Worked on New Year’s Eve and was able to get quite a bit done since most of our employees were off taking PTO. Was able to make amazing progress toward month end taxes and quarter end taxes. This puts me in a better position for coming back from Texas. It’s still going to be a wild ride when I get back. It’s always a wild ride, so just “go with the flow”.
I keep trying to think what this year’s motto will be for me. Do I even need a motto? Last year and the year before it became “Everything’s going to be all right”, simply by default. Can you force a motto? When I think of this year’s phrase for 2022 and what I want it to be – these come to mind: “Go with the Flow”, “Peace and Calm”, “No Rushing”, “Fewer Goals”, “Less Planning”, “Less Forcing”, “No Timeline”, “Free and Easy”, “Less Complicated”. So it sounds like I’m wanting to move toward a “less pressing” year.
I have always liked having my goals and planning and reaching just a little bit harder. It has become a way of life to list your goals, your dreams, and by doing so you can map the way from here to there. I still believe in that. But I’m torn. The past two years, as does the Bible, has taught me that even the best laid plans turn to dust and vapor. One can fret and worry and be bothered eternally by the changes, or embrace what is left to be and forge forward. Maybe that is the new mantra for 2022. “Embrace and Forge Forward”. Yes, I think that is it. An acceptance of things as they are, no fighting with time or space, or order. No frets or worries over timelines, just live and enjoy. I like that.
Does it mean one needs to ignore goals and planning? No, I’ll still do it. Does it mean one has to give up one’s time for self, self-care, hobbies, interests? Hell no. Embrace what is – let go of what vision there was that was not met in one’s mind eye. Making lemonade out of remnants! Have fun dreaming, planning, making goals and lists, but if it doesn’t happen that way – let go of the discontentment, embrace what is and forge forward.
Forging is molding and making and finding one’s way. Sounds good to me. So I think by typing a few words, reviewing my thoughts, I have decided what the 2022 motto is. EMBRACE and FORGE FORWARD. That can encompass all those things I mentioned above: going with the flow, less forcing, no timeline, free and easy, less complicated. Embracing what is and moving forward as slowly as I need or as fast as I choose. But not fighting with life over it, fretting over it, worrying about it, complaining about it. What good does it do? It only brings discontentment, grief, heartache, and spoil to ones self and those around them. We can ALL learn by simply Embracing What IS and Forging Forward – Finding our way, our path! And with God’s Help!
Year in Review
I went through the blogs yesterday trying to pick out the highlights. I may have missed something and if I did, I hope it wasn’t something big. lol But this was pretty much our year of 2021.
- Our Grandson was born in Texas and we made the trip out to meet him and help our daughter and son in law that first critical week of his life. The snow, the weather, oh my gosh. Arrived with sunny and 60 and a several inches of snow arrived the next day.
- I added a journaling chair to my office and a new habit which stayed with me all year. I begin my day with coffee, writing in my prayer journal, and reading two chapters of the Bible each day. I have only missed about three or four days. It’s been most anxiety freeing thing I have done, except for maybe blogging, but sometimes blogging I can whip myself into a frenzy too. But the prayer and Bible reading session, gives me a cornerstone to start my day, has increased my faith, and helps me kick anxiety (for the most part – I’m not perfect) to the curb.
- George loved his Tagine gift from last year and cooked some amazing Moroccan meals. I’m about ready for another one! I love it when he embraces and thrives in learning new cooking styles. It feeds his food frenzy! Mine too.
- Snow storms seemed to be our theme the first quarter of the year. Back from Texas, the kids endured a nightmarish snow storm of the century that made news for weeks to come and left many in horrible living conditions to the point of death for some – when electricity was down for days and people were not prepared. Cody, my SIL, was resourceful, calm, and took care of his wife and newborn baby finding a remedy – family nearby with fireplace, and eventually friends with power. God’s prayers and Cody’s reassurance and quick actions is something I’ll never forget. When having a new born, you don’t need to worry about whether the power is on or not. He sought shelter, found it and figured things out for them. I’m so proud of him and how he loves my daughter and his family. He allows God to lead and it is so nice to know they are provided for. I tried not to worry but this was scary. And then we also had our Feb storm in TN which took us out of work for a few days. I was able to do some work from home.
- March came and Mom and I began talking about what it would look like if she moved closer to us so we could take care of her since she and my sister were no longer speaking. It meant things would be harder on me and fall to me to take care of her. With us still working FT, it didn’t make sense for us to do the moving. No we were not going to do that. Mom needed help so she began thinking of possibilities to move near us. At 3 hour round trip to see Mom, that is not a good scenario for being able to “run by” and do things for her, take her things, etc.
