Is it 2012 yet?

Debbie Downer
Image via Wikipedia

If I were the kind of person who sends out Christmas letters telling everyone what happened in our year that’s now drawing quickly to an end, I’d be too much like “Debbie Downer.”  You don’t really want that, do you?

Let’s see … should I tell about what happened early in the year?  No, can’t really do that.

And then came April, when Alicia suddenly had the signs of appendicitis, which we were all too familiar with because her oldest brother Curtis was hit by it shortly before Christmas 2010.  Yep, you guessed it … double-whammy on big medical bills.  And to top it all off, Alicia broke her arm this summer.  I guess you could say that was “the cherry on top,” medically speaking.

On the positive side, my mother went through some scary ups and downs with her health this year and had heart valve replacement surgery in Montana in late June that went well, and it showed in improved vital statistics.  My sister, Lynda, and her husband, Lyle, have done a tremendous job in making sure that she’s taken care of in so many different ways, and I hope they take care of themselves as well and find more time to relax as far as Mom is concerned.  Their efforts are surely recognized and greatly appreciated, by my family as well as Mom and others … no matter how confused and cranky she may get at times.

On the way back home from Montana the day before July 4th, my stay in Idaho had to be extended unexpectedly.  But it did give me more time to spend with the in-laws, and my lovely wife and two of our children came up to spend the 4th with me and my wife’s side of the family — always a pleasure, because my in-laws are pleasurable people to be with.

What wasn’t a pleasure was a situation that awaited us as soon as we got home … that I’d still be better off not talking about, involving a former family friend, and lingering effects that have been felt right up to very recent weeks.  Believe it or not, we do still care as a family for that friend and hope that things turn out better for them and that life goes well in the future.  And that is a sincere wish.

Alicia and Buffy

We are a family that adores all creatures, great and small.  We lost two very beloved “family members” this year — Buffy, the “senior” of our dog pack at age seven who still had plenty of good, loving, sweet, energetic years left in him; and “Cross-Eyed Cougar Cub Crybaby Camaro,” a beautiful Siamese-type kitten who grabbed all of our hearts just over a year ago and never let go.  It was very hard to say goodbye to such good friends, for all of us.  Both of those losses were huge shocks to us, and the impact of them is still felt today.  They are missed every day.

We’ve also had to help close friends cope with the loss of their own beloved pets.  At times, it’s seemed that the loss of animal friends has come way too often this year.

There have been no losses of close family members for us this year, which is a very good thing.  However, our church has felt the tragic loss of two very memorable members in 25-year-old Daniel Harper and 94-year-old Marj Johnson.  They will live on in our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives, and then some.

And then came the end of October, and the event that helped to launch this blog — landing on the unemployment line.  But I’m not going to show that “Debbie Downer” side here now, you’ve seen enough of that already (well, I’ve tried to be as positive about it as I can — I mean, how many people can joke around about the day they lose their health insurance coverage, for cryin’ out loud).

We’ve had some tremendous emotional support and encouragement from so many people — from various corners of the world, as a result of this blog — and there’ve been so many tips on job openings, so much leftover church potluck food offered to us, etc.  For that, we extend our heartfelt thanks.

At times, it’s seemed that others are more stressed out and worried about our situation than my family is.  But rest assured that we are fine, we will continue to be fine, and something very good will come out of all of this.  It’s just a matter of what, when, where, why, and how.  I am determined to take control — with some supreme guidance along the way — of my own situation, simply because leaving my situation in the control of other “bosses” … well, it’s not always too rosy.  Being a number on a balance sheet these days is the pits.

Basically, that’s why I’m in the San Francisco area now as you read this — seeing if there is some chance that some long-held aspirations that hadn’t even entered my mind until the job loss occurred will open up a great, wide, wonderful world for me and my family as an “independent contractor” in some way.

I’m still just trying to follow those “crazy love” signs that seem to keep popping up along the way.  I believe it’s that kind of “crazy love” sign that led me to the Bay Area today, and that it will mean something very good could be in store for me and my family in 2012.  They are signs I am more than willing to trust and follow.

I hold fast and strong to the faith that, as we enter 2012, a good change is gonna come.


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