Dec 29, 2008

In Review

by Rene Allen

This is my final blog for ANWA Founders and Friends. Soon, I hope to have my own site running. Look for it at “” as I explore the experience of memoir writing and the symbolism of a Nurse Tree in the desert. I’m late in posting—too much holiday, perhaps, and even as I finalize this, it is with one eye on the clock because I will have to be on the road to Phoenix in a couple of hours taking a daughter-in-law to the airport.

But it is all okay. Exactly one year ago, my New Year’s resolution was to be done with the old resolution list – fondly known as my New Year’s revolutions since they came up every January and disappeared shortly thereafter only to resurface the following New Year. Instead of a list, I resolved to give more heed to the little voice whispering the good things to do, to surrender, if you will, my will. This holiday has been filled with service to family and friends. We have reduced the material side of Christmas and given from the heart, those things that are without price: time, energy, attention . . .

It has been a wild year. Some of you who have followed our blog site will remember my concern about a family member, the loss of a brother and nephew and four other close friends or relatives during the year, and my mother who at 87, is so battered by these losses she has lost a chunk of memory and struggles with that kind of sadness that seeps into every waking hour.

None of these were in my plans for the future. They arrived, each with its own kind of distraction from my avowed intent to finish my memoir and move on to the next project. It didn’t happen. I had underestimated the enormous emotional distraction of loss and my own ability to circumvent it. But there is good news. That old, illusive goal of weight loss? Well, while the road to my goal isn’t exactly smoking, Christmas is past and my jeans are no tighter than they were before, and that’s looser than they were a couple of months ago. And the news is hopeful as well for troubled family members whose own course has taken them through valleys of despair and alienation. There have been blessings. There is hope.

As I finish, tying up loose ends and reaching closure—I do so with gratitude. This vehicle provided by Marsha Ward and ANWA has brought growth and maturity. It has quelled anxiety and opened the door for friendships I never dreamed about.I feel I know you, those of you who have written and posted about your lives and what is important to you.

What is next? I have an old pair of hiking boots in my closet. Whenever I put them on and tighten the laces, I know I’m going somewhere. There is preparation and anticipation. Those boots have taken me to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back out. They have become the symbol for adventure and for my role in making it happen.

In a way, it is as if those boots are waiting for me. Finishing my memoir is the next adventure and certainly, writing a memoir is akin to hiking the Grand Canyon. You go in and have to come out. But while you are there, the views are magnificent.

To all I say thank you. I love you. You truly are sisters. I hope this coming year brings you a wealth of satisfaction.


  1. Thank you Rene for all your blogs. I read the entries faithfully and always gleam something useful from each them, including yours. Good luck on your memoirs, your weight loss plan and most of all best wishes for a much more happier new year.

  2. Thank you for the kind wishes, Terri. My best for the coming year.

  3. Rene, I've so enjoyed your blog postings.Your talents amaze me. You have such a marvelous ability to describe details, to convey thoughts, to uplift. I'd weep over your retiring from the ANWA blogsite, except for the fact that I can visit yours. Happy New Year.

  4. Rene, I love your comparison of memoir writing to hiking the Grand Canyon. It's easy to start down, harder to hike out--but what an accomplishment to have done so. I've appreciated your wisdom and insight on this blog and look forward to seeing more on your new site.

  5. Rene, I look forward to reading more of your words in your new blog! I am always uplifted and enlightened by the things your write and say. Happy New Year!


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