Friday, January 2, 2015

From the Silly to the Sublime ~ 14 Things I Learned in 2014

Welcome and happy 2015!!
Unreal to be 15 years in, isn't it? 
I happened upon Gina's 14 in '14 and right away 
loved the concept of compiling
a literal, tangible list of things I learned this past year~
I'm too late to link up, but that's okay.
I'm grateful for the inspiration
and the chance to read others' highlights.
It was a year of travel, change, growth, happiness, disappointment.
Sacraments, peace, acceptance, challenges, 
transitions, blessings...
Much of the deep stuff, unblogged......... for obvious  reasons.
While my photo collection of the year is a brief peek at the highlights,
 spending time immersed in 
 gratefulness for not only the highs, 
but also the lows of the year, is for me, essential.
So, here goes~~~
From the silly to the practical to the sublime~
 14 of my awakenings in '14:
Summer 2008

1.  I learned that Thomas Wolfe was wrong ~  you can go home again.  And again. And again. We do each summer at the lake.  Where would we be without the balm of our mountains?

Little Bighorn National Monument,
MT ~ July 2014

2. I learned that the plight of the Native American Indian did not end. It is ongoing. It is real and it is painful. The descendents of the tribes pushed westward off their land in the mid to late 1800s?  It's heartbreaking. Have you traveled through the reservations of Montana, Utah, Arizona, etc? If you have, then you know. If you haven't, well, it's worse than you can imagine. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't. When your son says mournfully, after a tour of Custer Battlefield in southern Wyoming, "There's a special place in hell forThe Son of the Morning Star...." well, it's hard to disagree. 

Mom ~  1938 

3.  It finally hit me,  finally, that prayer is indeed powerful. Took me long enough, don'tya think?   My parents and my husband's mom are still working, working, working, looking out for us and interceding on our behalf.  Still.  There's just no rest for the weary is there? Even in heaven,  parents  just don't get a break from our constant badgering. When things are bleak, I go to Mom and Dad. And  JPII as well. As if our beloved saint isn't busy enough performing life altering miracles, he's juggling my crazy pleas for guidance.  They listen and they help. It's really truly not a one way street. I know they're busy supporting us from above.

4. I learned that my  kids are capable of amazing, creative, 
unique things if left to their own devices and choices. 
And some down time.
That link takesyou to a fun one.

5. I learned that a simple, festive sacrament celebration for
 just a select  few can still be stressful, but is doable and meaningful. And more importantly, that my son delivers a beautiful reading to a packed church of about 400. 

6. I learned that I need to start, immediately, living healthier. No huge cataclysmic turning point. Just the realization that  the sedentary  HS-mom-chauffeur-clean-cook-sit-
to-blog-teach-plan-do-lessons-check-in-on social-media -for-far-too-long-every-morning lifestyle I've been living must stop. The reigns need to be yanked on a few unhealthy habits. Much to my chagrin, coffee intake needs to be minimized and a whole slew of other not-too-healthy habits halted.
Do you see the size of this mug?  Do you know it holds the equivalent of three regular sized mugs?  Seriously? Ok, enough already. Time to put the brakes on.

7. I learned that I have a  new favorite Christmas movie and that Paul Giametta ( remember HBO's John Adams?) is far funnier than I ever thought possible,  especially when teamed with the  villainous-as-seen-in-this-flick  Vince Vaughn.  
Although, this is my  absolute most fave old time Christmas movie and this one is  the best Christmas musical. They just are.

8. I learned, the hard way, that not everyone needs to be let in on everything we do and decide as a family. Sigh.

9. I learned that despite the pre- planning and  the facilitating and the preparation, 
most of the time I'm learning right alongside my kids because they wind up asking the hard stuff and challenging me.

10.  I learned how invaluable and time saving a crock pot can be!  
And convenient. And yummy!

11. I learned that schedules and task master-ing are vital no matter how many kids you are homeschooling. AND that  homeschooling "only"one is harder than I  would have thought.

12. I learned even more fully that  eighteen years into our marriage, partnership and 
communication as the family grows is essential, and...thank God we have it. Most of the time, anyway.

13. I learned that even with a packing list 13 pages long ( I kid you not), on an 8500 mile trip  along with boxes, bags, tents, sleeping bags and assorted essentials for a month long trek cross country, it's really ok if you forget the batteries or the band aids, because there are Walmarts all over the place.

