Greetings, Friends ~
2014 is standing near its exit. In keeping with my longstanding tradition, I am pondering all the many great things and people around me. My life has changed so much, I scarcely recognize it. That is a good thing. Mostly.
I started off my year in a phenomenal relationship with the most incredible man I have ever met. His best friends own property right on the water’s edge on beautiful Whidbey Island. Early in 2014, we spent some time there with two incredible people who were also gracious hosts. I was able to get a lot of great pictures. The landscapes there are breathtaking. I took full advantage.
A few months later, we made reservations for a quaint little beach house called The Nantucket Inn. It was restored from an older, rustic building and sat right on the beach at Oregon’s beautiful coast. Our view was a floor-to-ceiling window where we looked right out at the Pacific Ocean. It was perfect for us.
Venturing down to the shoreline after we arrived, he proposed to me in a traditional manner. On one knee, hand outstretched toward mine and tears in his eyes. I think I shed a few tears that day, too. I knew then and there my arduous and painful search was over. I will stay with him till I draw my dying breath.
My daughter, a professional photographer, took our engagement pictures in the springtime. She does not just hold her camera and push the button. Her pictures are her art. It is truly where she shines. Each one creates a memorial of moments to be cherished long after.
Also of significance (hence, my life changes were “mostly” good) was the first of two full hip replacements at the ripe old age of 46. I went into the hospital cursing bad genes. They have led to surgery after surgery to correct this bone problem, or that. The hip replacement went well, but my recovery did not. Daily fevers, severe nausea and a level of pain that is almost intolerable have plagued me for most of the last nine months since my surgery. And no one will even consider the other hip replacement since my body is fighting the first.
Fortunately, my mind remains strong and I am highly motivated to overcome this very random health hurdle. I will say I have lost my sense of humor with Western Medicine as a whole. I soldier on.
Planned by my siblings and I, we threw a great party for my parents who reached their 50th wedding anniversary in May. In today’s world, you rarely have the opportunity to attend that event – especially for young parents. My nephew sang with the band, “Whiskey Business” and provided stellar music for everyone. Pictured here are my parents and their two (living) biological grandkids – my daughter, Jelea, and nephew, Ryan.
My daughter also completed her training in the first round of nursing school and passed the board exams for her CNA. She also graduated college with her first college degree. She misses being at Oregon State University in their pre-nursing program. But she is working on being accepted to her next leg of clinical training: nursing school for her RN. She is also working at a photography studio and has a second job as a barista. Her work ethic is solid as mine, which is really something for such a young woman.
I am a bit jaded, admittedly. But I see my daughter as a true beauty – inside and out. Her very awesome boyfriend adores her and she him. I think they make a perfect couple.
My husband and I did not wait long to be married. His two grown kids are awesome. My daughter has a great relationship with my husband and his kids. Our small families blended easily.
Here at home on a perfect summer day, we had a beautiful backyard wedding with a handful of amazing guests. My daughter and my husband’s two kids were in the wedding. So was my son-from-another-mother (a young man very close to my heart). A dear friend married us. Our wedding party was the best!
Whiskey Business set up a stage in our back yard and gave us an incredible wedding reception. The band was amazing (thank you, Ryan, Jim, Dan, Michelangelo and Tom). My very talented nephew (Ryan) coordinated with my husband to surprise me with a special song he sang for me. It made the day absolutely perfect.
Our guests joined us in dancing and celebrating a very significant and happy life event. I came out of that day knowing that in the context of a true life partner, I finally got it right.
As we near the start of 2015, my first book, Just Keep Breathing, is being sent to a local publisher. Since the book is nonfiction and written as a result of the death of my only son, I am submitting my manuscript on the anniversary date of his passing. That is coming up the day after tomorrow. Hard to believe he has been gone almost four years now. Time just keeps speeding by, paying no attention to the fact that he is no longer with us.
On the heels of my nonfiction book, I am wrapping up a trilogy (three novels) I have also been working on for awhile now. They need more editing.
And, finally, my daughter and I started making handmade soap that we will put on the market in 2015. Most of my family is allergic to soap. Because most soaps contain chemicals, scents and colors that are not healthy for our skin, we have spent a good deal of time perfecting our original, natural recipes. The trial soaps got great reviews, so we are almost ready to roll out that business.
There is much to do and even more to think about – especially at this time of year. For us, 2015 will kick off with busy work schedules, an anticipated return to Whidbey Island, and a belated honeymoon out of country. Belize has been calling my name for a few years now. In a few short months, we will answer that call and also spend some time in Honduras and Cozumel. We have some exciting things ahead, amidst some very hard work.
My hope is that even if you do not have a list of phenomenal trips in your near future, you plan something to make the difficult things in life a little easier to stomach. Dilute the challenging responsibilities with things you truly enjoy.
Finally, please remember those who struggle just to put food on the table. We do our share of giving, too. It not only helps those in need, but it makes us better humans. We cannot do much alone. But if we all give a little, we can accomplish a lot.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year from my family to yours. May your 2015 enter gently.
The Sanner Family (Lonnie & Grace – matriarchs; Margaret, Lonnelle, Lisa & Mark – children of the matriarchs; Ryan & Jelea – grandchildren. Not shown: Brock (deceased grandson). Circa, 1964.