May the old year go out in peace and the new year enter with joy!
Here is a review of my year in photos.
As always, there was quite a lot of stitching taking place.
The big finish was the cream/white crazy quilt! I only participated in one round robin on an Autumn theme this year. Most of the other projects were fairly small, though there were a number of things that got finished that aren't included in this mosaic.
There were a few trips as well, though not so many as previous years.
The big highlights were the trip to Yosemite and surrounding areas and the trip to South Dakota as well as Rocky Mountain National Park, which is always a favorite destination of mine and Saguaro National Park.
I love taking photos of the flora and fauna as a way to capture the details of a time and place!
This year, one of these photos, the Mesquite in Bloom, second photo down from the upper left corner, was published in Natural History Magazine and has been contracted to publish in another magazine this coming spring!
Each year, I mark a few photos as being the "best" of the year ~ here are the ones I like this year.
The center photo of Palisade State Park in South Dakota was featured on their Facebook promo site!
But there was more than lovely trips and stitching this year that will forever mark 2011 in my memory.
2011 is the year that I had bariatric surgery. I started off weighing a peak of 278 pounds with several weight related health issues. Here is a before shot (when I'd already lost about 35 pounds due to pre-surgery efforts)
And an after shot, taken just a few days ago, down 95+ pounds (every single one of the weight related health issues has been resolved!) and feeling great!!!
2011 is also the year that my Dad passed away. He had Alzheimer's for the past decade and while he remained a gentle and kind man throughout, it was still difficult to watch the man we knew disappear. The whole family is grateful that his passing was relatively easy and peaceful. For me, it is still hard to get used to the idea of a world without my Dad in it. This mosaic captures glimpses of his life. The music clip following is the one we played at his memorial service of him singing the aria, "If With All Your Heart from the Oratorio, "Elijah". It was recorded in 1983. The recording was rather quiet, so you may need to adjust the volume. (once again, please pardon the brief advertisement prior to the music)
We were so happy to celebrate Stephen and Amanda's wedding in September! They chose to celebrate it on what would have been my parent's 56th wedding anniversary! (Stephen also got a promotion to Sergeant this year!)
So, 2011 is filled with memories of all sorts. The first half of the year was difficult, with everything from frozen pipes/flooded apartment to my being extremely ill in March, then the unexpected passing of Amanda's mother, also in March, my surgery in April (good, but still difficult!) and then my Dad's passing in May. The second half of the year has been truly blessed. There have been lovely trips, Stephen and Amanda's wedding, my weight loss and improved health, achieving a couple of professional milestones, namely getting both my IBCLC and RNC-MNN certifications, and now foster son Gary and his recent engagement to Marcy (we are looking forward to a June wedding!) !
So as I try to think of what to end this yearly review with, I can think of nothing better than to use the Psalm that has been the center of my devotions this year. This Psalm has been the rock I leaned on when times were difficult; as a family we recited it at my Dad's passing; and it has been the promise I have looked towards through all things throughout the year. Truly, here at the end of the year I can say, my cup overflows and goodness and mercy have abounded throughout this year!
Psalm 23 (my paraphrase)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for
You are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup overflows!
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever.
* * *
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign which shall not be cut off.