Thursday, December 31, 2009

Made It Through This Strange Year

Well, I can officially say in about an hour and 45 minutes that I made it through this strange year. In our 2009 Christmas formletter, I tried to put a positive spin on the year in that Rex and I (in this rough economy) still have our same jobs, and we've now been in our very long-awaited house for 2-1/2 years. But in many respects, I say good riddance to 2009 and pray that the coming clean slate will be a lot less stressful. The stress was in three main areas: 1) having lost two of our beloved dogs - Colby in March and the very unexpected and devastating loss of Heidi on Nov. 21st; 2) my job, and that's all I'll say about that for now, 3) my still-undecided church situation. Now, more than ever, I need to get that part of my life settled.

I thought in early November that after trying several churches and still feeling torn in different directions, that I would return to the small Lutheran church I'd attended for almost a year, joined in Feb. despite serious reservations about ELCA positions, but left in May. The congregation did vote to initiate the process to leave the ELCA, but this will require two more votes 90 days apart, the first being two Sundays from now. But the congregation remains divided, and with the other stresses in my life, I need a church with a peaceful atmosphere. I also need sound doctrine that follows God's Word, a sense of belonging and ministries I can get involved in, and preferably close enough to not inhibit the latter. The church where my heart is, is 14 miles away and in the opposite direction from everything else in my life -- Dianne, shopping, and towns where I would anticipate living in the future. I'm told there are some folks in the congregation in my area, so maybe there would be carpool opportunities. The pastor is wonderful and has always made time for me any time I've wanted to talk to him. There is one other church I'm considering that I've attended twice and liked very much, and is half the distance. I hope to have a clear idea of what to do once I attend Sunday school there for the first time this Sunday and finally meet with the pastor. Neither church is Lutheran (the further one is Presbyterian, the closer one is Methodist); I hoped to find an LCMS Lutheran church and have visited two, one 11 miles away, the other 18 miles away in that opposite direction and too far to consider. The other church is tiny and doesn't have a choir or enough ministry opportunities. Maybe I will join an LCMS church in the future, but for now, it seems I'll be changing denominations....

As far as the pet situation, I still miss Heidi every day and still can't believe I'm not getting to start the new year with her. But we've had little Susie over 3 weeks now and she's settled in well, and we've grown to love her. We hoped that she and the two big boys would be buddies, and I think Jesse was willing, but she growls at both of them when she sees them, and one evening Jesse took that the wrong way and started to go after her. So we're keeping them all separated for now. If I was Cesar Millan (the "Dog Whisperer"), I could resolve this. But I'm not, even though I watch his shows regularly and admire him greatly. Hopefully the "squirt" (she still seems so tiny compared to what we're used to) will get used to them and not feel inclined to growl. Other than that, she is such a sweetie. Below is the pic of her I'd found on I learned that despite her small size, she is actually 1/4 Great Pyrenees. But the other 3/4 is Border Collie, and that's the size she is. I did want to have a smaller dog I could walk much more easily; I just didn't expect this is how I would get one (adopting a dog advertised as part Great Pyrenees and finding she's 1/4th to 1/3rd the size of one!).

On the plus side, I got a lot of crochet projects completed in '09, including some baby items that I'm waiting to find just the right charity for, and several more Barbies including my first bride and her wedding party (pics will be posted on my upcoming crochet page 6 on sometime in 2010). My last project was a 2nd Barbie angel for Dianne that was part of her Christmas present (we had Christmas together last Sat. the 26th). I was a bit delayed completing the angel due to the bad cold I had earlier in Dec. and it just occurred to me I didn't have time to get her photographed before wrapping her. I'll have to remember to bring my camera next time I visit Dianne and get her photographed. I'm pretty sure Dianne is likewise saying good riddance to 2009. It was a stressful year for her as well -- losing her much-loved Josh in October (6 weeks before we lost Heidi), job stress, and both her parents ailing. I pray 2010 will also be much better for her.

I don't especially believe in making resolutions, but I need to start anew my decades-old quest to lose weight (before it affects my heart and it becomes too late), control my "comfort eating", and get on my stair stepper every day (especially this time of year when it's too dark out in the evening from Nov. to Feb. to walk from the dock to the park n'ride on weekdays and I have to get rides from Rex or my neighbor instead). I also need to make every effort to go to bed at a more reasonable hour on weekdays in order to get more sleep and be able to cope and concentrate better at work (and not be tempted to stay up all night on weekends - at least, not often). Well, the Mountain Time Zone will ring in 2010 in a few minutes and an hour thereafter, we will be next. It's already here for most of the world. January is my least favorite month (especially the first week with all the holidays over and the days are still too short to realize they are starting to get longer) but at least it's over with first as well as symbolizing the clean slate I very much need in many ways. God willing, I will have a very upbeat report to post a year from now. Happy New Year!