I am beginning this annual pictorial review much later than usual – 8:16 PM on New Year’s Eve. As I sit at the keyboard with a glass of champagne and contemplate all that has transpired in the past twelve months, I can be nothing but grateful. The year was a tough one and as it winds to a close we finally see light again. Oh, that beautiful light.
The long and short of it is that just as spring was blooming on 2022 a neighbor’s loss became our gain when their house and property were sold at auction. With much prayer and no small amount of blind faith, we had the opportunity to be the purchasers. In the process we were hated. I understand that they simply could not see past the pain to recognize reason. Forgiveness was a daily task (isn’t it always?). Some days I didn’t think I could do it. But I went to bed every night thanking God for His blessings. I covered our family and theirs in prayer even when I didn’t feel like praying. I cannot adequately put into words all that I have thought through this process. If that day ever comes I will be sure to write those thoughts down because they are simultaneously painful and beautiful. This was the year that God said to me, “I’ve got you. And I’ve got them. I know where this is going. You just have to follow and trust.” This was the year I longed to listen and actually heard Him. This was the year I put each day in His hands. This was the year of air and grace, both given and received.
My tradition has been to celebrate the milder moments of the year with humor sprinkled in sarcasm, regardless of the more poignant days. But the poignant days made this particular trip around the sun what it is in the rearview, and they deserve to be celebrated here. So, as we close the book on 2022 I offer a few snapshots of life as we lived it.
My girl-crew, the French Toast Mafia, in my kitchen on the day I taught them how to make French bread and yeast rolls. Here’s me, Kendell, Claire, Brandy, Amy and Bailey. I love these ladies. I always will.
Max’s birthday is celebrated on the last day of February. We do all the celebrating. He does all the tolerating.
Morning reading and prayer time with Fr. Mike Schmitz and the Bible in a Year podcast. Every day. 365 days. The most beautiful routine I have. Here’s the morning sun shining across my living room and casting its rainbow on my bible.
Easter Sunday – the whole fam came for our first-ever shrimp boil. The shrimp left a lot to be desired. But the company – Heaven on earth!
We purchased the new property in early May. The pond on the property is one of the many blessings, as it provided a bit of peace and joy when we were able to avert our minds and hands from the work required by the rest of the property. We got to spend a few evenings fishing in it before the summer heat kept us indoors.
I finally managed to hang one of my grandparents’ hammocks near the pond, thinking that when we opened the house up as an Airbnb, the hammock would be a great addition. I was squashed in the hammock and flopped around like one of the fish we had caught, but my wine glass was happy.
Victoria and her friends all went to the beach, so we kept the furbabies. Here are Socko and Rico, two of my three O-boys. My third O-boy is Leo, Victoria’s boyfriend’s yellow lab, and I have dubbed myself Nonna to all of them. Yes, I’m that lady.
Thinking I needed to embark on a writing career, I had my niece Bella come over to snap some photos of me for a writing portfolio. I’m not much on photos of myself, but seriously…August did me no other favors. To follow up, my employment hasn’t changed. I just had to hear God’s voice through the noise. Again.
As I started painting furniture and decor for the Airbnb, my paper plate paint palette started to look like a new Halloween decoration. Total accident. Total coolness.
In the month that the hubster turned 50 I have not a single pic of him. I do, however, have this… the reason I can look back on this year and smile. You can be a part of the Bible in a Year community too. It’s never too late. ❤
My parents both turned 70 in November and I managed to pull off a surprise party complete with family, friends and peeps they hadn’t seen in years. Before I pat myself on the back too much, I have to confess that I neglected to get a photo of them together at the party. Epic fail on my part. But, here is my dad with his brother, my Uncle Floyd.
The chaos of the year finally stilled and the Airbnb opened at the beginning of the month. As we hosted our third family of guests in the newly named Marigny Cottage right before Christmas, we also celebrated our second annual Feast of Seven Fishes at home, a formal-ish seven-course seafood meal that Dom and I prepare and serve at Christmas. We had 16 people present this year for dinner, and Bella helped us cook and serve. It was a lot of work, but it was also a thing of beauty, and we can’t wait to do it again next December.
The year of air and grace. It feels good to breathe again. It feels good to know my God and to trust Him. It feels good to be thankful. In closing the year, I’d like to borrow from the Bible a prayer for each of you.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Peace indeed, my friends. For you and for everyone. Love always…
Fireworks are in high gear either down our street or neighborhoods away, and Max is about to come right out of his fur. Uninvited, our freckle-footed fur factory jumped into the chair with Dom for comfort, shaking and shedding all the way. It’s gonna be a long night.