With lightning speed, 2016 whizzed by me, similar to many other years, all tangled with emotions, times of deep sadness, alongside great joy, and sprinkled throughout with grace and mercy, hope and strength, with the love of family and friends, and the unfailing hand of God. Here's a look back at how it all went down.
January was filled with sweet faces and moments that stay with you.
If only I could stop the hands of time.
In the last week of January, The Man and I headed west for a few days, to a favorite city and a favorite RV park.
San Antonio is like a home away from home, and it never disappoints, no matter how often we travel there.
In February, there were piles of love around every corner. These images are but a small sample.
March was a busy, busy month. Arabella turned a year old and started walking the same month. There was Easter weekend and all the days in between. I took more pictures than you can shake a stick at, but what's new?
Early in the month, Arabella had a delightful birthday party. It's not a secret that I'm no fan of babies having big birthday parties, but it was fun to sit back and watch my daughter and a friend of hers put this one together. It turned out just perfect. Other than making the photo banner with the gold stars seen in the first picture, I pretty much sat back and cheered them on.
There were also moments in March that took my breath away.
How blessed and thankful I am that I get to share such moments with my granddaughter, for these little days will never come again. I look at these pictures now and wish she could have stayed like this just a few more months, or days, or minutes, but every day brings changes.
It seemed Easter came early. I'm never quite ready for it before April, but the last weekend in March found us enjoying a Good Friday meal with a few family members.
My favorite day of the year, Easter Sunday, dawned in pastel shades of spring as I celebrated a risen Savior with those near and dear to my heart.
Then there was this:
April found me catching my breath and enjoying a relaxing weekend with my sisters.
There's nothing like a little pampering and an island breeze to soothe your spirit.
April is the month of my dear mother's birth and celebrating her is something I do every day of every year. I am blessed to have her still with me.
While April had many happy notes, there was a deep sadness for many families in the Houston area. Flooding destroyed homes and devastated lives.
The impact of flood waters remain, long after the water has receded.
The month of May brought some family time as we celebrated my niece's birthday, Mother's Day and my dad's birthday.
There were also days of sweet music and the reading of books in May.
And a new red door at twin sister's house.
June was a bustle of activity as we celebrated more birthdays, including my daughter turning 30 and our precious Julian turning 11.
There was a special baseball outing for The Man and his brothers in June ...
Father's Day weekend spent with Daddy ...
Outings with Memaw and Papaw.
And tender afternoons made in heaven.
In July, we celebrated our nation's birthday with family.
I introduced my granddaughter to the same library where her mother and I spent many an hour in years gone by.
And there are no words for Sundays in special dresses, with sweet socks and shoes.
Make no mistake about it. There was music in July.
While phones were confiscated and random text messages sent to unsuspecting people.
Perhaps the sweetest moments were those silent moments when angels slept.
In August, we celebrated 36 years of marriage.
Later in the month, The Man's birthday was celebrated with good food and smiles.
So many precious memories in August.
Oh, how we miss pie.
Like Aunt Gayle's company.
And a family outing at Minute Maid Park.
September brought its own treasures, including this Sunday with a princess.
There were pleasant afternoons ...
And sweet pauses in the day that lay gently on your heart.
September also brought a momentous event, and while this photo of me and twin sister doesn't look momentous, it marks a moment in time that neither of us will forget.
And that brings me to October, my favorite month of the year. Perhaps it's because it is the month of my birth, I don't know, but October, with its golden days and deep nights, will always speak the language of my heart.
Here's Arabella, visiting with her great-grandparents.
A very special Sunday with my precious cupcake in her smocked pumpkin dress.
The Man and I celebrated my birthday on The Island, under a full moon.
A few hours at the park cost nothing, but the rewards were priceless.
There is no sweeter thing than a baby smelling like chamomile lotion, wearing footie pajamas.
My dear and precious parents in October. They are a treasure to my heart.
One of the best memories in October was going to Dewberry Farm with the kids, and coming back with this perfect image.
I don't think a year has ever flown by with such speed as 2016. November rushed in, filled with fun and a little traveling.
The Man and I enjoyed a week in Branson, Missouri, a familiar place with favorite places to visit.
Silver Dollar City was an orchestra of fall and Christmas, a sight to see.
An election cycle like no other in history ended on November 8th, with the election of businessman, Donald J. Trump.
There was a special weekend on Galveston Island with our darling Arabella.
A perfect weekend from start to finish.
There was a special Sunday, with very special people.
Before I knew it, Thanksgiving arrived and we made every hour in the day count.
And then it was December.
I asked twin sister to take some photos of Arabella in the little snowman outfit I bought her at a resale shop, too cute to pass up.
Even though a toddler is a challenging subject for any photographer, Gayle managed to capture not only some great shots, but cupcake's personality.
This may well be my favorite shot.
We took a break and a hush fell over the room. I looked around and Arabella had found a few of Audrey’s books and was quietly studying them. I couldn’t resist taking pics of my own.
What a difference a year makes.
Sunday sweetness in December.
A family Christmas dinner was held at big sis and brother-in-law's beautiful home.
Arabella loved the quilt her great-grandmother made for her, with her name on it.
My granddaughter has never been one to smile on command, but I was determined to get a smile out of her, no matter what faces I had to make.
This picture. I can't even.
What a sweet duet, Aunt Gayle and Arabella.
The Man and I decided early on that our Christmas this year would be simple and relaxed. In an age of indulgence, less has its advantages. Less spending means more money left. Less shopping means more evenings at home. Less cleaning up means more time to enjoy.
When all is said and done, less is usually more.
Arabella got a cash register and a purse from Memaw and Papaw, and a xylophone from Aunt Gayle. What more does a girl need?
While my daughter admires her new handbag, Arabella is digging into the candy that Aunt Gayle made. As much as I love a new handbag, I’m with cupcake on this one. A few pieces had spilled onto the floor but the five-second rule was in full force.
A precious trio. I love them so much.
Big sis and her little brood. Oh, how I love them.
And now I've filled this space with so many photos, and yet they are but a small sampling of the moments in 2016, moments that can never come again but will live on in my memory. In the good times and bad, God has been faithful, and I could not have made it without His steady presence in my life.
A New Year is here, a blank journal in which to write the next chapter of our lives. I pray that where there is discord, I will sow peace, where there is hate, I will sow love, where there is brokenness, I will sow healing.
Here's wishing you and yours a bountiful New Year, one filled with special people and special moments. Thanks for keeping me company. It means ever so much.