- Roger began going downhill quickly after our Maisy girl passed in December. He struggled and it was apparent he’d been leaning on her to be his eyes and ears. He grieved her and it took its toll.
- By Easter, Mom’s visit with us, led to the signing of a contract to buy a villa house in Lebanon, about 15 min away from us. The answer was pretty clear it was the right thing for her to do.
- Exciting as it was, we realized we needed to get busy. Packing began, getting house on the market, finding storage and getting a leg up on moving 40 years of accumulation in that house. Whew! We did it by renting a cargo van for the boxes and a big truck for the furniture. Three storage units and most of the room left in our basement. There was a time we could not stick another tub into our basement anywhere. And George was sick as a dog once he got all Mom’s big things moved. I’ll never forget the look on his face and how sick and tired he was after moving that last bit of furniture. I felt so much love in my heart for this man and all he had done for my mother. But it was really taking a nasty toll on him.
- We got our “virus injections”.
- Mom’s house sold, finalities made, she moved in with us. Getting her settled was quite the task. It was no easy feat. We had to (or at least I did) had to make some serious living adjustments for the few months she would be with us. Most critical was adding a railing to the front steps. Less critical but quite the task was adding lighting enough for Mom to see – being blind in one eye and the other eye trying to get there. I don’t think we ever got the lighting right because it was obvious we’d have to spent a LOT of money to get it like she would have had it. She bought various things to give her light in the kitchen (magnetized lights) and they all fell down one by one. It was quite the time. I remember feeling helpless and exasperated as each light block fell onto the kitchen counter. I realized then there was no way we could give her what she needed no matter how we tried. We would just have to make do. We gave up LOTS of living space to make room for her. We did well, and was glad to do it, but it WAS a big deal as I had different sleeping quarters, gave up closets, gave up valuable kitchen space for her favorite toaster oven and big chest full of vitamins and meds that had to be visible on the counter so she’d remember to take them. I shared a bathroom with her and gave up half my space there, gave her my beloved recliner. We got through it. It was an adjustment on her end as well. And for Fancy. We got through it. Oh and Mom had told George to get rid of the wrong mattress which caused quite the scene but it worked out and she got an adjustable bed instead which is probably what she needed anyway.
- Katy and Cody came up for a week in the summer. We went to the zoo and had some time with them.
- Once Mom was settled in with us a bit in late June, George and I could make plans to do some fun things. We went to a winery, saw friends again, went to his company picnic, went to a concert to see Striking Matches and downtown Franklin.
- In July we lost our Roger dog. It was apparent he was trying to find a place to die. He was doing weird things, getting himself stuck in weird places, and required watching 24/7. It was clear it “was time”. We held him and let him go. Mom had been struggling trying to help with him. She had been telling us he wasn’t right and not happy and in pain when we were gone during the day. It was the right decision but a painful one. He’d have probably gone on his own although painfully. He would lay and howl, hide and howl – we just couldn’t stand it anymore to watch him suffer. It was hard.
- The timing, as God does things, was good now for getting our flooring. That sounds easy but we redid ALL of the flooring except for the sun room and shower rooms where there was already good tile – so we had to move around a lot of furniture and china and books and so much stuff so the flooring (luxury vinyl and carpet) could be laid. Finally after many years of wanting – I got my flooring and I’ve loved it.
- We had a very fine get together meal “German food fest” with our friends, the Irelands, and I’ve missed them so much the past two years. It’s like our family has been plucked of good times and good friends, plucked of our fur babes, and plucked of good times. Yeah, our life seemed to be pretty much “plucked” alright. So many changes in a couple of years time. It may not have been “the Great Depression” or a “World War II” scenario, but we were certainly finding ourselves going through some changes and fast in an uncertain world, seemingly shut out by parts of our family, and dealing with the come and go restraints of our new world.
- WE got to go have dinner at the Fairview plantation house and learn of its history, meet some wonderful people, and get to know our financial analyst better. I was given a book written about the house and past people that lived in it. I’ve not read it yet but look forward to doing so.
- In September, I was victim of identity theft among with several other of our employees. If life hadn’t dealt enough we had to deal with that. But what do you? You just deal with it. No damage had been done. We are blocked through the main credit sites and can control our own credit now. So that is actually a good thing. We unlock it if we need something and then lock it back.
