Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 and 2016 Word

I introduced my word of the year for 2016, marriage, over on my stroke blog, in a post titled Divorce last night. In recap of my 2015 word, Sing, I thought it would do me good to write an overview post of 2015.

I wasn't real sure what impact of Sing would look like, but I originally chose it based on this quote:

"Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark." - Unknown

I think 2015 was, indeed, a year of cautious hope emerging, as characterized by steps like posting a public resume to "put myself back out there" to be contacted for public speaking and such.

My own voice is still not strong nor on key, but is certainly improved enough over the past year that I often find myself singing around the house now, when no one else is around.  Our daughter took grand prize in a local talent show this past year and won a free year of weekly music lessons as a result!

2014 contest. I couldn't find her picture from 2015 where she won.
My hair has grown a LOT, but this was also the year, mid-year, when I decided that in addition to headcovering for spiritual reasons, I would also adopt the purely personal/cultural choice of no longer wearing my hair loose in public, saving it for my husband's viewing. Nothing to do with my faith, just a personal gift from me to him, so this as as "down" as you see it now:

In thinking through skills gained this past year, it is such slow progress now that I rarely see day-to-day changes, but one big-picture change that has happened since last year is that this was the first year I was able to wrap Christmas gifts since the strokes! Singing indeed!!! Thanks to my husband's wisdom, I did not accept a single Christmas party invitation this year and did not put up a traditional tree (this little "wall tree" is 3 feet high, flat the back side, hangs from a single hook, and took well under 5 minutes to totally set up. Because it was such a low-stress, low-energy December, and with the slow gains added over the past year, I was able to work on a couple of presents each day, over the course of several weeks, and even though I don't have enough fine motor dexterity to type with both hands, I was able to wrap each of these presents, all by myself!

With my kids' help, I also manged to make 3 double batches of my great-grandmother's cranberry bread (one of the double batches was both wheat-free and egg-free and turned out very dense, so one of the skills I need to work on for 2016 is better taste and texture in allergy-safe cooking) that I used to make as Christmas gifts every year before the strokes. We also made a quadruple batch of chocolate peanut-butter balls. (I know that this could be adapted to be top 8 allergy safe by using a different nut or seed butter, but surprisingly actual peanut butter works with the unique needs of our family!) Turn a strokie, a 12-year-old and a 9-year-old loose in a kitchen, add late night hours (we started early in the evening but it took hour so was very late when we ended!), and it was a recipe for MESS and hilarity!!! But we managed. We did it! :D

I'm call Christmas 2015 my "cranberry Christmas." Not only did I make cranberry bread again (see it pictured on the cooling rack to the left), but my gifts seemed to carry a beautiful color theme - a cranberry-colored tea kettle from my in-laws, a set of three bakeware stones from my kids and a large Pampered Chef stoneware that was cranberry glazed from my hubby. :) (My parents got me a pair of earrings and 2 sweatshirts that aren't pictured because they aren't this color.) :)

Kendra, I thought you would enjoy seeing my butterfly corners. :)

Edited to add: (I forgot to mention that a large part of 2015 revolved around tummy pain, surgeries and recovery. Glad to leave that behind in last year!

I also went #WheatFree this past fall and have lost nearly 20 pounds since mid September. Now to see if I can loose 20 more and KEEP it off this year!