2016 lurks nearer every day. It's in sight, walking up the metaphorical driveway to knock on the door.
I know 2016 has some challenges in store, and I hope that I'm up for them. For now though, I'm not going to talk about the future, I'm going to look back over the past year.
I've learned that you truly only get one chance at life. It's not a good novel, a video game or a TV show where you can start over at the end, or if you mess up. Once your time is gone, you're done. I'll never be 18 again. I'll never be 23 again. I'll never be 30 again. Opportunities that came with those ages are gone, most likely for good. Sometimes you get do-overs, sometimes you don't. If you don't embrace the life you are given, then you're missing out. Missing out on relationships. Missing out on joy. Missing out on seeing the world. Missing out on learning experiences. Missing out on love: loving others and being loved. That goes for my kids too - they will never be this age again. They will never be 2 or 3 again. Always they will move forward in time, and I don't want to miss anything.
People have quested for the meaning of life with good reason. I know what comes after life. It's the amount of time I have left that vexes me. There is so much to see, to do, to taste, to hear, to touch, to experience. One lifetime may not be enough for all that I want to do. And I want to share it with the people that I love.
While the everyday tasks present themselves in front of me, I do them, but always with a longing for more, to live a more passionate life - embracing life, wandering and traveling, and always imbibing to try to satiate the unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I don't want to be remembered for how clean my house was - I want to be remembered for how I taught my children about what life is about. I don't want to be remembered for completing all my checklists, I want to be remembered for how passionate I am about what I believe, about what I love.
I often feel I must temper my longing and passion to explore and for adventure with the responsibility of every day life - teaching my children (although that is certainly part of the adventure), keeping up with responsibilities (like paying for those adventures). It's a balance I struggle to keep. I think 2015 speaks to my desires for adventure - ever searching for the next open road to take me to that elusive horizon I love so much.
Life at home has been hard the past 18 months, and I can say with certainty that this year I was absolutely happiest on the road with my children and my best friend Sierra (and her children). Traveling, learning, seeing, tasting, touching the earth, the sky, the wind - God's creation - . . . really living. A close second is the homeschooling journey I have started with my children, teaching them and passing on knowledge. It's so fun, even the bad days. More than that, it feels so worth-while. They are my legacy, truly, more than anything else I will ever do, say or write.
Look back with me, will you?
Celebrated Mike's birthday
|Date at our favorite haunt, the St. James Tea Room|
Mike and I continued in an amazing home Bible study group.
I met a celebrity at the Albuquerque Comic Con.
I started my final semester of classes at the University of Central Oklahoma (online).
|Lots of late nights studying and writing at the computer|
My Dad came for a nice, long visit. There may or may not have been a Parcheesi Tournament that someone may or may not have won. :)
|My Dad finally, finally, got to come to the St James Tea Room|
A good friend came for a visit from Oklahoma.
Little Man celebrated a birthday.
Butterfly celebrated a birthday.
Mike participated in the Bataan Death March Memorial Half Marathon at White Sands Missile Range outside Las Cruces (and I locked my keys in the van 30 seconds after arriving to watch him, but thanks to the kindness of strangers I didn't miss seeing him.)
|With pack too - very impressive.|
We visited the Trinity Site at White Sands Missile Range. Read about that here.
Went on the PWOC Retreat and ended up in the front row, sitting eight seats from Beth Moore (before she got on stage to speak), and ten feet from the stage. Apparently, I really needed to hear that message.
Celebrated the Queen's Birthday with tea with a great friend.
|She PCS'd too, sniff, sniff|
Some good friends came to visit.
I graduated with my Bachelor's!! It only took me 12 years!! (This is the epic part of the year!)
|By the grace of God, I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
We took a road trip to Oklahoma for my graduation and encountered a few tornadoes.
I got to see lots of great friends in Oklahoma.
|My amazing and wonderful friend Becca, who opened up her home to us when we were in Oklahoma|
The kids participated in the Spring pageant at the Chapel, "Acorns to Oaks".
I cooked for 50 people for my graduation party (it was Italian themed)
Had a visit from two good friends.
My best friend arrived to begin our epic road trip (with 5 kids between the ages of 3-7)!!
|Sierra had never been to the St. James Tearoom, so of course, we had to take her!|
Bisti/ de na Zin Wilderness, read about that here
4 Corners Monument, read about that here
Arches National Park, read about that here (and about Moab here)
Stonehenge Replica Memorial, Washington
Central Washington University visit
Seattle Space Needle
Seattle Fish Market
Boeing Factory Tour
Fort Casey State Park
Fort Worden State Park
An overnight getaway to the Blue Goose Bed and Breakfast
Visiting friends from Oklahoma who were in Seattle
|My photography skills under an overcast sky are severely lacking. Must be the lack of practice.|
Grove of the Patriarchs at Mt. Rainier
A visit with long time family friends who were in Seattle from Kansas City (small world!!)
Mount St. Helens
Fort Stevens State Park
First taste (literally for Little Man) and sight of the Pacific Ocean for the kids (brrr!!!)
|I think that face says it all. :)|
|Where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, underneath all that fog|
Fort Clatsop (Lewis & Clark)
Pacific Coastal Highway 101
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Tillamook Cheese Factory tour (and ice cream!)
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Crescent City Lighthouse
Drove through a Redwood Tree
Jedadiah State Park, National Redwood Forest
National Redwood Forest (Corkscrew Tree trail)
Avenue of the Giants Scenic Drive, California
4th of July in California at Sierra's sister's house
|My kids first experience with sparklers|
Hoover Dam (hot does not adequately describe Hoover Dam in July)
Visit with friends in Denver
Visit Mike's family in South Dakota
Corn Palace, South Dakota
Laura Ingalls Wilder Town in DeSmet
Dakota Discovery Center
Burke Rodeo, South Dakota
|Butterfly was completely enraptured by this girl, and now aspires to be just like her (doing tricks on horseback)|
Celebrate Flower's birthday
Butterfly started 1st grade, read about that here
Little Man started Kindergarten and we started the homeschooling journey (read in above link)
More good friends PCS'd (to Germany!! Still so jealous).
Completed a 5K Mud Run with a friend. Read about that here
Flew to Florida for my Dad's retirement. Read about that here
|Mike and Flower were missing because Flower was very sick and at urgent care with Mike :((|
Air Force Ball, read about it here
Celebrated my birthday
|Story of my life - and I love it!|
Some good friends came to visit for the Balloon Fiesta, read about it here
We celebrated eight years of marriage
Some more good friends came to visit
White Sands National Monument
New Mexico Space Museum
Valley of Fires National Recreation Area
Salinas Pueblo Missions at Abo
Trick or treating
|Snow White and the Pirate|
|Capt. Jake, Cinderella and Elsa|
Tea with Tolkien (date night)
Became a consultant with Usborne Books
Thanksgiving at a friend's house
|I'm briefing the girls about the candles|
Lots of stuff - see Christmas recap :)
And of course, throughout the year friendships and relationships were deepened through playground time, girls night outs, Bible study and more. Friendships mean so much to me and I am so grateful for them!
Wow, that is an epic year, if I do say so myself. I don't think 2016 will be quite as epic, but it will still have some good times. I've made plans (not necessarily travel plans), and even though life doesn't usually go according to plan it's good to have a blue print to try to follow. We shall see how things go.
Oh, and I got an awesome desk for Christmas, so I'm really looking forward to settling in for some good writing, or at least, trying for good writing.
How was your 2015? What do you have planned for 2016?