Saying goodbye to 2016

Published 11:45 am Thursday, December 29, 2016

There are some years you are happy to see go and start your life anew.

For me, 1986 was that year. I welcomed a new year in my life that year. I am sure some of you remember years like that also.

Now, 30 years later, when I look back on all that has happened in my life since then, I am totally amazed.

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For one thing, my husband Eric and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage. That in itself nearly makes me reel. It is hard to believe we will be married 30 years this year.

As I have mentioned before, we have spent our anniversaries in a lot of unique and fun ways. Last year, we were both so tired and decided we would rather celebrate the new year at home after we went out to eat. We enjoyed just doing that.

This year, I have to admit 2016 is one year I am not going to be nostalgic over. Why, I do not know, but I am looking forward to a new year.

This year has been a good one and I got to make my goal of seeing nearly all the 50 states and am down to only one state to visit. If you had told me that would have become a reality for me 30 years ago, I would have probably laughed and thought, “Oh, how I wish, that would happen.”

Before I continue on concerning the new year, I have to let you know how much we enjoyed being with all our children at Christmas. For the first time, however, we did not see our two oldest grandchildren at Christmas — Ryan had to work and Stephenie had a migraine headache.

Ryan is now 28 and Stephenie is 22. Grandchildren are not supposed to grow up so quickly.

We celebrated Christmas Eve at our son Keith’s house. He and his wife Julie decided to cook for the Beacon of Hope and serve them on Christmas Eve. So, after we had a wonderful meal and opened gifts, we got ready for that evening.

Keith had cooked three hams and three turkeys, along with enough green beans and corn to feed 60 people.

Julie’s Mom, Bobbie Smith, and I peeled 50 pounds of potatoes for mashed potatoes as our part in helping out. I now feel sorry for anyone on K.P. Duty. It was enjoyable going and getting to be a part of their generosity for the Beacon of Hope. Between Keith, Julie and their friends there was enough food left for two or three days at the Beacon of Hope. Hearing their thanks was enough for Keith and Julie for their hard work.

My husband Eric got into the spirit as he did what he does best when he donned the Santa outfit and became the jolly guy. No one does it better than Eric. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Then, on Christmas day, we went to my daughter Shanda and her husband Andy’s home, where we once again enjoyed a wonderful meal and Christmas day. After we ate and opened gifts there, I learned to play a new card game called Spades. That was a first for me and I truly enjoyed learning the game.

Later, we introduced Andy to the card game Spoons. This is a game even the kids can play. Andy enjoyed playing Spoons but not nearly as much as Olivia does. She is a savvy Spoons player and Hayden is a savvy Spades player. I love to play cards, so I truly was a happy camper. We have decided we are going to do this again next year. I grew up in a family that loved playing cards. My family’s favorite game was a game called Pitch, and if you are ever around for long, you were taught how to play.

It was great being with all our kids at Christmas. All the grandchildren have grown up so much we do not have any little ones anymore.

My greatest gift was to learn on Dec. 21 that I am still cancer free, according to the scans and my doctor’s visit. Thanks to all who prayed for my good report. It is always appreciated.

As we go into 2017, I pray for a wonderful year for all of us. I pray we all keep this message in our hearts, “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!”

See ya later, 2016 — another memorable year!