Merry Christmas!

As I sit here there is a mess of toys and stuff spread out all over the floor. A fire still roars in the fireplace while Christmas music continues to softly play. I’m still stuffed from bean dip, cookies and lots of coffee. Tonight we’ll be dining on leftover turkey and probably going to sleep early. It’s Christmas, my favorite day of the year. But this year is a little different. In all of my 31 years celebrating Christmas I cannot recall one that was not sunny and bright. It’s always VERY cold, but here in California it always seems that the sun always shines bright on Christmas. Not this year. It’s been storming on and off since yesterday, which only seems fitting as 2008 comes to an end.

2008 has not exactly been a banner year and we are pretty happy to see it end. It seems funny that this time last year we were celebrating a much bigger Christmas (toy & gift wise). Little did we know that a week later we would be suffering losses in both of our businesses (my husband and I both being self-employed). Or that by the end of January we would be filing for bankruptcy. We certainly did not know that the economy was going to make our lives harder and harder with each passing month. And we certainly didn’t know a few months later my dad would be diagnosed with Cancer.

Like I said, not exactly a banner year.

So as 2008 FINALLY reaches it’s end, the end I’ve been waiting for almost since it began, I breathe a aigh of relief. But I can’t help to think about the good things that came from 2008 as well. And that I have hope that the hard work and energy we put into simply surviving 2008 will pay off in 2009. The good things? Well here is my list of things that I’m taking from 2008 instead of what Im leaving behind with it.

1. My Family- My kids are growing more and more each day, and are becoming the people I’d most like to spend time with. They are not only my kids that I love because they are my kids, but people who are warm, funny, smart and a whole lot of fun to be with. They have both just blossomed even more in Kindergarten & Pre-school, and I am proud of them and fall in love with them more each day.

My husband? Well, a lesser couple would have jumped ship long ago. But not us. Each hardship we have encountered has only made us stronger and more diligent in our resolve to make our lives better for us and our kids. He is my best friend, and never in a million years could I imagine drifting though life with anyone else but him.

2. Writing- When 2008 started sucking FAST last January, the first thing I did was pick up my journal again. Then I started blogging and then checking out some freelance writing websites. By February I had my first paying job as a writer. Real money, real writing. I still have that gig as well as a couple of others, not to mention the handful that have come and gone through the year. The writing has introduced me to the world of social media and Web 2.0, and I have developed a love and passion for it. I am now hoping to pursue a career in it as well as writing. By this time next year I am confident that I will be doing one or both for a living.

3. School- I never thought I would find the time or energy to go back to school. It didn’t seem all that important to me when I graduated high school a million years ago, and that became one of my biggest regrets in life. One that my husband and I both shared and decided to remedy in 2008. In the fall we both returned to school. Though it’s made for a busy semester, as it turns out it was pretty damn smart. Between Early Childhood Classes, Political Science & Marketing I am putting myself in a career I truly feel I was meant to do. My husband is taking music classes, his true passion. It’s given him a sense of pride that I could never have helped him to have. It’s all good.

4. America- The election in November was one of the greatest moments of my life, and as dire as our financial circumstances along with the rest of the country’s is, I’ve never been filled with more hope and excitement about politics and the future as I am when looking ahead to 2009. This, my friends, is going to be an awesome ride.

4. My Dad’s Obsession with Living a Healthy Lifestyle- In the Spring, cancer kind if came out of nowhere and decided to make it’s way into our lives when my dad was diagnosed with throat cancer. We weren’t sure how it was going to play out. All we knew is that we were pretty damn scared. Cancer sucks, and there really isn’t a better way to sum it up. Explaining to my kids that Grandpa was sick was one of the most surreal moments of my entire life. One I don’t think I’ll ever really be able wrap my mind around. Lucky for all of us though, my dad had other plans that cancer just didn’t fit in with. Last night as we enjoyed family Christmas festivities together, you would never know that over the summer he was a man who was unable to speak, had to eat through a feeding tube, and on some days could barely even get out of bed. His recovery so amazing in fact, that his doctor have even asked to write about. Most of it attributed to my dad’s obsession with hiking, skating, eating natural foods and living a healthy lifestyle. Cancer didn’t stand a chance against my dad’s organic healthy mind & body. It will b a long while before any of us are able to stop looking behind us to see if the cancer has caught up with us and returned, but for now he’s alive, he’s healthy, he’s laughing, and swinging his grandkids around like he always has.

You know, now that I think about it maybe 2008 was better than I give it credit for. At any rate, I hope nothing but the best for you and yours in 2009. Everyone I know has had it rough this year one way or another, and I hope together we can heal the wounds of the last year. Both as a country and in our personal lives.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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