Sunday, January 1, 2023

Looking Forward to 2023....Looking Back at 2022



I wonder how many of you are waking up today, asking the same question I am:

WHERE DID 2022 GO???

As I look back and reflect on everything that happened in those 365 days, I see God's hand in it all. He is a loving, faithful Father, no matter what challenges, changes, losses, and victories we experience in life. Thankfully that is still true, even with the flip of a calendar page and the ushering in of a new year. 

I've chosen the word Shalom as my word for 2023. Last year I chose the word Peace, and although shalom is the Hebrew word for peace, I've recently learned that shalom has a deeper meaning than what we might define as peace. 

In his book The Wonder of Advent Devotional, author Chris Tiegreen writes that shalom is "the Hebrew word we often translate as peace, and it does mean that. But it's so much more. It's a state of spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being that resembles the abundant life Jesus promised." 

Shalom is what we all crave deep inside. It can't be found in a job, a relationship, or a bank account. It isn't even that warm, cozy feeling we have when everything is right in our world for a day or two. All those things provide temporary peace, but it can't be sustained. Something is bound to happen that will steal that sense of peace away from us. I've had that happen over and over in this life, and I'm sure you have too.

Isaiah 9:6 declares that a child is born to us, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Shalom. This year I'm going in search of the deeper meaning of Shalom. I'll be journaling the things I learn about shalom through scripture and other readings as well as getting honest about the things I don't understand about it. If you're interested in going deeper with me, shoot me an email to receive my brief monthly update on how my journey is going. I'd love to hear your thoughts on shalom, too.

                 2022 WAS A REALLY GREAT spite of!

We have much to be thankful for as we look back on 2022! 

Even though our sweet boss passed away on December 26, 2021, we didn't lose our jobs. Her son and daughter-in-law, whom we love as much as we loved Miss L, have taken over the farm. In January we moved back into the house where we first lived when we came to Tennessee in 2017 and resumed our responsibilities here on the farm. 

I also learned that my older brother passed away--the first of my siblings to die. Death is so final, yet the hope of eternity with God is what keeps us going in times like this. My husband and I traveled to New Mexico over the Christmas break to attend a memorial for Mark. While it was a sad occasion, it was good to be with my family. 

The Lord continues to bless my writing endeavors, for which I'm very grateful. My novel COUNT THE NIGHTS BY STARS released in March, and just last month it won the 2023 Christianity Today Book Award for Fiction! I'm excited that I'll have new books release in 2023, 2024, and 2025 with Tyndale House Publishers, and I'll have a short story included in a compilation book published by Guideposts, publication date TBA.

One of the most exciting things that happened in 2022 was our oldest son proposed to his beautiful girlfriend, and she said YES!! We are over-the-moon happy for them and look forward to all that God has planned for these two! 

All in all, I feel incredibly blessed and hopeful as I head into a new year. Only God knows what awaits in those far-off tomorrows, but just knowing He is already there brings the peace, the shalom, that my soul longs for.

Blessings to you and yours,


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