It is December... It must be time to reflect.

After many hours sitting on a St Heliers bench gazing at Rangitoto, I sat on this bench on Rangitoto gazing at St Heliers. I have been on a writing hiatus. Unplanned. I thought I would write every day while I was in New Zealand. Everyday was filled with good friends and family, good food and coffee and big adventures. I did not have much time to reflect or write. So the next few weeks will be dedicated to blogging, writing and reflection.

This jandal sacrificed to balance this bench on Rangitoto is a great metaphor: What in my life needs adjusting for 2015?

I am availing myself of a few tools. Michael Hyatt has a new 3 video series and a downloadable pdf called 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever. I also plan to walk the labyrinth at Davis United Methodist Church and meet with my pastor Kelly Love. I am also going to answer Chris Guillebeau's two questions:  What went well this year? What did not go well this year?

And then set goals for 2015. And review my goals for 2014. How well did I do?

I am going to get creative about where I do this reflecting since I do not want to part with Lulu anymore this year. Any good ideas for finding time and quiet place admidst the holiday chaos and work life? Please offer them here.

Poem on Rangitoto bench

Celebrating 52 with my Family in St Heliers

If on Christmas Day 2011, when I left New Zealand heart-a-breakin, you had told me that I would return in 3 years with all of my children (including a newish son-in-law), I would not have believed you. My bank account was busted. I had no idea what was ahead. Today is my birthday and Thanksgiving in the USA. We are celebrating all day! Sarah, Marcos and Tevis on the ferry to Rangitoto

St Heliers High

This was the building site that was the setting for Death by Sand and Gravel.  Now it would have to be titled Death by French Cuisine After a great sleep at Uk Sarah's (and Roy's), I left early to meet up with American Women to walk along the East Bays. I noticed a lot of changes in St Heliers. I have only been away since last December! Some things do not change, like the Moreton Bay fig tree on the green or Rangitoto in the Bay and a few big changes did occur... buildings long under construction are complete including new businesses. Sadly Daniel's bookstore is closing.

Thankfully, among the things that can be depended on are the walking American Women (and Kiwi women who appreciate America). Every Friday morning they gather at the changing sheds in Kohi for a walk to St Heliers and back.  The members of the group shift and change, but the spirit remains uplifting. I was energized!

Ruth, LIsa, Pamela, Gabrielle, Deb and Betsy pause for a photo

We always gather at the Cafe On Kohi for coffee afterward and more catching up.  These women were instrumental in my positive New Zealand experience. Naturally, they asked if I still wanted to get back to St Heliers. Of course, and at the same time, it is lovely to be appreciated in my work and to be near family.  Who knows what the future holds.  And when Ruth reminded me to touch the rock so "I'd be sure to return" at the end of the trail in St Heliers, I found myself practically hugging it.

Tradition holds that if you touch it you will be sure to return to St Heliers

P.S. Ruth is an avid reader and the leader of a book club and a member of another. Of course I asked what she's been reading... Ruth recommends The Woman Upstairs by Claire Massaud.