It’s almost a new year, and there is much to look forward to in 2014. But before the stroke of midnight tomorrow, I have been reflecting on the blessings of 2013.
The biggest surprise has to do with my father. We’ve had him for a full year, and last Christmas we were all expecting him to have only a matter of weeks left. But the fact he made it to another Christmas isn’t what has surprised us all so much. It’s the fact that his quality of life is so much better! My grandfather was a Pentecostal minister. I grew up hearing stories of real miracles. I know that doctors are just God’s instruments, and that He ultimately decides the number of our days. But to see my father off of oxygen, not using a walker any more, and actually planning a short trip to the hunting camp (where he’ll relax in the cabin – not in the woods :) ) is truly amazing. The disease is still present, but he is enjoying his days, and I am so thankful.
I’ve got a new hobby this year, and I’m loving it. “Hobby” isn’t the right word, but it’s as good as any, I suppose. I’ve discovered the world of horseback riding! No, I’m not taking lessons. But my daughter started them at the end of summer and I go out with her every week. The stables where she takes lessons are so picturesque. The two story barn is gorgeous. The acres and acres of pasture are vibrant green, with white fences around them and beautiful pink and red flowers planted everywhere. The horses are so beautiful and strong. After a tough week at work, I can’t tell you how cathartic it is to sit under a tree for a few hours and watch the horses and their riders as I take in the fresh air and the sounds of birds chirping, and the clip-clop of hooves. It renews me every time.
My son continues to excel at his college experience. He has made friends that I know will be lifelong ones, and he’s really gotten focused on what he has to do over the next three semesters until graduation. He has a fresh excitement as he is already getting job offers once he earns his degree. It’s surreal to watch his ease around “big wigs” that he’s crossed paths with, and to see him parlay those encounters into job offers is something I know I’d NEVER have been able to do at that age. But he’s smart and charming and interesting, and it’s genuine – not put on. I’m looking forward to finding out what the future holds for him. I think the sky’s the limit.
Despite a real rocky end to 2012, by the close of 2013 my extended family has made amends and seems as close as ever. Or almost anyway. I’ll settle for almost. I missed the ones who pulled away a year ago, and am grateful they have come to terms with the things that were bothering them and that they’ve been able to move forward and put it in the past.
Work is still stressful, but the last few months have seemed better. I don’t know if they are actually better or if I’ve just gotten better at letting the little things slide. But whatever the reason, I’ve had a better time of it on the job lately, and that’s something I am very thankful for!
My mom turned 80 this year, and she is still so in love with life. She is active, has a huge circle of friends, and is the glue that keeps our family together. We all love her so much, and we rely on her to be our listening post, shoulder to cry on, keeper of all secrets (what happens on Berwyn stays on Berwyn!!), and prayer warrior. Oh yeah, and to make the dressing on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day (nobody does it better).
I could go on and on. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong in life and miss all the things that are right. But once you stop to actually think about the good stuff, you can quickly realize you’ve got it way better than most. At least I do. I am blessed. And I know it.