2012 Flashback (a.k.a. Personal Reflections on this Past Year)

How is 2012 quickly drawing to a close?  Yes, it is true what people say: the years go by faster and faster the older you get.  This past year was a mix of hardships and saying good-bye to several friends who left my area, as well as various events and activities that shaped the year for me.  This list is a personal reflection of the past year, rather than a list of current events or a political piece, with dates as close as possible to the real month of occurrence.  I enjoy reflecting on the past before starting a new year.  It is good to have new goals and aspirations.

January

  • I began blogging on WordPress.  Yay!
  • A mild winter in Illinois. That’s awesome because I walked a 1/2 mile each way to work due to the scarcity of close parking at my job.

February

  • My birthday month.  Why does it feel like the last 5 years or so are gone in a blink?
  • I attended my second ever University of Illinois Basketball game.  It was a nice family time with my Dad, and Illinois beat Iowa, so that was exciting.

March

  • It was fun to co-coordinate a faculty/staff service outreach at my job.  We volunteered at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, a foodbank that helps provide food to hundreds of soup kitchens and food pantries in the central Illinois area.
  • I become the proud owner of a iPhone 4.  It is super cool, but dislikes when I try to use it as a PHONE from my apartment.  However, the apps, being able to easily check and write e-mails, and the camera are all great features.
  • Winter Jam Tour at the Assembly Hall with my friend, Sabrina

April

  • My church purchases our own building after the building we rented was damaged by a fire.  My church had been dislocated to a hotel for around 3-4 months, so the purchase of our own building was exciting.

May

  • My friend Carolina moved to Arizona when her husband graduated and expediently got a great job.

June

  • Summer= swimming (in my attempt at fitness).
  • Around this time (ish), I become a poet who publishes on poemhunter.  I enjoy writing poetry, especially about love, heartache, and God/faith.

July

  • More swimming.  Summer seemed to go by at warp speed.  I did get to go see the New Amazing Spiderman on the Fourth of July.
  • I covered many job duties for my co-worker who was off work for 3 weeks due to an accident.  I also spent around 4 months (off and on)  for my co-worker typing forms, scanning forms, e-mailing people (some out of state, out of country, or no longer with my department), and playing Nancy Drew with solving discrepancies in legal check-outs of equipment loans, mostly for laptop.  This was to get forms for approxiately a few hundred pieces of equipment updated for legal check-out.
  • My co-worker who was my back-up was promoted, so it was challenging during the 6 weeks before her replacement was hired and started.

August

English: Script logo of the Chicago Bears

  • I took a min-vacation to see my family in my hometown area.  We took a one day road trip to see the Chicago Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene University.
  • My friend Amy moved out-of-state in order to complete her degree in Art.

September

  • I spend around $300 on an oil change and new brakes when I am told that my brakes are 95% gone.  I am glad this was found before winter, but sad to try to figure out how to pay for that in my tight budget.
  • My friend Melissa moves to Champaign for a new job.  I was blessed by that fact, but I also got a $100 rent credit when I referred her to my apartment complex.  Yay!

October

  •  After 2 years and approximately 3 months, I got into a close parking lot by my work building.  If you know the ordeals that I went through before this time, you will know why this was a HUGE positive for me (I even paid around $70/month for a few months for a private gravel lot in order to be able to get a break and actually get to places on time after work).
  • I join Pinterest and become semi-addicted.
  • My first ever 5K!  My friend Melissa encouraged me to do it.  I am not a runner, but I loved walking the 5K.   It was a fantastic experience.
  • I voted for my clerical union contract.  We had been without a contract for 14 or 15 months which was pretty discouraging, in spite of my union’s persistent negotiations.

November

  • I paid off my 5 year loan on my 2006 Ford Taurus!  Woohoo!
  • The Woodfield Mall bus trip that I was attending with my Mom got cancelled, but all was not lost when my Mom visited me and we spent the weekend shopping at a outlet mall and many great local places.
  • My first laptop that I have ever personally ordered was stolen when FedEx left it unsigned for outside of my apartment the day after Thanksgiving.

