On Endings and Beginnings

Just a few hours left of one of the hardest years we have had. 2020 is winding down and we will soon be on to 2021. Amazing, right? Not the hardest, but it does rank up there. Not being with loved ones for most of it has made for a challenging year. We also have worried about loved ones who have been sick and dealing with so many challenges.

Still, there are good things and it is time to almost say Happy New Year.  As I have read, tomorrow, January 1, will be the first day we can say hindsight is 2020 and have it apply to the year that just ended.  Truly strange, but there you go. I just wonder if we have actually learned from all of these changes.  I sure have.

Today, I have had many mixed emotions, about endings and beginnings, about losses, and plusses in our lives, and those that I am missing; some who I will see again and others I will not. I am also happy to have some lazy time at home with no projects that have to be finished; just be worked on. I am enjoying a really good book and will have some time to color in my new book with quotes.

We will have time with my parents this weekend as we did over Christmas.  They are the only people in our pod. They are the ones we have seen in person this year. There have been a few others but very short visits, usually outside, and wearing masks. It will be good to see them, but tonight we are at home.

My son and I will take it easy. We will enjoy pizza, a favorite movie or tv show (depending on what we decide), something for dessert, perhaps some hot chocolate, and watching the ball drop — if we can stay up that late. We will also talk and laugh, which I truly love.

What are your plans?  We recommend being careful, social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and staying home.  We are all for that and feel at times that we are part hermit.

On this last day of the year, I am thankful for:

  • My son who loves to learn
  • Brunch as well as a Christmas roast with my parents
  • Opening presents — whether in person or over a Face Time call
  • Zoom calls with family
  • Online or phone contact with friends and family
  • My son’s chats with his friends
  • Christmas cards from friends and family and sending out our own
  • Hot chocolate and hot tea
  • Staring a new book “My Dear Hamilton” — really good so far
  • Laughing at a favorite show
  • Watching White Christmas and singing along with each song
  • Watching The Post with my son and talking about the importance of the 1st Amendment and newspapers
  • Long chats with my son
  • Hearing the fart machine that I gave my son for Christmas and us cracking up together
  • No alarm clocks over our break, which we know will change very soon
  • Walks around our decorated neighborhood
  • Take-out food or delivery from a favorite restaurant
  • Chats with my siblings, nieces and nephews, cousins, and other family
  • Being able to shop online at home
  • Having the two of us be happy at home
  • Peppermint bark given as gifts (yummy!)
  • Photos and memories
  • Nightly Bible reading with my son

Happy New Year to you and yours.  We wish for you blessings, hope, peace, good health, safety, and much love.

Rejoicing always can be a challenge, but is important

In our church’s sermon yesterday, the pastor quoted from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “ Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Powerful words, right?! (image from Power Point Clip Art) 

Jesus told us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything? Seriously Lord? You really want us to do this? You really expect us to do this? It is a challenge what we are called to do. Also, it can often be just what we need. After all, the Lord does work in mysterious ways. 

As hard as this year has been, there have been good points and times that I cherish. Extra time with my son to talk during breakfast, prayer group chats, time to watch a favorite show or movie, Zoom chats with family and friends, phone calls and texts, cards in the mail, and time to cook a few favorite meals. Also, I like that we don’t have to race out of the door each morning.

Still I miss seeing friends and my sister and brother and their families. It has been since last year that we saw them in person. Too long but we are all trying to be careful and listen to the doctors, researchers, scientists, and others who know how serious this pandemic really is. 

I also miss my friends, going to church, seeing people at Ian’s school and around town, eating at a favorite restaurant, and so much more. I am thankful that there are ways to handle that, just not the same as we are used to. We can Zoom or chat with our friends, see them outside with masks on, listen to an online church service singing the hymns at home, and getting take out food or going through the drive-thru. 

So there are things to rejoice about and to give thanks about. Just sometimes, we have to think about them. Sometimes they don’t come as easily since we can get bogged down in the bad stuff of life. I have learned through my struggles that having joy and positive things in my life made a big difference. It cannot be all bad to be able to heal from the pain and sadness. 

This year I am praying a lot – for family, friends, my son and his classmates, his teachers and all of the other teachers in our lives, his school administrators, other families at his school and those all over the world in this time of new education, college students, and those at other schools as well. 

We also pray for our loved ones’ health and the health of the nurses and doctors who are taking care of so many sick people, the first responders from many departments, all hospital staff, and the police officers. We pray for those in the military, in positions of leadership, and our elected officials. 

I know that this Christmas will be like one I have never seen.  We have always spent time with lots of family and friends — both on my side and on Kirk’s side. This year that is not possible. In my families, there will be no large gatherings — at least not in person.

As hard as that is, we know it is the right thing to do for this year. So much is still unknown about the virus that we need to be careful and mindful of keeping our loved ones healthy and safe. 

So this year will be quieter, smaller, and hopefully with some real quality time with those nearest and dearest to us. Sleeping in, games and chats, laughter, study, some time to work (but not much), songs, favorite movies, and reading of the story of Jesus’ birth. 

A few things I am thankful for: 

  • Despite not getting to sing “Silent Night” by candlelight at my church, we can sing it at home. Also, I recorded a TV special about this precious hymn. I look forward to watching that. 
  • Bible study in the evening with my son. This was his idea and for that, I am truly thankful. 
  • My family who I treasure so much and am enjoy shopping for. Secret Santa gifts are a great idea. 
  • Cards from loved ones about their year. We are sending one out as well. 
  • My friends near and far who are never more than a call, text, or Zoom away. 
  • Time with my son’s best friend and our families for their birthday celebrations. 
  • Plenty of time to watch some favorite movies and TV shows. 
  • Zoom chats with family and friends. 
  • Being able to sit under a blanket and read a book. 
  • Looking at my son’s art work and creativity and listening to him explain it. 
  • Our home with many memories with us and my late husband. We miss him but each day continue to heal. 
  • Listening to my son on a Zoom call with friends. They love to laugh and that is wonderful. 
  • Days off from work to enjoy the season of giving, loving, and peace. 

I hope and pray that you can find the blessings in your life, despite all of the hardships. I pray for peace and joy for you. I also pray that you will always, always love.