Three years ago at about this time I received the diagnosis of needing two brain surgeries, one on each side for repair of my ears, which were leaking spinal fluid. At the time my main focus was on all the things I have enjoyed in my lifetime and appreciating living in the moments of the Christmas season that year. I did not explain much to my family until after the New Year, as I did not want to dampen the spirit of our time together. Today I am a different person for those experiences. Recovery was good, but it has been slow. It had been just two years since our car accident that resulted in my having a rotator cuff surgery, which was another difficult recovery. Then in September when I fell, it felt like going through the recovery process all over again. It is strange how these events impact our lives and cause us to slow down and reflect on what is most important.
We enjoy so much in our lives. First, and foremost, our family brings so much joy. With six children and four grand children things are always in some type of upheaval. The most constant thing we have is our love for each other and being there to help those who might need a hand. The second is our extended family, who form a rather large group of people that support each other as needed. With the blessings of computer and communication alternatives we are in touch with all of these people in various ways. At special events and holidays we gather together and share our updated activities. Then there are our friends or kindred connections, who feel very much like extended family. All of these people fit into our family history and the memories of our experiences together.
The next thing I reflect on is our home and the love that has been a part of every home we lived in. We have been in our current home in Gladstone for over twenty years, and where we had our last child. We moved here from a much smaller, 1100 sq. ft., home in Carver where we lived for twelve years while our family grew to include five children. Prior to that we lived in a nice apartment in Portland, before having any children. Before marriage I lived in three other places in Portland. The last one, a small house for a family of six, where we lived for over twenty years. Our current home is very comfortable, even when we gather with the entire family. When I looked around it pondering how long I would be able to enjoy it three years ago, I realized how blessed we are to live in such comfort.
The next part of my wonderful life is working in genealogy or family history. After graduating in 2005, I went on to become an Accredited Genealogist in 2010. This involved an intense educational process, which I continue to refine on a daily basis. It is a great blessing to have a home office, with the tools that make this work very enjoyable. My family has taken small parts in the endeavors, which makes it more meaningful for them. My husband recently commented on how much more writing I am doing this year. That is my continued goal for the New Year. I told him, I need to get the knowledge I have out of my head and into print so the family will have this history preserved. With deep gratitude for the time and ability I have been given to continue in this work I also assist others in their work.
It is a wonderful life and we need to cherish it each and every day. We all have struggles, but these can be surmounted with the love and support of those who are a part of our lives. The spiritual support is of equal worth, however we incorporate it into our lives. Take the time to reflect on the things that bring love and peace to your life. May you have a wonderful holiday season and plans for a great New Year. Genealogy is not only therapeutic, but also addicting; so for those of you caught up in it, remember we have a wonderful support system.