A year unlike any other. Three hundred and sixty six days with reasons of what to be grateful for, reminders of what not to hold tightly to, and recognition of how connected we all are.
- We built a new computer so that Jenni and I could work faster at making videos. It’s the first computer since my college days that I didn’t use Intel as the CPU.
Video creation became critical this year as Jenni continued to making birthday videos and additional videos for family and friends. And when the pandemic hit, she has edited several movies so they could be age-appropriate for our kids, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, and Harry Potter.
- We also received two extra desktop computers from those who didn’t need them. I gave one away to someone who also needed one and we kept one for distance and online learning. All five in our family have a well-equipped gaming computer for Heroes of the Storm, Minecraft, and future games. Jenni smiles whenever we have a family LAN party.
- Vernier launched a new website in January. I learned a lot about WordPress, WooCommerce, and child theme during and after its development. The website launch did not succeed as well as I hoped and I’m still making ongoing bug fixes. But the lessons learned have made me excited to do it better the next time.
- The pandemic has given me a chance to work from home. I never thought it was going to be possible at Vernier. I’ve appreciated being present with my family throughout the day, such as joining them for lunch and helping Bruce with homework. Jenni and the kids have taken advantage of having me as their I.T. department on call.
- Our family has found ways to adapt to the abrupt changes brought by the pandemic. Having homeschooled Kadie last year, Jenni had the experience and models needed for distance learning. I’m so thankful that she used her educational background to bless our kids in a difficult transition.
- We have great friends who have connected with us if we forgot to reach out, and family that stays in touch despite social distancing limitations. It wasn’t always easy, but fighting isolation helped us to look beyond our own walls.
- Our kids’ best friends are our neighbors across the street. This made socializing easier throughout the stages of lockdown. Even with stricter rules during the holidays, we managed to have movie nights in their two-car garage with our projector. The kids have almost finished all of the Marvel movies sooner than we expected.
- Jenni can do haircuts well and had done them before COVID. That saved her from the possibility of me growing my hair long. Or shaving my head bald.
- Biking and running with Jack allowed me to hang out with him and accomplish something at the same time. I’m glad that I was able to be a part of his birthday marathon run and capture a video to commemorate the achievement.
- Riding my bike during the spring and summer was a delight. I explored my neighborhood and city in ways I had never done before. As the summer closed, I was able to climb hills I struggled with last year and I have routes planned for future adventures.
- Two lovely girl gerbils joined our family in the fall and they’ve brought so much joy to our household. We’ve spoiled them every way we can and they are a great source of entertainment.
- The gerbils kickstarted a new hobby of coconut crafts for me. I’ve gained a new appreciation for woodworking and handmade crafts through creating hides and ornaments using coconuts.
- The definition of our normal life is no longer normal. While we’ve adapted to new “normals” repeatedly this year, change isn’t always easy and the effects aren’t often immediate or transparent.
- I’ve really missed playing basketball with coworkers. It was a source of exercise, community, and personal growth. I injured my back right before the pandemic started, so it didn’t sting as much as first. But that injury reminded me that my days playing basketball are a gift and that my body may not be able to support it forever.
- My team at work has struggled through transitions after transitions. We have had several team members leave, including our leader, this year. We’re rebuilding the team with new processes and direction while still trying to maintain the speed and load of projects.
- While we’ve escaped many colds and flus this year due to social distancing, Jenni and kids still struggled with other ailments and sensitivities. On top of that, two of Jenni’s pillars for healthcare have retired, forcing her to rebuild her health team.
- Thanksgiving was unusual since we couldn’t gather with extended family. And due to the fact that our immediate family spends all day together, we enjoyed Thanksgiving doing our own things separately.
- My hope is that COVID-19 has shown us how our actions affect others and that our lives are not our own. I have to fight the rage inside me when I read the news when someone selfishly disregards the safety of others for their own needs.
- On the flip side, I have a growing awareness of unsung heroes working behind the scenes. And simple gestures that can bring people together, such as singing from rooftops during lockdown, finding ways of being present with love ones with technology, and the outpouring of empathy to the most vulnerable.
- The transition to work from home hopefully opens the possibility for companies who didn’t think remote work is possible to reconsider.
- Black Lives Matter helped me recognize that there is still some ugly truths to be reckoned with. It also started conversations with our kids about how racism is still possible, how subtle it can be, and teaching them that their ethnicity is a strength.
- I’m glad for a new face for our government. While our government consists of many, many people, the president is the face of our country, and the new president can set a higher standard for all Americans to emulate.
The realist inside me is a constant pessimist reminding me that something bad is around the corner. The voice is helpful in keeping me grounded. My challenge is to not let that voice dominate my entire being.
As long as I continue to express and dwell in gratitude, not hold onto earthly treasures too tightly, and stay connected to God and people, every day is a gift, and something good is also around the corner.
Happy New Year everyone!