Wow! What a whirlwind 2016 was for us! We celebrated so many wonderful occasions, times with friends and always working with diligence toward our salvation.
I opened up my Instagram and scrolled through a few pages to look at this past year. So many memories and things I had forgotten. We spent time during great lent at a Monastery and joined our friends at St. Vladimir’s for a service. Both occasion filled with such peaceful prayer. We saw our second oldest off to prom, bonfires in the back yard, rides on the back of the motorcycle, and one of my favorite moments was watching the Rockettes with my best friend and God kids. We feed the needy, John completed his 2nd year of St. Stevens course, John and I renewed our wedding vows (something that was deeply important to me to do in the church), I got a promotion at work; we have been truly blessed.
At the beginning of 2016 we anticipated the graduation of our daughter Paloma from high school. We visited quite a few colleges within a 3 hour drive and had high hopes. After a disappointing reality about financial aid her dreams to go off to school came crashing to the ground. There were tears and my heart broke to see her dream not being realized but as God would have it at the 9th hour she was accepted to the University of St. Katherines with scholarship money.
We also saw our youngest graduate from junior high and prepare for high school. Wow, where has the time gone? Starting freshman year was a piece of cake for this kid though as he was lucky enough to be accepted on the JV soccer team at the high school. He had lots of preseason practices and became comfortable with the older kids and the school even before day one. What a blessing that was! Vincent’s travel team also ended the year in 1st place for their age and division. BTW what a blessing car pool was during this time of preseason.
With the anticipation of two graduations a party was in order. We did lots of work on the house to get it ready to great our family and friends. This was a fun time of projects that John and I did together. Well at least it was fun for me. Not so sure it was all that fun for John (wink). We were blessed by relatives from California and Minnesota as well as local friends as they celebrated our kids with us. This was a great gift to a mom who would soon say good bye to one of her chicks. Our friends and family really stepped up and filled in for us as we sent Paloma off to California. We are forever in their debt.
It was a joy to wrap our arms around our oldest daughter Alexis who lives in California. Having all three of our kids under one roof afforded us the opportunity for Christmas pictures in July. What a hoot that was! This is them visiting the farm.
More importantly we celebrated so many wonderful occasions with friends, from promotions, to babies, to a friend who found a new love for the church, a marriage (my sister and new brother-in- law Corey here left), and even those we prayed with and cried with as the circumstances of life became too much to bare.
But, this year wasn’t all roses and sunshine. There were many moments of feeling like Peter “tell me to come to you on the water”. . . but then I saw the wind and was afraid and I started to sink. I suffered with anxiety quite a bit this year. Not to anyone’s knowledge because I am good at little freak outs and hiding them, but panic about the kids, life choices, family, became overwhelming at times. In all transparency I would not have survived were it not for lots and lots of prayer; lots and lots of repeating under my breath and in the late hours “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”.
But life is this way. . .it ebbs and flows and God has been with us through every decision, tear, celebration, and work we accomplished. I saw God so often meet even the smallest need. I was blown away time and time again. Through every mountain top and every valley, we have seen his grace.
Our encouragement for you this coming year is that you would hug your loved ones tighter. Enjoy the small stuff and the hard stuff. Slow down and make every moment a memory. We pray that we would all put on love and grace and pray for peace for our world.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love Eph 4:2