It’s the year that was and the year that will never again be.
And all that’s left and lasting of 2013 are the thankful moments stored in memory.
Because all the moments of all our days are but a wisp of Camelot soon to fade away. Fragile and passing. And that is why it’s important to stay fully present in each moment, grateful to God always, not overlooking any of His gifts.
And I counted 1000 gifts with Ann Voskamp and her community last year and in thanking her for consistently reminding us that it is indeed the will of God that we give Him thanks in all things, I penned these words:
When I began counting last January I wasn’t convinced it would make a difference. Was I wrong! Taking your dare to find the joy, along with several other wise choices, has changed the focus of my heart. It took months though before I could really feel the joy — regardless of circumstances — down deep in my bones. Late in the year as an afternoon was fading, I walked outside to see a huge, blood orange sun sinking…and my heart soared. And I knew. Counting the gifts not only counts for eternity, but is a priceless gift today.
Gifts large and small were recorded in a humble little notebook, and the joy was double-fold. First in the moment of the particular joy and then again as I read through the journal at the end of 2013. If you haven’t started counting yet, hurry on over and check out Ann’s dare for 2014.
And now some snapshots of moments captured in 2013 with so much gratitude. And thanking you for grace in letting me share more than a few.
God’s mercies are new every morning.
Ice and quinine for sore muscles from too many hours hunched over the keyboard.
Visit from a sweet friend and her giving us private yoga lessons with stretches that helped.
And another sweet friend all cuddly and cute.
Romantic dinner — eaten in pajamas!! — complete with a pineapple upside down cake, my Valentine’s favorite.
Pristine snow all golden like the moments.
Except maybe when Nemo dumps more than a foot and you don’t own a snow blower. While hard on my husband’s back we reflect on that storm and are thankful for the closeness shared over bread warm from the oven, a snack in the wee hours once the driveway was cleared.
Maple sugaring in the woods on a frosty March morning brightens winter’s gloom.
Where we sample spun maple syrup much less sweet than cotton candy, but just as much fun to eat.
Harbinger of spring, a fragrant surprise.
And dust dancing in sunbeams stretching late in the afternoon, vernal scent upon the breeze.
My man rockin a milestone birthday with blessings too numerous to count.
And a stroll along Poet’s Walk to celebrate.
After April showers, beautiful May flowers.
And my son travels East, celebrating a May birthday together.
While making the best of an invasion, armies singing loudly long into the summer night.
Until we escape to our beloved Walkway Over the Hudson remembering the day we first met.
Later in June Jet Blue brings babies grown from afar.
My son and his bride. We brunch together on vintage plates and I hold every moment shared close in heart. Precious! And our hearts encircle other family members just met and still others reunited with in backyard brimming with babies and lots of hugs and laughter.
And summer beckons us to where we began in July 2011.
Him asking me to pose just like I did on our honeymoon.
Celebrating our special day in an enchanted castle by the sea.
And always sharing a banana split built for two.
With hearts beating as one and ever grateful to God on a drippy Sunday worshipping riverside en plein air.
Yet the house still hasn’t sold, and we continue being grateful, trusting that God’s ways are higher than ours and His timing always perfect.
And with sand between our toes we warm in the sun during our annual day at the lake.
And we keep counting the blessings of life together, dancing jazz late into a rainy August evening.
We dance some more at the county fair as September shines down. Him taking me in his arms as we walk back to our car, day spent, and us twirling while a Texas two-step sounds loud from the bandstand.
Life, this precious, blessed, fleeting gift, is glorious whether old or new.
And brothers by blood and the blood of Jesus bond with Dad, hearts entwined.
Then a sweet ride home along Skyline Drive.
With God’s beauty breathtaking.
And a new year beginning in October with a beautiful day in Bolten for my birthday.
Sonlight dancing like diamonds on the lake.
And a special gift found in a quaint and charming shop.
While Chipster waits for our return on the front steps at home.
Another sunny morning in my prayer closet, a BREAKOUT from a remnant of unforgiveness in our year of that one word.
We live, laugh and love with special friends one November weekend.
And their sweet pup Calvin, aka The Calvinator, guards the door. It’s no wonder they always leave their’s unlocked!
And our biggest Thanksgiving blessing arrives early, a tiny new bundle of boy, my first great nephew and the first great grandchild!
My son comes home for the holidays one week before Christmas.
And bakes my Michael a cake to “ease the pain” of long awaited sinus surgery the next morning. Thank you, Lord, that all went well and Michael is breathing freely!
When we surprise Gram on Christmas Eve morning she starts to cry. It’s been a long two years.
Polka dot snow leaves a sugar coating.
Creating a magical winter wonderland.
And Christmas dawns dear with thanks to our Father for so many good gifts.
A few days later Heart Cry arrives. My very first book for sale at Longings End. A 2013 goal accomplished!
And 2014 begins all snow white bright.
So we lift up hearts gladly heavy with the fullness of gratitude for gifts and grace and moments that were gifts disguised as stretching. And may our gratitude go beyond just counting to the doing of good for goodness sake to please the One who is truly good.
Asking Father for continued mercy for us and all those we love in the coming year and beyond, keeping us close in heart no matter the miles.
And praying for you, dear reader, who follows us here at our earthly Longings End. May our words of healing love and hope and faith bless your heart in these coming twelve months.
God bless us, everyone and God willing…
Thank you, precious Lord. Let the counting continue.
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