Friday, January 8, 2010

On the New Year

As I settle into the new year, I find myself reflecting on how this year began and the things that transpired during the year:

At the beginning of 2009, I was recovering from a (minor) health problem (underactive thyroid) which left me feeling drained and tired most of the time.  I rarely got any exercise and I found myself gaining unwanted pounds.  I felt lonely and isolated.  In an attempt to pull myself out of the funk I was in, I began blogging; I joined facebook; and I began doing more volunteer work.  I went in search of myself and applied to grad school.

Oh, what a difference a year makes!  Through my blogging, I've connected with a variety of amazing women, some of whom have greatly influenced me and I'm happy to report, I have even had some influence on others.  Facebook also helped connect me with the world outside my little ultra-conservative community.  I've made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones. 

Even within my community, I've found ways to make a difference in others lives and in turn, my life was changed.  My husband and I had the opportunity to leave our comfort zone and travel to Haiti, a place I had felt a connection with but never dreamed of visiting.  As a result, it changed not only our lives but the lives of people in our church and our community.  Then I had my 15 minutes of fame:  I had a big piece written up on me in our local paper about my heart for Haiti.  This in turn brought awareness to the plight of the Haitian people and got much needed publicity for Danita's Children

In the fall, I made a commitment to run a 5K, joined a gym, and began my training.  I completed that 5K with a sense of success and a determination to improve my time in the NEXT 5K!  I now run at the gym on a regular basis and, althogh I've slacked up some, I continue my yoga practice.

This coming year I'm going to have a chance to reconnect with the women in my interfaith women's group.  In the past, we've chosen to do studies of women in the Old Testament.  Although the subject interested me, I realized I'm not a bible scholar.  I've read the bible (mainly the New Testament) and feel like I get the gist of it.  I'm not one to cite chapter and verse.  However, beginning in January, we're going to be studying the book "The Faith Club" about three women, a Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian, who got together to share their faith and beliefs.  Now this is something I can get into.  So often, I hear people demonize other faiths and, although I know what is being said isn't true, I have no knowledge to back it up.  I'm also looking forward to getting to know more of the women in the group.  In this community, it's so rare to find a group of women who are open to learning about other belief systems.

At the end of the monthy, I'll be a grad student.  I'm hoping that studying human services will enhance my volunteer efforts.  I do work with the women in the city jail and with our local domestic violence/sexual assault shelter.  Studying human services should give me the tools to better serve these women.

Phew!  There's so much more I'd like to write about but I don't want to become a bore.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to what the year 2010 has in store for me.

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