Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review

I had a very busy and in some ways, I guess, productive year.  It was also extremely difficult but external circumstances kept me so busy I could not process the bad adequately. 

In January and February we had a lot of snow for North Georgia, which meant two things:  I was off work quite a bit which allowed me to have time to work on my doctoral research, and I had a hard time getting my students back on track.  I also was expected to run a conference for a professional organization at a university in Atlanta, and that ended up being nothing but a stress-inducer.  It ended up OK, and I was named the president of the organization, which looks great on a CV, and that's all it's about now, isn't it?  I took two doctoral classes in the spring and managed to achieve ABD status by the end of the semester. But by then everything else was changing.

My mother decided in May not to have another round of treatment for her cancer that had returned, and we were dealing with the reality of what that meant.  Thankfully, she had made friends with three other women who were going through chemo at the same time she was, and they became our support group.  We were meeting for lunch with them starting in Fall 2013 and met the last time in May.  In early June she fell, entered hospice care, and I moved in with her.  I still taught a Monday night class and tried to keep up with the doctoral work, taking a class that summer. 

As anyone knows, when one is a caregiver, life sort of stops, but that was not a surprise.  She died sooner than we expected, and I had to immediately deal with selling her house and belongings and settling her estate, going back to class, continuing the doctoral work, and trying to just live.  I have other projects, always other projects.  I have a rich professional life but wish I could have left it for a while.  Anyway, after a couple of months those issues went back to normal.  The college theatrical group produced a play I wrote, which I have submitted to a local contest but doubt anything will come of it (hope to find out soon) and I ended the year with a promotion.  I didn't get a vacation this year, no travel except for driving to Atlanta for class, but I try to get enough sleep.  My uncle died last week, my mom's last sibling.  I feel that my family is getting smaller and smaller. 

In terms of the year outside of my life:  I am most concerned with the persecution of Christians and other groups by ISIS.  It was very hard for me to pray for my enemies in this case; my personal thought was to bomb them in the Stone Age, something I am not proud of but do admit to it.  I think our country is in worse shape than it has been in a long time, perhaps ever, but I blame the media for a big part of that.  The media makes us think nonproblems are problems by not just focusing our attention but grabbing our heads and refusing our ability to see other "realities." 

I am spending the last evening of the year quietly with my husband and dogs, watching car shows, thinking about reading or watching a movie, having driven to Monteagle today to meet with a doctoral colleague to read and comment on each other's work.  Tomorrow  I will attach some projects.

What did I learn?  Lots, in terms of being a doctoral student, a teacher, a Bible student.  I was reminded of the most important.  People come first.  Prayer works.  It's neat to grow vegetables.  Humility is not about focusing on self's inabilities but God's abilities.  I get very impatient with people but God never gets impatient with us.  I'll never stop being a mom.   Getting a different perspective is usually the best way to deal with anger or an argument.  Just lecturing is not the bet way to teach. 

This will probably be my last blog.  My final challenge is to pray for the persecuted church in 2015. 


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