Since 1992, I've written an annual Christmas letter in an effort to stay connected with you all. Half of my job as a nurse is to take care of the patient, the other half is to document that care. It's interesting that I find that in writing my Christmas letters, I've documented the highlights of my life. (if anyone happens to still have my '93 Christmas letter, could you send me a copy? I have the rest)
My dad died in February. My brothers and sisters and I worked together to clean up the property to make it ready to sell. We're still waiting for a buyer. During the process of sorting through their stuff, we learned alot about the lives and times of my parents. Even though the physical sorting-through is done, the emotional sorting-through continues. Grief brings the swinging of emotions that range from surprise to disappointment, understanding to sadness, loneliness to relief. It's exhausting work.
Ray's book, "The Gateway to Hell, a Mike Shannon novel" was published in April! It set a record for the number of books sold at a book signing at the Carbondale Barnes & Noble! Besides the printed book, it's also available in e-book format. Ray plans to write a series of Mike Shannon books. It's just hard to find designated time to get the stories out of his head and onto paper.
For several years, I've tried to write the book about Emily. But I share Ray's problem with designated time. So I started a blog! In it, I can write one memory at a time and get the feeling of "project complete" each time I post. Here's the address: http://heartlinesbyanne.blogspot.com/. I don't write every day. I write when my heart gets full and threatens to explode. Maybe, one of these days the blog will become a book, but if not, it's just good to get it out of me.
In September, Ray and I embarked on a new adventure! Inspired by the TV show "American Pickers", we rented a booth in the Rend Lake Antique Mall in Ina, and stocked the shelves with items from our own house. What started as a shared fun hobby has grown into a full-time job for Ray. We are regular attendees at auctions, where we buy merchandise cheaply to resell at a profit. We now also have 2 booths and 2 show cases at the County Seat Antique Mall in Benton, where Ray works as a dealer/salesman. Beside antiques, Ray focuses on baseball memorabilia and comic books.
In November, we got spectacular news from our daughter. In May, they will be transferred from Minot AFB in North Dakota to Whitman Air Force Base in Missouri! Instead of living 1200 miles (18 hours) away, Ryan, Tina and grandkids, Noah and Morgan, will live just a short 320 miles (5 1/2 hours) away. We'll practically be neighbors!!!!
Seth and Kristen and Kelly and Bob are working on the "living happily ever after". All 3 of our children celebrate their 3rd anniversary this year. Seth & Kristen's anniversary is on 12/12/12. That is the very last ever repetitive number date in our current calendar. Isn't that fun?
I'm still working in OB in Carbondale. Twice this year I have been a "grand-nurse." Meaning that the woman who I helped give birth this year was the baby that I helped deliver 20+ years ago. How did I get that old?
Several weeks ago, I realized that I had busied myself through this whole year. Apparently that's my coping mechanism:
Stay busy - can't think.
Stay busy - can't feel.
Stay busy - can't hurt.
Stay busy - can't deal.
Stay busy - can't heal.
My New Year's resolution is to stop and smell the roses more often, to cry more often, to pick my projects carefully and to let "it" go - alot. In next year's letter, you'll read about whether I was successful. Until then,
Ray & I wish you simplicity, contentment, and true friendship during this Christmas season and the whole year through.
Ray & Anne