I still have difficulty accepting that it’s December already. I just don’t feel like I’ve done a whole heck of a lot this year, or I don’t have that much to show for the passage of time. But then again, if I really look closely at where I’ve invested my time…I’ll realize how mistaken I am.

So far this year I have knit twenty pairs of socks, eleven shawls, eight hats, five scarves, four pairs of mitts (fingerless or nearly so), three blankets (including one ginormous afghan), three cowls, a cardigan and a tank top, along with about fifteen other assorted goofy items. And on the needles I have a pairs of socks and another shawl, with an infinity scarf in the planning stages. Most of my knitting projects were completed to earn points in a couple online challenge groups in which I belong. The Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup honors all things “Harry Potter” including house assignments (I’m a Ravenclaw), classes, O.W.L.s, N.E.W.T.s, and this last “term” they added the Order of the Phoenix as a source for challenges.

In fact, my initial Order of the Phoenix Mission was completing the six pairs of socks that comprised the 2011 inaugural Tour de Sock competition. While I was not an outright leader in this ‘fastest knitter’ challenge, my knitting speed is somewhat competitive…and the same can be said for my teammates. In fact, the team with whom I competed (Dumbledore’s Army, comprised of fellow House Cup participants) managed to lead the team scoring. My prize yarn should be in the mail today…

Another group that leads me to distraction is called Nerd Wars, which celebrates fandoms of all shapes & sizes. I allied myself with one of my longest-lasting nerderies: Star Wars. As a member of Team Rogue Squadron, I completed projects to respond to challenges in categories such as Intellectual, Technical, Scientific, Nerd Culture, Team Spirit, and a wonderfully philanthropic Giving Geeks. This category usually involves contributing in some fashion to charitable organizations, and crafting a project isn’t required for this one.

But knitting isn’t the only thing I’ve done this year. My travel was scaled back from the prior year, but the trips I took were big ones, and chock full of memories and photos. In the spring I vacationed with friends in Hilton Head Island, which was a wonderful girls’ getaway. In the summer, my westward adventure to Oregon truly blew away my expectations. I came home with a new group of friends, a better relationship with my aunt & uncle who live in southern Oregon, and a renewed appreciation for the Pacific Northwest.  I will definitely return to Portland for Sock Summit in 2013, but I’m also thinking I’ll visit southern Oregon in 2012 – there was so much my aunt & uncle wanted to share with me, but my schedule this year just didn’t allot enough time. I learned my lesson!

I learned a lot of other things through the course of the year, and I was blessed with an exponentially large number of God moments. Serving on a Cum Christo team was a huge highlight for me, as well as finding a new share/prayer partner. These steps in my faith walk have renewed me beyond measure, challenging me to invest more of my time toward piety, study and action, the pillar elements in the Cum Christo (and other Fourth Day movements’) philosophy.

I’ve had some emotionally taxing times this year, too. I’ve lost some very dear friends to cancer, and each death seemed to hit me harder than the previous. I’ve made efforts to maintain and strengthen some other friendships, as life is too precious to take anyone for granted.

Hopefully I’ll have another opportunity before Christmas to share some further reflections. For now, though, I need to resume my cleaning day. Knit on.