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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gott Slut: 2011 (A Good End to 2011)

Dickens had it right about 2011 when in A Tale of Two Cities he wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."  Doug and I continued to have some memorable and wonderful experiences together but the pain of death and grief definitely took their toll.  Here is a quick review of our year:
January: Doug took me to New York City for the first time in my life in celebration of being 50 years old!  Dear friends met up with us and this photo of me and Deb at the "Friends" TV show fountain is one of my favorites from the whole year.
February: Celebrated Doug's birthday whale watching in Cabo San Lucas in the midst of a lovely week long cruise with Jodi's parents along the Mexican Riviera.
March: On my way back to Sweden from LA, I had a brush with fame.  Surrounded by Paparazzi without knowing why, I cracked up when I ended up in this photo with The Biebs! 
April: Easter celebrations at church were filled with celebrating the joy of the resurrection.  Afterwards, we had a great time with friends and even took part in an old fashioned egg toss in our back yard.
May: We attended the International Pastors Conference in Paris, France and loved being in that beautiful city of lights once again.
June: A wonderfully relaxing trip to Ibiza, Spain followed by memorable midsommar celebrations with dear friends unfolded in the midst of Doug's sister's failing health.  We thank God that Doug took an unplanned trip to Minnesota in June to spend some precious days with dear sister Debbie.
July: The devastating passing of Doug's beloved sister Debbie took us both back to the US.  Time with family was so precious and her memory lingers on in our hearts and minds.  She is dearly missed.
August and September: The Stockholm archipelago provided rest and respite in the midst of the hardship of grief.  We were thankful for every moment our little boat gave us on the open sea, under sunny skies, in peaceful surroundings.
October: Dear friends, who also happened to know Doug's sister from the US, invited us to come and enjoy a retreat with them in Lugano, Switzerland and the Alps.  What a healing, life-giving, memorable trip this was for us.  We treasured this time in beautiful surroundings, a train ride to the top of Europe and heartfelt conversation around a roaring fire with good friends.
November: We enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner with both Americans and Swedes.  Delicious food and fine company. 
December: A busy advent and Christmas season culminated in Doug's sister Beth and her husband Chuck joining us for Christmas.  We had beautiful services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, memorable meals on both days and then had about 95 people through our home during our Open House on the day after Christmas.  
It is 4.45 p.m. on New Year's Eve as I finish this.  This photograph was taken at about 3.15. p.m. on this last day of 2011.In the midst of the joy and the sorrow of the past year, a few common threads run through it all...the comfort of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the blessing of the ministry we share in at Immanuel International, the love of family and friends across this vast globe.
A new year is soon ours.  Just as one year ago we had no idea what 2011 would hold, the same is true for 2012.  But the above mentioned gifts do remain...the comfort of Christ, the joy of our church, the love of those we love, both near and far.  For this I am grateful.  
May 2012 be full of the same for you.