I know I sort of vanished a month ago. My mother-in-law passed away in November, and the weeks since then have been a bit overwhelming. Between grieving for a loved one and all the technical, emotional, and financial issues that come with that, I have also been busy grading final exams, Christmas shopping, cleaning house, and planning a trip to visit my daughter out of state. I haven't had much time to write or blog or do much of anything other than those things I just mentioned.
I'll be honest...2016 has been a hard year...for many reasons, which I will not go into now. I've struggled to climb out of what often feels like a deep, dark pit. But despite the challenges my family and I have faced, we have also been very blessed. Focusing on those blessings has helped me to see the "light" and to feel the Christmas spirit this year.
What am I most grateful for in 2016?
-- My Kids. I feel very fortunate that my children are all alive and healthy. Each is so unique, and it has been a joy (and sometimes a terror) watching them grow and develop. They are, without question, the #1 best thing in my life.
-- My Husband. We haven't had the easiest marriage, but we've stuck it out for twenty-four years. It's nice to have someone on whom you can depend when you really need it. And, I'm so grateful he's got a good job with good insurance. That he has gotten up at 4:30am every morning, 5 days a week for 24 years to go to work to support me and the kids is unbelievable. I'm very lucky to have him.
-- My Parents. It's been very tough losing my mother-in-law. All four of the grandparents have lived in our home for about a decade now. I have to say how much I love having my mom and dad close at hand every day. They help me so much with the kids, and are wonderful companions. I hope I have many more years with them.
-- My Dreams. Writing is my passion. I can't count how many times I have nearly given up on my dream, but then I always come back to it. I haven't fulfilled my dream yet, which is to actually make a living as an author, but I'm making progress. In 2016, I received two awards that helped to remind me to keep going even when things are tough.
-- My God. My faith has been tested this year, but God hasn't given up on me yet. I hope he never will. I am deeply grateful for his greatest gift to all of us, His Son, Jesus Christ. It is his birthday we celebrate on Christmas. Despite all the holiday traffic, and credit card charges, and stress, I hope we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas: