2020 in review

2020 was an interesting year. Weird. Eye-opening. Annoying. Kind of inconvenient. Bittersweet and blessed of the Lord. I enter 2021 richer because of the experiences of 2020. 

I usually begin each year with a set of goals, but in 2020, because we were unsettled in a condo between houses after moving from BC back to Alberta, I did not. In early January, usually my yearly contemplation time, I was helping Mama in Arkansas. Life was so chaotic that I didn't even realize I hadn't done my January 2020 contemplation until January of 2021. So, unlike most years, I can't compare what happened with what I hoped would happen in 2020, but I can record the highlights.

Med hat houseWe moved into our new house in March after living in a small condo for more than six months. It's a lovely home which we enjoy. We have our first year behind us in Southeast Alberta and, I've got to say, we love this climate. 

My sweet Mama died and I was blessed to be with her, holding her face, when she transitioned from this life to a far greater one. I will always count that as one of the most sacred moments of my life. I look forward to hearing about it from her point of view. Did she feel the extraordinary love in the room directed at her? Did she hear our gratefulness for what she'd taught us and done for us? (In this blog's early days she was its biggest fan. It was a vastly different blog back then and she loved the stories and the laughter.) 

Sweets
I've begun to love cooking and baking

Weekly meals with Deborah and Davis. This has become a highlight of every week. I try to make a good meal and dessert and am thoroughly enjoying learning new cooking skills. 

Credit line paid down - I'm almost at the zero point.

Began a devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Read more on what that means here and here. Daily I say this prayer, "Eternal Father, I offer you the most Sacred Heart of Jesus, with all its love, all its sufferings and all its merits, to expiate for the sins I have committed this day and during all my life. To purify the good I have done badly this day and during all my life. To supply for the good I ought to have done and failed to do this day and during all my life. Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end."

Deborah was confirmed.

Atlas was baptized.

Creatives
rosaries, crocheting, wax melts, & tie blankets

Revived some creativity in my life. I started making my own wax melts (and sold some too), made some rosary bracelets and chaplets, made tie blankets for 11 grandchildren, I'm learning to crochet, began baking again after many non-baking years, and created a lovely craft corner.

Davis came into our lives and will soon become an official part of the family.

Revived this blog. During the dark years of raising teenagers, I struggled keeping the family record going. But here we are.

Began wearing a chapel veil to mass as an act of worship. 

Began always wearing skirts to mass. In 2019 I embraced wearing dress pants to church, cutting out blue jeans. 2020 had me ditching the dress pants for skirts as an act of embracing femininity.

Had some spiritual victories. I curb my curiosity more, talk less and repeat fewer "interesting" things. 

Made a Shutterfly picture book for Lily. I love and miss that girl so much. It's been over a year since I saw her, thanks to Covid. But I made her a picture book for Christmas. To save money on postage, I had it shipped directly to her, which means I never saw it. I hope it forever reminds her of my love for her. 

Created a successful Marketplace business. Now this is weird and it's a good thing that came directly out of Covid-19. We moved into our new house shortly after Covid became a big deal (in March). As I unpacked and began settling in, things 

Walking
a typical walk in Southern Alberta

surfaced that didn't work for this house. Unlike in years past, I couldn't haul them to Goodwill to dispose of them because everything was shut down. So, I listed them on Facebook Marketplace and was thrilled that I started making good money for stuff that I would ordinarily have taken to a thrift store. That success led me to shopping for good deals and reselling them for a profit. It was amazing; a little business that began totally by accident. I made nearly $5000 and ended the year with 39 5-star ratings. 

Started walking regularly again. My mobility is somewhat limited because of a significant ankle issue. But I'm thankful I can do what I do. I love walking with my little sidekicks, Charlie and Peewee. The walking path pictured was our regular route until my ankle couldn't handle the hills anymore. Now my walk is usually at the cemetery.

Gained two new grandbabies, Flora Dawn and Pius-Vasyl. God is so good and those babies are so precious. 

Established weekly sleepovers with Atlas. What a delight living close to grandchildren. I wish I lived near everyone of the grandkids. 

