I enjoy looking back over my journal entries from the past year and silently celebrating all my successes, and giving thanks for all good things in my life.
But looking back can be sad too. Especially this year when the most devastating storms in memory ravaged this place we call home. Almost everyone in the state was touched by tragedy.
The hard part about this particular tragedy for me is that I frequently drive through Cordova, Argo, Cullman, Tuscaloosa, and Sipsey. And every time I do, the memory of that day rushes back fresh, and as painful as a bee sting. It's hard not to look at the sky cautiously every time it thunders.
But on the upside, by year's end, I began to see a lot of progress in these communities. It seems most of the houses in Sipsey now have new roofs.
While the tornadoes weighed heavy on most of us, a lot of good things happened this year too. If you are an Auburn fan, you got to see your team win its first National Championship since 1957. And if you are an Alabama fan, the year ended knowing that the Tide would be playing for another National Championship within the coming weeks.
As I read my journals, I realized that Jilda and I started on some much needed remodeling of our property. We had a new metal roof installed on our house, which both Jilda and I have wanted ever since we lived in the old trailer in the early 1980's.
But we also replaced our windows with the new energy efficient ones, we replaced our decks, and put concrete siding on the outside which should still be here protecting our little house long after we're gone.
We also did major renovation on our barn and creative space. There's still work to do there but the road is long.
Also this year we played more music, wrote more songs, and Jilda reached a milestone in her quest to become a yoga therapist. She now has the 200 hours of required training to be recognized by the Yoga Alliance.
She is involved with helping soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to deal with post traumatic stress. She also works with soldiers who've lost arms and legs in the conflicts. She's doing incredible work for soldiers to whom we owe so much.
Looking forward, we're excited about the new year. It is our intention to play more music, write more songs, and travel as much as possible.
I have several projects that I'm keen on completing in the new year. Jilda and I plan to release a singer/songwriter project this year. I also have a new book of columns that I'm finishing up on now, and I'd like to have that printed before summer.
So I guess one of the things for which I'm most grateful is that we both have things we want to accomplish in the coming year. I believe that staying active is the key to a long and healthy life.
I hope that 2012 is the best year yet, and that all of us have an opportunity to do something remarkable.
Happy New Year.