New Year's Eve has never really been a time of revelry for me. I'm really not much of a partier, never have been really. In my teen years, I looked forward to New Year's as an opportunity to earn money babysitting. Parents looked forward to a night out and it was usually a late night, meaning more to earn. I think I babysat every year until I moved away from home. That first year away from home I was working in a restuarant where I met Mr. Wonderful in September, began dating him in November, became engaged to him in December and married him in January. Yes, it was a whirlwind courtship! Eleven months later, on New Year's Eve day at 11:51 am, our first child was born. After having been in labor for much of the day before and spending 10 hours at the hospital prior to her arrival, the new Daddy went home to rest and let us get some rest as well. That evening, we had an ice storm and he was unable to make it back to the hospital and so, I spent that night in the hospital alone reflecting on the events of the past year. There was a lot to reflect on as you can well imagine! And so, it has become somewhat of a tradition for me to celebrate my daughters' birth and look back on the past year.
Tonight is no different.
This past year has been a year of change and growth for me and my family. So much change. January found us deep in the throes of wedding planning as my darling daughter had found the man of her dreams and the answer to so many prayers in Shawn. Jim and I were suddenly facing the empty nest syndrome and working to find our way through such a strange and wondrous time in our lives. We celebrated 31 years as husband and wife, though our plans to celebrate with a trip turned into plans to celebrate the marriage of our daughter!
March brought the wedding and with it the beginning of Spring . The wedding was a very special time for me, as not only was I able to bear witness to my daughters' happiness, but I was surrounded by much-though sadly not all-of my family. That day Shawn officially became a member of our family though in our hearts that had happened long before. We are so blessed and honored to call him our Son in Law. He is a wonderful man with a generous nature, a good sense of humor and a good work ethic. He is a man of God, who loves his family deeply and freely. I love the way that he loves my girls and we are all so better for knowing him
The wedding offered another first for us as it was the first time that Tim brought Esther home to meet the family! They had been dating for a while, but we had not met her yet and we so anxious to have the opportunity. We were not disappointed. Esther is a wonderful young woman who is easy to get to know and lovely to be around. Shortly after, they found an appartment to share and have worked to build a life together.
June came all too quickly and before we could blink, Isabella had turned eight! So difficult to believe that our little munchkin is eight. She has grown up so fast and we cherish every moment that we spend with her. She helps to keep us young, or so I hope, and brings so much love and laughter into our home. What a precious gift she has been to us all.
We spent a lot of time taking advantage of good weather and made numerous trips to the zoo, parks, the beach and other fun places with our girl. Jim keeps her before and after school and on days off, whenever he is not working, allowing the two of them to share lots of special memories.
\The summer also brought with it an unexpected trip as I was forced to make a trip to the ER and then 'lucky' enough to have a 5 day, 4 night stay in the luxurious Frederick Memorial Hospital after having my gallbladder removed. That is a memory that I would just as soon forget!
Though I have seen some decline in my overall health, I am lucky to remain mobile and active. (Although 'active' can be a relative term. Ha!)
We have been blessed by the love of our families and our friends who have shared with us both the good times and the difficult times.
This year has also brought with it some tragedies that we can't forget. We saw hurricane Sandy devestate much of the East Coast, leaving unprecedented destruction and devestation in her wake. We have had to bear witness to such horrors as the school shootings in Newtown, CT. We have grieved as a country for the loss of so many young, innocent lives. I am heartened though, by the Grace of God and in the fact that these young people are free and at peace with their Heavenly Father. I want to share with you some words that were written to me by my 19 year old niece.
She writes: "...
What happened yesterday is truly heartbreaking. It is an unbelievable example of the desperately broken world we live in. We will pray and pour our hearts out for the innocent people who lost their lives and for the ones who had to watch. I am so sad that things like this happen.
Praise God that this is our temporary home--He reigns and His Kingdom has no end. I cannot wait for a day with no more tears and no more pain. But praise God that we don't have to live up to His expectations. He knew that we could not be perfect, which is what we must be in order to be in community with Him because of He is just, so He sent His Son to be perfect for us. I know you know this, but sometimes I know I get caught up in trying to live up to something I don't have to. What wonderful grace He gives. "
In the midst of such an overwhelming tragedy, I am comforted in knowing that such a Grace exists and that someone so young feels His presence so deeply and loves Him without hesitation. Thank you Allison, you are such a gift!
And now as I see another birthday and another year come to a close, I usher in the New Year with a grateful heart, knowing His love, the love of my family and friends and with a prayer for Peace, for Prosperity for all and clear minds for our nations' leaders, that they may come to a resolution in the New Year.
May His Blessings be with you all, now and forever!
Happy New Year and Happy Birthday my dear daughter and now too to my darling husband.
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