Last year, I had a combination of both with my youngest sister coming back into my life after speaking up about the abuse she also suffered at the hands of our mother. My father got temporary custody of her, and for now she is safe. But it wasn't easy to achieve that. From me, it required a lot of mental anguish, painful decisions, and ultimately having to face my mother again - this time, by testifying against her in court. The experience was unpredictable, but yet there is no doubt that God's hand was in this. It was necessary for my sister's freedom, yet difficult as a painful reality had to be faced and handled wisely. It brought me back to face my past again, this time with the maturity of an adult but also the lingering fear of the helpless child of long ago.
I believe that God can ultimately turn any experience into something good, even when it seems nearly impossible. Even the entire experience of humanity, which has its moments of joy and happiness but is marred by suffering and eventual death, will be transformed into something beautiful by Him. It will end well because it leads to His glory.
Speaking of individual experiences, it's time to look forward to what's next in 2015. So much cannot be planned, but some of it can be, and I want to seize the opportunity to do what I can with what is within my control.
- Key metric: Chapters with the bulk of their content completed (i.e. the main stories I want to include in the book) by the end of July shutdown. July-Dec: Editing, editing.
- Seeing my core family (brother & sis-in-law, parents, younger sister, older sisters and their families) several times this year. So far I have seen my mother, sister, brother-in-law, 2 nieces and 2 nephews so far this year, and it's only January. Plans include (in chronological order):
- Visit to see my sister in February
- Celebrating my oldest sister's 40th birthday in Las Vegas with her, her husband, another older sister, and her husband. I've never been to Vegas so it will be interesting to experience a new place.
- My college friend's wedding, which is near my sister so I will get to see her as well
- Celebrating the same sister's birthday with my mom and sisters for a girls' weekend in Asheville, NC
- Spending a long weekend with my brother, sister-in-law, husband, and sister this summer. I love hanging out with them, and want to be proactive about making that happen.
- Thanksgiving with my parents in SC
- Christmas with my husband's family in AR
- Probably another visit to see my brother around the holidays
- Sending birthday cards to all those whom I can't celebrate with in person. I know it feels so nice when I get cards on my birthday. It's a simple thing to do to remind those I care about that I love them.
- Continuing to be a part of my little sister's life, and witnessing her journey toward recovery. I will help where I can, but I acknowledge every recovery is different.
- Dates with my husband, spending dedicated time for conversation and reflection. Also, hiking, particularly some overnight hikes. Something special to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary this year. Every year I realize more and more how blessed I am to have him.
- Be more caring and helpful at work, and invest in relationships with my coworkers. Continued technical competence and learning is important too.
- Continued involvement in our church, particularly our small group.
- Switch to a project-based role in my department in May/June. Work days will be much more predictable and less chaotic than they are with my current production-based role
- Work less when possible. I spend too much time at work. We don't need the money, and it doesn't make me more productive. My goal is to take at least 15 vacation days in 2015, which will require me to use some of my overtime for vacation time, instead of getting paid for it like I did in 2014.
- Begin planning a trip for 2016 to Napa Valley with my husband for our anniversary.
- Train for and run another trail race. Not a big deal if I don't do this, but it would be nice.
- Possibly going to court again to testify on my sister's behalf
- Possibly moving to a slightly larger house that is hopefully closer to work.
- More Japan travel, including a hike to the summit of Mt. Fuj!