I’m amazed how fast 2011 is drawing to a close. We started out the year in Chicago watching helplessly as my sister-in-law, Sandi, struggled to overcome a brain aneurism. This was a frightening way to start the New Year and we all hoped it was not a preview of the year to come. Amazingly, as we draw to the end of 2011 Sandi is doing fantastic. Not only did she survive, which is a miracle in and of itself, but she is has fully recovered and has even gone back to work. Now that is truly amazing!
In May, Jessica, our youngest child, graduated from college. I’m not really amazed by this. Jessica has always been so smart and determined. The family joke is that we could air drop Jessica into a foreign country with nothing but a backpack and she would emerge six months later as their newest dictator. The amazing thing is that she got a job working at Jack Daniel’s in Lynchburg Tennessee as their event coordinator. She went from college student to middle management in one fell swoop. Amazing!
Personally, the most amazing event in 2011 was the publishing of my first book Cookies for Dinner. Thanks to Pam and her insistence, I became a published author! I love to tell stories and my children are the lights of my universe, so writing a book about my children was perfect for me. The fact that our book was published is amazing in and of itself. The fact that it has been so wonderfully received by all that have read it is truly amazing.
September of 2011 found Dave and I along with his parents, Paul and Jackie, in Egypt. A trip to Egypt was one of the things that Jackie wanted to do before she died. Paul is 80 and suffering from Alzheimer’s and Jackie is 78. David and I knew that if we wanted Mom to have her trip of a lifetime, we had to go this year. Egypt was wonderful. The sites were beyond beautiful, the people were warm and friendly and genuinely happy to have American tourists visiting. Our trip was 9 months after the initial revolution in January and literally just days before the violent conflicts that erupted in the later part of this year. It was truly an amazing trip of a lifetime for all of us.
Finally, December found the Allen family at home in Murfreesboro for the first time ever for Christmas. For 22 years our family has made the 9 hour drive to Paul and Jackie’s house in Western Springs, Illinois for Christmas. Since Christmas for the Allen family has always been centered around Paul and Jackie, we got to have Christmas here this year. The sad part was that 22 years of old traditions were broken. The wonderful part was that new traditions were fully embraced and we look forward to many years of Christmas celebrations in the Allen house here in Murfreesboro.
Happy New Year!