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2017 - Joelle's misc
December 31st, 2017
03:39 pm
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Back with the quiz I've posted yearly since 2004. 2017 was awful. Awful awful awful...in fact it could be up near the very top of the worst years of my life, vying with 2008 and 1997. Except. God has brought me to the place where I can bear it better than in prior years. Jonah-style "meltdowns" were about once a week toward the beginning of 2017, and further apart later on. Those would have happened multiple times a week to daily, along with bucketfuls of depression, had I experienced a year as bad as 2017 three or more years ago. I am so grateful for the work God has done, but really really wanting to be finished with this horribleness. Setbacks and poverty everywhere. Closed doors, burned ladders, barred gates, blocked paths, and way too much darkness. The only aspects of life that did not go badly this year were personal health, staying employed, and art projects. Easier to make that list than describe all the bad stuff!

Whatever happens in 2018, at least it's got my 25th anniversary since first meeting t'DoL in it, therefore it can't be as bad as 2017, right?

1. What did you do in 2017 that you'd never done before? Witness a total solar eclipse on August 23. Wow!
2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? No, didn't have any, and no, won't make any. 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? No, not this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die? My sister-in-law had a more awful year than me; the losses in my family are very close losses for her. First she lost two little ones, in March and in May, who did not live long enough to be born. Then, after the blessing of two years of reprieve, she lost her mother. I only got to meet Jan back in 2003 when I went to Colorado for my brother's wedding, and wished I could have done so again, but I know she was a cherished blessing in the lives of many. A huge, untimely loss, but she is Home and free from all pain and cancer now forever.

I am so tremendously, indescribably relieved that Mary Towner is not on this list this year, despite her aortic dissection in February and odds that were definitely not in her favor. So grateful to God for His mercy!
5. What countries did you visit? Only my own.
6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? Writing totals above 30,000. A way forward with my life's purpose. Something even vaguely resembling solvency. A functioning vehicle would be nice too.

7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Definitely August 23, when my mom and I got to see the total solar eclipse. Perhaps also September 2, when I said goodbye to my car Cerulean which I'd had since 2003.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? This was not a good year for accomplishments; certainly no big ones. But at least there were mid-range sorts! I passed 2,000 miles on the exercise bike this year, while the prior two years were around 1,500 miles each. I was really blessed (since I had extra non-writing time) with art progress and a few pictures I'm really thrilled to have finished. Last but not least, considering it was such an awful year, not going off the deep end must be considered an "accomplishment" as well.

9. What was your biggest failure? A very bitter one for me---really, REALLY rancid writing totals for the year, worse than any year since 1999, which was before I had a computer and a place of my own. 2017 was even worse than the hell year of 2007 itself when it came to writing progress, though I must attempt to console myself that getting the third Geren novel cleaned up and edited really does count for something.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing significant, thankfully. However, it was interesting to have another new side-effect of the annual summer depression. Last summer, it brought some agitation, but this summer I got to experience some anxiety. Quite a challenge, trying to learn to recognize it and attempt to ignore my brain freaking out when those symptoms hit.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Depending on the definition of the word 'best.' Best for my physical health was definitely the portable air conditioner I got this spring. For 'best' applied to memories, then it would be the Oregon trip to see the total solar eclipse and check out various areas that I took with my mom. For 'best' with my life's work and passion, then it would be my wonderful editor's help with the third Geren book. Quite grateful for all three!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Have to start with the Towners, for their kindness, their hospitality, their loaning me one of their vans while they were on vacation and my car wasn't very driveable. I must mention my priceless aunt Hilda, for her hospitality and kindness when my mom and I visited in February/March and for her making my meeting my editor possible, her kind notes and phone calls, and I must also include her generosity and hospitality to my brother and his big family after Thanksgiving on their visit. Cindy, who my mom and I have gone on a few vacations with in past years, has been a big blessing from God in my life this year as well, for going out for walks with me and taking me to Costco and Trader Joe's when I don't have a car to get places. Nor can I ever fail to include my wonderful mother, for her kindness, her generosity, her delicious cooking, precious comments, emails, and feedback, and the blessing of getting to take trips with her, which I wish I could do more often. So very, very blessed to have them in my life!
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Once again, 'ditto 2011', since that level of heartlessness is rank enough to foul an entire decade.

