**I’m tucking in an extra post this week because it’s time for Emily P. Freeman’s ‘What We’ve Learned’ link up. You might enjoy taking a look here.
This year was marked by Big Events for our family, so I’m starting with a review and, then, what it’s meant to me. These have been life changers – they’ve made seismic shifts in the terrain of our family life.
I’ll start with The Big Event – probably better named ‘The Blessed Event‘. This past July my eldest daughter married the love of her life, Sean. It was a once in a lifetime day, as I’m sure many of you’ve experienced, and it not only blessed our family, it altered us, somehow.
Most obvious, our daughter-filled family now has a son. We’ve added testosterone, much humor and wit, along with a generous spirit. Not a bad addition.
Oddly, in the mix, we’ve lost a dependent – and, I don’t just mean a number on our tax return. There was a switch of responsibilities the moment my hubby, father-of-the-bride, handed off our daughter to her husband-to-be, there was an altering of a tie. New knots.
Two more Big Events within days of The Blessed Event – both our daughters graduated from college. Seeing your children accomplish their final hurdle in the 18 years of continuous schooling feels like the completion of a marathon – we all breathed a deep sigh of relief.
As parents, we feel like we’ve graduated, too, in the sense of an end of tuition payments and the pressures associated with our children’s schooling ‘experiences’. There is an exhilarating feeling of crossing the finish line, while at the same time something has ended – it leaves behind a bit of empty space of ‘what now’.
Transitions. Accomplishments. Big Events lead to endings and new beginnings.
I must note, not all Big Events are happy events. Our family experienced several of these, as well, in 2016. One of those closest to us was diagnosed this year with a chronic illness. Another dear family member had a serious illness, requiring a two week hospitalization and a scary week in the ICU.
Our life paths bring some screeching turns that have their own unexpected grief and challenges. That’s been a piece of our year – a tear filled piece.
So, here’s my list of what I’ve learned through these Big Events of 2016:
- God shows up in both the good and the bad moments – He’s in charge of the details in our lives. He works in them and through them.
“The Lord works out everything to its proper end..” Prov 16:4
- Sometimes surrender is what I’m called to amidst life’s changes – letting go of my agendas, my expectations, and my way.
- Giving thanks through good and bad keeps life in its proper place – under the Sovereign hand and will of God.
- One of the greatest gifts amidst life’s stuff is to share the journey – it doubles the joy and shares the burdens.
Five of My Favorite Things for 2016 –
- My favorite new hobby – Instagramming! I’m loving it! I would love to be your Instagram friend at: SandraJBlogger
- My favorite new recipe that I’m eating way too much of – Flying Apron’s Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, dairy free, allergen free!) – source.
- My favorite gift to give any one for any occassion (my ‘go-to’, trademark gift) – Starbucks Gift Cards**Interesting story – I witnessed a drowning rescue at my local beach. I ‘gifted’ the hero a Starbucks gift card – you give what you’ve got!)
- My 4 favorite books of the year (see some of my book reviews on my FB Page)
- “Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation” Ruth Haley Barton
- “The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction” – Adam S. McHugh
- “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” – Marie Kondo (I’d be lying if I didn’t include it!)
- “Come Rain or Come Shine” Jan Karon
- My Favorite Bible Passage for 2016 –
“Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, Bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.
Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies all your desires with good things…” – Ps103:1-5
**I would love to hear any discoveries you’ve made in 2016 – feel free to share in the comments. My prayer for each of you – May you experience His presence and nearness this Christmas and into 2017.
Linking up with EmilyP.Freeman