It seemed so simple. All we wanted from 2013 was a better, easier year than the one before. 2012 was marked with stress arising from the election, extended family tensions, health concerns, and other matters. Surely 2013 would be better.
But the year began badly, marked by events we couldn’t have foreseen, with effects on us and others that continue.
We are strong. We go on. And even with such a rough start, we succeeded in our modest hopes. It was, in fact, a very good year.
Neither of us are especially nostalgic, eschewing all the year-end reviews that mark the end of December. This year, however, we write our own.
Though stunned from the beginning, we quickly turned focus to upcoming celebrations. Our son graduated in mid-May with his master’s in mechanical engineering. The next day he commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. And at the end of May, we helped move him to Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma, where he began his pilot training. Those stories are told here:
On becoming an officer
On moving to Vance Air Force Base
We also looked forward to travel, with plans to visit Glacier National Park and Canada’s Banff National Park in July. In the meantime, we enjoyed hiking with my sister and brother-in-law in Illinois’s Starved Rock State Park. Before and after our big trip to Glacier, there were other hiking expeditions in Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia. A few of those stories, with wonderful photos by Jim, are here:
Glacier National Park, part 1
Glacier National Park, part 2
Banff National Park, part 1
Banff National Park, part 2
Maquoketa Caves State Park
Backbone State Park
Hike Along the Cedar River
Shades State Park Again After 33 Years
Hocking Hills Winter Hike
Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia
We write, and we teach. To create venues for those needs for expression, we began this blog, Our View from Iowa. Our interests are broad, and we use this to publish posts on politics, hunger, and other social issues, science, nature, and personal concerns. In addition, Jim created the JAR Blog as a site more focused on science topics. In July, I also launched Catbird Quilt Studio. With more than 300 posts between the three blogs, I guess you could say we’ve been very expressive!
Besides working on our own blogs, we helped update the website for our nearest food pantry, the North Liberty Community Pantry. Since early this year, I’ve also volunteered a couple hours a week at the pantry. They provide seasonal clothes for children, and I help take care to make sure area children have appropriate, stylish clothing to wear.
After countless hours volunteering for the election in 2012, Jim’s taken a breather this year. He even retired (for the last time!) in June. But he stays busy. His gardening in the summer filled our freezer with produce to enjoy throughout the year. And he plays electric blues guitar regularly, one more creative outlet for him.
This has been a year of creativity for me in my quilting. Most of my quilts for the year are shown in this gallery.
As the year comes to a close, we find our lives full and rich, blessed with family and friends, with much to do, and means to reach out into the world.
We look forward to 2014, not with any wish for “more” or “better.” Our lives are blessed with plenty, and with peace and happiness.
We wish you a year of peace and plenty in 2014, as well.