I had all good intentions to write a meaningful post with which to end the year 2011. That is, until the end of the year presented me with both unexpected blessings and unanticipated challenges that made sitting down and writing a post nigh unto impossible!
The first blessing was a visit from my cousin Debbie and her husband Ernie. Debbie is the oldest of six children born to my mother’s sister and brother-in-law. A fellow Scorpio whose birthday is only a few days away from mine, Debbie always was my favorite cousin and her husband Ernie is a great guy. There’s something about a relationship with a cousin that is so very special and getting to see Debbie for the first time in about eight years was a great early holiday treat 🙂
Challenges presented themselves one after another in the form of a setback in familial relationships and the illness and subsequent hospitalization of my mom due to pneumonia, both of which impacted our Christmas holiday. Holidays seem to bring out both the best and the worst in everyone, as borne out by numerous studies, so it should come as no surprise when it happens within your own family.
And yet, as with most challenges, now that we seem to have passed through the eye of the hurricane and things have calmed down, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the new perspectives I gained on several fronts and grateful for the positive outcomes that were achieved.
I’ve decided that challenges simply are problems viewed through a different lens. Because I don’t like problems, I prefer to treat them as challenges and to try to do my utmost to modify my own behavior whenever possible and to use the challenges as opportunities for learning. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but still I try!
Perhaps as a reward for having weathered the storm of my year-end challenges, a most magnificent blessing arrived at 5:15 PM on Friday, December 30: my wonderful, new grandson Maleeik Jordan Patterson was born two weeks early, much to the relief of my daughter Jennifer!
This grandmother missed the birth of her granddaughter Maleeyah (who turned three years old on New Year’s Day and got to both celebrate her birthday and bring home her new baby brother), so it was a thrill to be present for Maleeik’s birth!
The grand finale for 2011 was both a challenge and a blessing. I participated, during November, 2011, in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and successfully completed that challenge. I also participated in Writer’s Digest’s Poem a Day (PAD) Chapbook Challenge that involved writing one poem each day during November for the daily prompt posted by Writer’s Digest Poetry Editor Robert Brewer.
PAD participants then had the month of December to assemble a manuscript of ten to twenty pages of their poems and to submit their manuscript by 11:59 PM on December 31. My completed poems stared at me daily throughout December and begged to be edited and assembled, yet I ignored them. I spent time purchasing and wrapping gifts, decorating for the holidays and enjoying time spent with friends and family.
From time to time, I would read through my poems, then place them back in their priority spot in my to-do basket. December 31, after all, was a long way off! When the maelstrom of challenges sucked me into its vortex during that last week in December, I envisioned a month’s worth of poetry going down the drain. And yet … I just couldn’t let that happen!
It was with gritted teeth that I set out on December 31 to give my poems their due and to get them submitted. My reward was an end-of-the year blessing: the manuscript finally was submitted at 11:50 PM and I was able to tuck my e-mail confirmation into my “submissions” e-mail folder and turn on the TV to watch Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark usher in the New Year 🙂
My writing goals for 2012 already have fallen slightly behind deadline, but not by much, and I am working on them with due diligence! I made only one resolution for 2012 and I plan to keep it: I accept that there will continue to be blessings and challenges all along the way, most arriving when they are least expected, and I will meet them all head on to the best of my ability.
During 2012, dear Reader, I hope that your own challenges are few, that they allow you to learn and to grow and that your blessings are plentiful!