The Dawning of a New Year

Hope smiles on the threshold of the year to come, whispering that it will be happier.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

2006 was quite a year. Many things didn’t happen or turn out as I had planned, but when I think of that, I think of a quote that says something to the effect of “man plans and God laughs”. So true.
I posted some of the stressors of the year in the post “It’s Official” about canceling my annual New Year’s Day party, so now I’ll focus on the high points of 2006 instead:
Changing jobs…twice. I started out the year on January 3 at a new place of employment after being at my previous job for six and a half years. I was excited for the change and a new perspective. But in the early fall, another, better opportunity opened up for me and I started at the end of September. It has been all that I hoped for and more. I’m so glad for the work and for the new friends I’m making there.
A first birthday party. When my friend’s baby came early last October and he spent time in the NICU, it was frightening and heartbreaking. They had a difficult year and were basically in quarantine for the majority of the winter and spring months due to the risk of RSV on his underdeveloped lungs. This October, we rejoiced at his first birthday party and are so happy to see how strong, healthy and happy this little guy is.
Another workcamp. Although my role was different this year and I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time as I would have liked with my youth (I love you guys!), I really enjoyed my role as camp photographer. It was wonderful to spend my days driving around the West Virginia countryside, meeting the residents of the homes we were working on and seeing how the youth were really touching their lives. I am going to two this year – one as a staff member (by myself) and one with my youth group as a camper. I simply cannot wait. Although its MONTHS away, I’m already gearing up.
Our women’s retreat. How can you go wrong with a retreat revolving around chocolate? But really, it was a great time to get to know some of the women at church better and to strengthen our relationships. I’m looking forward to our next retreat in the fall already – have the dates and rooms booked, if you can believe it! The camp where we stay is wonderful and very accomodating and we’ve already been in touch several times.
My women’s Bible study. I’ve had the opportunity to meet other women from all different backgrounds and ages at the Bible study I’ve been attending weekly at another church. My heart longs for this at my own church but right now, it doesn’t seem like it’s a possibility. And so I am thankful for the women I’ve met at this new church and their kindness and sweet spirits. I’m also thankful for the study itself which is making me look at things so differently.
Friends and family. This year, I was blessed to draw closer to some friends I hadn’t been able to spend much time with lately and that truly made my heart happy. I’ve made some new friends, which was also answered prayer this year during a particularly lonely period. I truly believe that God sends people into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I am thankful for all of them.
Surprises. This year, I suprised my dad on Father’s Day with a lobster and seafood dinner at their house. It was a nice day and I know he was happy. We surprised Michelle (kinda) with her 40th birthday party…but the biggest surprise was having her brother there. That was wonderful! And on Christmas, I surprised my dad with tickets to the Pennsylvania 500 this summer. Yahoo! It is so important to me to make people happy and also, in times of gift giving, to find the “perfect” gift. I think I did pretty well with this one!
And so a new year begins. A friend and I used to share our resolutions with one another each year and try to spur one another on to achieving them. I think the same ones ended up on my list each year! There are so many areas where I lack self-discipline so completely (like right now, when I am supposed to be clearing out the office space but am blogging instead!!) but I know I need to become more focused and work harder. But instead of resolving to achieve this or that, I’m going to focus on my hopes for 2007:
  • Financial stability and increased responsibility
  • Two great missions trips
  • Increased physical fitness (or maybe instead of saying an increase…since it’s at ZERO…to say some degree of physical fitness!)
  • Make better choices…in what I eat, how I spend my time, how I spend my money….
  • Grow deeper in my relationship with Jesus Christ
I keep wanting to say to find balance but I truly believe that the idea of balance is a fallacy. I don’t know anyone who isn’t seeking it and I know no one who has found it…life is simply to unpredictable. So I’ll leave it off the list!
I wish you all a happy New Year’s Day and wonderful blessings in the year to come!

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