- I did a challenge called the KYD 55 challenge to move some pieces of my life around and try to make it better. It was really a mindset of goals mainly set by yourself but included: drinking water, doing things for others, including more nutritional things in your diet and restricting things you are wanting to not be controlled by – for me it was dessert. We went from eating a nutty buddy daily to me eating a dessert once a week. I allowed a “two bite rule” so I could eat a piece of chocolate if I wanted. It also included reading and moving. The goal was to set habits. I learned a lot from the challenge. I learned you can’t always share your goals with others as they will make fun of you – or sabotage you -even if they don’t mean to – to make themselves feel better about not trying to improve their own lives. It’s best just not to mention it, lol. Because every time you fail they will be bring it up. I also learned that it was pretty easy to set a new habit if you just set the mindset to do it and do it repeatedly for several days. I learned it’s easy to move if you just try. I want to do another challenge again some day. But this was a good start for me. I still think of these things and will always be trying to align with this 55 day challenge that has become a set “model” for me ongoing. Even if I am not perfect in it. I also like the 5 pillar or columns of goals at once. I will set myself up for another challenge at some point and may be 5 different improvements next time. I loved learning how to do such a challenge. It was exciting, different and gives me a foundation for “working with myself”. I loved it!
- In September we celebrated 30 Years of Marriage. I did a big entry on how we managed to get through that long. Do we have a perfect marriage? Hell no. But he is the great love of my life and we managed somehow to “embrace and forge forward” through our differences.
- Our good friends, The Topham’s moved to FL and we will miss them. They are good people, good buddies. Once again, life plucks! Here is their dog Ozzie, always in motion. I love this dog! Reminded me so much of Maisy
- September brought plumbing issues with a basement flood of sorts. This after spending I don’t know how many thousands already on a plumbing redo. Wasn’t really sure what happened but once again, another challenge needing attention.
- November arrived, and Mom’s new house closed. We began preparing nightly after work, and on weekends, to get the place where Mom could move in. Appliances bought and delivered, internet and Wifi connected, beds set up, closet set up, and basic living essentials placed, Mom set up her services. It was very difficult as all the things we could get to were the non essential things. We became very agitated – all of us – at trying to get it all sorted out. I think George moved the boxes around two or three times in the garage looking for things and trying to get an order. We were missing things and not able to find things. I thought we’d all lose our minds before we could get her set up enough to move in. It was highly frustrating. While the move out was fairly smooth and orchestrated well, the move back in to her place was not so much and just ended up being chaotic. Moods were not exactly patient on ANYONE’s part. It seemed the more we did, the more Mom needed. The ones that don’t make lists, sure had our lists made for us. I have never felt more exasperated in my life (except maybe at work, lol). I’m just being honest here. Things were not smooth. No one was happy and it should have been a happy time. I began hurting having moved a lot of boxes and clothes. I began having stomach issues, became misaligned – my back hurt, my jaw become locked down to the point it was hard to eat. It was all just too much. But we got her moved in over Thanksgiving weekend.
- This requires mention, because of the coziness and comfort and joy it has brought to me. Somehow during many of my 1:30 a.m. “appointments with myself” while Mom was here (for which I gather was life’s way of trying to give me some self time during these days) I stumbled upon another vlogger but she was from the “North Pole” in Svalbard and Longyearbyen. I began watching Cecilia Blomdahl on YouTube and have been mesmerized by the beauty, the culture, her fur baby Grim and life there near glaciers. The polar nights, the polar bears, the northern lights so vivid you can dance with them. It gave me peace, solace, and another world to watch. It was a delight to come home at night, sit with a glass of wine, throw over a blanket and watch. I’m still mesmerized. I started from the beginning! And I catch a show when I’m need of just peacing out and forgetting my own world. It’s very calming. She offered the above pic as a wallpaper for phone. So I took her up on it and also sharing with you! She is also @sejsejlija on Instagram.
- Mid November we got my new iPhone 13. I love it.
- December came and we began a worldwind of focus onto Christmas, took a much needed long weekends to the mountains to Waynesville and Asheville, NC and to see family in Knoxville. It was an amazing weekend and an important one. We felt like we could enjoy life again, were like two freed birds. We put nose to the grindstones, and even though we were mindful of Mom’s needs, we somehow managed to pull off Christmas and get Mom’s house “sort of” ready for her company coming. I’m sure it was not exactly to Mom’s liking and it wasn’t going to be as we could not live there 24/7 to work on everything. We had to divide ourselves b/w her and shopping and Christmas.
