I began 2016 with a long list of goals and the one word: BUILD. As 2016 is closing, I can say we built a lot of things but not quite how I expected. We had a lot of disappointments, discoveries and delights. We approached each of them with determination to build better things. The Name for Jesus so commonly sung about during the Christmas season has been the theme of our lives this year: “Immanuel, God with us.”
If you care to join me, allow me to reflect over this year of building, sometimes on top of what appeared to be rubble but turned out to be great blessing.
Disappointment: A job interview that didn’t materialize into a promotion.
Determination: Rebuilt our basement after our flood.
Discovery: Finally discovered the sensitivity which caused our son 10 years of digestive issues.
Delight: Went ice skating for the first time.
Discovery: Visited Jeff for lunch at work and took a tour of the factory without dreaming it would not only be the first but also the last time.
Delight: Celebrated Valentine’s Day and my birthday in the chalet where we spent the first weekend of our honeymoon.
Disappointment: Jeff’s plant restructured, and he lost his job after 17 years in the industry.
Determination: We created Easter baskets ourselves to save money while figuring out what to do.
Discovery: A lovely park near our home and a mentor.
Delight: Visited the Maple Syrup Festival near our home.
Determination: God helped us create several temporary income streams.
Delight: Played for the wedding of a sweet couple in our church.
Disappointment: Lost a sweet saint to Heaven but had the sweet opportunity to sing hymns by her bedside.
Determination: Began our first online selling venture and set a sales goal to reach by September.
Discovery: Took my daughter and mother to homeschool convention with me for the first time.
Delight: Played “Jesus Never Fails” on Vladimir Horowitz’s Steinway piano. And He doesn’t!
Disappointment: One year anniversary of my mother-in-love’s passing.
Determination: Began a summer piano class for young children – a goal I first set back in 2011!
Discovery: Began family sourcing trips for our business in earnest.
Delight: Celebrated our 17th anniversary, the first year fulfilling our dream as a work-at-home family.
Determination: Exceeded our September sales goal, tripled that goal to reach by October.
Discovery: The world of flea markets and book sales, from the perspective of a seller instead of a buyer.
Delight: Late in getting home from out of town, we stopped in a random town and plopped down on the sidewalk in time for the Fourth of July fireworks.
Determination: Met our October goal, added another third to it to reach by October.
Discovery: A new mentor.
Delight: Took two tourism/business sourcing trips and got to see the Ark Encounter, stay in a rustic cabin and a few nice hotels.
Disappointment: Found out that some people do not like resellers or capitalism in general.
Determination: Became a vendor with a community of authors to build my writing business.
Discovery: Took another family sourcing trip to rural areas and added to our list of stores and states visited this year.
Delight: Welcomed two baby nieces into our family.
Determination: Exceeded our sales goal for October.
Discovery: Sang in our first revival as a family – a brand new but rewarding experience for sure!
Delight: Went on a retreat with my mom and on a fall fun trip to a farm with families from our church.
Determination: Completed teaching my first gym class to teenagers – brand new class and brand new age group!
Discovery: A new tradition of Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law’s charming home and listening to music by her talented kids.
Delight: Surprise birthday party for my sweetheart as he turned 40.
Disappointment: A large car repair bill but the mechanic told us we should play the lottery – they’d never seen a problem that big that didn’t blow the whole engine which would have cost much more.
Determination: Beat our lofty yearly sales goal by nearly an extra third.
Discovery: Took the kids to see the Festival of Lights in West Virginia where we went our first Christmas after we were married.
Delight: Second annual trip to hear Christmas carols and songs by our local orchestra. You’ve never heard the Hallelujah Chorus until you’ve heard it sung Gospel-style with the full orchestra!
So was our year of building. I’m excited to see what adventures God has for us next year!