2014 in review

The end of 2014 is days away. It doesn’t seem possible. 2014 yielded some wonderful things, one of which is Jubilee in the weight department. Since August, I’ve lost 30 pounds and still progressing. I’m thankful for my friend Sarah’s weight loss and for her success having a powerful impact on me. She introduced me to U Weight Loss which has been the instrument used for my success.

Robin2014 delivered me my job at Alberta Health. I started working there in 2013 but it was as a temporary employee. On August 11, I got hired into my present position. I never knew such great jobs existed. I love my job and am thankful beyond words for all the benefits that come with it. A great pension plan, sick days, four weeks of vacation, every third Friday off for my EDO, Canada Savings Bonds plan and more. I’m surrounded by bright, bright people and that is wonderful. My administrative assistant colleagues are wonderful and are becoming very good friends. Robin is a devout Catholic and is outspoken about her faith. She is mentoring me in that way; she is an extraordinary example for me. She is in no way afraid to speak of God or her faith. I want to be more like her and am very grateful for her friendship.

2014 took me to North Carolina for Melody’s lovely wedding. Quite truthfully, it wasn’t a good trip in that I felt judged and ridiculed. Once home, God took me down a path of reading about His grace, showing me how accepted I am in His eyes. I gained clarity and saw God’s grace afresh in a beautiful way.

G & V jasperGordon and I went to Jasper and had a wonderful weekend there. It was great to be alone with him and whetted my appetite for more weekends away with him.

Improvements to our home – I’m loving them. We got new kitchen appliances, new cabinets, a wall removed in the kitchen, the piano moved downstairs which opened up the living room in a big way and most of the brick wall outside is finished. It’s still a work in progress, but 2014 yielded lots of fruit in the home improvements department. Gordon has worked hard and I’m so grateful for the money to accomplish these improvements and his health and willingness to do them.

2014 brought me home from the apartment. We’ve experienced lots of healing in our marriage during our separation and those awful / painful counseling sessions. We appreciate each other more and I think we are stronger for it all. I wouldn’t trade our relationship for any other. Truly. I love him so very very much.

I’m thankful for the character changes I see in myself. For most of my life I’ve been a “go big or go home” type of person. That’s not so much the case anymore. Even my travel bug indicates that change in my character. In the past when I dreamed of going to Europe, I wanted to see as many countries as possible at one time. My idea was to be able to say I’d been there, not to have really experienced it. Now when I dream of going to Europe, it’s usually one country at a time that entices me. I want to hike, walk, swim, immerse myself in the beauty of each country I visit and that will take time. I look forward to worshiping God in His creation that I have yet to see. Right now I’m thinking of the Tuscany Hills, mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, hikes in the Dolomites . . .

GrandkidsStephanie and John Mark and their angelic little family moved into their beautiful new home. I visited them in April and absolutely adore my grandchildren. How very blessed I was to experience them. I’ll never forget Roman telling me he never knew adventures could be so fun when we would go exploring in the neighborhood or walking along with Ella and her saying, “Beppie, I love you.” My heart is so full just remembering those sweet babies.  I’m so thankful for the way Stephanie and John Mark parent.

Christopher is in Tulsa working long hours and making lots of money. I didn’t have a lot of time with him in April, but what I did have, I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rachael, bike wreck2014 has shown us progress with each of the girls.  Rachael has been working at 7-11 for nearly a year. She loves her work. She has a wonderful work ethic. In spite of liking to party, she’s responsible and always goes to work. She was in a bad bicycle wreck several months ago while impaired. I’m so thankful God protected her.

Hannah still works at the daycare (although she has given notice for the end of January). She’s been there over a year. She and Darian moved to BC in the summer. They couldn’t get jobs that would support them so they came home after several weeks. I was proud of them for chasing their dreams.  Like Rachael, Hannah has a good work ethic and is responsible.

Girls Christmas 14It’s been a growing year for Deborah. This time last year, she was stealing lots, not going to school, doing drugs and alcohol when she could. I’m so thankful for her improvements in 2014. She has faithfully been going to school at Outreach, she’s not cutting or attempting suicide and occasionally she goes to church and church youth events. We’ve seen great improvements in her and are so thankful.

Darian, Hannah’s boyfriend, has yielded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit in his life. When we met him he was an existentialist / atheist. For five weeks he’s attended church and his spiritual appetite for the things of God is voracious. This, I guess, is the crowning beauty of my year. Seeing his spiritual growth is so exciting and beautiful.

We’ve all had good health this year. We’ve been protected from harm and all our needs have been met. I thank God and give him my praise for a blessed 2014.

feeling prosperous - an exercise

I'm reading Julia Cameron's The Prosperous Heart. The assignment it to fill in the blank: I felt prosperous when _______.

I felt prosperous when I was newly divorced living on Smith Street. Of course, I've never articulated that thought before. Upon moving in, I quickly began the old house's makeover. For wall paint, I chose pink and blue and it was a lovely, tasteful combination. The blue was called Mirage Blue and it was on the window and door trim. The wall paint was a mauvish pink called Ashes of Roses. Such a fitting name since I was recently divorced from a Rose.

It was a character-filled home and I believed with all my heart God provided it. When I knew divorce was imminent, I started praying for specific things. I thought an "upstairs house," as Stephanie called them, would help her adjust to our new life as a family of three. And it did. She was ecstatic with her new house with an upstairs bedroom.

When I made my specific prayer list for a house, it also included a hardwood floor and French doors. The Smith Street house had French doors in the living room and the bathroom had a hardwood floor. I loved that house. I had looked at several houses and this was the one that screamed, "This is it!," when I walked in that first time.

It needed lots of work and I set to painting and beautifying it. I get a bit exhausted thinking about it but at the time it was just what I needed for distraction.

One day I came home from work and found all my friends in my house having a painting bee. Unbeknownst to me, they got the key from my sister and proceded to help out with my huge paint job. It was a beautiful expression of love and support. I was very touched. (Looking back, I hope I adequately expressed my gratitude. I certainly hope I did because I was enormously grateful.)

Eventually the house got all beautified and I was so proud of it. It always smelled good (potpourri) and was clean. It expressed who I was and I think that is why I felt prosperous. It was my haven; a clean, tasteful haven that smelled nice.

While living in that house, I was walking close to God and hadn't yet been overtaken by pride. I was still fairly humble and innocent and living in peace.

The key points of this journey of exploring when I felt prosperous leads me to these highlights:

-- I felt close to God. He answered specific prayers and it demonstrated His loving concern about the details of my life.

-- I had caring friends.

-- The house expressed me. Paint colors and decor that accurately reflected my taste.

-- It was my haven. Clean, fragrant, peaceful. It was a delightful home.