Peace Out, 2014

The Timehop app tells me that 2009 is the last year I considered to be a “good year.”  I don’t really know what to think about 2014…there are parts of it that were just fantastic, but lots of it that I’d rather never happened (or at least that I could forget).

In January, one of my very best friends had a baby boy.  He is precious and perfect in every way, and I’ve never been so proud of Shannon as I was when I saw her in the hospital.

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February brought a few snow days, and I made sure that Shelli shared in the experience!

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In March, Joey and I went on a road trip and visited Norfolk, VA, Williamsbirg, VA, Baltimore, MD, and Luray, VA.

Mel on USS Wisconsin

At the end of March, I went to the beach with my best friends for a girls’ weekend and we had a ball (even though the weather was crappy).

In April, Joey and I went to the mountains with our friend John.  I played a board game that I didn’t understand, saw both Captain America movies, and bought a harmonica, but most importantly, I spent four days stress-free and in excellent company.

Joey and Jon

In May, I got serious about my health and lost 20 pounds!  Also, we added a (four-legged) family member, Indy!

Indy

In June, I got to see 25 inmates at the Union County Jail get baptized; it was so moving that I began to feel called to prison ministry.  We’ll see how that goes next year.

Jail Baptism

July, as always, was the month of many birthdays, and we spent August trying to stay out of the heat.

September was mostly bitter.  The Purple Stride 5K for Pancreatic Cancer was a bright spot; some of my best friends came out to run and walk it with me.  I finished with a PR (albeit a super slow one).

5K everyone

5Kgirls

However, about mid-way through the month, we lost someone very special.  Dave Berry, who was like a second father to Joey, was diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away two weeks later.

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October brought pumpkin carving with Shannon and Levi!

Levi Pumpkin

November is, hands down, my favorite month of the year.  This year, Joey and I celebrated 13 years together and 12 years married.  We did our annual “riffing” of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and had Thanksgiving with all of our family (both “blood” family and “adopted” family).

And now, December has drawn to a close. I don’t like December, to be honest.  It’s too stressful; this year, we did three weeks of Christmas performances at church.  I got sick and then Joey followed suit.  Work was crazy and demanding, and I felt like I was failing on all life fronts.

I was reminded, however, of the reason we celebrate Christmas last Thursday when we spent Christmas morning with some inmates at the jail.  I sang for them and Joey did a little devotional, and one of the inmates gave me this rose.  It’s made of TP, and it’ll always serve as a reminder to me that NO one should feel “thrown away.”  Everyone matters.

TP rose

I’ll be back to post about my goals for 2015.  Blogging consistently is one of them:).  Until then, Happy New Year’s.

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Puss

I’m going to try to do this without falling apart.  And I apologize in advance, Mom.  It’s probably going to be a tearjerker.

In April of 1989, we welcomed a new member into our home.  I was 7 years old.  I remember being so excited all day at school because I knew that we’d have a new kitten when I got home.  I flew into the house and burst into the living room and saw…….nothing.  See, at seven, one doesn’t understand the intricasies of the feline psyche, especially not the toddler-feline psyche, which may include fear of large, loud, running children.  Mom made me sit in the living room quietly, and Puss finally crept out from behind the couch.  She was 10 weeks old.  We decided that Valentines day would be her “birthday.”

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I tormented and aggravated the crap out of her on a daily basis.  But I loved her.  And, in that unique way that only cat-people can understand, she loved me too.  Most kids think of their pets as their friends; it’s different for kids that get picked on.  The bond is deeper.  She was my best friend.

She was also silly.  She flew through the kitchen, losing traction on the lineoleum and skidding under the table.  She chased a hundred bouncy-balls under the oven (believe it or not, they don’t melt…even after ten years under the oven).  She hid, waiting for unsuspecting ankles to pass by and launched full-scale, painful attacks.  She played “Killer-Kitty.”  She climbed into the microwave…

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She was there when my dad had a heart attack when I was in the fifth grade.  She was there when I found out “the truth” about Santa.  She was there when I went to middle school, and when I got picked on almost every single day of those two years.  She was there when I started playing the flute, the piano, the guitar.  She was there when I went to high school.  She was there when I went on my first date, got my first boyfriend, for my first kiss.  She was there when I went to college and slept with me when I was terrified because I didn’t know anyone.  She was there for mine and my mom’s late-night summer gab-fests, watching tv and playing cards.  She was there for my first breakup.  She was there when I got engaged.  She was there when my Papa died.  She was there when I lost all of my friends in a stupid fight.  She was there when I got married, when I graduated from college, when I moved away to TX, when I came back, when I had to quit my teaching job, when I got my first corporate job, when Joey graduated from seminary, when Mom hurt her back and then had surgery, when Dad had surgery and we thought he was going to die.  She was there when he came home from the hospital and through cardiac rehab. 

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And then she wasn’t there.  After a three-year battle with kidney disease, Puss went home on 12/7/07.  Most people aren’t lucky enough to get almost 19 years with their pet, I know.  But it doesn’t make it any easier.  I was at work that day and couldn’t go to the vet.  I feel guilty for that.  The only day in my life that was worse was the day that Dad had to go to the CCU.  And I still miss her so much.

For those of you who would say, “it’s just a pet,” I pity you.  You’ll never understand the indelible mark that tiny pawprints can make on the heart. 

And even though the pain of losing her is still great, I would never trade one day of the nineteen years I got with her.  It was worth it.