-centered. Better words might be "I hope", "I desire", "I dream of". With every bit that I desire for myself, I equally desire to do and give for others. It's not all about me. I just hope to live the adventure---good or bad, adventurous and dull moments.
It will be a good year. So, here's to 2009!
Jan painting in the DR. (Above)
Going to market with Pedrito.
You'll have to excuse me. I don't know how to put captions with the pictures! And that's Mom, Dad, and Suzanne several Christmases ago.