There are more gifts, more to reflect on, more to share…gifts like knowledge, wisdom, words, and blessings, but today, at the end of the year, there is one permeating my mind:

HOPE

…and bonus for me, this also encompassed two other gifts I wanted to share: health and children.

Arwen told Arragorn there is always hope. It was one of the only moments in Lord of the Rings that I didn’t want to pull her ears off.

Faith tends to get a lot of the glory, but it is directly tied to hope –

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. – Hebrews 11:1

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This morning I woke up with two thoughts on my mind. One was, of course, it’s the last day of this {riduclous} year. It’s not that this year has been bad, but it has been just overwhelming. I can’t even keep track of all the things that happened. Certainly, packing up Life and moving 1000 miles away from the only home I’ve ever known was a big deal, but it was really just an anchor for 1000 other things that have happened, are still happening, or are going to happen any day now. I am ready for this year to be over, I thought.

And the next second, I thought, Is MJ going to have the baby today? One of my BFFs got pregnant with Baby #4 as we were moving. Her two oldest and my girls are also “best buddies.”

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I felt like surely she must be giving birth today. She was due days ago, for crying out loud :) I’ve been checking my phone first thing every morning, and lo and behold, the news that she was in labor had been texted in the middle of the night, and there was a voice mail from about 5 minutes before I got out of bed.

Her new son had arrived.

Is there anything more precious than new life? Anything? I can’t imagine it. As I talked to MJ, I could almost feel that sweet daze that overtook me after Miranda and then Kaity were born. I was taken back to nearly two years ago, when MJ’s third child, sweet Maggie Moo, was in my lap around my kitchen table, and MJ and Martha made fun of me for constantly kissing Moo’s head (just as I had done with Martha’s daughter just a few months before).

I wish I was kissing the head of Moo’s baby brother right now…

But that’s beside the point. A healthy baby being born is nothing short of a miracle. There are countless – COUNTLESS – things that can go wrong. Just in recent weeks, I have learned of EB, a disease I never knew about before, and found out that the son of a high school friend was born with it. I have friends with children affected by spina bifida, autism, Angelman Syndrome, and diabetes. KK, as well as others, are affected by asthma. So much can go wrong. Their little bodies – as well as our bigger ones – are fragile. And so our health, every day that it’s good or stable, is such a blessing.

Cancer has touched lives close to us this year. We have friends who have fought with all their might and through creative miracles, survived. We have a friend miraculously healed. We have one newly diagnosed, and one diagnosed again and again. It’s a scary disease with so many unknowns, and somehow this year, we have been witness to people coming through it.

There is always hope.

Perhaps these thoughts are a little disjointed today, and that’s ok. This year has been disjointed for me. I don’t know what is next but I am hoping for the best…and I am reminded in the sweetest way, by the newest life in our lives today, that when God does a new thing, it is always good.

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers. May your health be good. May you have kids in your lives to remind you to laugh and cuddle. And may you always, always, always, always have HOPE.

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