About me...

Pop the lid on my Mason Jar and meet my family. Jim {Jimma} and I have four kids, Creston (Ashley), Jami (Matt), Brandon and Chance. Our grandkids, Cade, Kirby, Eisley, Beck and Reed bring us more joy than any Mason Jar could ever hold. I am counting my blessings over and over and thanking God for His amazing love and grace.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy ending 2009, Happy beginning 2010!

Even though we felt the financial crunch as did many others, reflecting back I would have to say 2009 was one of the best years of my life. It was a year filled with blessings, the kind you just can’t put a price tag on. Among other things, we stayed healthy, rejoiced over the birth of a new grandson, had a lot of special family time, and stretched our faith. For me, 2009 was a year of positive changes, self-discovery and spiritual growth. Some of this was brought about by faith, some by tragedy and some by a chance encounter with a total stranger.

In May I traveled to Dallas and had the delightful experience of being at the hospital for the birth of Jami and Matt’s son, Benjamin Beck. When Chance deployed the end of June, Jami and Matt met us in Kentucky with their two little ones in tow, and we had a wonderful time together. In November Jami and the kids came for a two week stay and Matt and Brandon followed a few days later for a week long visit. Having three out of four kids and all four grandkids home for Thanksgiving, made for a very thankful day. Chance made it home just in time for Christmas making the day a lot more merry and bright.

Jim and I enjoyed two seasons of watching Cade and Kirby play baseball. Jim and Cade bonded through endless hours of fishing this summer. There were some priceless moments sitting under the bridge watching the two of them making memories. Kirby, never being one to spend the night away from home, stayed several nights with me, giving us some fun bonding time as well. I’ve learned baking sugar cookies seems to be the temptation that will get her to leave home for a night.

We knew at the beginning of 2009 that Chance would be deploying to Afghanistan sometime in the summer. I knew this was going to be a difficult time for me and it was “sink or swim.” I could either let go and trust God, or spend the time being a nervous wreck. I chose “trust.” It wasn’t always easy and there were some setbacks, but I did much better than I ever thought I would. Learning to trust God, and the faithful prayers of many friends brought me peace beyond understanding.

Matt’s father passed away unexpectedly in August. Even though I had known John for sixteen years, I knew more about him after I attended the celebration of his life. Not only did he live life to the fullest, he gave of his life to others. I realized that day I wanted more purpose and meaning in my life and set out to make some positive changes and find a way to give of myself. Little did I know how God would bring it all about.

In September a friend introduced me to Tammy. Tammy had been in a horrific car accident and neither her seat belt held, nor her air bag deployed, leaving her a quadriplegic on a ventilator. She had been transferred to a hospital less than two blocks from my house. After visiting Tammy a few times, I became aware the visits with her were changing my life. She was inspiring me with her faith, her ability to find joy in the midst of her circumstances and her heart of gratitude for any little kindness shown to her. Now I find myself looking at my problems from a different perspective and I’m learning to be more appreciative of all things in life. I never walk out of the hospital that I’m not aware of how blessed I am, just by being able to walk out the door.

One Friday night in September Jim and I took Cade fishing at the city pier near our house. People are so friendly on the pier that it was no surprise when a couple spoke to us as they walked to the end of the pier. On their way back, they stopped again. One thing led to another and we ended up sharing a little about our lives. The wife happened to mention that she volunteers at an OB clinic in Green Cove Springs for women who can’t afford health care. The clinic is open one day a week and is staffed by volunteers. Was I dreaming or what? I love newborn babies and pregnant women. Here was an opportunity for me to be around both, with hours that work around my schedule and at a location less than two miles from my house! I was so excited about the prospect of volunteering I showed up the next Thursday at the clinic and have been back every week since.

I love, love. love every minute I spend at the clinic, as do the other volunteers. We often talk about why we enjoy it so much and think it’s because it’s not a job where we have to work, it’s a job where we volunteer to work. Not only that, we have the sweetest patients ever! They walk in with grateful hearts and when they leave, we feel like we’re the ones that were blessed. I think it can all be summed up by a statement “Dr. D” said the other day. “This is my therapy!”

Looking back I know that chance encounter on the pier wasn’t really a “chance” encounter after all. God orchestrated all the little details so we would be sitting on the pier just at the right time that night, and Mary and Matt would stop and talk with us. Arranged by Him to fulfill a purpose, I gained a new friend that night and found a meaningful way to give back in life.

2009 has been a year where I feel like I found myself, I’m happy with who I am, what I’m doing, and where I’m going. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me in the coming year. Here’s wishing you a 2010 that takes you places you never imagined and gives you experiences that transform your life, bringing you immeasurable blessings.

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