2012: THE YEAR OF BALANCE

I am a very introspective person and so I always greet a New Year as a time of great reflection upon the past year.  I enjoy checking off those things that I accomplished and making a new list of what still needs work.  Being a dreamer by nature, this also serves as my reality check.  

In reflecting back on 2011, I have to say it is in the top of best years yet.  I surpassed numerous professional goals, had deep and satisfying personal growth, found myself in a very comfortable financial position, and developed rich personal relationships.  Heck yeah, a darn good year!!  

However, that being said.  I would have to call 2011 The Year of Work.  The majority of my time was spent focusing on my career and making sweeping changes in my work environment.  I do not regret my decision to focus so heavily upon my career, the pay back was tremendous in many ways.  However, balance is critical to a life well lived. 

So welcome 2012: The Year of Balance.  A year to balance work and pleasure.  The pleasure that family and friends bring is immeasurable.  It makes every day richer and accentuates the beauty that surrounds us.  It was my family that helped me realize just how out of balance my life had become.  Leave it to family to give reality checks.  

A FAMILY CHRISTMAS: THE STORY

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THIS IS MY VIEW ON THE TRIP THERE.  YEAH WE HAD A LOT OF GIFTS!

My eldest and her family just moved to a farm in the small town I grew up in.  In fact it is a farm that borders my family farm.  I went "home" for Christmas when I spent it with her.  I had not been home for a holiday for more years than I can remember.  Christmas with a family of eight siblings who all have various spouses, children, and grandchildren is quite something.  On Christmas Eve they all gather at my mom's house.  To say I was apprehensive about going home is an understatement.  Now don't get me wrong, I adore my family.  But there are a lot of them and well, we don't see eye to eye on a great many things.  I am still that little red headed sister who always had her head in the clouds and so being taken serious is a challenge.  Heck, being heard is a challenge.  

But God has this funny way of showering blessings down when we least expect it.  To say I had an amazing time is an understatement.  I had a grand time and got the opportunity to get acquainted with many nieces and nephews.  And oh what family pride I felt, those are some awesome young people!!!  

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VARIOUS NIECES, NEPHEWS, AND GRANDS.  NOTICE THE WALLA FACES WINE…I NEEDED IT FOR FORTIFICATION AGAINST THE TROOPS.

But as all this was going on around me and everyone asked about my life, well, my replies were mainly work related.  Now, mind you, I work in an industry that is so rewarding and work and life do blend into one.  Yet, it brought me us short.  I had lost balance, I had neglected friends.  Ouch!!  And my darling brother, who had not seen me for a good year or more, let me know I had neglected my health.  His response to seeing me after all that time was to exclaim,  "What the hell happened to you, did you swallow a whale?"  Thanks Bro, appreciate that…love you too.  

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 MY "DARLING" BROTHER (ON THE LEFT).  

Yes, it was all good and I had a wonderful time. It was proof that yes we can go home!!

Of course being with my precious grandchildren was just the best.  A few days before I arrived poor Charlotte had taken a spill and broke her arm.  We had to take her back in to get it reset and she was such a champ.  Poor baby, but I think it was harder on mom and grandma!! 

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The rural hospital that she went to gives gifts to all the brave children.  How sweet is that!!

Imagine the kids surprise when their cousin arrived and presented them with this for Christmas:

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A horse of their very own!!  I see rodeo queens in the future!!  What a generous and kind gift!  Yes this child is the oldest of the infamous brother from above.  Guess he did something right as he has two amazing children!   

It was a very special and memorable trip.  I had the opportunity to visit with one of my dearest childhood friends and revisit places I have not seen since I was little.  Neighbors stopped in on a regular basis to welcome my daughter and family to the area, dropping of gifts, and inviting them to their homes and community activities.  In my busy life I had forgotten the most precious part of growing up rural: the people!!  To see my grandchildren have the opportunity to grow up on a farm like I did and to be surrounded by such love and support and learn small town values is priceless!!    

Nothing like going home to bring you back to the basics and to remind you what is important.  Family, friends, neighbors, simple pleasures, nature, and good healthy living; these are the essentials to a life well lived.  And I thank God once again for blessing and lessons learned!!!

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