|A popular Christmas ornament available here.|
Saturday I will be making homemade doughnuts--another baking tribute to Grandma. This is how we always celebrate New Year's Eve. Though I don't know how much energy I have to celebrate.
2016 has been a rough year. The ugly election made us too aware of how divided America is. Conflicts of interest, Russian hacking, etc., make unity unlikely any time soon. Then we add in the deaths of famous people who have the amazing ability to touch our lives, even though we never met them.
On a more personal level, this is the year I lost my career and with it a great deal of my independence and self-esteem. I've spent far too much of this year sick, lost, and sad.
But, of course there were good things. I am focusing on them today
Despite a dysfunctional mother, life is good in our little household.
My brilliant husband managed the budget well enough that we don't really feel the 1/3 difference between my pay check and disability. It also helped that his department was spared from layoffs earlier this year, so his job feels secure.
Oldest returned from an LDS mission to Washington DC. He found a job at Best Buy right away and is thriving there. He hugs me every time he walks into the room.
Youngest graduated from high school. He empties the dishwasher daily, wrangles the pets, and serves as back-up memory for my leaky brain.
Both boys are life savers for me with help around the house and errands and both boys are starting college (year two for Oldest) in just a couple of weeks.
We can also count on love and support from our extended family and church family. Some families feel isolated and alone--tiny islands against the world. No fear of that. Someone is always checking in on us, inviting us over, helping in countless ways.
This blog has been a blessing. Giving myself a Friday deadline means there is structure to my week beyond the tedious demands of laundry. Due to the weirdnesses in my brain, I can't write as I would like to yet. But writing is work I believe in. It gives me hope.
Part of the hope comes from reading the work of people who turned blogs into books. I have followed the Yarn Harlot, a writer and knitter in Toronto, since we both had small children. Her life as a full time writer and knitting teacher sounds like something I would love doing.
Just this year, I found an additional role model--The Bloggess. I can't say I want her life, but I want her courage. Despite much stronger depression and anxiety than I deal with, and RA, she manages to live life on her own terms, often wacky ones, and to share them with the world. Her first memoir, Furiously Happy made me laugh out loud when I didn't know I still could. Just seeing a new posting from her on my Twitter feed makes me smile.
Speaking of Twitter, that is also new to me this year. It is definitely a mixed blessing. Made up mostly of real-life strangers, my Twitter crowd has formed the dreaded "political echo chamber" where I only hear people I agree with. (In contrast on Facebook, among friends and family, I started a four day argument by re-posting a petition to sign.)
On the positive side, I am following knitters, dyers, spinners, and shepherds. Most of them are in the UK, which means that when I get up due to painsomnia in the middle of the night, I see beautiful pictures of green countryside and videos of new lambs. (See http://zwartblesireland.com)
I believe in buying my yarn and fleece more locally, but I have bought British shepherds' books, calendars, and artwork, all of which make me feel like I have travelled instead of being stuck at home all the time.
All things Hamilton make me happy. I love history, politics and musicals, so it feels like it was written just for me. Listening to it makes me feel determined and patriotic. I have the soundtrack and the mix tape. They provide fight music when I write letters to congressmen.
Youngest, who loves history, but isn't big on music, has read all about every scene and can tell me what is accurate, what is less so, and where every bit of subtle irony lies. He also pointed out that the real Hamilton was not as likable or admirable as Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I want more. I have 1776 and love it, but it is pretty silly. Is there any other patriotism-inspiring music that isn't blatantly-right-wing country, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or John Phillip Sousa? Please tell me. I'll be happy to try out any recommendations.
In additional media, I have found something for everyone--
for those who want to see the good in this year (video):
16 Ways 2016 is not a total dumpster fire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wei8M9IuqPc
Glove and Boots Best of 2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3TzJwZve-U
for those (like me) who need to plan a whole different life (audio):
Loss and Renewal http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510308/hidden-brain
for those just fighting to survive until tomorrow (article):
When Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression Make It Impossible to "Count Your Blessings" https://themighty.com/2016/12/depression-anxiety-suicidal-thoughts-at-christmas/
Of course there was yarn for Christmas, so I had to start a new sweater for myself. I am slowly making progress on my son's sweater.
But the best progress is in production of what I think of as niece pieces. I have seven beautiful nieces. Six are under the age of twelve. I have knit baby things and toys for them, but it is time to move them into serious knitwear. The aim is beautiful, but sturdy pieces in good yarn and fabulous colors. Each piece can be worn as a shawl for warmth by a little girl or a scarf/shawlette by a woman. I'm having fun making these up, so I'll put them in my shop and make them available to other women and girls, then go "shopping" for my nieces as birthdays approach. (Of course, if nieces or their mothers are reading, I will accept requests.)
HOW AM I DOING?
Within two months, I will know if it is working.
More immediately, my family is fasting and praying for me on Sunday and will give me a priesthood blessing.
I need to humble myself and prepare to accept God's will. That's hard. I've been fighting tooth and nail against learning anything from this illness. What I have learned so far is that what I want doesn't determine what I get. It's time that I turn my illness over to God and accept His guidance as to the best way I can contribute to the world around me