Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy New Year 2010 from the House of Jones!

Hey everybody! Was that a year or was that a year? 2009 was quite a year. Where to begin? So many things go through my head.

This time last year, we had just gotten home from a lovely vacation in Mexico with the kids to celebrate J1's upcoming Grade 12 grad. We couldn't imagine having someone graduated from high school. Today, we have a young working man living with us while he looks for a place (and with such a low vacancy rate, we will probably enjoy him with us longer than he would like!) We are already anticipating J2's grad. Although J2's only in Grade 11, it's hard not to when he's taking Grade 12 classes. We have a young lady searching out high schools for the perfect match. It's mind boggling how quickly things ramped up around here.

This year, Mr. Jones and I also visited Portugal. Our commitment to avoiding tourist traps and seeing areas where people live and work might have come back to bite us this time. We saw some beautiful landscape, but man! That was probably the most challenging trip we've taken. Portugese is not like spanish, much to my surprise, and so we were way beyond our ability to communicate with anyone. Also, being off-season and off-grid, there was little to do but eat fish, drink espresso, walk around and wait for shops that close for a healthy chunk of each day. But that is not the whole picture - there were also beautiful countrysides, gorgeous sights, if not much to do. Very relaxing though. Oh - we did take in a conference that to us is extremely important and very strategic to the future care for people in crisis, to our work, and to our world view.

This time last year, Mr. Jones was splitting his time between Saskatoon and Regina. Today there is a healthy sister agency running well in Regina, and one here in Saskatoon whose growth will level off and move into stability. Transition time is over, knock wood?

This time last year, Mrs. Jones was pulling her hair out trying to keep within the boundaries of her position while subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) steering her agency through pitfalls without touching the wheel. That was hard. Today her colleague is doing a wonderful job of gently but strongly building integrity back into the picture and strengthening relationships across the province. I can sleep a little better at night when I don't have to explain to my superior why what I do is important.

This time last year I was taking an undergrad class to 'prove my academic capabilities'. Today I'm frantically reading a schwack of textbooks in anticipation of my coursework, starting in 2 weeks (yikes!).

This time last year we were looking for a church that was welcoming, offered us a place to get to know other like-minded folks in a small group setting, and had kids our kids' age. Nothing's changed there, I suppose. We don't make change quickly around here. Everything comes with a cost - knee jerking and lagging both - and maybe we should have moved a while ago. We keep hoping to avoid being the new folks. I want to avoid being a 'church-hopper' - a hilarious thought considering I was at one church for over 30 years and another for over 10. But sometimes, I guess you just have to call it. I think we're moving closer to being able to do that, much as we don't want to. When a church bleeds people to the extent that I've seen over the past few years, shouldn't we want to find out why? Or where they went or how they are doing now? I hope someone out there is watching and caring.

There were some very serious family illnesses over the past year. Thank God, Dad's doing just fine. Mr. Jones' mom said a sad farewell to her beloved best friend and sister this year. We just came home from that sister's husband's farewell. My brother and his wife lost an unborn child that rocked us all and left many of us shattered. Our good friends and grandparents-to-be lost their unborn grandchild as well, very close to his due date. Whether it be oceans, cities, provinces, or just a few steps that lie between us, we hope our family feels us standing with them in silent grief to mourn those whom we loved, and what might have been, determined to do what we can not to let it shatter us or each other.

Because 2010 is here now! It's a whole new ball game. We move forward with great expectation and we open our eyes in a new way to all of what can be today!

I am finally, finally fulfilling a lifelong goal of completing my studies. Had I not waited this long I might never have fully understood how to apply my strengths to this world in a meaningful way. Mr. Jones is buildling and shaping the face of the care system in Saskatchewan in a way that leaves me speechless. We watch J1 find himself as a young man, and we are humbled that he is ours. We see J2 assert himself in a perfect mix of strength and gentleness, and we can glimpse the gift that he will be to this world. Gift of God, Friend to Many. That is who he always has been, and to watch him mature in that is amazing. We witness J3 becoming this amazingly sharp, beautiful young lady who thinks deeply and sees dimentionally. How did we ever get so blessed?

Thank you, God, for 2010. An unprecedented year. Bring it on!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December already!

Blog posting has been put toward the bottom of the list lately, but for Mom and Dad (I think the only followers of this blog!) here's a little rundown:
  • No pics - our computer fried and we lost a lot of digital stuff (waaaa!) not to mention my Gentle Teaching presentations of the past 2 years. Hopefully I backed up or can find my zip drive, but for now I'm not worrying about retrieving things. I'm just glad the computer is back for the school work I'm starting.
  • Speaking of which, I received my textbooks last week. I'm enjoying the reading - I guess that makes me either a total nerd or someone who chose a course that is of great interest to me. "Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team", "Reframing Organizations", "Learning in Relationship"... what's not to love? It's already giving me neat thoughts and ideas at work.
  • Tim's leadership party was last night. We usually host but his staff has grown so much over the past year that we can't hold the leadership plus spouses anymore. It was nice not to have to clean up this morning! But I am campaigning to have an 'executive leadership' party at our place in January. I think we could manage that number.
  • As of a few weeks ago, Tim's agency is supporting someone special, a second cousin. Tim used to mention how great it would be if that person could join the party, and now he has. It's a nice feeling to see him settle in and get comfortable.
  • J1 is back living at the House of Jones for a while. Too many roomates who kept moving in and out until he didn't know anyone anymore... so he and one buddy are currently viewing apartments. A great experience, a fun journey to watch.... as long as we don't have to help move the furniture, the revolving door is always open at the House of Jones.
  • J2's fall drama was fun. His character gets clocked with a frying pan... or was it a baseball bat... either way, his landing was spectacular! His grades are good. They better be... some of those classes are Grade 12.
  • J3 has loosely chosen a high school. She will continue in the advanced program at Bedford. Her best friend is going there, and it is now a fairly small school, what with the new schools up in the West end. I think it's a good fit for her. She is not a fan of the idea of a huge, huge student body, so the smaller the better.
  • Minuit is a very old girl whose arthritis flares up whenever we go somewhere. So, while we were in Portugal we were kinda fearing the worst, and the concerned emails from J3 were getting more and more frantic. But she doubled her chondritin and was fine. Whew.
  • Lexi has TUDE! But she is so happy and so cute that her occasional bouts of selective memory are forgiven. She is very good at not jumping..on me, that is. Everyone else seems to think this is cute. I however absolutely do not. And she has learned that there are some humans that you do not jump on. I have faith that the other humans will get on board with this eventually, and Lex will be able to keep 4 on the floor.
  • Today we are starting... or are we finishing... bathroom renos. We are in a bathroom reno continuum that may never end. Today some tile goes up in the lower bathroom, and some drywall goes in in the upper bathroom. If I EVER get 2 completely complete bathrooms in my house I will... well... I will probably start the renos on the master bath. Just being honest! Maybe we really, really love renos more than we think...