The tree and decorations are still sparkling, but the house is completely quiet now. John has taken Courtney to meet her ride back to the city, the fur-kids are sound asleep, and I have a few moments for reflection and writing here while awaiting the season's first snowfall.
2010 was a challenging year, no doubt about it. No sooner had John recovered from his second heart surgery, than we learned his lymphoma was out of remission, and had spread to the blood. The subsequent treatment has also been challenging, both physically and logistically, and needless to say the time taken off work has resulted in some rather serious financial challenges as well.
Yet we remain optimistic, choosing to focus on our many blessings, and believing that while we may not have a say in the course of the disease, we have an absolute say in how we handle it.
Balancing optimism and honesty here on the blog has been a challenge too. I want the news here to be "real", but often hesitate posting about challenges, lest I appear whining - which I absolutely loathe, and no one wants to hear anyway. ;)
But several people have read between the lines, and brightened our days and our Christmas in such special and touching ways, and I'm feeling the need to express my - our - heartfelt gratitude (you know who you are!).
Presents have arrived at the house almost every day this past week, gifts not only from friends and family, but from collectors, most of whom I've never met in person, but who took the time to send some Christmas package *love* across the miles. ♥
There were teas and soaps, ornaments and sweets, two memorials to our beloved Cheetah, and even two Mouse Kings (a figurine and an ornament). As I type this, the camera batteries are recharging, and most of the gifts are unwrapped and tucked away, so photos of each and every gift isn't possible. But having photographed this one as soon as it arrived, I'll share this tribute to Cheetah - a commissioned painting of her on agate...
I think the artist did an amazing job, don't you? It brought tears to our eyes.
Another friend and collector made a shelter donation in Cheetah's name, which also touched us deeply, and I know our former feral girl is smiling somewhere.
And as I type, my peripheral vision is resting on one of the two King of Mice, sword in hand, standing guard at the computer. ;)
Add to all these gifts the many, many emails and ecards offering prayers, positive energy and good wishes, and one rather overwhelming gift that quite literally saved the day and brought tears to our eyes, and well - our Christmas cup runneth over.
I don't know what 2011 will bring, but I do know we'll face it together, and stronger for the amazing support from friends, family and collectors.
And in the studio, I know these blessings will continue to manifest themselves in new and *magical* creations, enchanting characters, and wicked, whimsical wonders. ;)
I'm truly blessed, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and I wish you a 2011 filled with love, light, health and abundance!