There are only three days left in 2008, and like everyone else, I am taking some time to reflect on 2008 - what I did (or didn't) do; what I accomplished; what goals were achieved and which were not; what friendships were strengthened and which ones underwent major changes; losses and gains (and not just financial); what I plan to carry with me into 2009 and what I really and truly need to let go of. I think the end of the year is a time when most people really look at themselves and the world around them and take some time to reflect - set some goals for the 365 days ahead - wipe the slate and start over. But before I embrace 2009, I want to pay tribute to 2008:
TRAVEL: Yes, I did a lot of that in 2008. Palatka, FL; Houston, TX; Gatlinburg, TN; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Washington DC; Huntsville, AL; New York, NY - (I think I'm missing some) - lots of good memories and fellowships with family, friends and loved ones. Being able to spend time with friends in good times and bad - as we celebrated lives lived, visited with friends who were ill, explored new venues and locales - all will serve as memories when I'm sitting in my rocking chair in the nursing home one day in the future.
GIRLS NIGHTS OUT: Hats off to the girlfriends (and guy pals) that I spent time with this year - usually somewhere eating! - whether at work or around the city or country: Conrad, Melvin, Julie, Lisa, Metha, Robin, Debbie, Ginny, Carol, Cheryl, Alice, DJ and the "best girlfriends in the world" crew; Linda, Hillary...and I am sure I am forgetting someone - charge it to my head, not my heart.
CELEBRATIONS: Kudos to my cousins who did their thing and graduated from college this year (Candace and Caron); to my friends who found their soul mates and jumped the broom this year; smiles and memories for those who were laid to sleep this year; joy for those who added children to their lives - whether through adoption or birth; praises to God for those who were healed or otherwise overcame medical hurdles and obstacles; thanksgiving for those who went through trials and tribulations and came out the other side stronger and more resilient.
RELATIONSHIPS: 2008 has been a year of change for a lot of relationships in my life. Some have gotten stronger because of the trials and tribulations of the year, while some have undergone a metamorphosis and have changed. And change doesn't necessarily mean bad, just different. I praise God for the friendships that are new and still exciting and waiting to be fully explored; and for those that are like a worn, comfortable pair of slippers - no matter when you "slip into them", they are always warm, inviting and enveloping.
TRIALS: Yes, I had those in 2008 as well. We all were hit in the pocketbook this year with the dramatic changes in our global economy - but God sustained. Even though this was the year for filing insurance claims for me (car, house, and house again), God sustained and blessed. And even when the enemy tried to take my life (Sept 2008), God protected and blessed. Amen! And despite higher unemployment rates than have been seen in decades, I am still blessed with a job that I enjoy 99.9% of the time. I am blessed to work with really great bosses who appreciate me and tell me they do frequently. I don't take that for granted.
POLITICAL CHANGES: Since I have friends on all sides of the political fence, I'll keep this brief. November 4, 2008 will go down in the history books for a lot of reasons, but I will always remember where I was, what I was doing, and how I felt when it was announced that Barack (and Michelle) Obama were headed to the White House. 'Nuff said.
So, what do I want in 2009? Peace, goodwill and prosperity? Of course, but I want more of the same of what I was blessed to receive in 2008. Good times and bad, throughout the year, I truly saw God's Hand at work in my life and the lives of my friends, family and loved ones. I pray as you reflect on the year past and look forward to the year ahead that you will put your trust in the only One worthy of it and trust His Heart, no matter what.
Be blessed and Happy 2009!