Dear Family and Friends –
Surprise – I’m mailing my cards in January! You know, I’m thinking Christmas should be celebrated more than one day a year. It’s truly a remarkable day so I figured there’s no time like TODAY to say Merry Christmas, and acknowledge the birth of our Savior. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I encourage you to reflect on His birth throughout the upcoming year.
I have to tell you, 2013 was a very crazy year for our family. In January, Bill fell, broke five ribs (not long after his December back surgery). Then in March, our world seemed to really crumble – our precious granddaughter, Emma Grace, was delivered still born. Simultaneously, Bill was admitted for a frightening infection that required emergency surgery. This period of my life was devastating; to hold my daughter and experience her hurt, her pain; then shortly after, as I sat in Bill’s hospital room, a nurse arrived to take him to surgery – and I had NO clue he was headed to surgery for the fog that surrounded me! I prayed, I cried, I hurt …I wanted to fix my family’s pain.
Surely, you have heard: there’s light at the end of the tunnel? Do you have a favorite verse that helps you get through tough times? I definitely repeated “I can do all things through Christ” many times during that day in March, and I’m here to share: I made it! I was provided strength. We all made it. The fact it was one of the most difficult times experienced doesn’t go away, but I can reflect on the closeness it brought to our family; the closeness with our Heavenly Father; the touching outreach from many. We had a period of healing and our family pulled closer together. I was able to spend time with Amber and Elizabeth in New Orleans in July; they also got to visit Chincoteague with Granny over the summer. Bill, Elizabeth, Mom and me visited Lancaster, PA and saw “Noah”. Elizabeth got her license – our ‘baby’ girl is driving! We enjoyed a girls’ day (4 generations!) trip to Natural Bridge zoo (with animals eager to get inside our car). I even managed to pull off two trips with (with bff’s) and made even more memories. And to wrap up the year, I turned the “half a century” mark in December, and the celebration lasted one week. I was surrounded by friends, gifts, surprises; I was touched beyond words!
Bill faced yet another back surgery in the fall, and it was then that I felt the awesome presence of God! They were able to remove all the hardware from Bill’s back (which had created more problems, including the infection in March)! I cannot ever really know why the sequence of events, but each time I face a trial (happy or sad), I trust that God has a plan for me. It’s not always something I understand at the particular time, but it usually comes full circle.
Heading into 2014, we have some milestone events we already know about: we’re anxiously awaiting the birth of our granddaughter in late Feb; Bill and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary; and Elizabeth will begin her senior year in high school. It’s exciting stuff! While I don’t like to make ‘resolutions’, I have some goals! Most of all, I just want to profess that even during our year of sadness, we pulled through; our family grew closer; our faith increased, and we trust that what lies ahead will happen according to God’s plan for our lives. For now, I strive to continually recognize the birth of our Savior each and every day, and never lose sight of what He means to us.
Best wishes, from our household to yours, for a great new year. I pray to experience Christmas in my heart repeatedly throughout the upcoming year and hope you will also! You are very special to our family, and I just want to remind you that we love you and praise God for our awesome circle of family and friends. We have, indeed, been blessed. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
-Bill, Amy & Elizabeth