Now that we are about to step into 2010, I thought it a good time to take a look back at 2009.
January: January's picture was this one, of the star which shone on the top of Faringdon's Folly. The Folly is a symbol of Faringdon, visible for miles and a welcome sight after a long journey - especially with a light on top during winter's dark times. Maybe there's something to think about there - the hope and welcome a simple thing like a light can bring.
February: 2009 has certainly been a year for snow. I don't live in an area normally known for snow, but we certainly got plenty of it in February, and again in December.
March brought the first of my regular work trips to the USA. Michigan in early spring is a chilly place, but I am lucky to work with some great people there who give me a warm welcome. This time around I had a free afternoon so wrapped up and went to look at the impressive and beautiful sculptures in the Meijer Gardens. This horse is the centrepiece at 24' tall and 7 1/2 tonnes in weight. I could have gone back to a warm hotel room rather than set off to a place I'd never been before. But what I would have missed if I'd gone for the easy (lazy) option!
April arrived with the spring flowers in full bloom. What a joy to see them after winter. Am I the only one who loves the variety of our seasons (even when the weather is 'varied' indeed)? Or who finds it reassuring to know that despite the cold & bleakness of the winter, the bulbs, shrubs and plants are already readying themselves for spring as I write. Yes, there are already a few green spikes in my garden, although they've been frightened off a bit by the recent plunge in temperature.
May is the month of my birthday and I am thankful every year for the friends who celebrate it with me.
June included another trip to the US. I'd planned to spend some extra time there on holiday. But the weather once again interfered, stranding me in Chicago O'Hare. One of my bigger disappointments of the year, but really only a minor inconvenience in the overall scheme of things. I was far sorrier for the poor girl trying to get to a wedding, and another young mum who had already been stuck in an airport for 48 hours with a 2 year old...
July was the month of my first photography exhibition. I seriously underestimated how much work, planning, effort, cost etc etc it would be, but it was all up in time, and it led to some good opportunities which may not otherwise have come along. Not quite sure when I'll be doing the next one, or how it will be structured, but (I can hardly believe it) it is already in the discussion stages...
August provided another challenge. This time a physical one as I took part in the Great Capital Run. A short event (only 5k/3m), but faster than I'd ever run it before. There were world class athletes running in the same event. OK they finished in about half the time it took me (no kidding), but there aren't many sports which can be so inclusive as running, & so enjoyable even for slow runners like me. So much is about completing, challenging yourself, and not being discouraged by other faster runners in front. Celebrate your own achievements, and don't apologise that they aren't as big as someone elses! To you they may be bigger, relatively. There's no point in thinking about others in a race - you have to focus on your own plan, fitness and ability. There are plenty of other areas of life which I ought to approach in the same way, I think.
September was the 'challenge month' for mum. She set off to cycle around Holland, raising money for the Sam Beare hospice who looked after her partner Bob in his last days with compassion and dignity. Mum worked a LOT harder than I'd done the previous month, and I went out to Holland to cheer her on and join her for the return journey. Isn't it great to be able to help other people achieve their dreams and ambitions, big or small? How can we do this more for those around us?
October was an extremely busy month which included another run - this time the Cricklade 10k (6m) but the highlight was attending the wedding of my friend Jo who married Marcus in Chester on a wet but joyous day. What a privilege it is to share peoples' celebrations.
By the time we got to November I was badly in need of some time off, & so I went to Jersey for a few days. It was wet, cold, and the days were short but I really enjoyed the time away, and I met some people from the Jersey Photographic Club who were very welcoming to a visitor from the UK.
December has been full of all the usual pre-Christmas busynesses with work, and illness immediately before Christmas which was a bit miserable. But Christmas itself, despite some last minute changes of plan, was still a time of memories, rejoicing, traditions, and hoping.
So 2009 like each year has had it's ups and downs. But we move into 2010 looking at the old year with thankfulness, and as my grandmother used to say 'simply trusting' for 2010.Happy New Year.