Looking behind before looking ahead

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHappy New Year to all my faithful readers, awesome, support friends and family. I am truly sorry for how long it’s been since I last wrote. I often intend to write at least once a month, but life tends to get in the way. Yesterday was supposed to be my annual new year’s blog…but somehow, spending time with my daughter and then doing other things after she went to bed…well, it was quarter to eleven at night, and after being sick for a couple days, I decided the smartest thing to do was be in bed, at least trying to sleep.

On New Year’s Eve, I made no resolutions. I simply determined that I would be grateful for the year behind and look forward to the one ahead, knowing I can (and should) grasp God’s hand for all 365 days of it. Now, here’s a question. 2016 is a leap year, which adds one day to February. Does that technically make it a 366 day year? Just a random thought.  Anywho, back to my point. I have made resolutions in the past and rarely (if ever) kept any of them. This year, by not making any, I think I left myself the freedom to act on anything that comes my way in the way of a resolution. Okay. That sounds a bit jumbled. Let me give you an example. Or two.

Our cat passed away on December 28, 2015. Thus ended a chapter of our lives, since this cat was the very first pet my husband and I owned as a couple, and he became a family pet when my daughter was born. We have had this cat and loved him and spoiled him, for eleven and a half years. My husband and I have only been married a couple months longer than that. When our cat passed, it made me very sad and even a bit depressed. As a result, I was motivated to get off my butt and clean up my kitchen and floors and start to remove some of the cat hair and dust from our home that has accumulated over the years. We are now completely petless except for a Beta Fish that, quite frankly, doesn’t make a lot of mess. So, it was the perfect time to finally get my house a bit cleaner than it’s ever been. And maybe even make it possible for my friends who are allergic to cats to come visit again someday.

The next example is, when my husband was away at the same time as the cat was dying, and both my daughter and I were very sick (I was so weak and nauseous that I couldn’t get out of bed the first day and my amazing seven year old took care of me and stayed by my side the whole time) and I had never felt more of a need for him than I did in those days. He was miles away, and I just wanted his arms around me. As a Christian, I could see the parallels very quickly, and turned my desperation for human contact and care to the God who I knew could heal both my body and my spirit. It’s been a rough few days around our house, to be sure. Well, God definitely answered my prayers, most of which were that my daughter’s stomach would feel better and she would start sleeping well again. She is much healthier now. As I saw God’s answers to prayers, I was convicted about my lack of spending time with Him. So, on January 1st, I got out my YouVersion Bible app, looked up a bunch of daily devotionals and got on those, even before getting out of bed. I want to strengthen my relationship with Christ, my relationship with my husband and to finally be the wife and mother God intended me to be. I know it’s a struggle I can’t do alone, which is one reason I am writing about it here. I hope to be held accountable to this ‘resolution that isn’t a resolution’ because I know the benefits will be much richer than any money can buy.

Okay, so to the next part of what I wanted to write about yesterday but didn’t. I don’t remember if it was my mother or a friend or who, but last year someone suggested to me that I keep a mason jar near my computer or somewhere in my room. I was to put a slip of paper inside for every little thing that had happened to me or my family that was unexpected or a huge blessing or whatever. On December 31, 2015, I was to take out every slip of paper, record the event somewhere (like a blog), thank God for the blessing and then move on. When the jar is empty, I can then begin to fill it up again with new papers from 2016. This is to help me remember to count my blessings. It’s also really fun to go back over the things that God has done in my life and remember.

So, it’s a day late, here goes. These will not be in chronological order, but here they are.

  1. November 16, 2015 – My niece, Morgan Alexandra Waters, was born on my birthday.
  2. A Thursday in November – my wonderful family gave me a gift certificate to spend a day at the spa. I enjoyed a lovely swim, a hot tub soak, a wonderful lunch and a massage. It was a very restful and much needed day.
  3. November 15, 2015 – Went to a ballet with my friend, Suse to celebrate my birthday. Never been to a ballet, even in a movie theatre. It was pretty amazing. We saw Carmen Mixed at the Royal Opera House.
  4. December 27, 2015 – took my daughter to see Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Ed Mirvish Theatre, thanks to a generous Christmas present. She had never been, and it was a very memorable experience. What a blessing to spend the evening with her.
  5. Beginning of August, 2015 – One of my co-workers quit, so my hours increased and I was given a dollar raise. Not only that, but I still only work three and a half to four days per week, so that I am still around for my daughter and can work on my books while she is in school.
  6. January 4-11, 2015 – Spent a week in Kissimee, Florida. Went to Downtown Disney with my husband, seven year old daughter, mother and father in-law. Spent nearly every day in the pool and hot tub and watched Vesper become a very confident swimmer. Visited with a friend from Ohio for an evening and a day. Hadn’t seen her in quite some time, so that was really nice.



  7. August 14-21, 2015 – went on the most amazing vacation/family reunion in B.C. with my husband, Vesper, my brother, my sister and her husband, their three kids, and my parents. We saw two seals, two black bear cubs, five deer (two of them were fawns with their mother) and ate blackberry pie. We visited and all the cousins who had never met before, bonded. We had an amazing time and I was reminded of how rich I am, not financially, but in the love of wonderful, close knit family. My B.C. family finally got to meet my husband and daughter, and we shared laughs and joy. We were so blessed to spend time with family, and then on our last day, God provided us with a cheap rental so we could go see my birthplace. We ended up going to an aquarium near the hospital where I was born and saw so many neat sea creatures. Vesper also got to touch some. God heaped blessing upon blessing upon us, right down to perfect weather every day. This was a trip my daughter won’t forget, and God blessed us abundantly to be able to go see all our wonderful family.
  8. January 12-16, 2015 – Went on a cruise in the Bahamas with my husband, on board the Norwegian Sky to celebrate our tenth anniversary. Saw Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay. Swam in the turquoise ocean and lagoon for the first time. Rode on a catamaran for the first time and snorkeled for the first time as well. Got to see lots of living coral and tropical fish on the reef. Rode in a ‘tender’ for the first time, and managed not to get seasick. Checked out tide pools at low tide on Great Stirrup Cay. Made new friends and enjoyed some funny shows on the cruise ship. Ate delicious seafood, enjoyed chocolate soft serve ice cream every day. Ate breakfast and lunch in the outdoor cafe while gazing at beautiful islands. Saw a starry sky from the cruise ship. Learned about gemstones and had towel animals on my bed every day. Didn’t make the bed or wash a single dish on the whole cruise! Got a nice golden tan and stored up memories and story inspirations. Celebrated ten and a half years of marriage. Saw coconut palms up close.    KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
  9. January 20, 2015 – Saw a baby kangaroo up close and got to pet her head and ears when a patient brought her into the dental clinic in her purse.
  10. December 30,2015-Our family got a brand-new couch at a reasonable price. Spent time playing Minecraft with my daughter.

As you can see, I have so much to be thankful. And I feel so humbled that God has blessed us so abundantly. We have had our rough times and times when life has been pretty discouraging, so keeping a record of all the blessings helps to remind me that life is pretty amazing after all.

Now we look forward to 2016. I already know we have one exciting thing to look forward to, as a very generous group of people got us a Groupon for Great Wolf Lodge. Yeah. We’re pretty blessed.

Until next time,

Keep dreaming and never give up.

Amy McGuire


About Author Amy McGuire

Author of The Heart's Discovery, a YA Romance novel set mostly in British Columbia with a brief foray into Quito, Ecuador. Also the mother of a bubbly second grade redhead who adores turquoise, and wife to a very patient man. She lives in Toronto, the inspiration for so many of her place names and characters.
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