Had two wonderful visits in Arkansas. I loved my time with extended family and especially with Christopher and Stephanie and her fam. I was so proud that they were all around when Mama died. 

So, despite Covid-19, 2020 was another good year. I'm thankful for the blessings God bestowed. Yet again, God has crowned the year with bounty and abundance. (Psalm 65:11)


2019 review of goals

GoalsHere are my goals at the beginning of the year followed by the status at year end.

2019

  • Yip, Yip published - Yip, Yip was published and Hannah (who is Patty in the book) said it was probably the best present she ever received.
  • Spend prayer time every month on specific people (January: Sandy; February: Paul; etc) - I was faithful until I lost my job in April. Most of the prayer focuses of the month were work colleagues and once I know longer interacted with them daily, I forgot to pray for them. 
  • Eat low carb and no whites - Did pretty well.
  • Pay credit line down to $5000 - Success
  • Almost finish Bachelors Degree, maintain a 4.0 GPA - I slipped in my GPA; 3.94.
  • Focus on growth in fortitude, patience, and temperance - Praise God, I'm growing, but I'm still quite rooted in being an impatient, gluttonous coward. But less so then at the beginning of the year.
  • Finish Bible Timeline study at church - Success.
  • Read more in the evening and Facebook less - Still a struggle, but striving still.
  • Keep 3:00 prayer break - Did well until I lost my job in April, and then the "break" wasn't a part of life. 
  • No snacks between meals at work - Success
  • Park at Mall instead of at work so I get more walking in every day - Success while I was working.
  • Spiritual reading at noon - Success while I was working
  • Embrace femininity more, for example, wear dress pants to Mass. - Success
  • Keep Tuesday adoration habit - Success while I was working. The habit was that I would go directly to church after work and pray until church started at 7:00. Once I wasn't working anymore, I quit going to the church early.
  • Things I was believing in faith would happen in 2018, but didn't, I carried over to 2019:     
  • 1. more crypto seed money - had a bit of success
  • 2. D repent and turn to righteousness - not yet
  • 3. G come into the Church - not yet
  • 4. H take faith seriously - Praise God, she's all in!!
  • 5. S & J into Catholic Church - not yet           

2018 successes and highlights

2018

  • Focused on growth in virtue, holiness, humility and fortitude. I definitely grew in those areas.
  • I navigated executrix-ship of Daddy's estate pretty well. Probate closed and my siblings and I are still in good relationship.
  • Daddy blessed us financially. Thank you, Daddy. I wish I had thanked you when you were still living, but we all know you were weird about money and may have taken my thanks wrong. I write that smiling because it was so true. Once he hinted to me about the money I was getting and I pretended I didn't hear him because I knew anything I said could backfire. I relived that conversation so many times after he died wishing I had said thank you.
  • Doubled my investment in Bitcoin and got out before it plummeted. I'm still sitting on some, but I did withdraw my original investment plus 100%. Was able to give a significant amount to charity and a significant amount to some loved ones.
  • Settled into my new, very mediocre job. 
  • A month-long 25th Anniversary Mediterranean Cruise. Wow! What an experience.
  • Was faithful to my Tuesday after-work adoration commitment.
  • Yip, Yip is in production.
  • Working on my degree through University of Arkansas. They accepted all my previous credits. To date, I have a 4.0.
  • Cleaned up this blog.
  • Michael came (gloriously) into the church. He's serious about it; studious and committed to growing in virtue and holiness.
  • Rachael and Kyle got engaged.
  • Darian and Hannah welcomed Ambrose Basil into the family.
  • Stephanie and John Mark are in the process of adopting three kids. Sydnie, Landon, Rylie will bring their children to 8.
  • Rachael and Kyle are taking RCIA seriously.
  • Hannah is in RCIA.
  • Jessica received an inheritance from her grandmother. 
  • Maintained my spiritual lunchtime routine.
  • Prayerful morning routine. I have lots of prayer in my life.
  • Got brow micro-blading done and I love it.
  • Continued devotion to Miraculous Medal and Brown Scapular.
  • Affection for Saints Anthony, Francis, Rita and Faustina continues to grow. I've had special favors from each one.
  • Lots of emotional healing that has allowed me to not easily be controlled and manipulated by a loved one. Thank you, Lord.
  • I love Jesus so much more since becoming faithful to the Rosary. 
  • Recognition of my vocations of prayer, generosity, and bringing (helping) others into the Church.
  • Healed relationship with a special couple in my life.
  • Hospice volunteering. I had two amazing end-of-life stories. 1. B. was unresponsive for days, but when I talked to her about the mercy of God, she grabbed my hand. (I expect to see her again in Heaven.) 2. As S. was dying, I encouraged his wife, F., to lay beside him. He had been unresponsive, but when she laid beside him he turned his head toward her and died a few minutes later. 
  • Sat with a number of dying patients. I always prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for them, remembering what Jesus told St. Faustina about praying it at the bedside of the dying: when they say this chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the merciful Savior (Diary, 1541).
  • Gordon tiled the patio and we put IKEA chairs out there. It made all the difference and it's lovely. I spend my prayer time there every morning.
  • Became more appreciative of my guardian angel and St. Michael the Archangel.
  • Wednesday Date Night. We always go to Gibsons so our date is longer.
  • Divine Office of Readings and Morning Prayer has become part of my morning routine. That's the liturgical prayer for the Church.
  • Got a used Toyota Avalon.

