Back with the little quiz I've posted the last ten years. 2014 was, thank God, the best year of any this side of the hell year of 2007. One mental image of the devastation wrought by the hell year which I've often employed is of a mountain in my rear-view mirror. One year out, small wonder that mountain was the only thing that could be seen behind me. But as year followed year, the sheer scope of that horror grew increasingly clear. At last in 2014, seven years out, I've finally had brief glimpses of clear sky at times around that vast and distant colossus. So grateful for that!
1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? Walk on a black sand beach, join my employer's bowling league and bowl for the first time, and see a real coral reef (and wild sea turtle) on a glass-bottom boat ride in the Florida Keys.
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? In a way, since I kept working at Bible memory passages and did two more. And that's something I want to keep doing indefinitely. However, years just get shorter, the older I get, and I'd rather focus on "life resolutions" instead.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, my sister-in-law gave birth to baby number eight: Keanna Joy.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Super close by blood, no. Close in other ways, yes. In January Ray Smith died, who taught me to play the clarinet in my junior high years and was band director to me as well. The world has lost an amazing trumpet player, and teacher. In April, Bob Yourshaw, who trained me and Jodi on the Wicks & Wilson fiche scanners back in 2006, and came out a couple times a year since then. My uncle's ex-wife died in June, after a long struggle with cancer. Hardest of all was losing Shelley Glaus on June 28th, after having her as a coworker from 1998 through 2013. My fervent gratitude to God that my wonderful aunt and my mom's dog Abby are not on this list this year.
5. What countries did you visit? None but my own.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? High mountains.
7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Definitely August 2nd, my first visit to the Uptown Art Fair, what I found there, and what it means to me.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Reaching (and passing) fifty short stories/novellas written. Been looking forward to that for years. On toward one hundred!
9. What was your biggest failure? Ghastly writing totals for this year, due to only editing novels, not writing them. Also, only managed 5 successful platelet donations and 3 whole blood donations, for a rather shabby total of 8, sigh.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing significant, thank God!
11. What was the best thing you bought? Probably the angel figurine August 2nd, as well as airfare.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My wonderful wonderful aunt Hilda, her incredible generosity, hospitality, kindness, fabulous cooking, caring heart. Most of all, for the reading and enjoying of my heart. She told me, Lord willing, she wanted to live to read my Triune novels and Renewer Rising, and while it's highly unlikely the Lord would be willing to wait that long, since I am so slow, her saying as much is utterly precious to me.
Then there's my cousin Diane, the nurse who works crazy hours, and is always there for anyone in her immediate family. It was such a tremendous comfort and blessing to have her there when Hilda's brain aneurysm took place, and the long recovery. She has been kind to me and my brother our whole lives, though we were the cousins over 10 years younger than all the rest of them.
Mention must be made of Hilda's "angel," for though I don't remember her name, God knows who it is I am blessing in my prayers. If it were not for her insisting that Hilda get to the hospital that night, I might not have gotten to spend Christmas with my aunt this year. Her insight and kindness were heaven-sent.
I can't ever leave out the Towners, our meals together, their kindness, rides to the airport, and enjoying my photography undoubtedly more than it deserves. They have been a treasure to my family since I was three years old, and it does not end.
I cannot leave out my wonderful mother, who consistently takes the time and effort to speak my love language and love on my heart when nobody else in the world finds me worth the trouble. She is a blessing from heaven.
Lastly, I can't leave out Sarah Jestin, who mentioned my small assistance in reviewing and editing in the acknowledgments page of her second published book, White Dragon. So kind!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Once again, 'ditto 2011', since that level of asshole behavior is rank enough to foul an entire decade.
14. Where did most of your money go? Car repairs and new tires is what it feels like, as well as airfare and cat-sitting.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? This year, I can't think of anything that merits three "really"s. Not that there weren't events or milestones to anticipate, just nothing that huge.
