Exactly a year ago tomorrow, I determined to devote each Friday on this blog to something meaningful, or funny, or beautiful, all in an effort to consider the subject of time and how it affects our lives.
Now - with that year behind me - I am stunned and humbled and full of enormous hope - all at once. We have seen it all this past year - new life, death, laughter, tears, incredible beauty, and surprises around every corner.
The year began with an October sky full of dozens of hot air balloons
fond memories of brave young men who should have come home from Vietnam and didn't
A stolen sunrise on the beach
And the discovery of an Italian winery in the Appalachian Mountains.
Early December found us eating breakfast with Junior Johnson, who is just as adept at the helm of an iron skillet as he is behind the wheel of a car.
Our Christmas was white,
as was a good portion of the entire winter.
And I decided to welcome spring by telling my favorite (true) Earnhardt story.
Life handed us a grandson in March, and we will never be the same.
In quick succession, our garden handed us lily of the valley,
and baby bunnies in distress.We planted a vegetable garden, savoring each sprig and leaf.
We hit the beach,
and then an island
and then another island.
Back home, we made marinara and ended up making abstract art as well.
We laughed as we remembered the day we stumbled upon the President,
And cried tears that are still flowing as we said goodbye to our best friend.
A trip to Florida gently reminded us that life brings fresh inspiration every day, if you are willing to look for it.
Safely back home, our garden proved the point by delivering the month of June in September.
And just yesterday, another of our best friends left us. Fans of my work know how much I loved this beautiful cat. His name was Tylenol, and he was my faithful companion, studio cat, garden supervisor, and territorial guard extraordinaire. We will never forget him.
Now, with the year behind us, we stand with renewed respect for the fragile nature of life, a greater appreciation of the astounding beauty that lives right under our nose every day, and the hope that comes from knowing that God has been with us every step of the way - laughing with us, drying our tears, clapping his hands at our discoveries, and blessing us with every breath we take.
Today is Countdown Friday
and the count isn't over.
We're just getting warmed up.