This year has had peaks and valleys, highs and lows. Our first low was being in Fort Lauderdale when Esteban Santiago opened fire in the baggage claim area. Fortunately for us, we had just left that area and were waiting for our hotel shuttle. Our high for that day? Getting a taxi in that chaos and getting safely to our hotel.
A January low for me: inauguration of President Donald Trump. Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of lows that have continued throughout the year.
Highs were two weeks in warm weather during January and February. Our annual spring visit to the Smokies went well. Then in June we had our big 16th birthday trip with granddaughter Kinley to Disney World. It was great to experience something she loves so much!
Another high was celebrating the 40th anniversary of my brother Larry and his wife Nancy in Durham, California, followed by a visit to one of our favorite places, San Francisco. Having the whole family together at their party was wonderful.
An important high was our church’s new connection with Master Provisions. This place is fantastic! They bring together food items people no longer need with the folks who need them most. On Wednesdays, Steve goes there and loads our SUV up to the brim with food to give to our Wednesday night dinner guests at Central’s Bread of Life Café. Those dear friends are so thrilled to get food to take home with them, from bananas to bread, from chips to zucchini.
An August high was watching the total eclipse from my brother John’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The low was taking 11 hours to make our usual 5-hour drive home.
But fall brought the real lows. In September, a favorite uncle died, then in November a favorite aunt and another uncle. Three Tennessee trips for funerals. I guess I can say a high was getting to be with relatives I hardly ever see otherwise. Blessings come even in dark moments.
A usual high, our annual fall visit of the whole family to the Smokies, was marred by an allergic reaction to poison sumac by my son-in-law and being shortened due to calendar requirements. But we still had a great time together.
The darkest moment of the year was hearing my precious daughter-in-law, Gina, say, “I have breast cancer. It’s in the right breast and in the lymph nodes.” Our world crashed. We know women usually survive such breast cancer today, but I agonize for her and her family and all they will go through in the coming months and even years ahead. The high? She is a strong woman of faith and already is spreading that faith and hope and trust in God as people observe how she is handling these challenges. She inspires me.
In November, we had two highs. First was my speaking to the women of the Old Hickory Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee. Those dear women lifted my spirits after our devastating news the week before. Their inspiration stayed with me in the coming weeks. Then we went on a cruise to the Panama Canal. The high there was being with our dear friends, Jim and Louise Cassity.
Highs were celebrating birthdays all around, from granddaughter’s second in January to brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s 80th in December, a celebration sponsored by their loving children.
And the year ended quietly, without drama, surrounded by our dear offspring. Thank you, Lord. And we pray for the year ahead to be one of peace and contentment, for us and for all.
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.