Happy New Year!!

So, here we are at the end of another year and the beginning of a new one. A blank canvas to start fresh on. But before moving forward, it never hurts to look back to where you’ve been. 2011 was a year of ups and downs, happiness and sadness, triumphs and tribulations. (but isn’t every year?)
The beginning of the year started out with me saying goodbye to the place my wife and I called home for a little less than a year before the Lord called her to her eternal home. That was probably one of the toughest moves I had to make, knowing that where I would be moving, I would be alone. To add to the solitude, I found a place with no neighbors nearby, and for several months, my life was a robotic existence of work, school, television and sleep. I can admit it now, but I couldn’t admit at the time, that I was a little mad at God for taking Heather away and leaving me alone. I distanced myself from my church, because every time I went there, all it did was make me sad because Heather was no longer sitting next to me. I even took a step back from family and friends for a while. And so my life was, day after day after day…
The first ray of sunlight this year came at the end of April. One Saturday, I just woke up and decided I was going to drive down to Sanibel Island. I had recently purchased a professional digital camera and wanted to take it for an inaugural run. It was a beautiful, magical day. I got to go through a wildlife preserve and see some animals, and I got to pick up shells along the beach while I watched a beautiful sunset. Thus began my climb back out of the valley.

In May, my best friend, Rob, invited me to Pompano Beach for a week. We had a blast down there. We even managed to spend a day in Key West. I managed to get some great photos there as well.

The next few months, I started really enjoying life again, but the real change started on my birthday week. Those of you who have followed my blog know about the “Millionaire” tryouts and success, as well as the tryouts for Biggest Loser and The Voice, which were not as successful. You are also aware of the birth of Jax out of the Box, and my attempt to do more things out of the ordinary for me.
The end of the year, though, saw life head back toward the valley. I had to step away from a couple of long friendships, each for different reasons, and whether those friendships will be mended in the new year remains to be seen. As Thanksgiving and Christmas drew nearer, I felt, once again, the bitter reality of being alone. I also was blessed with the music from a Gospel choir at Disney World(!) through the holidays.
I spent a wonderful Christmas with family and friends, then spent a few days afterwards down in the valley again. Today, like last year, I once again face the prospect of seeing a new year alone. But it’s okay, because I’m not really alone. I have friends and family who love me, and most importantly, I have a Father above who loves and treasures me and wants only the best for me. So, I know this coming year is going to be amazing. I get my check from “Millionaire” sometime in the next couple of weeks. Then I can pay off some bills. I will be moving again, but this time I’m moving in to my mom’s house. That way, I can help her financially, and I won’t have to worry about my place and my things when I’m traveling. Because, this year, I WILL be traveling. I haven’t decided if it will be to Europe, Asia, or South America yet, but it will happen. And there are other out of the box experiences I’m hoping to follow through on this year – swimming lessons, scuba diving, skydiving, horseback riding, the Renaissance Fair (every year I say I’m going to go!), volunteer work, maybe another game show?
Looking back on 2011, I can honestly say I’m coming out of it in better shape than I went into it. And my hope is that I will be able to say the same about 2012 a year from now. And I hope all of you, my dear readers, also can say the same. I hope you have a wonderful, blessed, New Year’s day, and all the days following as well.
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