As the year winds to a close, the days I cherish most from 2014 were those normal days that held nothing remarkable, only ordinary routines that propelled me from one day to the next. It was Mary Jean Irion who wrote: "Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are." Those are the perfect days after all.
Last December, in my 2013 year-in-review post, I wrote these words:
I don't know what 2014 holds. There may be rain and tears and hearts that break. But I have no doubt that, woven in and out of the coming months, there will also be sunshine and laughter, and more blessings than I can count.
All of the above came true, of course. Aren’t most years like that, filled with sun and rain, with laughter and tears, good times and bad? And it is the faithfulness of God that carries us through, year after year, no matter what we may find ourselves facing.
In the end, we choose which moments to recall, which songs to remember—the happy ones, or the long and sad ones. And it’s good, I believe, to recall some of the sad notes, because, if we let them, rough places help us grow stronger, dig deeper, pray harder.
Does that mean we need to spill all of proverbial beans, exposing all of the sordid details? I think not. Some things just aren’t my business and, quite frankly, I like it that way. But, having said that, I’m always willing to lend an ear or a shoulder, should you decide to do spill your sorrows. Believe me when I say that I carry the secrets of many inside of me, never revealed to anyone. I tell all of my friends that their secrets are safe with me and that is one promise I’ve never broken and never will. And I’m grateful to have a handful of friends who offer me the same gift.
I didn’t mean to digress, but there it is. Such things happen, but back to end-of-year matters. I can’t remember a year quite like 2014. It seemed to fly by, and yet there were months that felt like years, like I might die before the days had actually passed.
But here we are, at the end of another year. I’d love to know what your 2014 looked like, so let me know if you’re doing a year-in-review post so I can stop by.
January found The Man and I grappling with hard situations, and spending the month in one of our favorite getaway places, the lovely San Antonio. While there, precious loved-ones visited and icicles hung from Cloud Nine. Nippy, indeed!
February held deep sadness as I said goodbye to a dear friend, who left us all too soon. I miss her, still.
February also held sweet music and unspeakable joy.
March brought smiles and sighs galore, what with the company of precious pie and sugar plum, my adorable grand-nieces.
April's blessings included being pie's nanny for the month, celebrating Easter with family, and spending an evening with the parents.
May was the beginning of a difficult and tempestuous season, but it was tempered by the beauty and steadfastness of family, a family I can't imagine facing life without.
June found us once again spending a month in San Antonio, our favorite close-to-home getaway spot. The storms still raged, but we braved it all together.
June also delivered happy faces (particularly pie's, upon celebrating her 1st birthday), the 28th birthday of our beautiful daughter, and the wonderful news that she was pregnant with her first child!
Ah, the gifts of July—immeasurable!
In August, we spent time with family, celebrated 34 years of marriage, and I finished my first crocheted afghan for my coming grandchild.
Perhaps the best gift of August was this 38-second rendition of "Do Lord," by sugar plum. I do declare I love this child. No matter the weather, she makes my heart sing.
Would you just look at the joys of September—the faces of family, and another glimpse at my unborn grandchild. This ultrasound determined that this baby was a girl and I decided I would be her Memaw and she would be my cupcake.
October has always been my favorite month, perhaps because I was born in October. The Man and I spent the month in the majestic Smoky Mountains, enjoying fall foliage, Gospel music, the company of family, and a trek to Clingman's Dome, the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains.
After Thanksgiving dinner, my twin sister took her adorable grandchild on her lap. It is clear, to any and all, that these two adore each other. As Nonni and pie watched a darling video of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," I captured one-minute-and 13-seconds of the purest joy you will ever see. If you can't watch it all, your reward for clicking comes instantly, so go ahead. You won't be sorry. I watch this and my heart fills completely up. How blessed we are on this earth to have the presence of little ones.
December's news was both joyous and painful. First, the joyous news. My beautiful daughter, along with twin sis and pie, were in church with me for a special service. Our precious Julian helped me paint cupcakes one rainy day. We celebrated two birthdays, went shopping for maternity clothes, got to see cupcake doing her thing in the womb, and I was given a great photo of my glowing daughter and son-in-law. The painful news: I discovered that a fall in October left me with a torn rotator cuff. Time will tell what has to happen in this situation. For now, hallelujah for cortisone injections!
And, of course, there was Christmas, that holy season that nudges us closer to Christ, and to each other.
I can't possibly end this post without a special tribute to my twin sister, Gayle. Put simply, I could not have made it through 2014 without her, my womb-mate, my dearest friend, my faithful prayer partner. It was she who patiently and lovingly listened to me tell the same sad story, over and over, share the same fears, over and over, express the same heartache, over and over, cry the same ugly cry, over and over. And it was she who prayed for me and with me, and encouraged me with healing words, while other times, just sitting with me, saying nothing, yet saying everything, simply by being there. I officially proclaim her to be my Woman of the Year. I have no crown to bestow on her head, but I know one day, she will receive a crown.
Well, if you're still with me, how kind you are, and long-suffering. If all goes as planned, 2015 will hold major changes for me and The Man. I fully expect to be consumed with all things grandmotherly, and I can hardly wait to meet cupcake!
Until next year, dear friends in blogland, thank you for keeping me company here, for your kind words and encouraging comments. Your friendship, even from afar, means so very much. Happy New Year to you and yours! May 2015 be filled with all of the things that make a garden grow.