We are back home from our family gathering in St. Louis at New Year's. We were gone about a week and a half, and I can tell you that 2015 started out with a bang!
Our son and daughter-in-law and newly adopted dog traveled with us to visit our other son and his family (our grandchildren) on New Year's Day. We spent the weekend with them and had a wonderful time. We have a new lady in the family, and she's a southern cook...coming from Texas. We enjoyed her cuisine and some dining out through the weekend.
We also played games with prizes (gifts were not allowed). When you win a game, you select a wrapped prize and unwrap it to see what you won. The next person who won could either steal that prize (or any other unwrapped prizes), or select a new one. We played games (Bingo, Tenzies, Cards, Scattegories, Pit) for two nights until the prizes ran out. There was lots of stealing back and forth, and lots of laughter. The whole family played along. Prizes were mostly insignificant, yet items that I knew certain people liked...red velvet cake mix, frosting, Red Lobster biscuit mix, summer sausage roll, candy, homemade travel/first aid kits, scarves, socks, gloves...household items. It was just fun stealing someone's prize when you knew they really wanted it, so they had to steal it back from you.
I have a feeling this might become a family tradition because I have been told no more gifts. Everyone has enough "STUFF" (granddaughters can still receive gifts), so having prizes that are consumable or usable is a better plan. It met my desire to select items and wrap items...something I have long enjoyed doing at Christmas. I am a giver...you can't take that away from me!
On Sunday we went our separate ways. My husband flew out of St. Louis to Oakland, CA for a business trip. Only his trip was delayed due to fuel overflow, so he missed his connecting flight in Phoenix and had to stay in hotel overnight. He had an early afternoon meeting on Monday and did get there in time, but his luggage went to San Francisco...so he had to show up in the same clothes he wore the previous day, and unshaven.
Meanwhile...here's the "bang" of the beginning of 2015...the other three of us and the dog were traveling back to Chicago on I-55. We had just had brand new tires put on the SUV the week before making the trip. Evidently the lug nuts were not tightened, or missing, because three hours into our trip, two hours from home, we heard a bang, and the right front tire came totally off. Daughter-in-law was driving and did an excellent job of crossing over a lane and pulling off the side of the interstate. Son went back to retrieve tire. Meanwhile heavy traffic was whizzing by and semis made our vehicle shake each time. We feared getting hit.
Four hours later AAA tow truck finally showed up. I might add this was in frigid temperatures so we kept turning the vehicle on and off to keep warm. We had no food with us, only water. Needless to say, there were no bathrooms. So it was a long-felt wait. The tow truck hauled four adults and one dog in the one front bench seat...it was crowded...to a motel that takes pets in Morris, IL. Then the SUV was left at a service shop. This was Sunday night, and we knew it would not be looked at until the next day. Thank goodness there was an IHOP next to the motel, open 24/7. Had supper there that night, and breakfast the next morning.
Our SUV was ready by mid-morning, and we drove on the two more hours to their apt. in Chicago. I spent the week with them until Paul flew back from Oakland on Friday. He and I went down to Bourbonnais on Saturday to do some shopping and to visit friends. Came back home to Michigan on Sunday, just before the next snow storm hit.
While I was in Chicago, the country was having frigid weather and snow storms. We had temps that were 25-30 below zero wind chills. I stayed inside most of the time. They only had about 2" of snow. Back in Michigan there was 6" of snow and more falling...bringing it up to about a foot of snow. Paul had to shovel out the driveway and front porch and sidewalk. He hates winter!
My title, God is good, all the time, is essentially how I feel as I am journeying down through 2015. During our family time, we all enjoyed each other and being together. We are blessed with a close family who loves and respects each other. During our trip home in the SUV, I had peace, I was calm, I knew God was watching out for us, and provided what we needed...including patience to wait on the tow truck, and safely from traffic passing us. In the midst of extreme temperatures, we were cozy in the apt. The new dog adapted well, even if she didn't like going outside. She always took care of business immediately so she could come back in. Even though Paul's flights were changed, both going to Oakland, and coming back to Chicago, he arrived safely and all worked out. I see the hand of God each step of the way.
We went through a year of no employment, no income, yet God faithfully saw us through. Paul is now a self-employed engineering contractor, and even though the pay is still inconsistent, we are managing month by month to pay our bills and have our needs met. We had hoped to sell our house and/or cottage on the campground here in Michigan and move south. That has not happened yet, but we do have buyers for both places when the time is right. Until the time is right...God's timing...we will sit tight and enjoy the comforts we have here, and being close to Paul's family. Our granddaughters like coming to the campground in the summer, and we like to be able to provide that for them. We are truly blessed.
You come through circumstances as we did this past year, and you learn to wait on God, you learn to not hold on tightly to anything, and you learn to be grateful each and every day. Even this morning the snowflakes glistening in the sunshine looked like tiny diamonds floating down...sparkly, beautiful. God is good, all the time.