16. What song will always remind you of 2014? I've probably said this most every year, but I don't associate songs and years well at all. If I did, it would be 'Gift of Life' by Thomas Bergersen in his album Illusions, which both triggered a revelation about Hu-Harek, but was also emblematic of the great mental progress with both her and Triune I made throughout the year.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? More anticipation and optimism.
ii. thinner or fatter? After over two weeks of my aunt's fabulous cooking and over-abundant sweets and candies, fatter of course!
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing, of course! Also, more editing/revising progress with Hu-Hua's Cry, which keeps morphing into a more dauntingly huge task the more I work at it.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? My paid job, obviously! But thankfully this year was a bit better than the last few.
20. How did you spend Christmas? Quite uniquely, for me. My first Christmas in Florida with my mom, my aunt Hilda and her husband H, their daughter Diane, her kids and granddaughter. We celebrated on Christmas Eve, I ate way too much; we stood out and watched lightning from a passing storm and got rained on when we started to walk over to the nearest Christmas displays. Christmas Day was also unique, as I've never gone to the movies on that day before--me, my mom, and my aunt saw Interstellar, and we all enjoyed it. For me, the third time!
21. How will you spend New Year's Eve? Nothing special, as usual since today's the anniversary of Holly's death. Watch an episode of Agents of SHIELD while working on the exercise bike since I have Florida weight to get rid of, also try to finish up an animated avatar. Do a little reading, eat something unhealthy, ha ha.
22. Did you fall in love in 2014? Do adorable robots like Baymax in Big Hero 6 and TARS in Interstellar count? Also can't forget Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy!
23. How many one-night stands? Same answer as the last ten years: Never have, never shall.
24. What was your favorite TV program? I really can't pick one. Got to watch episodes of Numbers, Elementary, Continuum, Extant, and Agents of SHIELD, and I enjoyed them all in different ways.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Nope, same as the last ten years.
26. What was the best book you read? For books I hadn't read before, definitely Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller. Blew me away; I need to buy it and read it again.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Fell in love with the soundtrack for Interstellar. Magnificent!
28. What did you want and get? Got to walk on a black sand beach in northern California, got seven short stories written, and got to see a bunch of manatees out in nature, as well as a wild green sea turtle.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? 2014 was an AWESOME year for me at the movie theater. I loved all these movies (listed chronologically): Noah, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, and Big Hero 6. A few of them I got to see twice, but Interstellar was the one I loved enough to get out and see three times.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 39...for real. Wonderful day, as it fell on a Sunday this year. Church, then a fabulous lunch with the Towners at Cracker Barrel (and I got a free dessert), also the fun of my tradition of rereading 'Vigil' around the solstice/my birthday, and a little writing progress in the evening. Very nice indeed.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? More feedback on stories, novellas, and novels.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? Same answer as the last years: I just keep on hating fashion, as I have since elementary school.
34. What kept you sane? Same answer as the last years: t'DoL keeps me both sane and insane. =)
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I can't think of any one in particular that stands out.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Ugh, can't think of one head and shoulders above the rest.
37. Who did you miss? Shelley.
38. Who was the best new person you met? Two great people deserve mention here: Chris, who I worked with extensively January through March in testing my massive BD configs, and he did a fabulous job (and is now a member of my department). In August, Anna, the long-awaited third member of the Tech Team I'm on, whom I'm really enjoying getting to know.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014: Can't say I've learned it so much as I'm finally starting to learn it, and hoping to not forget it. Complete trust in God that is quiet rather than throwing fits, as in Psalm 131:2:
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: :
I heard this song performed by the choir at my parents' church last spring and instantly fell in love. 'Lord You're Holy' by Eddie James - part of the lyrics below
I don’t know how You can love me
Why You give me so much mercy and
How You would suffer and die for me
way back on Calvary
But I thank You [x3]
You're worthy of all the praise
You're wonderful, glorious, holy and righteous,
victorious conqueror, triumphant and mighty,
healer, deliverer, shield and defense,
my strong tower and my best friend,
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, soon coming King,
You're Alpha, Omega, Lord of everything;
holy, holy, holy is Your name.