Thirty minutes to midnight on December 31, and I have been pondering the year that was 2021. How to capture 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days? 12 favorite posts? Key accomplishments? The best photos of the year? Or perhaps a focus on loose ends? Resolutions for the New Year? So many options!
The temptation to make a matrix is almost overwhelming, but it is possible to over-engineer these things!! So, let's just go and see how it develops!
Our year was filled with many blessings, and I can think of no better way to start this than to give thanks for my rock, my partner in crime, the guy who puts up with my many foibles with a knowing grin. 2021 marked 30 years of marriage, and the adventures continue - hiking, skiing, camping, traveling.
After 2 years' absence, we finally returned to the UK and, with great relief and joy, were reunited with my in-laws. Weekly video chats are better than a phone call or no communication at all, but hardly substitute for a full-on body hug at the airport! We made up for lost time, walking in the countryside, visiting our old haunts, and a week-long getaway to the Skipton area. I know I shed a tear or two, watching my in-laws stroll arm in arm in the woods near Skipton Castle.
Together with Man with Hat, I logged 105 miles of hiking, including three back-country camping trips. Trust me when I say it was downright difficult to choose one picture that represents the beauty, solitude and glory of Montana. In the end, I chose a photo that was taken by my nephew the day before we started our epic back-country camping trip in the Belly River. The picture below is in Glacier National Park - Hidden Lake with Bearhat Mountain in the background.
Did I mention 2021 was filled with blessings? In early August, #1 Son received the long-awaited news: he landed a job, a nuclear engineering position within the Idaho National Laboratory. I jumped up and down for joy; he has been in job search mode since May 2020, and all of us were thrilled for him that his patience and perseverance paid off! On December 21, just in time for Christmas, he was informed that his security clearance came through and that he would start work on January 17. Praise God!
It is inevitable, with adult children, that they will develop lives of their own, and family vacations get more challenging to arrange. So, we jumped on the chance to be together in Santa Fe in October. Each of us had our favorite aspect of the trip - Bandelier National Monument for Spousal Unit and me, Los Alamos for #1 Son, Mexican food almost every night for The Boyfriend.
But I think it is safe to say that the trip will be forever remembered as the site of The Engagement!
2021 was not all wine and roses. On April 28, my Mom went to heaven. I was so fortunate to spend time with her a couple of weeks before she died, and it was cathartic to write this post in her memory. Since then, she often crosses my mind. I miss her, and it makes me sad that she won't be here to see #1 Daughter get married. Mom, I love you, and I take some consolation in knowing you are watching over all of us!
One of my brothers had a heart attack in November, and I traveled to Ohio to visit him in the hospital. He is home now, but has a long road to recovery. Maybe it's an inescapable aspect of getting older, or maybe it is down to COVID, but it seems we hear more frequently about friends and family with serious illnesses, or worse. As I wrote in my December 5 post, "Life is not simple, or predictable. At any moment, life can turn upside down. I can't take any pleasure in the fact that it's someone else who is in the hospital, but I can count my blessings every day."
With that in mind, I turn my attention to 2022. How will I make the most of this year that lies in front of me like freshly fallen snow, untracked and ready to be explored? Some things are given, such as reveling in time with my Dear Neighbor Friend - skiing, walking, kayaking or chit-chat over a coffee.
I will probably do some cross-stitch. At last count, I have one project underway and at least six others to choose from! I also hope to try my hand at Spanish Blackwork.
I will continue volunteering - the 63rd Whitefish Winter Carnival kicks off formally next weekend. You'll also find me at the North Valley Food Bank, the Whitefish Historical Museum and serving as co-leader of the Flathead Chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby!
You can be sure I will be outdoors, whether it is in the garden, hiking or kayaking. Who knows what new critters we will see? Each year we get a few surprises, such as the pygmy owl that crashed into our windows in June (and survived).
We are already planning travel for this year - beginning with a late February ski vacation/visit to my brother and sister-in-law in Utah (and we will pop in to see #1 Son on the way down and back). In the Spring, we will fly to the UK, partly to mark the 61st wedding anniversary of my in-laws in April!! After that, avoiding most of the "mud season" in Montana, we hope to finally complete the long-awaited family scuba vacation to Grand Cayman - we should have been there in May 2020 to celebrate the college graduation of #1 Son.
Sounds busy, doesn't it? Of course, contemplating a New Year is not just about WHAT we plan to do, but HOW we plan to do it. I thumbed through my prayer journal from the last 12 months, and the following words spoke to me: gratitude, faith, understanding, "do not be afraid", forgiveness, mercy, compassion, patience, discernment, good cheer, encouragement, letting go. A tall order, to be sure.
"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." LEO BUSCAGLIA
"If the will to walk is really present, God is pleased even with your stumbles." C.S. LEWIS
I hope and pray that, together, we can experience joy, thankfulness, compassion and good health throughout 2022. Happy New Year to you and yours!
Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme
where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
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