I haven't updated our blog much this year. 2016 has been a year to survive, and that's about all I've done. Life has its ups and downs and I had some difficult years in my teens and twenties, but for the past 30 years I've been blessed with good health, good relationships, a good job, a strong and vibrant faith, a wonderful community in which to live and of course, my precious fur-babies. There have been some bumps along the way .... a broken relationship in 2007, the death of my parents in 2011, a few health scares and the loss of my first two corgis. A few weeks ago, I told my brother Dan that if I were to take all of the tears shed in the two weeks following Dee Dee's death and added them to the tears shed in the past 8 months, they would be more than the tears shed in the rest of my almost-61 years combined. I've never cried much. Until this year. A small stroke in May led to the loss of almost 30 friends - all of them local, and all but two involved in the rubber stamping community, which was my passion for nearly 20 years.
I am immensely grateful to those who have stood by me and walked alongside me. I have some truly wonderful friends who went 'over and above' and never wavered. My brothers, co-workers, medical and professional therapists, and even the Law Enforcement community have given me strength when I didn't think I could live another day.
I have put Scarlett and Zak in doggie daycare more often this year. They LOVE it, and when we turn down the dirt road leading to Yuppy Puppy, Scarlett squeals with delight. When I go to pick them up, Zak often hides under the desk. They just got to spend a whole week there so that I could go to North Carolina to spend Christmas with dear friends. They'll get to go there again for THREE weeks in February when I go to China. They get good 'report cards' for behavior and getting along with the other dogs. They could not be more different than my girls!
|Christmas through the eyes of a child|
|What is more exciting than a new bike?!|
|Toddlers don't notice or care about dementia. It's all love.|
I enter 2017 with many question marks. I try to imagine where I will be a year from now. I have life changing decisions to face; all of them difficult, with no guarantees that any will bring healing. I try to focus on things to look forward to in the short term (like my trip to China) and not plan too far beyond that. I don't know what is ahead, and take a day at a time. 2016 was a year to survive. I am hoping that a year from now, I will be looking back on 2017 as a year to thrive.
|The Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, NC|