Each new year is a surprise to us. We find that we had virtually forgotten the note of each bird, and when we hear it again, it is remembered like a dream . . . Thoreau
There were so many times during 2017 that I really did forget the note of each bird. All too often the resonance of the beauty of this world was muffled by National tragedies, instability in our government, scandals, sexual assault coming from those in positions of trust, and the loss of so much talent (again), especially one of my favorites, Gregg Allman. But it only took gentle reminders of all the goodness in this life to bring back the music.
I realized that when I sat down to write my Christmas letter. I always try to highlight my year with words and phrases in the shape of a Christmas tree. This year's looked like this--
The contents of this little tree drowned the cacophony coming from the outside world, starting with
OUR ROYAL BABIES
Getting to see all eight of these pumpkins made my heart sing throughout 2017. Ethan, Drake, Max, Madi, Lucy, Quinn, Archer, and Russell all have that Thompson blood running through them yet are unique and amazing in their own way. They are the song birds of our family.
|great nieces and nephews|
THEIR PARENTS ARE PRETTY AMAZING, TOO.
Getting to see all nine of my nieces and nephews and their honeys brought more music to 2017. Amy, Andy, Jill, Kyle, Micki, Adam, Jake, Nathan, and Gabe all have grown into beautiful and compassionate adults, and this aunt couldn't be prouder.
|nieces and nephews|
OF COURSE, THEIR PARENTS ARE AWESOME AS WELL!
My brothers and sisters and their sweeties are the best siblings/friends a girl could have. Seeing their gorgeous faces often during 2017 brought melodious harmony to my world, always when I needed it most.
|Brothers and sisters|
AND MY MOM, WHO STARTED IT ALL!
We are so grateful to have our mom with us. She brings strength and love to all of us, and constantly reminds us that in the midst of confusion, there is always a melody. We can't wait to celebrate her 90 years of life in 2018.
SUMMER OF LOVE
Yes. it truly was! For many reasons, like--
My niece Amy moved back to Colorado after living in San Francisco for the past twenty years, and having her and her sweet family just around the corner gives us all a sense of peace and harmony. Welcome home, Ames!
|Amy's home :)|
And, my nephew Nathan and his bride celebrated their marriage with a weekend full of family, music, lots of dancing, and so much love!!
|Christmas Lake Love|
|Lake time before the reception|
|We danced. And danced. And danced!|
You can read more about the weekend here.
SOLAR ECLIPSE OF THE HEARTLAND
Crickets chirping at noon, darkness when it should be light, Venus bright and visible in the middle of the day, solar flares and coronas--all these things and more as I witnessed my first total solar eclipse. Nothing else mattered that day. Absolutely nothing. You can read about this magical experience here.
LIVING THE RETIRED LIFE
With the support of my family, I made the decision to retire after 32 years as an English teacher. Although the decision itself was easy, telling my students and colleagues was tough. I waited until March to do it, and my announcement was met with gasps, questions, tears (tons from me!), memories, and finally hugs and good wishes. I will write about all that in 2018, but for now, even though I miss teaching and all those incredible students, my dreamers, I don't regret my decision one bit. The time was right. At times, I still feel like I am on an extended summer break and that I'll have to go back on a Monday morning, but the reality is that I don't! I love Sunday nights without lesson planning and the dread of Monday mornings. I love leisurely drinking my tea in the morning and reading the paper or emails before getting dressed for the day. I love being available to go to dance recitals and school programs in the middle of the work week. I love having much less stress in my life. Yes, I love being retired!!
|Announcements and parties|
|and more parties|
There really was so much to be grateful for this year, and now I'm getting ready to bid adieu to 2017 and am eagerly looking forward to remembering, like a dream, the note of each bird in 2018.
Happy New Year, everyone!
and with my newly acquired low-stress status, my biggest decision to make as the clock approaches midnight is
Which book should I read next???
|Perfect Christmas gifts|