December

  • Old-Fashioned Christmas at my church.  I got to go on a horse and carriage ride!  It was amazing!
  • I bought a new laptop  after my laptop that I ordered online was stolen.
  • E-mail day of action that I participated in (off work time, of course) since my signed union contract giving all clericals a small raise and pay-back got stalled by my University when there was no real follow-through and months of stalemate.  Justice is important.  I will note that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can locate information that can be quite discouraging, such as discovering that “snack bar attendant” and “helper-kitchen” earned more pay than I did, until recently.
  • I reach over 100 likes on my WordPress blog.  Yes, sometimes I am addicted to my Stats!
  • Christmas with my family, after a two-day delay when my car would not start, got jumped twice, and eventually resulted in me paying $420 for a new alternator and serpentine belt.
  • My first ever pedicure, that was at a spa with my Mom, twin sister, and niece,  It was part of my Christmas gift from my Mom.  It was amazing!

Flashback- Me (on left) and my twin sister, Jody (on right), when we were little

Things and People Who I am Thankful for

Inspired by David Kanigan, I also decided to write a post about things and people who I am thankful for.  If you are not familiar with David Kanigan, check out his Thankful post.  I follow him, and he is always very inspiring and positive, plus he also regularly has interesting charts and cute +/or funny photos in his posts (re:  http://davidkanigan.com/2012/04/15/thankful-sunday/).

Without further ado, here are the Things and People Who I am Thankful for:

1. God.

2. Nature- our Creation is so beautiful, and I am a particular fan of the sky, ocean, beaches, sunsets, and the moon and stars.

Sunset at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The im...

Sunset at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. The image was taken at negative low tide that happens just a few times per year. One could see how far away the ocean went back exposing the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. My family.  I love being from a HUGE extended family.  Also, being an Aunt of my niece and nephew adds a special joy to my life.  I love being a twin, also.

4. I am thankful for my brother Kevin’s new job.  He was doing some freelance writing and finding it challenging to break into a more steady job since he graduated from college.  The economy is still weaker than I think we all would appreciate, but honestly, I am so grateful for Kevin’s new job (IN HIS FIELD) at a newspaper.

5.  I am thankful for WordPress.

6. Taco Bell. And Starbucks. LOL.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7. Redbox free promo code that they sent me by text today.

8.  I am thankful for my friend, Amber.  She fixed a maintenance issue in my apartment that was incredibly frustrating, and it was stretching out into almost a week.  I shouldn’t have to beg for maintenance, and I think I disagree with my landlord about what constitutes a maintenance priority (or border-line emergency).  So, kudos to my friend Amber.

9. Music.  Sometimes when I am riding in the car with friends and family, and they are driving without music, then I ask them to turn on the radio.  Seriously, I can’t imagine a world without music- it would be a dull world, indeed.  Music brings color to life.

10. Art.

11. I am thankful that my work blessed all of our front office staff this past Friday by giving us the afternoon off to go celebrate Office Support Professional Day a bit early.  I went to a nice restaurant that I normally could not afford (they donated money for us!), and we saw a movie.  I got popcorn, too (movie theatre popcorn is the best).  Also,  THREE of our Deans in the academic program where I work even volunteered to cover the front desk, so we could be off.  Is that cool, or what?

12. I am thankful for the new building for my church.  Last year, right before Thanksgiving, my church caught on fire.  Actually, the investigators said the fire appeared to be arson.  It was a horrible time, and we were displaced for about the last four months and meeting in a hotel.  We couldn’t have almost any of our normal church activities, and we lost all our of children’s ministry toys and items due to smoke damage due to the fire.  But, the awesome part of the story is that my church recently purchased a building (we had been renting the church building where the fire was and sharing it with another church).  Now, while we often have yellow construction tape at various places in our building and work is still in progress while we meet there, however, it is coming along.  It is a fixer-upper, but the building is our’s.  We even have some pretty flowers planted outside.  It has been a long road, but things are finally looking up.

13. Spring.

14. My new iPhone.  It is really cool.

Leave a comment.  I want to know what are you thankful for???