It's 2016 - a New Year, a Fresh Start!
It has been quiet here on my blog for the past two weeks or so, as I've taken time out to celebrate Christmas with our family ...
First, it was a very special Family Christmas on Sat., Dec. 19, with our three daughters and their families who live near us! We missed our other three ... a daughter and her family who live in TX, a son in San Francisco, and another son in New York City. But we were so very blessed to all be together over Thanksgiving!
So very thankful to have 15 precious family here for our Family Christmas - a fun afternoon of gift-giving, and making a tempura meal together, followed by more gift-giving and games until 1 am!
A few days after our Family Christmas, we packed up and made a trip to TX to spend Christmas Day with our daughter & family who live there! It was a very special treat to be with them, in their home, for their Christmas - a first for us! And just two days after Christmas, we were there to witness a very special event - the baptism of our nine year-old granddaughter.
We also had the unexpected experience of being with our TX family during a tornado scare the day after Christmas, when tornadoes swept through the Dallas area, one tornado touching down just 1 1/2 miles from their home. We were so saddened to hear of the losses and devastation in that area, and also, filled with thanks to God that we were spared.
Our return home took longer than planned, as we needed to stay an extra 24 hours at a motel to wait out the winter storm of snow and ice that was right in our path home. So very thankful for God's protection, and for a safe arrival home the evening of Dec. 29.
I love this time of year ...
a time to look back with thanks,
and a time to look ahead with anticipation!
Looking back ...
The year 2015 was a difficult one in many ways, filled with challenges. We watched our 17 year-old granddaughter's health decline as she waited for her kidney transplant, and then spent two weeks in TX during the month of April to be a support during that time and to also be a support to our oldest daughter who was the generous kidney donor for her niece (our granddaughter).
Also, the first half of 2015 was a very challenging season as my hubby and I gave support to my 94 year-old father during a very difficult turn-of-events in my father's health and life. It was also a very emotionally exhausting time for us and my three brothers (and sisters-in-law) as we worked together (via many, many phone calls) to be a support to him and also to each other.
The year 2015 was also filled with praise to God as He carried us through those two very difficult seasons! How we praise Him for how well our granddaughter is doing now after her transplant, for how well our daughter has recovered after her surgery to donate a kidney! And also, how we praise Him for how my father made an unexpected recovery and an unexpected move from the Health Center to an Assisted Living apartment. And we cannot thank my brothers and sisters-in-law enough for how they supported us from a distance, and how one brother and sis-in-law flew here from Oregon to help out in a time of great need.
How we thank God for His Love and Presence through the difficult months of 2015, and for all His good gifts to us all through the year!
And looking ahead ...
There is so much to ponder and think about as I look ahead to another year. In many ways, it feels like some heavy burdens have been lifted, and our steps are lighter as we begin a new year. At the same time, there are many concerns to pray for ... for those we love, for friends, for our world.
And always ... there is excitement as we anticipate all that God will teach us, and all that He has for us this coming year! The very best gift of all is the promise of His Presence through all of the days in the year ahead!
A Prayer for the New Year ...
Here's the one thing I crave from God,
the one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with Him
every moment in His house,
finding the sweet loveliness of His face,
filled with awe, delighting in His glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to Him
that He takes pleasure in my every prayer.
(Psalm 27:4 Passion Translation)