- Family began arriving two weeks before Christmas. Having Aunt Martha and Uncle Ken here, gave us a surprising and much needed break. We needed this time to get all wrapped and ready for our big Christmas here with everyone. We did it. We pulled it off. Katy and Cody and Little Roo arrived a week before Christmas. We worked by day, saw family by night. I didn’t get much time off from work this year as company stripped a Christmas holiday from us and stuck it elsewhere in the year.
- Day’s before Christmas, Coco, my Aunt and Uncle’s dog of 16 years passed while they were here and George dug her grave and we buried her in our yard next to Tugie, Maisy, and Roger. Another fur baby plucked from our family. Precious sweet Coco. Sweet family pets. Life moves on and shows no mercy.
- Having such a wild and crazy December, constantly on the move, longer days, short sleep schedules, and a to do list that never quits moving – by Christmas Day evening – I was in bed with a low grade fever – what I usually do when I’m exhausted. I immediately removed myself from the party in case it was “something more” and stayed in my room except to wave good bye to all my family members leaving the next day. After all, I didn’t know if I was tired, had the flu, a cold or that other thing going around. All I knew is that my boss was out and I was it where payroll was concerned. There’s no room for sickly people. My low grade fever subsided – came back late afternoon and was gone by midnight every night. My body was tired, exhausted, but life doesn’t stop. Luckily I’m in a spot where there is not many people and could for the most part avoid everyone. Right or not, I chose to push through. It was like very mild flu with mild cold attached. There were very loud and dramatic sneezes and one day I went through an entire box of Kleenex. I felt great during the day as I’d slept so well at night though. George gave me a non-addictive sleep aid antihistamine to take at night, leaving me to feel exhilarated by morning and rested, able to breathe, think and take on the world. I had options of calling out and wrecking everyone’s world over a minor illness in which I felt fine or could do the right thing and push through. I mean at this point 1) everyone’s had a chance to get the shot or not. 2) I passed the parameter for getting to work – my temp was normal. 3) Anyone could send me home if they felt uncomfortable with me being there 4) We cannot create a society where we cannot function every time we have a sniffle. In the past everyone said “eww” but carries on. 5) If I call out, I don’t get HOL pay, and might not even get pay for the day. My personal pocketbook takes a hit if I’m off for a week. I’m already out next week to fly to TX. 6) It’s a stupid busy time of the year and would be an extreme hardship if I was out last week and next week too. 7) There are probably about 40 other opinions and controversy surrounding this just as there has been every thing else the past two years. Not any one of us would be completely right. You could be conservative or not over whether I should have stayed home, worked, got things done, or let it all go. What was the worst case scenario or the best? Sometimes you make the best decision for yourself, for those around you and for the masses. And I did just that. My boss thanked me for not making her come in from her PTO while her family was in town, confirming my decision. I ended the year having made great progress toward our company goals. I would have loved the week off, but I chose to go with what I had and what I could do.
- So for the last week of the year, I “Embraced” what was, and I Forged Forward”.
NEW YEAR IS HERE! WHAT NOW?
Now here we are on New Year’s Day! What now? The new year is here. I’m delighted, I’m happy and despite and little nasal congestion in my sinuses still, I’m content as an alligator sitting on the bank looking around at what to do next with this year in front of me. I’m laughing here at the thought of an alligator instead of calm slow paced turtle for this scenario.
I suppose there is that piece of me that wants to say “don’t mess with me, I bite” b/c I have to protect myself always, thus the showing of the sharp teeth and ability to tangle if need be versus the turtle’s little tuck away into his shell. I am going with the alligator because the alligator ventures out, protects itself while it can see, and I’m going own a piece of my world still but yet take life as it comes while gliding through the water, while sitting on the bank and watching the sunrise and set.
I’m not gonna hurry, gonna enjoy what comes and goes, accept it, and slowly glide forward in these murky waters we find ourselves in. Meanwhile keeping watch over all, ready to step in and protect, ready and waiting for life as it – tucks at, gives, takes, plucks, provides, steals, and changes daily. You can’t plan it much anymore at this point, you just give your life over to God and say “here I am, lead me, send me, be with me”. We have to just take life as it comes, make the best decisions for ourselves our families as it comes – even if it doesn’t please the masses – it never will.
So here’s to your Embracing and Forging Forward into 2022. Go with me? Let’s face it and go!