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Monday, December 28, 2020

Wrapping Up 2020

Charles Dickens could not have summarized my experience in 2020 any better, from A Tale of Two Cities“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

For me, this was a year of many firsts, many of which I hope will soon be lasts. 

  • the first time I ever virtually attended church
  • my first Zoom meeting (although I did do Google hangouts for classes a couple of years ago)
  • my first grocery home delivery (but not my first grocery pickup -- I did that one a couple of years ago)
  • building my first seriously-considered emergency pantry, with enough to weather 6 months, if necessary
  • the first time all four of us have been at home together, daily, for months on end 
  • my first Mother's Day without my son present
  • our first July Easter egg hunt
  • my first time wearing a mask to go someplace and having the rest of my community staring back at me from behind their own masks
  • our first Thanksgiving al fresco, in rain and cold
  • our first garage Christmas brunch and dinner
  • the first time I completely shopped online for a year's worth of birthday and holiday gifts
  • the first year I missed the great clearance sales after all of the holidays

Some of the happenings from this past year were the best of times, such as: 
  • spending an abundance of time with both of my daughters during a period in their lives when they might otherwise be occupied, 
  • having more daytime conversations with my husband
  • establishing a more regular correspondence with my son and daughter-in-law
  • getting on track with my exercise routine enough that I stayed with it even through December
  • not fussing about my appearance as we weren't going anywhere
  • eating all of our food prepared in our own home 
  • spending more time outdoors 
  • spending more time reading
  • more time to study scripture
  • reconnecting with a church from my childhood and having two worship services to watch each Sunday and two mid-week group studies to follow
  • learning new technologies
  • walking in the next neighborhood over from my home, daily, and seeing their holiday decor -- 4th of July, Halloween/autumn, Christmas
  • re-learning the art of written correspondence (sending cards and notes to distant friends and family)
And some of the happenings from this past year were the worst of times, such as:
  • our vacuum died and we went without a vacuum for 5 months, because I had to evaluate replacements completely online (we did have a stick-vac for hard flooring as a back-up, but it just didn't get the carpet very clean)
  • running out of yeast and white flour then having to make-do for several months; but at least we weren't among the many who couldn't find bathroom tissue (bread we can do without, toilet paper not so much)
  • about the same time as I ran out of yeast, discovering bugs in my cornmeal, necessitating throwing away about 5 pounds of grains
  • not seeing my church family, good friends, and extended family in-person at all for 10 months -- this has been especially hard for me
  • having to put an interview to volunteer in a local art museum on hold, indefinitely, while the pandemic rages
  • illness in the spring which left me exhausted and brain-fogged
  • not taking a vacation or a day-outing in a year, although in summer I did go down to the beach occasionally for an hour at a time
  • our only car's battery died in March, we ended up buying a year's subscription to AAA
  • later, same only car got a flat tire and the jack wasn't working, at least we had AAA at this point
  • we had a minor gas leak in our house -- of course, this was late at night; these things always happen late at night
  • these last three things could have happened during a non-pandemic year, but they were made worse by not wanting to have repair people in our house/property
All of the above were merely trials and inconveniences. Sadly, we also lost a family member this past year, a cousin of my husband. My heart has broken for her husband and two daughters. The lesson for me in their loss is that no matter how difficult our own circumstances are, there is always someone else who has suffered more profoundly.

This sounds like such a downer on which to end this post. However, I know that this family member would tell us all to live our lives like we've never lived before. There's that famous quote (often inscribed on knick-knacks and placards for the home) from professor and author William W. Purkey: "You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like there's nobody listening, and live like it's heaven on earth." I'll take Purkey's sentiments to heart as I take on 2021, living my life as it's never been lived before.

How about you? Did you have many firsts in this past year? And how many of them do you hope will also be lasts? Do you have good takeaways as well as bad from 2020?


  1. Well, the five kids and husband were home from mid-March to early August. At that point, school resumed and my husband got a promotion at work, which necessitated him returning in person (he works on an Army post in a civilian position). The kids had been home constantly when they were younger and we homeschooled, but it was a different experience with everyone on their multiple online classes (ages 10 through 20) and work meetings. The introvert part of me hopes this is also a last, though I really did enjoy the extra time with my husband.

    First wedding for one of my kids, and also the first time I had personally seen a wedding live-streamed. My 20 YO daughter got married in October, as I mentioned. Her husband's father is a pastor and did their small family ceremony (25 people total).

    Being the "higher risk" person in my family (asthma and autoimmune issues), I have really tried to use caution, but in August, my former boss texted asking if I'd be interested in resuming the job I'd left over a year before, so back I went. It's been a mixed thing--nice to have the income and being able to pick it back up easily, and really, I wear a mask for each delivery, so fairly safe, I think? But I miss my more leisurely days at home. Now that I'm gone 3 days per week all the errands and house stuff gets packed into the others.

    We lost our sweet cat a few days ago on Christmas Eve (also my birthday). He was young but had some congenital neurological issues and one of them developed into something he could not survive. Hoping THAT is a last, for sure!

    1. Hi Cat,
      Happy belated birthday! But I'm so sorry for the sadness on that day, with the loss of your beloved cat.

      It sounds like the caution you're exercising with your delivery job is doing what it's supposed to do -- keeping you safe. Do you have in-person contact or do you just leave deliveries at the door? I'm glad you've stayed well through this whole pandemic!

