Friday, December 20, 2019

End of the Decade


I hadn't thought about it much until this last month of the year, but it's the end of a decade. 
Beware, I am about to wax maudlin for quite some time. 
Abandon all hope of a quick read, all who enter here:

As decades go, it's been a wild ride.

There have been ups. There have been downs. There have been some loops where my world was turned upside down, and some terrifying drops during which I wasn't sure if I was going to hit the ground with a hard splat, or get lifted up into another up-rolling corkscrew before coasting to the end of the decade.

On the UP side in life:
1. Both of my daughters finished homeschooling, finished course work at a community college, and matriculated to state universities where they are each studying types of engineering: Chemical (with a side of bio) and Civil.

2. My husband and I celebrated our 23rd Anniversary and our 52nd and 48th birthdays, respectively. We know that we can disagree (sometimes extremely stubbornly) and still love each other fiercely and faithfully.

3. My daughters both competed at the National and International levels for Flatwater Sprint Canoe and Kayak. Because of their accomplishments, my husband and I drove trailers full of boats from one end of the country to the other (literally - Washington to Georgia, then Florida and back). When my daughters both competed in Hungary in 2016, I went to cheer them down the course due to the gracious help of friends who helped me navigate (and financially afford) an international trip that year. When my youngest competed in the Czech Republic aka Czechia in 2017 and Poland in 2018, I went to cheer her there, too, and loved visiting those amazing places with the parent-cheer squad.

3.5 (I kind of forgot this one) - I got to see my daughters both dance and perform on stage, as well as having lines in an Indie film. We went to NY for the International Modeling and Talent Association Competition. My oldest had an "extra" part in Gray's Anatomy. My youngest had an interview for an training camp for kayaking that took place in OKC and did a good job of speaking about her sport.

4. We traveled a lot of amazing places as a family - it amazes me as I look back. We skied in Whistler, B.C. several times courtesy of my in-laws. We celebrated the 4th of July, 2010 with friends who hosted us for a trip to Washington DC. We went snorkeling with sharks, turtles, and manta rays in Hawaii in 2011. We visited the Grand Canyon in 2012 and went to Disneyland for one day. We went to NYC and NY state in 2013. We visited places with our daughters' sport - Georgia, Florida (second time for us), San Diego, and Oklahoma. We saw some cools sights along the way, including the Badlands, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and more. Too much to actually recount here. But it was good and we learned what we do well and don't do well on car trips.

5. My husband reached his 20th year work-anniversary at Tacoma City Light as an Professional Engineer (now supervisor) and it's been a really good work environment so it's a double blessing.

6. I taught classes for nine years at Harbor Christian Homeschool Cooperative and loved my students. I taught classes on Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, British Literature, Creative Writing for 9-12 year-old children, and Creative Writing for 14+. I taught classes in Dynamic Language Arts and Dynamic Writing, and created my own curriculum since I had previously come up with about a hundred pages in handouts to supplement a different writing curriculum. I tutored some amazing students, too. All of these students encouraged me to become closer to God and to grow my teaching skills.

7. I helped found One Hope Church, back when we didn't even have a name for ourselves. For a short time, I served as the Worship Coordinator by finding musicians, guest pastors and speakers, prayer leaders, and communion leaders. I helped write the founding documents of the church with a team of leaders and prayed for hours over every decision I made and our team of leaders made. When I stepped back, I was exhausted and may have stepped too far back, but I am glad to have seen the Church Elders take the foundation and build it into something even better than I could have imagined at the beginning, when we met first at an outdoor camp and then in a high school library - we moved a lot of chairs in those days.

8. I co-taught a lot of Sunday School. Teaching young people, whether they are 3 or 17, has taught me how much wisdom can come from people who have fresh eyes and a deep faith. Wisdom does not necessarily come from experience, but it can come from a direct application of God's Word in our lives. And that's ageless.

9. I wrote a lot. Hundreds of thousands of words. I don't really know how many between journals, short stories, poems, non-fiction articles, handouts for classes, social media posts, novels, and non-fiction books. I have written several novels that haven't seen the light of day (publication) and some that have.

10. I took a chance on self-publishing. I am proud of the work I have done, even if I can see many, many places that I could do better. I have self-published three novels, three writing curriculum books, three chapbooks of short stories and/or poetry, an experimental hint fiction series (which may become a graphic novel someday), writing prompt books, and a series of stand-alone short story e-books.

11. I started my blog in 2009, but I really didn't get going until 2010 or later when I joined the IWSG and really started to do more. Thank you, online writers!!!

