It’s human nature, I suppose, to stand on the brink of a new year and gaze both backward and forward. I do the same with the old and new planning calendars.
One is full of completed appointments as well as notations about the year’s events that resound in both good and bad ways. There are names of people and their contact info that I might need going forward, business cards and passwords to my various technology accounts.
The other is a new calendar, nearly spotless, except for the few scribbles that have already been made such as a date with our new tax preparer, some spring programs, a couple of hair bookings and a May wedding when my son and his wife will gain a new sister-in-law.
Oh yeah, and a routine colonoscopy. I’m finally getting to the bottom of that!
Right now I use the old and new planners in equal measure. But soon, the used one will slide into a drawer for reference and the new one will get the action.
And that is life, is it not? We look to the past to recall our experiences, inform our futures, learn from our mistakes and victories.
As I count my blessings, naming them one by one, here are a few from 2015:
-- Thank You Lord for the health and safety of my loved ones.
-- I am grateful that Brian got to retire after 40 years as a school educator. He celebrates his new status no less than daily, often numerous times. I have never seen him so happy and carefree. I love that he is retired! What’s not to enjoy about seeing someone you love so happy? And not just that, but he does all the laundry, dishes, did almost all the Christmas shopping, and so much more, besides!
-- I am grateful that everyone in my family who wants a job has one, which includes our kids, and so thankful that Sam, Allison and Ben enjoy what they are doing, and are good at their jobs.
-- This year, after writing my second novel (which you’ll hear plenty about next year), I was blessed by three talented people in my life who edited the book: Barb Clark, Debbie McCray and Steve Dicken. As I write this, the remarkable Marilyn Witt is creating a cover, and the wonderful Christy Ragle is helping me revamp some social-media marketing. Being an indie author / entrepreneur has opened up experiences I had never before dreamed possible.
-- We got new Apple computers at work this year. They are fast and quiet and intuitive! Thankful for a great group to work with at The Courier-Times, and a fun bunch in the newsroom. Also to long-time friends Sandy Moore, Cheryl K. Bennett and to all the wonderful correspondents who fill the Neighbors and Her magazine pages such as Blaise Doubman, Stacey Torres, Arlene Schmidt, Sherry Shepard, Trista Hill, Tisha Sledd, friend and boss Katie Clontz and others! Blessings one and all.
-- We said goodbye to my good friend John Hodge, who died on the golf course after exactly – to the day – one year of retirement. It remains sad and I miss John, but on the plus side, that man enjoyed nearly every single moment of his last year. So glad that he didn’t delay his retirement or he would not have known those joys.
-- Grateful for the annual summer mini-vacay with my dear friend Gay Kirkton. We had a home-and-garden theme in July for our time together. Thank you Katie for showing us around your lovely Irvington home and community.
-- Thankful for the fall Saturday with my dear friend and confidante Cheryl Bennett where we dined and shopped at Bloomington hot spots and enjoyed a stunning October day.
-- Grateful for my hometown of Liberty, Indiana and visits with brother and SIL Tim and Jeannie Jobe.
-- Thankful that Brian recently got a week in Florida with his brother and sister-in-law, Steve and Linda Cronk. I just love that they had that special time together and he had a ball! I hope they did too.
-- Grateful to my Midlife Mom sisters for the eight years we’ve had together. Those women have enriched my life more than I can say and I look forward to year nine. Grateful to Terri Fredericks for her gracious hosting of the MLMs several times this year at her wonderful Brown County lake house.
-- Appreciation to Patti and Monty Foust for their friendship, chats and Monty's skills at doing so many home projects for us through the years.
-- July 4 was a special time when we had 29 family members here in our back yard for the McClellan family reunion, including cousins in from Colorado and Louisiana.
-- I am thankful that I can freely, openly and thoughtfully gather with hundreds of regional women once a week and study God’s Word at Bible Study Fellowship. This year we are in Revelation and this is year five of my studies. Want to join us? Message me and I’ll share details. It’s free and you will be more than welcome. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
-- I am grateful for Facebook and other social media that I use personally as a means to visit with my friends and loved ones and professionally to both find and research people and stories.,
-- My thanks to every person who invited me to speak, do a reading, attend an author fair or otherwise be a part of her social or service club, church group or banquet, if only for one lovely evening. My motto from the get-go of this book journey is this: If asked to attend, I say yes.
-- My most special moment of the year came unexpectedly via a texted photo when my son, Sam, sent a picture of himself with the heart surgeon who operated on him when he was an infant and then again at age 19. They ran into each other at the hospital where my son is a surgical tech. The surgeon had been working in one surgery, and Sam was working in another one. The surgeon is rarely at my son’s hospital so it was an unusual moment. There they both stood, beautiful in their identical blue scrubs, when they came face to face.
If someone had told me 28 years ago this photo would happen in the future, I would have bawled my eyes out with joy. It was all I could do not to bawl my eyes out with joy this time.
On the scary night before Sam’s surgery at 11 months of age, these words fell hard into my mind: My grace is sufficient.
That was 1987. There was no Google to find the origin for these words. But I had a Bible index and when I researched grace and sufficient, I was led to 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”
It’s been my life verse ever since.
-- I am thankful for so many other things, too; so many people, events, surprises, laughter and joy in life and living.
And if you are reading this blog that has become a twice-a-week endeavor, I am thankful for you too.
Now prepare to go forth into that wide-open, blank calendar of 2016. There will be public and private joys and celebrations as well as a few heartaches. Wishing you His blessings.
His grace is still enough for us all.