      A lived-streamed wedding or any other major event will be a first for a lot of folks, I think. Who would've ever thought that watching your child's wedding on a screen would be what one had to do? I'm sorry you couldn't be there in person.

      Cat, I wanted you to know that something odd goes on with your comments and my blog. I don't get an email notification that there's a comment from you, but find it in my "awaiting authorization" folder, and I have to actually check that folder to find it. But most other comments send me an email and I can publish those from gmail. So, sometimes, your comments don't show up as quickly as others, and it's only because of that one glitch. I'm trying to remember to check that one folder often. Just sorry about that and wanted you to know why your comments don't show up quickly. It has nothing to do with the content of your comments or anything like that, just a weird glitch. Hope that explains it.

      Have a great day, Cat!

    2. That is very odd! I don't comment on a lot of blog, only 3 that I can think of in the past year, so I'm not sure why this would be? Glad you mentioned that, though.

      And I probably wasn't very clear, but I did get to go to my daughter's wedding. Both sets of parents, siblings, and one set of grandparents from each (my parents, in our case) got to attend, and just their very closest friends (2 each). The live stream was for other friends and extended family.

      As for work, people can choose contactless delivery, and occasionally, someone does. That's sort of a mixed bag, though, as I deliver for a florist and we can't leave everything if someone is not home. (Poinsettias in cold weather, for instance, or anything at all on windy days). But it's mostly working pretty well. Surprisingly, very few people open their doors in a mask. Guess they don't worry about protecting the delivery person. Or maybe they just don't think about it at all? But I am a diligent hand washer.

      A great day to you as well!

  2. We had a lot of common experiences this year, Lili--spending more time with family, making do with what was on hand, and lots of virtual experiences including teleworking and doing virtual programs for my job. In many ways, the inward focus has been good, but I am so looking forward to having face to face meetings with family and friends. Soon.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I agree, there have been beneficial outcomes to an inward focus, as you put it. But like you, I also really miss seeing people in person. We've made it through 10 months. Just a few more months to go.

  3. I'm sure we all can identify with your lists. Although it's been a wild ride, I wouldn't say that it's been the "worst" year for me. While I miss many things, seeing friends being one of the biggest ones, I have found that the blessing with this is that we are keeping tabs on each other and encouraging each other more than we typically would. I also have a sort of guilty appreciation for lighter schedules--fewer activities for my kids to be involved in, fewer extra church activities--while at the same time missing those very same activities.

    Probably my biggest takeaway is a heightened awareness of the need to let go of trying to control things and to rely on God's control instead. Not easy for me. While I've shared that my mom has had medical issues this year and is in assisted living, I haven't shared that she is now under hospice care at her AL facility. Even though she is a hospice patient, family isn't allowed in to see her (due to current covid restrictions) unless she is "actively dying". Although other things this year have been inconvenient and irritating, this has been by far the most challenging to deal with. I have to trust that she is being well cared for. Her hospice nurse has been absolutely wonderful and I feel like she is my eyes, ears, and hands. I visit outside her window or via electronic means when I can. But the ability to hug her and hold her hand sure would be nice.

    My other takeaway is that I am trying to fully appreciate the extra time I have been given with my family--my son is a high school senior and there is a good chance he will go away to college next year and then I think I will miss all of this enforced togetherness.

    Very thoughtful post, Lili. Thank you for letting me ramble on in my comments.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I'm sorry to hear of your mom's hospice status. You're right, the only way to have peace in this situation is to place your trust in the Lord. I'll keep you in my prayers.

      The extra time with family at home has been the best of times. It's been a bonus, something that in any other year we would not have had, a gift.

      I'll be keeping you in my prayers, Kris.

  4. My better half lost his job last March. We’ve been struggling a bit since august. Bills are paid but there’s not a lot leftover. We are doing better than many others. Times are really hard for those who worked in the service industry.

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      I'm so sorry for your husband's job loss. This must be such a difficult time for the two of you. I'll keep you both in my prayers that his job situation turns around shortly. Hopefully with the roll-out of the vaccine, sector-wide shutdowns will come to an end soon.
      Take care Vanessa.

  5. Sorry to hear that Kris. It gives me more to be thankful for that my elderly parents are still fine in their own home and we do visit them often. Same with MIL.

    I align with much of what Lili said and I can see both good and bad in this year. The good is being home more and having my daughter here all year. Another good thing was my son actually buying a home during this time and moving in to begin a new chapter in his life. I've seen family members get covid and are recovering and not failing. I'm glad this didn't happen while we were in California last year for my husband's major surgery. I'm also glad that after 6 months he is doing much better and we don't have to go back. The sad things are that I feel like I missed Christmas because we couldn't go to church and having church at home isn't quite the same. I miss a friend that we have birthday coffee together.

    I've heard that 2021 will be much like 2020 and that is sad. I'm seeing limits on food again. I saw a huge amount of every kind of chicken pieces but a limit of 2. Limits on canned goods. We still have a nice pantry but I have been digging into that. Maybe it's time to refill now while supplies are available.


    1. Hi Alice,
      That your husband is doing so well, now a year post-surgery, is a blessing, indeed! I can relate to missing friends and in-person worship. Virtual just isn't the same. I'm also glad for you that your parents and MIL are doing well.

      Limits of food are always worrisome. Let's hope that this is a short-lived situation as the vaccine becomes more widely distributed.

      Wishing you a good day, Alice!

    2. Thank you, Alice. I'm glad that after the worrisome time you had with your husband that he is doing well.


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