Bye, Felicia: The End of 2016

In keeping with sarainrealife blog tradition, I’ve been thinking through my bests and worst of 2016. 

2016 was a tough year, personally and emotionally; and financially and professionally. But, I made it through, with several surprise blessings along the way. 

This year brought a lot of good things and growing edges to my life. Enthusiastically, I bid it farewell and bid the new year a great “hello!”

Worsts of 2016:

– Health crash: I got mononucleosis, and had two near blood sugar crises, both resulting in hospitalizations

– Compassion fatigue: Because of an inbred, underlying fear of being easily replaced, I rarely ever take vacation time or personal days off. As a result, I nearly burned myself out of ministry this year. Never fear! I’ve dealt with it and have things in place to prevent that, but it was pretty scary at times and a bit discouraging.

– Lost dearly beloved parishioners: It’s always hard to bury the people we love. This year’s funerals were extra teary in their sad-but-hopeful earthiness. True saints walking among us returned to their savior this year. I played one of them out of this world with hymns on my violin and reminded those gathered at the funeral of the other of the quiet place of rest near the heart of God with my new strings a few months later. 

Bests of 2016:

– Aunt Name and bonding with my niece: My niece calls me “Tia,” which means “aunt” in both Portuguese and Spanish. This is quite appropriate because much of her family and friends, including her Tia are fluent in both. I have tremendously enjoyed spending time with her, watching her grow and hearing that little voice saying “Tia, go going!” (Tia, let’s go play!) and “‘Ma show Tia.” (I wanna show Tia.)

Camping with my bestie: My best friend and I met in 7th grade. My grandfather had just died and when I returned to school, she hugged me and said she’d been praying for me, as soon as she saw me on campus. We’ve been lifetime besties ever since. This year we went camping in Chattanooga for a weekend away. We hiked, panned for gems, and roasted hot dogs, marshmallows and pickles( no. Don’t do it). We made s’mores with Keebler fudge stripe cookies. Yum. 

– Falling in love with an amazing guy! It happened unexpectedly, like a wonderful surprised. When I Facebook stalked Andrew after my intern suggested letting her set me up, I was intrigued. He was wearing an Imperial March t- shirt and holding a lightsaber in his profile picture – if you know me, you know that’s enough. But he has turned out to be more than enough – day after day. He is kind, compassionate, and has a good laugh. He’s a percussionist, a theologian, an ethicist, a prophet; and maybe the sweetest person I know. My 2016 has certainly been blessed and bettered with Andrew in it. 2017 is off to a great start!

How was your year? What will you carry with you? What are you excited to leave behind?

God’s blessings to you this new year and always! 

Happy New Year! 

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