2017 in review

00582D66-ACB2-4A7E-8022-40B752F905EAWhat a full, and unusual, year 2017 was. The highlight of the early part of the year was our 24th anniversary trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon. We had an amazing time. The first morning we were there I did something I’ve never done before: I read, journalled, and had coffee in bed. I felt I was in the lap of luxury. 

Cannon Beach is very beautiful and I’d recommend it to anyone for a vacation. Surely it is one of American's prettiest beaches. It's certainly the prettiest I've enjoyed. It has a quaint, lovely village with lots of good shopping. 

It was still pretty chilly, which allowed us to beat the tourists. The cool didn’t keep us from enjoying the beach. We read and napped on the beach, but we didn’t play in the water except for our one daring escapade which was the highlight of my vacation. 

Several weeks after our trip to Oregon, I went to New Orleans for my niece Emily's wedding. I loved seeing my sisters, nieces and nephews, but it was a whirlwind of a trip.

When I returned home, it was a blast to welcome my niece Mindi and her chillens to the Sunshine Coast. I enjoyed Mindi lots and her 10-year-old Ezra nuzzled himself right into the depths of my heart. What a sweet, gentle, enthusiastic child. We rented a limo to pick them up at the airport. What a hoot to see their expressions when they saw it.

In June, Daddy was told he would die soon with leukemia. I immediately went to Arkansas. The day after I got there, Stephanie and John Mark welcomed their fifth child, Remington Creede. What a delight to get to meet him shortly after his birth. He's my sixth grandchild but the first that I've met in the hospital. 

God blessed my siblings and me with lots of time with Daddy before his death. In June, we all gathered around him and he rallied well. I stayed for five weeks to help out before coming home. During my stay there I lost my job. I was wooed to the job by its flexibility and that I could have all the time off in the summer I wanted so, I wasn't too concerned about being with Daddy. As things unfolded it became clear that "all the time off I wanted in the summer" was too good to be true. It was a fun job and I miss the laughs, but I will never regret the time with Daddy. Losing the job was a small price to pay to have that extended time with him. 

I came home the first of August and was called back to Arkansas two weeks later. Daddy had taken another turn for the worse. I stayed another six weeks then came home again. Three weeks later, Daddy got really bad. I booked my ticket on the 19th and he died in the early morning hours of October 20. I had prayed regularly that we would all be with him when he died. In keeping with his private nature, he chose to die alone. My heart hurts to think that he was all alone, but as I learned in my hospice volunteer training, people often choose to die alone. I had hoped to pray, read Scripture, and sing him out of this life and into the next. It wasn't meant to be.

