the best bits

Here we are again; another New Year’s Eve. We are quiet celebrants, the Hubs and I. An evening out sounds great until it comes time to actually go. Then, more often than not, we don’t.

It’s cold outside and we’re comfortable by the fire — a frothy brew or warm glass of red in hand. One of us has several hundred cows to feed at 4:30 a.m. The other of us is happy to cede an early bedtime and nurse a cold — 2012’s parting gift. And besides, a quiet New Year’s Eve is primed for reflection. What noteworthy gifts did she bring?

1. Expanding family. And friendships.

Glambabe1-NOV2012We heard good news and then more good news in 2012: two grand-babes on the way! The first will arrive in January — and looks just like his or her Daddy! Another babe will birth in June. So 2013 is looking to be more than grand. I’m going to be a glam-mama! *

In between the “We’re gonna’ have a baby!” announcements, our firstborn was married in a celebration of steadfast love. With a heartfelt mazel tov! we welcomed another daughter-in-law. This completes my second and final stint as mother-of-the-groom. It completes our family circle.

That this circle was closed in 2012, as the Hubs and I celebrated 30 years of marriage, was especially sweet. There have been a whirlwind of weddings — three in two years — and so much pleasure in celebrating the good stuff with dear ones, near and far. It is truly satisfying to know that all three chids have found their special someone.

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This year brought new and renewed friendships as I transplanted back into the church of my youth. Multigenerational relationships of shared faith bring such joy! It should not surprise me. God always fills the gaps. Whether through “old” friends or new, or those family members who show up, He provides. Authentic relationships are an amazing gift.

2. A lot of travel.

I suspect 2012 ranks among my most-traveled calendar years. I was travel-weary by April, unaccustomed to the business travel grind. The worst was a hair-raising ordeal, alone atop an icy bridge crossing a partially frozen river at one o’clock in the morning. That was some seriously scary stuff. Yet whenever I recall the horror, I also recall the promise of Psalm 139:3: He sees me when I travel. I am exceedingly thankful.

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No matter the circumstances, travel is a gift! My favorite travel moments of 2012 flash by as snapshot memories, strung together like a film strip reel. There were many but the top three are easy:

An Aaaaaah experience came early, with a cabana view of crystal blue seas, silky soft sand underfoot. My sister and I and our misters enjoyed a deep, long sigh in paradise. For a day or two, anyway. Sweetness. And sister time.

A jam packed day in Turkey with my girl, ‘Chelle. Ancient Ephesus and terrace house excavations. The House of Mary and St. John’s Basilica. Warm hospitality of Sirince villagers over lunch and in the markets. Beautiful blue angel eyes. Exquisite Hereke carpets. The haunting muezzin’s call. A day rich with the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch of the middle east. Fantabulous.

IMG_6304And then one long moment that stretched out like our shadows in the Mediterranean sunshine as we stood atop the Acropolis in Athens — my sister, her son, and my girl. I can’t believe we did this! The whole Big. Trip. was quite awesome, in fact.

Except, of course, when I was missing the Hubs. Still, it’s a truly incredible feeling to be in Roma and missing your mister mostly because the last time you stood on that very spot he was right there beside you! But a long weekend in Roma was a slice of awesome as well.

3. A new career trajectory.

It’s rare to have the opportunity to try out a new job before you take the leap — a huge gift of 2012! On leave of absence from the University in 2012, I explored an opportunity with an association in higher education. It fit well. And I stayed on. Leaving the University behind was bittersweet but right, I think. Now I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings!

4. A new season of life. And marriage.

The North Country is a land of four distinct seasons. Seasons are a generous gift! But each requires change and adjustment. The Hubs and I are well into yet another a new season of our marriage, finding our way as a twosome again. It’s good but it can be hard. While my mister does what he does, keeping his promises, I’ve struggled to navigate the new normal brought on by so much change the past year or two.

This year has been a lot about letting go of relationships that don’t or, in some cases stubbornly won’t, work. That’s really hard. It’s also been been about releasing my chids, stepping back, that they may become their best in partnerships for life. That’s harder, still. Admittedly, success varies. (Thank you to my nieces for reminding me why.) But I am finding my way, finding my peace. And in that, finding joy!

***

And this — a contemplative New Year’s holiday — was a gift as well! Taking time to consider two thousand and twelve in review, I realize that it is a messy jigsaw puzzle of lovely, wonderful, painful, and difficult pieces. That’s life, eh? But it’s also clear that

the best bits are irretrievably tangled up with people I love, those who enjoy this journey with me.

Some of them are you and that’s my privilege. Thanks for joining. For encouraging. For praying. And for staying. Happy, happy New Year! I do hope 2013 is gracious and kind to you.

~René Morley

20130119-154134.jpg* Okay. All right. I concede! The chids have finally worn me down. I give up on Glam! Did I mention that — three times over — the name quiz affirmed Glamma? Well, it did. But, regretfully, the chids will not board the Glam train. So their chids are not likely to call me Glam-anything! But I can’t change who I am, down deep. And I am so not sorry about the glam gene! We’ll just wait and see where it shows up next… ;=)

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