Every year since I have been blogging, I have written a post about my resolutions for the year to follow.
However, I will not be making resolutions for 2013. This year I am imitating my husband, who, when I said that except for marrying him, 2012 was a horrid year, said that he could name many wonderful things that happened to him in 2012. He then went on to name them, starting, wisely, with his marriage to me on September 20.
I was impressed with my husband’s list, which named a few large blessings, but, for the most part, named small, seemingly insignificant occurrences. Case in point, he was thankful for having seen some good movies in 2012. That thought would not have occurred to me, because, well … I don’t know why.
I think that although I have assessed my personality as being of the positive bent, I am more of the opposite.
I have been greatly affected by the tragedies of 2012, starting with the passing of my beloved dad, Harold J. Chadwick, in September. Some days my grief has known no relief, except for that of tears. It should have been relieved by praise and prayer. My father was a man after God’s own heart, and I should have praised God every single day since Dad’s “graduation” that he is now able to see the face of God. Instead, I have been feeling sorry for myself at the loss of someone I love so dearly. Forgive me, Dad, and forgive me, Father God, for not rejoicing at Your benevolence in receiving my earthly father into Your bosom.
I lost many family members this year; yet, all of them are now with the Lord, and so I rejoice at their happiness, that they are in a place where there is neither sorrow, nor remembrance of pain.
Therefore, resolving only this, to be thankful for the past year, I present my list of large and small blessings. I was fortunate to:
· Reacquaint myself with, fall in love with, and marry the most wonderful and handsome and kind Jeffrey W. Jones.
·Acquire three beautiful stepchildren—Darby, who is beautiful and funny and intelligent; Zachary, who is quirky in his most intelligent thoughts, makes me laugh with his commentary, fascinating to talk with, and who dreams big dreams; and Blaine, who is the king of awesome, and hears everything, and is the image of his father in all ways. All three of these children make me proud and are going to make the world a better place.
· Expand my family with my delightful in-laws: Willard and Rose Jones. I love you dearly.
· Behold the continuing wonder that is my eldest daughter, Sarah, a mother of unusual fierceness, who does everything with her whole heart, whether it is work, love, or showing her faith. Sarah has given me two delightful grandchildren, Hannah (the darling of my heart) and Michael (my boy wonder; for years I often wondered what to do with a boy child), and I love them with every fiber of my being and am inordinately proud of them both.
· Watch the continuing growth of my darling middle child, Amanda, whose intelligence and charm and love for animals and soccer knows no bounds.
· Marvel at the beauty, wit, and strength of my youngest daughter, Samantha, who also lost many family members this year on her father’s side of the family, in addition to those lost on my side.
· Gain a future son-in-law, Alan Walke. Sam will marry him this year on December 7, 2013. She has made a marvelous choice for the companion of her life. Huzzah!
·Garner quality time with my most beautiful mother, Beverlee Chadwick, and my equally beautiful little sister, Barbara Chadwick Bentley, during the years we lived together in Batavia and Amelia.
· See the strength of my brothers, Steve Chadwick and Thomas Chadwick, during the hard days prior to and after my dad’s passing.
· Laugh at my older sister, Kim’s, very odd sense of humor, and enjoyed her three lovely daughters, and her grandchildren.
· Have a cat that does not love my mother more than it does me, as my boy-kitty Dickens does (the traitor). Dickens soon became my mother’s delight after he was adopted, fed, and nurtured by me. He then decided I was not all that, and chose my mom instead. Now I have Bella, who, although she is Jeff’s cat, is easily bribed with toys and treats and baby talk into loving me more—perhaps.
· Live in a house surrounded by magnolia trees and holly bushes. The first is a favorite, the second is somewhat prophetic.
· Have five (yes, 5) bathrooms! After being raised (during elementary school and high school) in a home with one bathroom and seven inhabitants, I can now choose where I go—literally—and do so when necessary, rather than waiting in line!
· Move to Lexington, KY, after marrying Jeff. I love it here and think it is a beautiful city, and that Kentucky is a beautiful state.
· Visit Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore (divine), the Grove Park Inn (magnificent), and Thomas Wolfe’s house (inspiring). If I had to choose, we would move to Asheville in a heartbeat.
· Quit smoking. I am still making use of e-cigarettes, but very soon, those will be history also. I now no longer smell like an ashtray. Thank God, Dad, Mom, and Jeff for all your help.
· Have a large and well-appointed office in which to edit and write.
· Have a large comfortable chair in my office so my husband, and Bella, can come visit me.
· Have new entertaining passions: Grimm  (Dad and I were always so excited when a new episode came out); Downton Abbey  (a passion I share with Mom, Janet Chadwick, and most of the known world); and Sherlock ; the complete novels of Fannie Burney, Elizabeth Gaskell, and every year, Jane Austen.
· Discover that my husband enjoys the Hamish MacBeth  series of books by M. C. Beaton as much as I do.
· Love and be loved by my husband, family, and friends.
I leave off this humble list with this, a story my dad shared when we contemplated the various tests and trials, triumphs and tragedies of life:
A farmer's donkey fell into a deep abandoned well. It cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the donkey was old and not worth trying to retrieve and the abandoned well needed to be covered up anyway. Since the well was deep, he gathered his farmhands, and they began to shovel dirt into the well. When the dirt first hit the donkey, and began to pile up on him, he cried pitifully. Then after a while, he became quiet, and the farmer wondered if he was already buried under the dirt. So while his farmhands kept shoveling, he got a flashlight and peered down into the well. What he saw amazed him. Every time dirt piled up on the donkey's back, he would shake it off so it fell to his feet, and then he would step up on it. He kept doing this, and with each step up, he got closer to the top of the well. When he reached the edge, he stepped over it and trotted happily off.
Has life been throwing dirt on you? Sooner or later it will. Sometimes it seems like that's all it does. But don't let it knock you down—shake it off and step up on it. Maybe that's why Jesus said, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). He knew that if you did, every time they threw dirt on you it would end up under your feet and enable you to step up a little higher.
Remember, "All things work together for good to those who love God. (Romans 8:28)
"The tests of life are to make, not break us. Trouble may demolish a person's business but build up their character. The blow at the outward person may be the greatest blessing to the inner person. If God, then, puts or permits anything hard in our lives, be sure that the real peril, the real trouble, is that we shall lose if we flinch or rebel." (M. D. Babcock)