The end of the year

This is the last day of 2015.  I have worked hard to be grateful everyday.  I have had good days and bad days.  I have been a princess, but I lost my daddy.  Today, I complete the Joy Dare, and I will have well over 1000 gifts.

Thank you Lord, for this year.  Please help me to be thankful for each and every gift you have given me.

Dec 16: 3 gifts Bethlehem-unlikely

  1. Being able to come home. 1149
  2. Musical Shakespeare. 1150
  3. Forgiving others.  1151

Dec 17: 3 gifts frosted

  1. Birthday cake. 1152
  2. Lemon cookies. 1153
  3. Frosted windows. 1154

Dec 18: 3 gifts miraculous

  1. Kidney transplants. 1155
  2. Babies. 1156
  3. The body that God designed and gave us.  They are miraculous in the way they work.  1157

Dec 19: 3 gifts manger-small

  1. Personal heaters. 1158
  2. Slow cookers. 1159
  3. Computers. 1160

Dec 20: 3 gifts angelic song

  1. Singing with church family. 1161
  2. Listening to my girls sing. 1162
  3. Singing for God. 1163

Dec 21: 3 gifts lit

  1. The pilot light.  1164
  2. The stove.  1165
  3. Campfires.  1166

Dec 22: A gift with rejoicing, wonder, praising

  1. Every new believer.  1167
  2. Watching the little birds fly back and forth. 1168
  3. Little Bit singing with her whole heart the songs she learns at church. 1169

Dec 23: 3 gifts starry

  1. Meteor showers. 1170
  2. Eclipses. 1171
  3. The constellation Orion.  1172

Dec 24: 3 gifts humble

  1. Daffodils.  1173
  2. Little flower bouquets from little hands.  1174
  3. Filling communion trays.  1175

Dec 25: 3 gifts in Luke 2

  1. Joseph’s commitment  1176
  2. The shepherds, the first missionaries.  1177
  3. Simeon’s acceptance  1178

Dec 26: 3 gifts in Christ

  1. Joy  1179
  2. Peace  1180
  3. A future.  1181

Dec 27: a gift found, shared, saved

  1. Momma’s dishes.  1182
  2. Momma’s Christmas chapel  1183
  3. A handkerchief for Little Bit  1184

Dec 28: 3 gifts lingering

  1. The smell of garlic.  1185
  2. Pet fur.  1186
  3. Memories   1187

Dec 29: 3 gifts of hope

  1. Flower bulbs  1188
  2. Eggs  1189
  3. Mornings  1190

Dec 30: 3 gifts remembered

  1. Mommy  1191
  2. Daddy  1192
  3. Grandma  1193
  4. Grandpa  1194

Dec 31: 3 gifts anticipated

  1. Monday night dinners with friends  1195
  2. Renaissance Festival 2016.  (1196)
  3. Heaven  1197

I have to tell you, I’ve taken to asking my family for their ideas when I get stuck.  At dinner last night, I was telling them about how I came up with “Musical Shakespeare” for Bethlehem-unlikely.  Little Bit came in and said, “I know another gift that Jesus probably wouldn’t have gotten.  A Penguin.”

She cracks me up.  1198

I also want to include something I wrote on Facebook today.

I’ve been doing some thinking lately. Some pretty heavy thinking. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of the year. Maybe it’s because I was looking at some photos earlier this week.

The pictures I was looking at were pictures of a slide show that Amber and I were doing with Daddy last November. We couldn’t figure out how to take a picture of the slides effectively, so most of them are tilted quite a bit.

There’s a lot of pictures of his mission trips to Nigeria. There’s a lot of pictures of me as a kid. There’s a lot of pictures of family.

The thing that went through my head looking at these pictures of pictures is what would I have done differently if I had known that was the last time we would sit and talk about his slides, his memories.

The answer: Nothing. Well, maybe asked more questions and pushed him a little to look at more slides. Asked for more memories, more stories.

But here’s what has been playing over and over in my head. Even though he was very sick, even though my momma was very sick, even though they were in pain, I would not have asked for one day less. Seeing their pain hurt, yes.

But I wouldn’t trade singing to my momma in her last day (1199), I wouldn’t trade tying my daddy’s shoelaces  (1200), I wouldn’t trade one minute of that struggle. That struggle has helped me see what my mom and dad were made of (1201), what I am made of (1202). Seeing how they put their faith in God, how they handled the struggle, has given me hope for any struggles I may go through in the future (1203).

Do I wish that Momma hadn’t had cancer? Every day. Do I wish that Daddy had taken better care of himself so that heart disease didn’t take him? Every day. But the only thing I can change is myself, and how I handle my own health, and my own struggles.

And even though I miss them both horribly, I praise God that I have been made stronger because I had to walk beside them through that journey. (1204)

So that’s a very long way of saying, if you are struggling, if you need someone to walk with you, please let me know. I will walk beside you and hold your hand. I will pray for you and with you if you want. But you never have to walk alone through the dark parts of your life. The bright parts are just around the corner.

To each and every one of you, whoever you may be, may you have a very happy and grateful 2016.



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