A Year of Many Blessings

I don't often review a year as it comes to a close but this year, 2011, was so full of memorable moments for me that it seems fitting that I should look back and count my many blessings with thankful remembrance.

These are only the highest of highlights in a year brimming with special memories.

I began the year in an unusual way by painting, exhibiting and selling my first ever acrylic work of art. Despite that encouraging start, I haven't had the inspiration or courage to pick up a paint brush since!

At the beginning of 2011 I got to spend some precious time with my grandsons when they came to visit.

Having all of my kids together at once is the best of all possible joys in any given year.

One of several milestones was the marking of thirty years of marriage to the most loving and loyal man on the planet. I gave my groom his first ever wedding band. (He got to choose between two designs and by his choice revealed how much he has changed in thirty years.) He is working hard at getting used to wearing it.

My little wedding cake business kept me more busy than ever in 2011. I delivered thirty something something wedding cakes (I lost count) and baked a bazillion cookies. With a couple newspaper articles, a photo in a bridal magazine and internet attention, I am ever so grateful for work that I find fun and challenging in these times of corset tightening in the wedding industry.

One of the surreal events of the year was my trip to Oklahoma to hang out at The Lodge with my daughters and grandson. We got to bake some pie, hang out with the Phillips girls, ride some horses and...

...oh yeah, the one and only Ree Drummond was there too. She made me swoon over cheesy bacon grits.  That weekend still has a surreal aura to this day. I watch the Pioneer Woman show on Food Network and feel a certain deja vu every time.

As I approached the mid century mark of my life I managed to accomplish a long held goal. I swam solo across Lost Lake a couple times followed by an early morning Labor Day swim across the Columbia River with 400 other water lovers. I am thankful for the good health that gives me the opportunity to do this. And yes, I'd like to do it again!

After decades of driving station wagons and mini vans with one or more child car seats strapped in the back, I made a mid-life transition to a spiffy little car with no child seat in sight. It's just right for a wedding cake or two and I am having fun driving it.

I spent the whole month of October as well as my milestone 50th birthday waiting with my daughter and her family for this little guy. He was worth the wait. It was the highest privilege to witness his birth and welcome him into the world. Despite that joy I learned what real homesickness feels like as I missed my husband, other family members and home like never before.

Being absent made my heart grow fonder. It's been a great year. I'm looking forward to what the next one may bring.

May you also be so richly blessed with love and family in 2012!  Happy New Year!