We are already several days into the new year of 2016; 2015 has come to an end. Some will say good riddance. Others will look back on 2015 with fond memories. Life, with all its twists and turns, happens. Our experiences are the sum of the all the good and the bad.
So how was 2015 for me? I’m glad you asked. It was a mixture of pleasant and not-so-pleasant happenings. But throughout it all, God was faithful, loving, and compassionate. He always is. A few highlights of my 2015:
In May, my mother-in-law, Shirley, went home to be with Jesus the Thursday before Mother’s Day. She had been ill for a while, but it was still heartbreaking. Her passing would begin an emotional journey for my husband that has still not been resolved. Sometimes we don’t know what wounds and unresolved issues are inside of us until circumstances reveal it.
The Sunday, Mother’s Day, after Shirley’s passing, our grandson, Judah, was born. He is beautiful and sweet-natured. We also had two great-granddaughters born in May and June within weeks of each other: Zoey in Ohio, the fifth child to my Air Force grandson and his Air Force wife. And Zoey in Phoenix, second daughter to my granddaughter and her husband. Two Zoeys make it Zoey-fabulous.
The Monday after Mother’s Day, I drove myself to the ER – my husband was in Prescott with his dad and brothers – with horrible pain in the right side of my forehead and eye that turned out to be shingles. I was admitted to the hospital that night in excruciating pain, and kept heavily sedated for the next several days. There was a possibility I could lose sight in my right eye because of shingles in that eye. Praise God – and that is a sincere, humble gratitude – that I didn’t.
Shirley’s memorial service wasn’t until June and held in beautiful Prescott, Arizona where my in-laws lived. It was a precious tribute to her – she would’ve loved every moment of it. Alas, crises and tragedies bring out the best and worst in people, and both things happened as a result of this memorial service. There are no perfect families. Toxicity resides in the best of people, but hateful cruelty spews from the heart of toxicity in some people. Only God can bring a spirit of love, peace, and forgiveness to hearts.
I attended my first ever ACFW – American Christian Fiction Writers – in September in Dallas, TX. We combined this trip with a visit by my husband, Jeff, and father-in-law, Phil, to family in Grand Prairie and Stephenville. God answered some of my prayers through this conference. I got to see/meet some favorite authors and people in the industry: Francine Rivers, Brandilyn Collins, Deborah Raney, Randy Ingermanson, Steve Laube, Chip MacGregor. I’m sure I’ve left out some names. I made new friendships. It was a treasured time for me.
Motivated by the conference, I had hoped to publish a book by the end of 2015, but it was not to happen. My life and wonderful, but huge family, can be overwhelming at times – especially around the holidays – and this year it seemed intensified. That’s my excuse/reason and I’m sticking to it. * happy face wink wink* But the conference seemed to point out that I should go the indie publishing route, and that is currently where I'm at with my writing.
I entered a contest with FaithWriters in 2015. My novel entry placed in the top 15, but didn't win. I appreciate the wonderful, helpful, and inspiring feedback I got from Deb Porter. She's a master at pointing out flaws and problem areas in your writing in a loving, encouraging manner.
In December, we got another great-granddaughter – a medical miracle baby – Isabelle. We thank God for a perfect, beautiful, healthy baby. Our family does babies very well. And my father-in-law, Phil, moved to Texas. We sure miss him, but will see him during the year.
So overall, it was a blessed year, fraught with some difficulties. My husband is still on a journey to resolve and reconcile some relationships – and because he is, I am also because I'm his wife and helpmate. God is so gentle and loving as He works in our lives. His mercies are new every morning and endure forever. We rest in the assurance that He has all things under control. We are blessed with a wonderful family and friends.
I am believing God for a blessed and happy year of 2016. For God’s hand can be found in all that we encounter as we journey in our life on Earth. We are part of a destiny that is eternal.