14.  I learned that between Santa and the Lord, I've gotten everything I asked for this year.....
and some things I didn't even know I needed. 


 Friends, as always,  
thank you for stopping over and 
spending some of your precious time 
here at my home on the web!
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Until next time,



  1. Wow, what a great list. Some powerful lessons there, and some that I'm still trying to learn! Thank you for sharing this post. Happy New Year!

    1. Aw, thanks Rita~
      I appreciate your encouragement and kind words.
      I'll be over to your blog to visit now!

      Happy New Year!!

  2. What a great year, it seems! I also love "It's a Wonderful Life". And too funny about Wal-Mart! We have found that handy with our road trips and moving often. We can nearly always count on a Wal-Mart to be around, and it sure helps us eat better lunches! It's nice to go in and grab some cheese sticks and veggie trays instead of fries and burgers. :P

    1. Yes! The food availability is also true!! So much better to grab something fresh than fast food...and much easier to swing in and out of a WM than a grocery store...

      Thanks for visiting, Gina! I'm really enjoying your blog. I'm happy I "found" you recently!

  3. Hi Chris! I love all your life lessons that you learned in '14! I would love to go to your vacation spot by the lake each year! What a fabulous tradition! And your out west trips? Wow! Love it! The picture of your man and little men running is such a wonderful one! Did you frame it? It should be! I love it's A Wonderful Life too and I'm sorry to say I haven't seen White Christmas! (Shame on me right?) I too am learning to get my behind moving more. NO more excuses for me :) May 2015 bring you more lessons, love and peace! Have a great weekend!

    1. Oh my goodness, Tracy, you will love White Christmas when you have a chance to tune in. I always always cry at the end!
      I should really print out that Monument Valley shot and frame it! Yes,! Thanks for the thought to do so.

      Thanks for your encouraging words.......!
      I appreciate your visit, my friend!

  4. LOL at the Walmarts everywhere comment. We did a road trip last summer, and stayed in a "town" where the nearest WM is an hour away. But yes, it's okay if you forget stuff, the memories you make are what matters. :)

    1. Yes!! Good point, Shecki!!

      At the time the"stuff" you need is really inconvenient,but that's true it's the people and memories!

      Thanks for the visit!

  5. Loved your list, Chris! Like you, I've ramped up my crock pot usage this past year and I've been thinking about cutting down on the coffee as well - albeit decaf... But my favorite here was the link to the pogo stick video! (did they get a new one??)
    Finally, I'm wondering if I should re-watch White Christmas?? I watched it many, many years ago, and though I don't remember anything about it, I DO recall thinking it was... not good. Maybe I was too young? Too... something? Because of that memory I purposefully avoid it every year. Perhaps I need to give it another try :)
    Happy New Year!

    1. Yes yes watch WC again! A lot of my love for it has to do with watching it as a kid and the whole army-at-Christmas-love-for-the-general thing, as my dad was a WWII Army Infantryman. The sentiment for me, is strong. But it's such a fun musical.

      clicking to your blog now too to visit you!

      Thanks for stopping over!

      HappY new Year!

  6. Great post title and post. God bless your new year, dear Chris!

    1. Aw, thanks Allison! I appreciate your visit! Thank you!

      And HNY to you too!

  7. Love your post. You have an incredible life and a great writing talent!

    1. Aw, Emily, you're so sweet! You made my day, my friend...but really.....I think the same of YOU! Life, writing...awesome.
      So blessed to know you!

  8. I love this! What wonderful "lessons" learned and memories made in 2014! I hope 2015 is beautiful and blessed for you and your family. Thanks for linking up with My Week in Review. I hope you can join us again this week.

    1. Hey Lisa~
      Thanks for the kind words and for stopping over!!

      I wish for you that this year is full of happiness too....You and so many friends I've made through the blogosphere are truly blessings!

  9. Wonderful list! It's amazing what we learn every year. You have experienced some beautiful things this year. Praying that 2015 is just as amazing for you, my friend!

    1. Thanks so much, Monique!!

      Same to you, my friend~~thanks for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment!

  10. What a great idea! Life has plenty of new lessons for us, right?. I love my crock pot. Thanks for sharing your post with us at MMBH.

    1. I love your Monday hop!! Thank's a pleasure to join in!

      I appreciate your visit and encouragement!


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