The Year in Review

December 31, 2011

Whew.  There are roughly 14 hours left in 2011.  I almost hesitate to post a review of our year because I realize full well that circumstances can change significantly in the blink of an eye and that this post may or may not need editing before the clock strikes midnight.  If the events of the Battles' 2011 have taught me anything, it's just that.  God is not bound by our human calendar and 2012 may be a continuation of trials we've begun in the past several months, it could hold new trials, or it could be a quiet year.  Likely, it will be a combination of all three.

Our year started relatively smoothly.  January and February saw lots of snow (Yay!  We're just waiting patiently for our first real snow of this winter.), Papa's birthday, Molly's birthday, Gram's birthday, and my birthday.  Jamie worked crazy, long hours and was gone almost every weekend to work out of town.  I attempted (and pretty much rocked) my first real DIY home improvement project by installing laminate floors in the living room.  Testing for the kidney transplant kicked off full-force in January.



The big shift came in March with the death of Jamie's dad.  Life was moving along quite comfortably (for once) when we received the news that he and a friend had lost their lives in a fishing accident.  I can't quite put into words how this has affected my husband.  It's also affected me in that I have a deep sense of regret over how I handled my relationship with my father in law.  We tend to think that we (and others) have a lifetime to repair relationships and to work things out.  We don't.  We are not guaranteed tomorrow.  My actions and things I've said over the past 20 years as far as he was concerned will forever be the top regret I have in my life.

Spring 2011 continued and we did the things we normally do every spring.  I worked in the yard and spent as much time outside as possible.  PJB made 9th grade cheerleader.  Lilah's antics at home continued to give us much to laugh at and smile over. 

In April I wrapped up the last major test and received my cardiologist's clearance to proceed as a living donor for my dad.  Plants began budding as the weather warmed.  We experienced crazy flooding and storms.  PJB got to spend a day job-shadowing my childhood friend, Amy, and Molly participated in the 5th grade flutophone concert.  The girls and I celebrated Easter with my family while Jamie worked in Texas.  Oh, Will and Kate got married.  We were unable (and uninvited) to attend, but we saw the video ; ).

Oops!  Almost forgot this.  We had our first ER visit for the year in April after Lilah nearly bit through her tongue.


We began May with Mother's Day -- again celebrated with my family while Jamie worked out of town.  May also saw Parker Jane's 14th birthday, Anna's ? birthday, and my parents' 40th wedding anniversary.  Molly and I went to Science City with the 5th grade class.  We had significant issue that I thought had long been taken care of rear its head and Jamie continued working through the grief process.  PJB sang her first solo in the end-of-the-year AMS Select Choir concert.  Our school district lost its 40+ year superintendent to pancreatic cancer.  Joplin, Missouri was hit by a tornado and our own weather continued to go nuts.

School finally ended on June 9th (I think; I've blocked it out!) after the longest spring semester ever.  PJB went to church camp in Panama City Beach.  Lilah and I tried to attend story time at the library every week.  We went to the creek a few times.  Lilah and whichever big sister she could talk into splashed around in her little pool.  We swam at the Medlocks (both sets) and spent most of the summer sticking close to home and trying to relax.  Jamie turned 37 and continued to work crazy hours.  I began praying for some relief from his work environment.



The middle of July brought with it another unexpected event, but one that I can now, 6 months later, say was a blessing.  Jamie was laid off with 3 others as work came to a screeching halt.  I think that, as a woman, I don't really understand how much a man identifies with his work.  The second half of our summer was pretty rough, yet I could see that this was a direct answer to my prayers.  I also saw pretty quick that we were not in a financial position for this to happen.  God provided.  There were many times during July and August that I felt like we were close to hopeless.  Not only because money was tight, but because my man was just floundering in a sea of grief and despair. 

I tried to keep things moving along at home as normally as possible, enjoying evenings outside.  We prayed for rain, too, but didn't see any relief to our 100+ degree days and drought conditions for some time.  Vacation Bible School was held and was a blessing to the girls and I. 

August brought with it the beginning of a new school year.  PJB started high school; Molly started middle school; and Lilah continued on at Becca's as her birthday was 30 days too late for her to start kindergarten this year.  Jamie and I celebrated our 18th anniversary; Mom and Lilah had birthdays.  Jamie was recruited for a new job that has had its ups and downs but seems now to have leveled out. 


Football season started in September and we found ourselves watching PJB
The last quarter of the year has been just as eventful as the second and third.  I spent most of October recuperating from surgery and enjoying quiet days at home.  We continued to have good days and bad days as we all worked through the trials that had come our way during the year.  In October, PJB and I entered the world of Pinterest which does require some mentioning here as it has really enriched our lives.  I say that sort of tongue-in-cheek, but we've enjoyed sharing our finds and trying new things.  It's been a cool way to connect with my teenager.  She made her first project, a t-shirt headband, and I've made several recipes I've re-pinned from others.  Pinterest = cool.
We enjoyed Halloween with our little cowgirl on Monday, then found ourselves rushing to Little Rock on Friday evening while she was been transported by helicopter after a dirt bike accident.  I still can't really go there.  I'll find myself thinking about it and all the "what-ifs" that surround the incident -- What if a car had been coming just as they crashed?  I can't play that game.  Instead, I try very hard to focus on God's provision through the whole thing -- a nurse who lived right there, my dear friend leaving her house and coming down the hill at exactly the right time, her daughter being here that weekend and taking charge of my girls and trying to keep their Friday evening activities normal until my mom arrived.  Again, the outpouring of love we received is more than I can even process.  I will write more about this someday when it's a little further in the past.  I find myself still having lots to think about and to say.
Everything else is pretty recent, so I'll spare you much more detail.  November included a cool trip to NCTE for me and quitting a 20+ year smoking habit for my man.  Funny how a letter about a spot on your lung will prompt you to action.  Again, can  you see God's sovereignty at work?  Had the accident not happened, I can't tell you when, if ever, Jamie would have had a chest xray.  He will follow up with a CT next week and we are hoping it's "nothing" which is what our doc seems to think.
So, Thanksgiving was extra thankful this year.  December and Christmas were a blessed time.  All five Battles were in church together the past three Sundays.  That has never happened.  My girls' Christmas wishes came true and we enjoyed time together. 
Jamie and I will ring in the New Year tonight after attending the OKC Thunder game with his brother and his brother's girlfriend.  My girls are staying with my mother in law because my gram was sick to her stomach all day Thursday and yesterday.  Even as I have been typing this, our 2011 continues to be challenging.  Gram is getting prepped to be transported by ambulance from Sallisaw to Fort Smith where she'll undergo gallbladder surgery.  I have been instructed to keep my plans, but I'm struggling with that.  Please send up a prayer for her peace -- she says she's too old for surgery -- and her quick recovery.  I love her so very much.
I hope you all have a peaceful, enjoyable end to 2011.  May 2012 bring with it blessings and opportunities and may we appreciate them all and take full advantage of them all.  Much love to you and yours!

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