New Year's Eve is here, and after meeting a friend for a nice dinner out, now I am waiting with Jack the puppy for the big Waterford crystal ball to drop at Times Square. Jack and I are more than ready for a New Year.
It is customary to take stock at the close of the year. The year 2012 was a year of many losses for me following the Nashville Flood of 2010 in May and then my washing machine hose breaking in October 2010, pumping a couple of thousand of gallons of water into my house. After the double dose of water damage and seeing my house gutted, followed by living in a tiny room at the Microtel for 9 months with a sick dog, having to pay for mold remediation and other repairs out of pocket, I started 2012 in bad shape, mentally, emotionally and financially.
In January of 2012, the local web designers (who cost one of my friends almost $2,000 in copyright penalties) unexpectedly pulled the plug on Christian Activities, and I have spent 2012 working with my cousin to try to rebuild, re-index, and re-link the 10,000 articles on the site. My contractor, Landmark Construction cashed two checks and never returned to finish the job, and I discovered my check for the past year's property taxes (which I mailed from the Microtel in 2011) somehow never made it to the tax office.
I cleared out every account and borrowed from the bank to pay two year's worth of property taxes that somehow keep going up on a house that is worth much less than when I bought it. The week after I bottomed out my savings to pay my taxes, my precious dog and faithful companion of 17 years, my dear little Miss Katy, got sick and I simply didn't have the money to take that sweet dog to the emergency vet. Losing Miss Katy was the worst blow of 2012, especially since I couldn't give her the medical help she needed which added tremendous guilt to my grief.
Following that heartbreak, I received so many damaged possessions, appliances and broken family heirlooms back (as well as other people's trash) from ServiceMaster in Nashville which did such a negligent job of packing out and storing my goods, it was just one loss after another throughout 2012. My disinterested insurance company, Farmers, canceled my policy and stopped responding to my pleas for help. The work still isn't finished on my house, and my escalating property taxes are once again due.
But 2012 was also a year of surprising blessings. I got my little puppy Jack; made some new friends; began jogging a mile; started a new job at Sears; got to be an extra on "Nashville" several times; qualified for a clinical study of high blood pressure and got all my tests and medications for free; got to be part of the planning committee for the Koinonia Family Reunion; started hiking occasionally with a couple of local hiking Meetup groups; was active in a Nashville Civitan Club; and began trying to put my house and life back together. And I have a new contact at Farmers now, so maybe I will get a little help on the remaining repairs and replacements. I am praying these new beginnings have paved the way for a happier and more stable 2013.
However, regardless of my circumstances, I am also trying to learn to "give thanks in all circumstances." It's a hard lesson, and I am not learning it very quickly or very well. But I am thankful for all of the blessings 2012 brought and hope to focus on them more in the New Year.
Dr. Robert Emmons is a leading psychologist who studies gratitude and is the author of "The Psychology of Gratitude." He says being grateful increases your chances of being successful in work, love and life.
The Bible puts it another way: "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -- 1 Thessalonians 5:18
So while Jack and I wait for the ball to drop to usher in a New Year, I am going to concentrate on being grateful for my blessings... but I am still hoping for a better 2013!
Here is wishing a Happy and Blessed New Year to my all friends and readers.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11