Over at Segullah, the question is posed "What accomplisments are you proud of from 2009?". In reviewing the year, at first my mind was blank, and tentacles of despair began to squeeze the hope for improved behaviour away, into the farthest corners of possibility. "How could I have wasted a WHOLE YEAR?" I wondered. Memories of hours online, reading, sleeping, watching TV, swelled up and overtook me, the waters threatening to close over my desperate struggle to look for the positive. "I am nothing. I have done nothing with this precious year. I have made no progress, no new beginnings, still have hard feelings toward the people who spoke evil of my son, no monthly temple attendance. My visiting teaching has suffered, I have not served my fellow beings." How did this happen? Or rather, how did I not make each moment count? What have I done to strengthen my marriage? To nurture my children? To bond with my parents? my siblings?
Although past experience has taught me that our time here is short, precious, and of undetermined length, did I make each moment count? Failure after failure filled me, flooding me with self loathing.
And then, other memories emerged. Pictures of my entire extended family standing in the baptistry of the temple as 82 ancestors made sacred covenants. And another trip to the temple with everyone, as 35 more were baptized-including a beloved aunt and uncle who died less than a year apart from each other, victims of lung cancer. Even the adults did baptisms, we didn't just watch the teens do this ordinance. Although I had been to the temple several times as a youth, I had not done baptisms/confirmations since. This time, standing in the water and hearing my baby brother's voice calling out names of those I have come to know and love through hours of research, I felt the Spirit sweetly testify of their presence and gratitude.
This year, we had our first successful garden! We have tried to grow a garden almost every year we have been married, but they produced mostly weeds and rocks despite diligent weeding and watering. This summer, everything survived, even prospered! And for the first time, there were enough vegetables to can! I even learned how to pressure can successfully! No one died!!!! My freezer is full of frozen tomatoes, peppers, peas, jam and onions. My shelves are full of carrots, beans, tomatoes, apple juice, as well as the flour, sugar, etc. Another first.
My 14 year old learned how to work- as in for someone else to earn money- and actually made a little cash. He is figuring out how ignore his brother's sarcasm, to not take it so personally. Sometimes. He loves girls, and dances. He is somewhere on the autism spectrum, and has difficulty with social nuances. A blessing of this difficulty is that when a girl says "no" to his request to dance, he just shrugs and moves on to the next girl in line. Even the priests quorum is in awe of his success rate. A tender mercy given to a son who will struggle all his life in many areas. A grateful mother who worries and cries for a sweet, handicapped son.
My 17 year old learned how to handle himself in less than ideal circumstances. He has almost completed his volunteer fire training, and seems to have found his preferred occupation. He loves fighing fires, loves helping people, and loves the adrenaline high. Dylan taught his friend the gospel, and baptized him. What a joy!! what is that scripture? Something about "no greater joy than to know my children walk in righteousness". Totally describes my emotions. After the friend spent several months back in Babylon, Dylan was able to bring him back. Now the friend lives with us. No greater joy!
My 20 yr old succesfully completed 2 semesters of school at byui. She was able to finish her summer semester with a B average despite a 3 week psychotic episode. BYUI has a phenomenal academic assistance department. They bent over backwards and did acrobatics to help her. She then finished fall semester with a 3.94 gpa. A psych major with a criminal justice co major, she hopes to finish in 3 more semesters. We are so very well pleased!! Now if she would just stop intimidating the guys, get married, and give me some grandbabies!!
My 19 year old dropped out of highschool, got a truck, and spoke to me 3 times this year. Better than last year. He did finally verbalize the fact that our parenting was not the problem, his attitude was. Hmmmm.....maybe someday he'll comeback. How I pray for him.
We attended the funeral of Paul's favorite aunt, and spent time with those cousins that he grew up with. We threw a family reunion for Paul's side of the family over labor day- rain and all. It was a tender mercy, forcing everyone to retire to the lodge to play some games, talk, eat, and talk, and eat, and talk and eat. The food was great, the company was great, and there were no squabbles.
Late fall brought family gatherings, surgery, and now the holidays.
Was the year as productive as it should have been? Definitely not. Were there improvements? Yes. Unequivically Yes. Do I have more goals for 2010? Absolutly. Will I complete them? Maybe. But when it is all said and done...... over all.....2009 was good. Very good. And 2010 will be even better.
Happy New Year Everyone!!