Bye Bye 2015

Woah, 2015 has been quite a year of change and transformation. Pretty much ready for it to end when the clock strikes midnight tonight! We’re celebrating this moment and looking ahead.

I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting over the past month, and there have been lots of experiences had and lessons learned in 2015. I started the year having just signed with a literary agent and with big writerly aspirations, but I found all of that went by the wayside as 2015 ended up being a year focused on family and those I love most.

This was a year of high-highs and low-lows, not a lot in between! Here’s my year, counted out, but not in any particular order (which will probably bug the engineer in the family), but I think he’ll get over it!

365 = days of being blessed with an amazing family and group of friends. We couldn’t have made it through this year without each and every one of you. There have been countless days over the past four months where I broke down in tears, overwhelmed with the love and support from friends and family.

I hear often how scary this world is, but I have to disagree. Love is here. We felt and saw it every day from people constantly, those we know and even total strangers. It  was life changing and unbelievable. I have so much faith in humanity, and for that I’m thankful.

1 = High school Graduation – as Student Body Pres, Haley got to graduate first and give a speech. She’s such a rock star – her confidence and all around amazingness blow me away on a daily basis.

haley grad2 = Care flights from Elko to Renown in Reno. Lesson learned – if you live in a rural area, care flight insurance is a MUST have. Trust me on this. If you don’t have it, get it!

3 = days skiing. Best part is that two of them were with our nephews Will and Joe who, as So-Cal boys, don’t ski much, so they loved it.

IMG_30864 = quilts completed! Two of them were baby quilts but my favorite is a mandala I made using glue and tulle to hold it all together.

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4 = perfect days camping at the Mary’s River in O’Neill basin right before Gary got sick.

IMG_27275 = the number of posts on this blog, most at the beginning of 2015. I obviously started the year with a resolution to blog more but that one clearly didn’t stick.

6 = number of points on Garet’s bull elk that he took out of area 7 this fall. This was a major accomplishment that he did on his own with two dear friends and without his dad. We were both so proud of him. He’s grown into such an amazing young man.

Thankfully, NDOW accepted Gary’s returned elk tag and gave him back all of his points and even his tag fees which was pretty awesome. Hopefully, they can go on another elk hunt together in the next few years!

IMG_30367 = amazing days spent in Siesta Key, Florida with our dear friends, Scott & Leslie Preston, for their son’s wedding last April. Best part of Florida beaches is the sand doesn’t get hot! Who knew? No leaping and dashing across the sand from the towel to the water to avoid scorching 3rd degree burns on the soles of your feet! Or your head…

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45 = days in the trauma ICU unit at Renown. The nurses there are some of the most amazing, generous, giving people on the planet. And I thought teaching high school was stressful?

38 = days on the Med-Surg floor at Renown. If I never eat hospital cafeteria food again, I’ll be perfectly okay!

26 = total # of surgeries Gary underwent. He had colon resection surgery in July following a nasty bout with diverticulitis, a disease I’d never heard much about, but now it seems like every other person I talk to either has it or has a family member with it. It’s so related to stress. We’ve both had major overhauls in our outlooks on life. Is what we consider upsetting or stressful really worthy of losing our health or our lives? Uh, nope! It’s not.

The rest of the 25 surgeries were a result of the initial surgery failing and leaking into his gut for several weeks. Apparently Gary has a super high tolerance for pain because he didn’t know it had failed, he just didn’t feel very good. By the time we got to Renown in late August he was completely septic, his kidneys were failing, and he was on a vent for several weeks. He had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair the damage and clean out the infection. Then, the last twelve or so were trying to get the wound in his gut closed.

His positive attitude and strength of will to survive blew me away on a daily basis. For one surgery (somewhere early on) he was still on the vent. When they took him off the vent machine in the ICU and rolled him to pre-op, a nurse had to pump this big bag thing to help him breathe. When he left for the operating room, he took the pump thing from the nurse and was pumping it himself. I didn’t think much of it until all the nurses and docs were amazed. They’d never seen that before. When he did that, they said they knew he’d make it.

21 = awesome years since I walked down the aisle with Gary in 1994. And thanks to the amazing docs and staff at Renown, we’ll have many more years together.

Yay - finally free from the hospital!!!!
Yay – finally free from the hospital, where we celebrated our 21st anniversary!!!!

59 = TOTAL # of students this year!! Woo hoo! After trying for four years, Amber O’Rayeh and I finally got a job share contract approved, so I only have three classes and for whatever reason, they’re the smallest classes I’ve ever had! I work two days one week and three days the next – it’s LOVELY and such a blessing this Fall with Gary being in the hospital for three months. Despite being part-time, I’ve taken more time off this year than I ever have before which has been rough, but those 59 students are some of the very best high school students I’ve ever had the privilege of teaching. I couldn’t ask for a better group of kids this year.

183 = number of views on my “No More Shoulding on Myself” post that I wrote just before Gary got released from the hospital. Apparently I’m not the only one who “shoulds” on herself.

I’ve decided to have a “Joy Filter” for 2016. Before anything goes on my “to do” list, it’s getting filtered. If it brings me JOY – true, soul soaring joy – I’m all in. If not? Piss on it. It’s not happening.

Well, I’m sure I’ll still be doing laundry but I’m going to try to bring mindfulness and joy to even those chores. Life is too short to live any other way.

2016 is going to start at:

0 = number of kids we’ll have living at home. We’ll officially be empty-nesters. We weren’t this fall since Garet took the semester off for the elk hunts (and what a blessing it was he was home taking care of the dogs and winterizing the house).

Living without any kiddos at home is gonna be a change but this whole past year has been about change. We can take it.

Countless = number of blessings we have in our life.

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6 thoughts on “Bye Bye 2015

  1. I so admire the strength, love and faith lived out by you, Gary, Garet and Haley through these past few months. It is amazing to me how you all held it together in such a frightful situation and still continued to live life and all the challenges it brings. I am proud and very fortunate to be a part of this family and I thank God for all of you. With love and prayers for God to continue to bring blessings into all things in this new year. Jerri

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I so admire the strength, love and faith you, Gary, Garet, Haley and Patti showed during these past frightful months. And I am amazed that through everything you were still able to live life and all it brings. I am so proud and fortunate to be a part of this family. I thank God for you and pray for His blessings on all things in this new year. With love, Jerri

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  3. Amy you are amazing! Your strength and joy for life is apparent in every word and I’m so glad Gary had you by his side through his multiple surgeries! Your love and support is just as important as the care he got in the hospital, probably even more.
    I love you and am so proud of you and your family,
    Auntie Susie

    Liked by 1 person

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