21522498-B123-4BB3-9171-218064B44F22We chose a casket that was made of barn wood. It couldn't have been more appropriate. Had we had all the money in the world, we still would have chosen it. It was perfect for Daddy. The first night we saw Daddy at the funeral home, he looked perfect and we were thrilled. It was an intimate time for us. I felt carried by our Lord and my siblings, although we expressed it differently, did too. Before we left, we said Psalm 23 together. It was a "God moment"; such a blessing to be inspired to do that and share that time with my brother and sisters. 

Before the funeral started, we played Daddy's kind of music - Hank Williams, Bob Wills, etc. - to go with a video of pictures of him. One thing I'd do differently given the chance, would be to have someone taking pictures and videoing the service. I missed lots as I was very "in the moment". I wish I could watch the funeral again and I wish I could see people's expressions as they watched Daddy's video and heard his music. The funeral was wonderful. Mindi (his favorite granddaughter) read his obituary and added some stories and laughs. Jimmy sang two songs, one being "On the Wings of a Dove." He sang beautifully; some of us joined him for the chorus. God blessed me with a special grace to give the eulogy. Miraculously, I wasn't very nervous, was able to deliver it well, and it received lots of laughs - mostly from the family. Dee, Daddy's best friend, led us in Psalm 23, Daddy's favorite scripture passage and one he and Dee read frequently together. Daddy had requested Donny Jewell preach his funeral. For Arkansas, it was a very custom funeral. I'm proud we did it that way. Daddy would have felt very honored by his funeral. There were lots of laughs, but lots of sweetness and respect too. He received military honors, a very touching aspect of the service. About six or seven old veterans solemnly saluted him and thanked him for his service. It was beautiful how much respect they showed and it made us cry. At the graveside, they presented Michael with the United States flag. The veteran, well into his 80's, knelt down in front of Michael and gave him the flag on behalf of a "grateful community." He ended by saying, "I knew him personally and he was a good man."

The funeral was well attended and a highlight of it was that the Torix family was there. What a blessing to see them. I appreciated their respect for us and Daddy so much. They had to drive several hours to attend. Another blessing was all Corkey's kids were there and joined us for the family dinner and the graveside. 

Daddy appointed Michael as his executor with me to do it if Michael could/would not. Michael chose not to do it, which left me with the position. It has been an honor, and again, God has graced me with what I need to do it, and I think, do it well. I had to stay in Arkansas several additional weeks after the funeral to fulfill some executrix-type obligations. One of the jobs I chose to do was cleaning Daddy's house. Daddy lived like a pauper and lived in squalor. I felt like I was honoring him in the huge job of cleaning his house and selling his "treasures." I made trip after trip to the thrift store, antique stores, and the dump. In the end, the house looked better than it has in decades.

When it was all said and done, I spent nearly five months in Arkansas this year. The time with Daddy and my siblings before and after his death, were truly the highlights of 2017. I experienced special graces the second half of the year that still amaze me. Ever since I started wearing my Brown Scapular and Miraculous Medal, the graces have rained down on me. But that's a story for a different day. Suffice it to say, I'm very grateful to Blessed Mom for her intervention and intercession in my life. She has been a game changer in my spiritual life.

Daddy left us a nice little inheritance. I invested most of mine in crypto-currencies and, at this point, have tripled my money. It is a risky investment, and I could lose it in a moment, but so far so good. As I contemplated putting my inheritance into that volatile market, I thought it would be easier to lose the investment, than not invest and regret it in a few years if it really did become the currency of the future. Another grace of the year is having more money than I've ever had before, yet being able to hold it with an open hand rather than a closed fist. That is a real God thing.

Gordon and I are both delighted that the year and its fullness is behind us. Despite a death, it was a year that was richly blessed. I'm very thankful to God. 


