Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Fulks Christmas 2016 Letter

Recently running into a couple at the lake that are friends from way back in our young-married, early-20s days; last night's Netflix binge-watching with another friend; and, today's months-delayed brunch at Village Inn with a special friend all help to define the gift that relationships are to us. Though from our perspective, in ways, time seems to stand still; yet, days, months or even years pass since last conversations, with tangibles like wrinkles and grandchildren and struggles and blessings that visually punctuate the passing of many moons. 

2016's six supermoons came and went. And so did Jeff's May 2016 missions trip to the Philippines. It was the highlight of his year. He always returns bearing gifts, fun stories, and meaningful memories.

A few more moons brought welcome change into our lives. In May, after 4 long years of sabbatical, Diane returned to the workforce, part-time in Evangel University's Housing Office. Working side-by-side with none other than... a treasured friend. The learning curve has been great, the workload challenging, but the complaints are few.  

Our little "Grand's" September baby dedication
The week prior to starting her new job, Diane helped with Shayna's move, to home ownership. Shayna and family now live just minutes from Mark, her cousin. Her two "Sons of Thunder" love thundering from room to room, having brother-fun. Intuitive, 6-year-old Jackson began kindergarten, and Dad walks him to the bus most weekday mornings. Ever-curious, 3-year-old Will attends pre-school 3 mornings a week. So at times, sensitive, 20-month-old Isla actually has Mom to herself.

Chillin' at Nathan's

Day trips to Tulsa visiting Nathan are always highlights. One visit occurred for his April birthday, another in August, and still another for Thanksgiving. He has sought both our decorating advice and our meager plumbing skills, with what ended up being a tiny shampoo label backing up the tub's drain. Oh, the magic of a Dollar Store gadget. I suppose a clothes hanger would have worked just as well.

On April Fool's, Diane rejoiced for 10 years of cancer freedom, and she prays for close-others who fight their recent battles. 

At a friend's wedding we reminisce 40 years together
Most of Jeff's six brothers and sisters and Nathan visited in the spring. In June, Jeff's aunt and uncle celebrated 70 years of marriage. Wow! and in August we quietly celebrated our anniversary. We attended one family wedding, and Jeff's Mom looks forward to another great-grandchild in 2017.

Our house was full for Christmas. Exactly the way Diane likes it. Eating together, walking at the lake, exchanging gifts, attending Christmas morning service, and playing with the grands. That was Christmas 2016, with a few hours of Silver Dollar City rides somehow tucked into 4 full days.

Diane can't help but recall one memorable car ride this year. It was the big Moving Day for Shayna and family. Diane accepted the critical mission to safely transport "Grand" #1 a mere 40 minutes to his new home. He was apprehensive about the house change, yet he quietly sat, in the backseat of Diane's SUV, safely tucked into his car seat. At every signal light, because of her GPS, Diane knew whether or not to turn. And when a turn was necessary, which way to turn. She answered questions and rambled aloud about much of everything, yet much of nothing, singing Mary Poppins songs to reassure her momentarily fragile "Grand": You are brave. 

That car ride reminds us of the many moons that will pass and the turns that will occur in 2017. With the now-and-not-yet of a new President leading our country and the many changes which that change will bring. We want to embrace our days and trust that our lives are in God's hands. He knows the route, and He's provided his Word in the Bible for calm assurance. A few therapeutic conversations with friends might help too. 

Mary and Joseph's safe guidance during their long trek to Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, and then God providing a protected manger for their newborn babe, reminds us of His power balanced with creative and unimaginable provision. God is good. Be safe. Happy New Year. 

And... ¯Supermooncalifragilisticexpialidocious¯(Mary Poppins).

For God so loved the world...  (John 3:16)