The right time to get the most out of life.

Today, I am grateful for the past year. There were so many good times and so many sad times, but I reflect on the beautiful words of Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, from The Message:

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth, and another for death, a right time to plant and another to reap, a right time to kill and another to heal, a right time to destroy and another to construct, a right time to cry and another to laugh, a right time to lament and another to cheer, a right time to make love and another to abstain, a right time to embrace and another to part, a right time to search and another to count your losses, a right time to hold on and another to let go, a right time to rip out and another to mend, a right time to shut up and another to speak up, a right time to love and another to hate, a right time to wage war and another to make peace.

But in the end, does it really make any difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do — busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time — but He’s left us in the dark so that we can never know what God is up to, whether He’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it — eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

I am grateful that even though I don’t know what tomorrow holds, God knows, and He is holding my hand.

I am grateful that I’ve been able to carry so many memories of Mom with me all year long. I am afraid that I will begin to lose those memories, so please forgive me when I continually write about her. I’ve begun to lose memories of my girls and my grandchildren, and I’m holding on for dear life to the ones I have left.

I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with Mom and Dad in January before she passed away.

I am grateful for the many friends and family who joined us in February to celebrate her life.

I am grateful for all of the trips Dad has made to Kansas City since Mom went to heaven, time that is so precious to me. Priceless…

I am grateful for the temporary reconciliation that took place with my daughter that allowed me to grasp a few more memories with her and with my grandchildren.

I am grateful for a year of fun times with a group of kids and a great choir director who gave me the opportunity to play the piano again.

I am grateful for a year of beneficial counseling that has been instrumental in my healing.

I am grateful for occasional visits from friends who took time to see where we live and spend time with us.

I am grateful for letters, cards, texts, phone calls, and emails from friends and family who want to stay in touch.

I am grateful for 12 friends from The Gables who play Bingo with me every Tuesday evening. They have enhanced my life and added another layer of fun to this adventure.

I am grateful for the opportunity to drive to Colorado and spend 24 hours with my daughter and her beautiful family before they moved further away.

I am grateful for an amazing job that I love, for employers and co-workers whom I love, and for the joy that I have every morning to go to work. Find a career that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life…it’s true.

I am grateful for my church home, for my pastor, for the relationships that have been formed because of church, and for the opportunities we’ve had to serve.

I am grateful for Abbie, Ian, Fabien, and Tara, my four piano students and friends. They teach me so much more than I could ever teach them.

I am grateful for a home, a vehicle to drive, a new life insurance policy that I purchased on my own, and a sense of safety and security.

I am grateful for my grandchildren who have made me smile, laugh, and cry, all at the same time, and grateful for the occasional pictures that came in the mail. And I am grateful for a DVD that I am saving to watch tomorrow.

I am grateful for my brothers and sister, aunts and uncles, and my cousins who have hugged me, prayed for me, supported me, cared about me, and didn’t abandon me when I needed them most.

I am grateful for Sam. God knew. God healed. God made beauty out of ashes. God brought this man into my life and created a relationship that is built on a solid foundation. He is my best friend, and I am so grateful that we are walking this journey together.

And I am grateful for the discipline, grace, mercy, and unconditional love of my Father. I am grateful for the growth in my relationship with Him this past year…Oh Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths its flow may richer fuller be.

And finally, the best song I could possibly think of to end this year is one by Michael Gungor.  God has taken the experiences of this year and with the pain, the joy, the loss, the gain, He is making life sweeter, richer, more beautiful, with every passing moment. I LOVE THIS SONG.

You Make Beautiful Things

Happy New Year’s Eve.

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