It’s been a weird year.

I’m now a mother of three teenagers—two of them in high school! I have no idea how this happened as it sure doesn’t seem like my oldest should be a Junior in High School yet, but I suppose that goes to prove that while the days are long, the years really do go by all too quickly. The two oldest are both within an inch or two of my height, so I doubt I’ll still be the tallest person in the house come this time next year. My “baby” will be ten years old in April! It’s odd not to have “little kids” in the house, but as with any stage of motherhood, there are some wonderful things about having tweens and teens. (Not the least of which is the fact that they help with the cooking!)

Over the past several years, Aaron and I have gotten into a routine that involved a lot of traveling for him in the spring through fall months of the year. It’s been strange having that change so drastically and suddenly. Not that I’m complaining about having Aaron at home, mind you! I did discover that it’s usually while he’s on a trip that I work on most of my school planning once the kids are in bed. It’s been interesting noting how we had developed a sort of “routine” around the unpredictable travel schedule. On the flip side, it bothers me a great deal that the photography business that Aaron has worked so hard for so many years to build was completely shut down for 2020, and will likely remain so through 2021.

Writing has not gone exactly as planned this year. While my science fiction writing has not progressed as much as I’d hoped, I’ve enjoyed an interesting new direction some of my freelance writing has taken. I’ve had the chance to write some articles on fascinating topics that required a lot more research than the previous writing I’ve done. This has resulted in my family having to put up with me happily chattering away about the cool stuff I’ve learned in the course of my research. It’s been a new kind of challenge in my writing, but a good kind of challenge! My blog was updated regularly during September and October as I was trying something new, and I may end up revisiting that method of blog writing and scheduling next year. November saw just one post. It was a hard one to write, and even harder to publish. Where does my little blog go from here? Like so many things right now, I just don’t know.

I’m essentially restricted to my house for the foreseeable future. Current executive orders prohibit any business or public building from allowing me inside due to my inability to wear a cloth face covering. At least I’m able to work from home, and so this has not affected my ability to work. It does mean that I don’t have access to healthcare at the moment, and my only option for grocery shopping is to pay the fee and wait for an open slot to use curbside pickup. It also means driving to a different town to fill up my car because the local gas station doesn’t have a pay at the pump option. It was an odd thing to drive by so many buildings on the way to the gas station and realize that I was not allowed inside any of them, and may not be allowed inside them again for a very long time. I’m still not sure exactly how that makes me feel.

As hard as all of this is for me to deal with, I’m one of the lucky ones. So many people have lost their jobs because they can’t wear a mask. Too many people have been denied medical care because they can’t wear a mask. Business owners have been forced to close their business because they can’t wear a mask. Disabled veterans have been denied entry to the veteran’s hospital because they are unable to wear a mask. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around all of this because it’s truly something I never thought I’d see happen here. Even worse is the lack of compassion. People who are unable to wear a mask have been called all sorts of terrible things, spit upon, assaulted, harassed, and even received death threats against them and their families. It’s worrisome how quickly and easily the harm being done to them is dismissed by politicians, advocacy groups, and society at large. It has certainly shown me in a very tangible way why the rights of the individuals matter, and why it’s important to stand up for and safeguard them.

I’ll end this post with a few oddball things that happened this year. I’m very thankful that my oral surgery happened just before the lockdowns! The last three of my wisdom teeth are gone, and the swelling was impressive, to say the least. (Yes, photos exist, and no, I’m not posting them!) Attempts at gardening this year were met with a late frost in June that basically killed everything that we’d just transplanted outside, but we did manage to grow some pretty morning glories in a hanging planter. We had a not-so-small mouse problem this year, and so far have caught over 50 mice in our house! I’ve been told that I should get a cat, but the German Shepherd and I have remained firm on our “no cat” policy. We replaced our battered mailbox only to have the new one battered by a particularly windy storm. If anyone knows how to build a mailbox out of cement, please send me the DIY instructions!

Wherever you’re at in life at the moment, I hope that there have been some good things for you this past year in amongst all of the hard stuff. Whatever 2021 holds for all of us, I pray that you’ll find hope in the One who brings light to the darkness.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” — Isaiah 9:2 HCSB