Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Years!

Tomorrow is the first day of 2016.  My wife and I went to Mass tonight in celebration of Mary the Mother of God, and in thanksgiving for all the gifts and blessings that God has bestowed on us this year.  Our life has been filled with many amazing events.  God has been challenging us this year to grow.   I must decrease, he must increase.   That could easily be the theme of my year.

I thought I might take tonight to ponder things.  Mostly to write one of those 'state of the family' addresses that most people send out in their Christmas Cards.  I did my typical tradition for Christmas cards.. I purchased a bunch, I made a list of who to send it to, I placed them on the fridge, and there they are still.  I always intend to send them out.  I never actually do.

So how are things in our family this year?

Moira is in third grade this year.  I think she is super excited that Mr. Davekos is her teacher.   He seems to have an amazing way with the kids and she is learning so quick.  She has expressed a great deal of interest in drawing and really loves to play Minecraft and watch youtubers do the same. She made her first communion this year.  It makes Mass so much more of a unifying experience for all of us to be able to go forward together to receive our Lord.

Sarah is playing the French Horn and continues to be interested in long boarding, volleyball, and 'juking'.   She will graduate middle school this year and head into high school.  Won't be long till she'll be driving, and all that jazz.

Hannah is playing some very advanced pieces with the clarinet and has a real aptitude for music.  She is in her first year of high school and seems to be doing rather well.  Her grades are quite admirable.  She too will be driving soon.  She seems very interested in social justice and women's equality issues.  A very noble field to get involved in.

Haley is graduating this year.  She has had a very fun filled senior year so far, with musicals, choir, and play practices.  She's on the go constantly.  She also has had several jobs and is continuing to work her way towards college.  She has decided she wants to go to Paul Mitchell in Chicago.  Now to find out how we will all work together to pay for it.

Julie has continued to work and is still at Lenze Americas in Glendale Heights.  I worry about her driving that far but this year she managed to get a Prius which has helped tremendously with the fuel costs.  She still loves to crochet, knit, and sew.  She has made some amazing things this year, always amazing me with how talented she is.  She continues to teach Religious Education at the church, bring Holy Communion to the Home Bound, lector and is an Extraordinary Minister at the Parish. I love that woman.

As for me, I was accepted into the Diaconate Aspriancy program this year and continue to prayerfully study toward that end.  I spend my days either studying, praying, going to Mass, or driving the kids around.  It's a blessed existence. If all goes well and it is God's will, I would be ordained in 2020.

Please continue to pray for us as we go thorugh this.   Julie and the girls support me in this endeavor but I always pray that it will be easy for them.  It's a big commitment on all of us, more especially on Julie and myself. 

So that's our year.  Like I said above, God has blessed us immensely.  As I was sitting at Mass listening to readings, I realized that they really spoke to 2015 for us.. and yet, still pointed to 2016.  The first reading mentioned peace.  "The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!"  That is a word that has been showing up over and over for me the past few weeks.  I think that is my prayer for 2016 for my family, for you, and for myself.   That we take the blessing personally.. that we truly realize the gifts God has lavished upon us in our family, our friends, our jobs, our faith.   Then like the blessed mother int he Gospel, let us keep all these things in our hearts and reflect on them.

Don't let a moment go by without realizing how blessed you.  As the new year begins, I will simply repeat to you the words of sacred scripture that we were graced to hear proclaimed in the Mass for January 1st, the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God:

The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!

God bless you, and Happy New Year! 

His servant and yours,