Looking back at 2012, my heart is filled with all kinds of emotion and tenderness. My head is full of places, experiences, lessons and the faces of so many dear people. All day I have been searching for just the right words to describe a year so high and so low. But only one word will come. Grateful. For all of 2012, I am grateful.

I’m grateful to be the daughter of Novie Thomas. Grateful for her life. Her lessons to me. Her love for my daddy and our family. I’m grateful the last months of her life were spent here in our home. It was such an honor to serve her, to help daddy care for her, to cook for her, to put lotion on her hands and feet.

Mama and Daddy at our house, Thanksgiving 2011

Mama and Daddy at our house, Thanksgiving 2011

Downstairs on my stove there are collard greens cooking. I have never made collards in my life. Mama did that. But it’s the first day of the year, and mama taught this family there are certain things you’re supposed to eat on New Year’s Day. Humble food reminds us how to begin the new year. So for supper tonight: Novie’s collard greens, black-eyed peas, ham and cornbread. I have already tasted what’s cooking. It’s gonna be okay, but nothing like mama would have made. I miss her so much but I’m grateful she’s cooking for all of heaven tonight. Healed. Singing. No more suffering. No more pain.

This year I’m still filled with gratefulness for my beautiful husband, Scott and the four children who are the joy of our lives. We traveled the world together this year and God opened our eyes afresh to His wonders, His love and His grace. These people in our family are the easiest, funniest, most creative people I’ve ever met. I’m so grateful they are mine and I am theirs.

Our family somewhere near Cochabamba, Bolivia with World Vision - June 2012

Our family somewhere near Cochabamba, Bolivia with World Vision – June 2012

This past year of ministry has been profound and changing. The Bible is alive and vivid to me. I am captured anew by the riches of God’s word and it’s power to transform lives. Honored to meet beautiful women this world over, bonding over the sweetness of belonging to Christ. Seeing women give their lives to Christ. Every place. Every church. Every soul. I am, more than words can say, so very grateful for it all.

Beautiful Life 2012

Beautiful Life 2012

And oh, sweet Jesus, I am grateful for you. The more I learn about you, the more I am humbled by your greatness, your strength, your everlasting love. You forgave my sins and I will never, ever get over your sacrifice for me. In 2013, I will return each breath you give to me, with praise. My life is yours. My mind. My steps. My heart. Use it all for your glory.

So I turn with anticipation toward this year. Standing on tippy toes. Anxious to see Him.