Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year!


2016 was a year of healing and growth, redemption and grace, a year of re-discovering passions and re-inventing some of those along with embracing ourselves and all of our quirks. It was a year of togetherness and simplicity, and a year of so much happiness. We had a lot to celebrate: an official Uncle Matt when he and Melinda tied the knot in October. Spending time with many of our extended family and meeting some of them for the first time. Bryna Mae becoming a teenager, and Elliot Ann making it to double digits. I made it to half of a hundred, and let me tell you how grateful I am to have lived 50 years!! Lots of adventures and exploring. 2016 did have negatives, but after a very hard 2015...singing, dancing and laughing have become the norm. 2017 brings much to look forward to: Addi Jo turning the big 20! What in the world? Drew Michelle turning 16 and eventually driving (although she's in no hurry...she is my daughter after all). Callahan Leigh becoming an adult when he turns 18 in May and walking the stage for graduation shortly after. Time flies people....I know most of you have realized this, but seriously I blinked; and here I am!! Neil and I celebrating 25 years of marriage in June...over half of our lives together! I will share my witness when I say God's plan is always better than mine...considering I "never wanted to get married". Life is precious and so in the moment as often as you can...even the mundane and especially the hard; because that is oftentimes when you find and appreciate the little things. Those little things are where I find peace and clarity. Remember when you meet someone, that we are called to LOVE every single living being...we don't get to pick and choose. Sure there are people who we have to let go of for our own well being, but HATE is such a debilitating emotion. The world is so full of it, but the world is so full of kindness too...I am doing my best to focus on the good. I am not sure where I would be if I didn't have faith. I have fallen to my knees many times over the last few years in desperation and said..."God, you can take this from me and do what you will"...and you know what? HE DID! 
So hug your people and hug other people too. If you're not a hugger, then smile a lot. Say please and thank you, reply to emails and remember tone is often misunderstood if not face to face. If someone is unpleasant, give them some grace...maybe you don't know what they are living. Take care of yourself and your parents (I wish I had done that better). Listen to good music. Try something new. Don't dwell on things you need to let go. Find something you really enjoy and make time to do it often. Look people in the eye and be sincere. Put away your cell phones and engage with people (hang up and hang out is what we call it). Try not to complain (this is a hard one for me), not all days are good ones but there is something to be grateful for every day...think about that when you wake up and before you go to sleep. Spend time with people who bring out the best in you. Create beauty with your hands, heart and actions. When you're down, serve. When you're not down, serve.
Share your gifts. Remember that not everyone is your friend, but we really only need a few good ones. Once you find those people, hold on to them for dear life!! They will be the ones who love you when you're hard to love and walk with you through the really hard stuff.
I don't do resolutions, but I do hopes and a lot of dreams...
My hope for 2017 for us all is:
"Do Everything In Love 1 Corinthians." 16:14
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the spirit." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
My dream is peace on earth!!
My lovely, creative sister friend, Joy, captured these images for me for my 50th birthday. She is an amazing person and artist, and I am so thankful for these photos. Take more photos and be in more day your family will be grateful. To all my photog are my people, and I so love seeing your art!
Images credited to Wildflowers Photography!

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