Because as hideous as cancer is, the year I get it, turns out to be the best year of my life.
I can't claim to have kept my eyes on Jesus, everyday of 2013, but I passed most of the laid up days with prayers, listening to worship songs, reading my bible and these books*
I had some dark times. I was scared. Waking up in the night to reality kicking you in the gut is not a picnic, but the verses came to me like old friends whispering their encouragement, their promise, and their truth! (Along with old friends texting, calling, sending cards, sitting with Mark during surgery, and friends I don't even know covering me in prayer and sending a homemade afghan to prove it)
But, joy comes in the morning(s).
At times, day and night, I actually felt the presence of God wash over me, like the warm blanket they give you after surgery.
But one can't stay on the couch recuperating forever and as meaningful as my sick time was, I got better.
And yes, you guessed it, pretty soon, I'm back reading Facebook first thing in the morning instead of scripture.
Oh wretched soul that I am.
This Christmas letter is somewhat of a dichotomy. I (we) did have an awesome year and we had an extremely tough year.
Highlights included the beginning and ending of a farm venue business. Working our tails off, but in the end patting ourselves on the back, thankful for a new family on our Christmas card list. And always the work of property managers and keeping the STORIES Photography fires burning.
A 36th anniversary and bucket list train trip vacation to Washington DC and New York City and my first trip to Broadway.
Picking up a vintage camper, which will most likely eat up all the hobby hours, next year.
A handful of family week-ends, including March Laughfest and the grand children's 2nd birthdays.
A wonderful 4-day retreat at the farm breaking bread together a giant slip and slide, and ongoing stories of our connection with Africa.
A whole month in Michigan welcoming baby Calvin and celebrating Thanksgiving around the Muskegon table. Links to follow.
Tons of time with extended family and a few times with old friends.
I will always be grateful for this year in my life. A marker for sure. "Blessings And Blues" would maybe have been a more appropriate title but, this is my 2013 story, and I'm sticking to it.
I'm moving forward. Even though I've been healed, I'll keep my six-month check-up on Friday, and I'm ok with the results.
It's called life, folks and we only have one to live.
Ups and downs.
Good news and bad news.
Live like I'm dying and like I'm gonna live forever.
I vow to do both next year!
Merry Christmas and may God bless you in 2014.
Mark and Julee
Ken Gire ~ Seeing What Is Sacred
Ann Voscamp ~ 1000 Gifts
Sarah Young ~ Jesus Calling
Danny Silk ~ Keep Your Love On
Retro Christmas Card Photo Credit