Thankful 2016

Fireworks

What a great year 2016 was for me and my family! 

It started off with a bang when we had over 75 people attend our daughter’s engagement party at the first of the year. I didn’t know our home could hold that many people! We felt very honored that so many of our friends came to celebrate with us. The celebrations continued over the next couple of months leading up to their wedding in April. 

The wedding was a beautiful, small, family only event, with a delicious catered dinner afterwards. Family and a few friends came together to make that day so special for Casie and Hunter. We couldn’t have done it without everyone! I especially appreciated how my in-laws opened their fabulous home to us for the dinner. 

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But I’m even more grateful that my new son-in-law, Hunter, is a wonderful, loving, hard-working young man, and his family have taken Casie in like their own daughter. What a wonderful family Casie has married into! We really enjoy being around them, when we have the time to travel to Virginia to visit. Hunter’s family is very loving, giving, and kind.

Meanwhile, my other 3 kids were so supportive of their sister during this transition time, helping where possible, being kind during moments of stress. I’m really proud of who they are and how they treat other people. They also kept up with all their school and home responsibilities despite their mother’s wedding preparation distractedness. 

I can’t leave out one of the most important players in that family drama – Dad! He worked very hard and tirelessly to pay for all the wonderfulness. He even, sometimes, got to play field referee – woohoo! And when it came time for the speeches at the wedding dinner, he eloquently welcomed Hunter into our family and lovingly blessed the couple – while we all tried hard not to cry.

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As the year progressed, we continued to be blessed with good health and all our needs were met. 

Heading into summer, I decided to initiate a mental cleansing – a much overdue healing actually. After I became aware that my parents were still, after 22 years, spreading the tale that my husband had behaved dishonorably towards me and them before and during our courtship, I decided to write the true story of how we met, courted and married. I posted this knowing that it would reach them and my siblings, that there would, of course, be repercussions. 

The repercussions led to a much needed cleansing of my mind, much like drawing poison out of a wound. I won’t bore you with all the details, but if you have the inclination you can read about most of it here on my blog. Needless to say, I find I’m incredibly grateful that I no longer wake up every single morning to thoughts of what I would say when, if, I found myself having The Talk with my parents. I now awaken to thoughts of peace, joy, excitement, creativity. I have officially moved on! 

I find it no longer necessary to explain or defend my lack of willingness, or longing, to be around my parents. It’s refreshing to visit family in Virginia and realize that I won’t be seeing them, don’t have to see them, and, above all, I don’t feel guilty for any of it! I have lost whatever friendship I had with some of my siblings, but some of them have remained friends with me through all the truth-revealing. To me, the mental health of me and my family is above anyone else’s feelings or thoughts on it. 

About mid-summer, my father-in-law (after having squamous cell cancer removed from his neck) underwent chemo and radiation. He almost died from the chemo treatment! In fact, if he hadn’t been staying in the hotel attached to MD Anderson Hospital, I don’t think he’d be with us today. We are incredibly grateful that he is still here with us and fighting the good fight! I have been blessed immeasurably by my husband’s family these 23 plus years that they’ve been in my life. 

I am also fabulously blessed to still be married to, and in love with, my best friend of over 23 years! I love being able to wake up next to him every morning, take care of him and our kids, have the time and resources to pursue things that interest me, sit here on our lovely front porch as the bees buzz around collecting pollen – all this is possible because he works so hard for us! I’m very proud of him! 

No matter what your political leanings are, it’s wonderful to live in a country where freedom matters! Where women, and children, aren’t routinely beaten, mutilated, sold into slavery, and treated worse than animals, just because of their gender and their country’s religion/government/men dictating their treatment. Where there’s freedom to worship in whatever mosque, synagog, church, hall, etc. that you want. Freedom to speak and think how you want. Freedom to protect you and yours. Freedom to be all that you can be. The only freedom we don’t have, shouldn’t have, is to be violent with each other. I wish all countries, all peoples enjoyed the wonderful freedoms we have here in the United States! 

Even after all these wonderful blessings, I still have at least one more that’s the most awesome of them all – I found out I was going to be a grandmother this year!! As I write, my Casie is due any day now with a little girl. I am giddy with joy and anticipation! Oh! To hold our precious grandbaby, smell her sweet scent, hold her tiny hand, speak words of love and joy to her! Does it get any better?! I can’t wait!!

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What a great year 2016 was! I hope you can take the time to remember all the moments of last year that add up to it being great. 🙂

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