14. Where did most of your money go? Car repairs, editing, and the Oregon trip, I daresay.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I think this year the eclipse is the only thing that might merit three "really"s.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017? If I could remember years with songs, it would definitely be 'Even If' by MercyMe. See question 40 for lyrics!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?
How about more exasperated? Last year I was visiting family. This year I've got obnoxious Jury Duty hanging over me and I'm running behind on all my projects due to waiting on emails and my obsolete computer. 

ii. thinner or fatter? My weight is never great this time of year, but it's actually better than every year since 2010...and 2010 was when I came down with vertigo and could hardly eat at all!

iii. richer or poorer? Emphatically poorer. Need to start shopping for a large cardboard box with good wi-fi and an overpass to put it under! (Though honestly, considering I've paid off around 1/3 of my loan, maybe I am less broke than last year.)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Writing. Or perhaps flogging myself for not writing, not that it would change anything.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? My paid job, obviously! But I'm blessed to not have much overtime in 2017.

20. How did you spend Christmas? It was tranquil and wonderful. In the morning watched The Nativity Story while on my exercise bike. Worked on my current art project, listened to lots of Christmas music, a little reading in my Geren books. In the afternoon got kindly brought over to the Towners for a huge meal and traditional Jesus' birthday cake. Aaron, Naomi and Debbie with their families were all there; it was a good time.

21. How will you spend New Year's Eve? Junk food, movie, and exercise bike are certain to be involved. Some editing, art, and relaxing are happening as well.

22. Did you fall in love in 2017? Only if re-falling in love with characters I'd already fallen in love with counts! For movies, Caesar in the Planet of the Apes films, for TV, Goliath from Disney's Gargoyles, and for books, Malachite from the Raksura novels.

23. How many one-night stands? Same answer as the last thirteen years: Never have, never shall.
24. What was your favorite TV program? I quite enjoyed re-watching the first two seasons of Disney's Gargoyles that I first enjoyed in college.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Nope, same as the last thirteen years.

26. What was the best book you read? Afraid I can't pick just one, since I enjoyed quite a few really good reads in 2017--a nice 'problem' to have!

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Can't say there's a single big one. I found a few more songs that blessed me where I'm at, such as 'Even If' by MercyMe quoted below, also 'King of my Heart' by Kutless, and 'Thy Will' by Hillary Scott.

28. What did you want and get? Seeing a total solar eclipse! Also getting a portable air conditioner which was a huge blessing. And of course having my wonderful editor review the third Geren novel.

30. What was your favorite film of this year? That would definitely be War for the Planet of the Apes, hands down.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 42, and since my birthday fell on a Thursday, I brought in a boatload of Panera goodies to work, treated myself to a Jimmy John's veggie sub for dinner, then celebrated my health by making a platelet donation at the Red Cross (while watching I Am Legend for the fifth time or something like that). Amazing views on the drive home: dramatic clouds, a piece of a rainbow, a bald eagle sitting on a power line. Of course there were wonderful emails, and voice-mails, and the fun of book 5 reading too!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? More feedback on stories, novellas, and novels...and more writing!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? Same answer as the last years: I just keep on hating fashion, as I have since elementary school.

34. What kept you sane? As always, t'DoL keeps me both sane and insane. Whoot!

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No single person really sticks out for me.

36. What political issue stirred you the most? I can't think of one head and shoulders above others. There are far too many of them anyway, and too many people making all sorts of things political for no good reason.

37. Who did you miss? Can I say nobody? I quite missed not getting to write much about t'DoL this year...but I had so much FUN editing book 3 that it rather made up for it!

38. Who was the best new person you met? Alas, in keeping with this rancid year, no one meets the criteria of both "new" and "met" in 2017. (I did get to meet my wonderful editor in March, but she didn't count as "new"!)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017: Maybe not so much a life lesson as a valuable reminders in enduring a decade of desolation since the hell year of 2007. There are two:

From the song 'King Of My Heart' by Kutless - "When the night is holding on to me, God is holding on."

And by the gifted Ben Courson - "God is better than your pain has conceived Him to be. He is so, so good."

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: As mentioned above, 'Even If' by MercyMe fits this year perfectly.

"Even If"

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I'm losing bad
I've stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it'll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can't

It's easy to sing
When there's nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I'm held to the flame
Like I am right now

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Good thing
A little faith is all I have right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

You've been faithful, You've been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You're able
I know You can

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul



(2 comments | Leave a comment)

Date:December 31st, 2017 10:39 pm (UTC)
So enjoyed reading your comments. It so good to see how you
grow in the Lord. Thank you so much for your kind words,
they are very apprecaited.

I am going to listen to "Even If", I have not heard it.
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Date:January 1st, 2018 01:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks for dropping by and reading--these posts are never short! I am so grateful to be able to look back and see what God has done.

Happy 2018!
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