It goes without saying that 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year! I don't have to tell you what has gone wrong and what continues to weigh heavy on all of us. But I discovered a long time ago that giving thanks and feeling grateful for my blessings is the best way to cope with all of the things that have gone so terribly wrong in life. Personally, this year has been soul shattering in more ways than one. This year has also offered me gifts that were unexpected and amazing! More than anything, 2020 has been a year of extremes.
But I choose to focus on the things that make me so thankful right now. So here's my list (you had to know I made a list, right?)
After years of joking that 'menopause is trying to kill me' I have finally found a diagnosis! I will spare you the details but I'm thrilled to say that I have a surgeon I trust, an answer to the cause of my symptoms, and a solution! I will be having a hysterectomy next month. So I am thankful for the healthcare and technology that found some answers to my questions and the perfect timing of it all. My kids will be home next month to help take care of the dogs (and me) while I recover. I am looking forward to feeling better than I have in years! I'm also looking forward to pain free days and increased energy! While I'm not looking forward to the surgery, I am so thankful to see better days that will follow it.
My 3 kids are nothing short of amazing. They are all doing well in school and coping with COVID with determination, courage and grace. I'm so incredibly proud of how they continue to work so hard in the face of so much disappointment and sadness. They have lost so much of their college experience this past year and faced so many challenges of learning online, and missing their friends, and being robbed of the campus life they loved so dearly. Their resilience has been an inspiration to me. And they are moving back home for Thanksgiving and will remain home until the new year! That is something my mom heart is so thankful for!
During the worst of my challenges this year, my friends have stepped in and offered me grace and love beyond anything I could ever imagine or deserve. My online friends send encouragement and offer opportunities that continue to bless me. My local friends surround me with support and kindness and a listening ear to my endless worries. If I'm going to take credit, I've chosen my friends well, but mostly I think the credit goes to them, for being outstanding pillars of support and love through the worst of days.
I'll be honest. I REALLY miss traveling and teaching and meeting amazing quilters. While they say I give so much, the reality is that I get so much in return. Sharing skills and ideas and information is just a vehicle by which we can offer each other encouragement and help and hope. I miss all of those things. The beautiful quilters I meet along the way warm my heart so much more than any quilt ever could. So I am grateful for those memories.
I'm also grateful that my work has allowed me to contribute to my kids' college education. What a blessing to do work I love and share the rewards with my children. The financial situation of my work has changed drastically, but I am so glad I was able to do what I could for as long as I could.
I'm thankful that new opportunities like teaching online, and designing fabric are now on my daily agenda. Designing my first line of fabric (and soon my second) has been a dream come true. I am so thankful to the folks at Blank Quilting who offered me this opportunity! But the friend that recommended me to them is someone who will never know how much she has blessed my life when I needed it most!
Quilting for others on my longarm has been such a wonderful thing for me in many ways! I get to quilt beautiful quilts, I make a little money, and I get to use some creative energy while playing with fabric and thread! I'm so blessed to be able to quilt almost every day, and I will be even more thankful when I can return to quilting after my surgery recovery. Maybe I'll even get a few of my own quilt tops quilted?
My home is my sanctuary. I love that it's cozy and filled with reminders of all the people and places I love. Who knows when or if I'll ever get to travel again, but I do know that I have collected a lifetime of good memories and I am so lucky to be surrounded by them. I will cozy up by the fire this winter, plan my spring garden, and walk my dogs and laugh with my children. I will read good books and stitch beautiful quilts and bake lots of cookies. I will relish my new kitchen and maybe start planning the next project (minor bathroom redo?) between sewing and reading and baking and walking and loving on my people.
Buddy and Bailey are getting so old (14 and 12) but I plan to spoil them rotten in their remaining years. I will make sure Bailey always has a soft bed to lay on and Buddy always has a warm sweater to wear. They will give me kisses and snuggles and companionship in return.
Boomer is 6 now, but still a massive ball of energy and enthusiasm. Our daily walks are my therapy and his larger than life personality entertains me all day long. Recently I took him to visit my kids at UGA and he loved every minute with them. He didn't want to let them go (neither did I!) but I noticed on the car ride home, he sat and looked out the window for over an hour. He was taking in all the sights along the way. He might have been leaving his kids, but he was with his mom and going on an adventure and he didn't want to miss a thing. I try every day to be more like him, open and eager and happy! We never know what is coming next, so we might as well greet it with a good attitude!
I do hope that you are able to focus on the blessings and find reasons for hope and joy each day. This year has been a doozy and we all need to do whatever we can to make each day a little bit better, even if it's just for ourselves. Please be good to yourself, and find something to focus on that makes your heart thankful, it's amazing what it will do for the rest of you!
And if you are reading this, I consider you a friend and would love to offer you support in any way possible. Hang in there!!! We will get through this together by helping each other.