12. I joined a really cool Write-In group a few years ago. We are still going strong on most Tuesday nights. A critique group has spun-off and is going well. I went to an open mic night a month ago. I joined the SCBWI. Basically, I started to find my writing tribe in the RL (finally).

On the Down Side of Life:
 I'm going to sum the rotten stuff together into three items:
1. Health from 2010-2019: It's gone from okay to I-thought-I-might-die kind of bad. I'm beginning to improve in a baby step kind of fashion. Some of this has been my fault - obesity really can't be blamed on anyone else and I'm pretty sure that's why I have reflux and GERD. Some has not been my fault - several surgeries (not related to my weight) and a few autoimmune diseases (Menieres and Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism).
I have a neurological para-thesis, which doesn't have an current explained origin, but which is not so bad that I need medical care for it. I just track my symptoms and try to pay attention to what seems to help and what doesn't. It could be or could not be a pre-cursor to CMT (an inherited genetic neurological disorder my dad has). I don't know yet and may never know.

2. Deaths in our extended family and among friends. This is just hard. As my Pastor says, "we weren't mean to die, death is the consequence from when humanity chose sin. So, it makes sense that death just feels so wrong. It is wrong. It wasn't a part of the original plan. We are meant for eternity." (Note: I am quoting from memory so I may not have his exact words right.)

3.  We don't have world peace yet. Human trafficking still exists. Suffering still happens daily, 24/7. We've lost the ability to have civil discourse. I blame the sin disease - not one person or one group, but a constant desire we each have for selfishness. I have it. Everyone I know has it.

Looking UP for the Next Decade:
1. I look forward to seeing where and what my daughters do next. I'm glad they still like talking to me most of the time (except when I ask about grades, study habits, etc).

2. I look forward for many more years of wonderful hugs, sassy humor, and adventures with my husband.

3. I look forward to traveling even more.

4. I look forward to taking my baby steps into greater strides towards good health.

5. I look forward to singing many more years on One Hope Church's Praise Team and going to more great Bible studies. Maybe even teaching a little more Sunday School.

6. I look forward to writing a million+ more words.

7. I look forward to getting published traditionally, as well as continuing to self-publish.

8. I look forward to gaining more skills in writing, publishing, marketing, and more.

9. I look forward to finding more edges of God's greatness and beauty in this world, to seeing the blessings, and hearing the stories of God's goodness and grace in people's lives.

10. I look forward to more community connections in writing - both online and in the real world.

11. I look forward to teaching more writing and spoken word classes, to encourage others to speak life and hope into the world around us.

12. I look forward to volunteering and working in a way that suits God's purposes and my passions.

What are you looking forward to in 2020 and the next decade?

My next post will be on January 8th, 2020. Until then, I hope you all enjoy these last few weeks of the decade! Be merry, be kind, love and laugh!


Denise Covey said...

Hi Tyrean. You do have a lot to be thankful for in 2019. I'm interested in how the self-publishing went. If you want to be traditionally published, too, I hope you find your home.

Thank you for the prompt for the December WEP. It has brought forth some wonderful writing.

All the best for 2020. May your dreams all come true.

krystal jane said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!!

You've had so many good travels, and I had no idea you've been married for 23 years! That's awesome. Best wishes for your health and goals in 2020!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean ... gosh you have been doing a lot, through a lot - yet achieved so much especially with your husband bringing up your daughters ... I hope you can keep your health in check and improve it somewhat in the next decade. But you have high and practical goals ... all achievable as the years go by. Enjoy life - and you do ... take care, happy Christmas with lots of singing and praise - and all the best - Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Your pastor is correct. Once we get to Heaven, we'll never die again, either.

You traveled a lot. If you ever hit NC, let me know.

Don't forget you were in Hero Lost!

Merry Christmas.

CWMartin said...

This might be my favorite post of the year! You have had tremendous successes, served the Lord in a great way, and reached a lot of personal ambitions! The bad side is what we have all dealt with this year. Our family too have had deaths, health crises, and frankly I am glad to see this year go. But God has been good- you are still breathing, still surrounded by a loving happy family. We have added a grandson #2 and just today a new doggie! Things will look up...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Twenty-three years - congratulations!
Awesome you founded a church.
Hope the next decade has even more positives.

Damyanti Biswas said...

You have been keeping busy! Hope you have busy time up ahead. They are the best afterall. Happy Holidays!

William Annie said...
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Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

It just hit me pretty recently - I know, I'm kind of slow - that it's not only the end of a year, but also the end of a decade - blows my mind!

Love the idea of looking up as we look ahead. Wishing you all the best in 2020 and beyond! :)

David Powers King said...

2019 was a serious reflection on life for me as well, and glad you found so much good in the last decade. May the next 10 years be even better! :)