2016 highlights

  • First year in new house. It's a lovely home for us.
  • Hannah's wedding. So simple, so pretty, so perfect.
  • Baby Holly. There's no joy like seeing your baby become a parent.
  • Rachael, Hannah, and Deborah were all home for Christmas
  • I was confirmed Catholic. Everything in me was shaking, but I knew I was on solid rock.
  • Met Jessica. And now she's a part of the family and lives in the suite downstairs.
  • Trip to Edmonton to meet Holly. Oh my goodness. I could hold her all day.
  • Weekend trips away with Gordon. We've had getaways that were just 15 minutes from home, but they were "away", which Gordon needed. Lund, Gibsons, Secret Cove, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Washington Tulip Festival.
  • Lily became a regular part of the family. I couldn't love her more were she flesh and blood.
  • Family Shindig (2015) on Rich Mountain in Arkansas. So much fun to be around all the nieces and nephews. I remember Stacie leading us in what felt like a Jewish dance and Randy's story of getting terribly sick in Mexico.
  • Stacie came for a visit. She cooked for Hannah and Darian's wedding. It was so nice to have her here.
  • Backyard beautified more. It was so beautiful for the wedding.
  • Grant and May came for Hannah's wedding.
  • Robin's visit. 
  • Sarah's visit.
  • Became licensed insurance broker.
  • Got job at Sechelt Insurance.

2013 successes

It's been another one of those tough years. But still, there were some successes. Peewee

  • Walked (1-3 kilometers, depending on which bus stop I got off) to work most days, even in the brutal cold.
  • Got new living room furniture.
  • Got a new car; Nissan Altima.
  • Trained Peewee to be a good boy. He was a good boy all along, but now he's well trained.
  • The book club is still going strong and I enjoy my club mates.
  • Enjoyed my university studies.
  • Read 29 books.
  • Sponsored five Compassion kids.
  • Quit my Executive Assistant job. It was time, but I thoroughly enjoyed it for a few years and learned lots.
  • Had family counselling a good part of the year. I'm not sure it really helped all that much, but we did it.
  • Responded well to several significant problems with kids.
  • Deepened my friendship with Sarah.
  • Did well with Scripture memorization.
  • Consistently had morning time with God; it's always the best part of my day.
  • Started flossing regularly.
  • Cut way back on wheat intake once I discovered how it makes me tired and foggy.
  • Enjoyed my life at the apartment very much.
  • Went most of the year with no debt.

It's too easy to focus on the negatives. Reviewing the positives of the year is a great mental adjustment. It has been a difficult year, but I look at those successes and I feel instant gratitude. I have so many good things in my life, even when things are tough.


resolves kept

I get irked by the pessimists who say there isn't any use in New Year's resolutions because no one keeps them anyway. It's true, truer than I like to admit, that many of my beginning-of-the-year goals don't get kept. I've never lost those last pesky 100 pounds, nor do I work out everyday. So yes, I don't keep them all, but I do keep some.

1986 -  Before legislation dictated it, I began wearing a seat-belt. Stephanie was nine months old and I wanted to set a good example. For 20 years I have kept that resolution.

2001 - I don't usually wear my contacts or glasses in the house. Therefore I use to not notice how dirty my floors got. I would often be shocked when I donned my glasses to see the dirty floors. Five years ago I committed to putting on my glasses at least three times a week to vacuum. I still vacuum more frequently than I use to.

2004 - I gave up cream and sugar in my coffee on January 1, 2004. A lady at church was my inspiration. She said that she lost 25 pounds when she gave up cream and sugar. Well, I never lost any weight, but must admit I love my coffee black and have never looked back.

2004 - I began to live "greener." Reducing, reusing, and recycling. I buy fewer things, recycle and compost everything that can be recycled or composted. (Did you know that 70-80% of North American waste could be recycled or composted?) I mulch cut grass instead of bagging it, walk more when I use to drive, use my clothesline in the spring and summer, don't water my grass anymore, take transit some, and generally try to live more considerately of the planet.

2004 - I learned to take the bus. I'm a small-town girl in the city, so this was a big one for me. Now I'm relatively comfortable taking transit when I need to or want to.

2005 - Memorized the Apostles' Creed and two Bible passages.

It's encouraging to see some of these successes. They encourage me to keep aiming for something.