A Year in Review

In my last post I stated that this year has left me gasping for breath. I have done a lot this year. I have turned thirty, started a new job, gained a pen pal, cut off all of my hair and been featured in the local press a couple of times. It has been a rough six months full of changes but overall, this year has been pretty fantastic. A good reminder to look at the big picture. This is what’s in my rear view mirror…..
This year I was surprised to find myself working for a non-profit organization that I both respect and delight in. The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project provides free education to children who have lost either one or both parents to AIDS in southwestern Uganda. The decision to leave the daily activities of the family business was not made lightly. Our family is still maneuvering this new territory with a little discomfort. For the first time in the history of our family, I am not at the helm of their ships helping them steer constantly. I have started off in my own little boat. We are still sailing the same sea though…just in case.

I rode 55 miles in the ride of a lifetime. I raised money for the Michigan Darfur Coalition’s Charlton Breen Refugee Assistance Program Fund to help refugees from Darfur relocate to the United States with support. Before this year, I cannot remember the last time I rode a bike. Seriously, I don’t even remember riding one as a kid. I trained all summer and I accomplished something I hoped to. That is a powerful feeling. I cannot wait to do it again next year. My body and mind ache for the solitude of the trails while my heart looks forward to reflecting on those who need help all over the world.

Ahem, Listen Up!
I am writing for The New Citizen Press on a regular basis now and it makes me happy. The joy of writing these little pieces is in the knowing of different people. So far this year I will be writing about an artist, a cancer survivor and continuing my own column. My experiences will teach me about the world one person at a time. I will be able to take their lessons and relate them with my own. What a gift and an amazing adventure to be able to write to the world. Then sings my soul…

Globe Trotter…well, a small section of the globe.
I have spent a lot of time traveling this year. I went home to El Paso for the first time in 10 years. I finally made time to visit my brother in Chicago…two times! I’ve been to Houston twice. Not all of these trips were inspired by the best of circumstances but they each helped me find my freedom, my strength and my deep, deep roots. I hope this year finds me traveling again. I crave new atmospheres, faces and experiences. I’m already planning…

 

Music
Dancing, dancing and more dancing. Music, music and more music. I have sung more songs. I have auto started my minivan to find it rocking without me because of the volume I last left the music playing at. My children dance with me. My toddler lifts his little hands in the air and bobs his head. My husband installed a under the cupboard iPod dock for me to listen to if ever I get caught in the kitchen for longer than it takes to brew and pour a cup of coffee. I think this year, I will try to see more live local artists.

Curious Daughter
I have started to ask questions. I have recognized that no matter where I go, what I do and who I become, my father will have existed. There is no escaping that. I can’t run fast enough to make the past disappear. If you cannot out run it, then you must face it. My father was an angry, abandoned, broken man and he hurt me. I want to know why. If that answer never surfaces it will not be because I was afraid to ask the questions.

Love of Heart
When I was a teenager I remember a pastor of a church declaring that we should not trust our hearts because it will lead us to sin. We are afterall sinful creatures destined to fail without God’s guidance. In all fairness, we are a mess and we do fail often. However, that statement reminds me of when someone declares that crows are evil. My response has always been, “Weren’t the crows God’s first?” My heart, your heart was created and given to you by God. I am learning to discover, celebrate and allow my heart to thrive. It feels like eating after a fast. Whether it be beautiful shoes, waking my children up at an unreasonable hour for a cuddle or sharing a story with you, my heart deserves to be acknowledged. I am exploring that which God placed in me.
I am terrible at resolutions. I don’t think I’ve ever made one that has come to fruition. In 2011, my only goal is to gather up the lessons that I have learned like loose stones in my pocket and carry them with me. I definitely have some things I’dike to do but it’sore of a to do list than a resolution.
I hope that I will always be aware that my life is a journey. It is so easy to loose sight of the fluidity of our circumstances and how quickly life can change. Every moment gives an opportunity to start fresh, to take a breath and begin again. Changes cannot be avoided but they can be navigated….with the right playlist.

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