Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Get the Hell Out of Here, 2006! or Counting My Blessings

All in all, this has been a year to forget, punctuated by moments of sublimity.

It's hard even to bring myself to the point of complaining, since the abundant blessings that flood my world far outweigh the multiplicity of headaches that pounded us from every direction this miserable year. So, I will not complain. Instead, for my own sanity and perspective, I'm going to remember the good stuff. There was plenty of that.

Sadie: This is the truest and best blessing of my life -- my daughter and the privilege of mothering her, teaching her, and learning from her. This year, I got to hear Sadie speak her first German words ("Ich heiße Sadie.") and see her dance in her first ballet recital. I got to tickle her, poke her, nuzzle her, kiss her, and rub her soft little downy head far more than she appreciated. I got to store a veritable treasure trove of funny memories as Sadie explored expressing herself in English. I got to have what Sadie calls our "pow-wows" late at night when sensible parents would have long had their children sleeping -- free-ranging conversations about whatever comes to mind. Watching her become the person that God imagined her to be is thrilling beyond compare. She rocks my world.

Jason: I have the best husband in the world. Protest all you want, fellow lady bloggers -- my man is the best; at least he is certainly the best for me. He is passionate, grouchy, funnier than anyone, works damn hard for our family and only complains a wee bit. He is a man, and he lets me be a woman. He loves his little Bug. He loves the Lord. He has made me laugh for the past 12 1/2 years, and he protects me and loves me and would kill anyone who hurt me. He's my biggest fan, and I am his. Whenever anyone asks me why I went to college in South Dakota, I always answer, "Why, to meet Jason, of course."

Shelter, Food, Medicine, The Basics: Okay, the rats almost got the better of us on the first front, but do not think that it has escaped me how very blessed we are to have a roof over our heads at all. We have food in abundance, beyond subsistence -- way beyond. We have great medical care -- the best in the world -- as was certainly driven home in a pointed way when Sadie made her Emergency Room trip in August. We do not worry from day-to-day about how we will survive. It may not always be so, but I'd be an ungrateful wretch, indeed, were I not to acknowledge what a supreme gift that is right now.

The Freedom to Worship: All over the world, Christians are persecuted for worshipping the Lord. In America, we are free to worship Him. That is a blessing not to be taken lightly, though too often I take it for granted.

Teaching Sunday School: Not only to I get to hang out with a sweet group of four and five-year-olds every Sunday morning, I get to share with them my love for the Lord. Wow!

Books: It will surprise no one who has ever read this blog before that I thank the Lord for wonderful books in my daily prayers. While this was a crappy year for debt and household issues, it was a remarkable year for books. In the interest of economizing space, I will write of the highlights

Music: Although my dad once called me "musically illiterate" (a label with which I will not quibble), the music I love is very important to me. I was blessed this year with attending a few more Carolyn Arends/Spencer Capier concerts, starting in January with the Carolyn Arends Forum International Round-Up (C.A.F.I.R.) in Ottawa, ON. This brought the doubly sweet blessing of good music combined with good fellowship. Carolyn also released a new album this year, which is always a treat, and she released some amazing "download-only" songs via her website. Any year that contains new Carolyn Arends music cannot be a total downer.

Friendship: My best friend, Sabina, moved back to Washington in July. This would make it a stellar year for friendship in my life without anything else added. BUT, I also got to meet, at last, a kindred spirit, vermonster, at the aforementioned C.A.F.I.R., and my blogging friends, Joelle and Andrea. Add to that the opportunities to chill out with my dear friends Kadie and Holly. The friendship of other women becomes more and more precious as the years wear on.

G.K. Chesterton: Although he ought, technically, to go under the "Books" heading, my discovery this year of the life and works of the amazing Gilbert Keith Chesterton towers above the other excellent books I read as a separate cause for celebration. I have tried repeatedly to write of Chesterton, but so far words elude me. He was a singular personality and mind: Quirky, witty, exuberant, confrontational, fearless, and a hell of a lot of fun. Reading him is akin to eating a perfect, ripe peach: He is juicy and messy and delicious -- he will get all over your face and drip down your chin onto your blouse, but there is nothing more satisfying.

Well, there is the shortlist of gratitude. There are myriad other notes of sweetness in the symphony of grace that infuses my world, but I shan't bore the reader by listing them. How grateful I am, most of all, that the love of the Lord keeps me from despair! He is so good to me.

Happy 2007 to All!


Difster said...

Hi Justine, I haven't been to your blog much recently but I wanted to stop by and say hi. I'm also soliciting nominations for the best and worst of 2006 on my blog.

Drop by and leave your nominations in the comments

vermonster said...

Such wonderful blessing this past year!

One of my greatest was to have met you in Ottawa. As brief as it was, God was very gracious to us providing semi-decent weather but more importantly, giving us time for fellowship and a deepening friendship.

I continue to be thankful for the love of my family, as distant as it cam be at times, and the constant presence of my mom. I cherish these days because only God knows how many we will have.

May the new year bring you greater wisdom, a constant love of those around you and a deepening faith in the Father of us all!

CrazyJo said...

Hey Justine! You inspired me to write my own 2006 exit post. :)

It is good to sit and reflect on our blessings, especially when all the trials seem to be crowding each other out! :P

I hope you, Jason, and the bug have a wonderfully blessed 2007. Maybe I'll even get to visit with you in person again during it's run (one can hope - lol). :)