Like many of our readers, I had the opportunity to travel during Christmas this past week.
I was so thankful for the opportunity to get away from work for a bit to visit my family out in Maryland.
We first visited my grandfather, who is 91 and was somehow riding a rollercoaster just this past August.
My “poppy” is moving much slower than when I saw him last Spring but his charm hasn’t went anywhere.
I’m so thankful for God blessing me with him as my grandfather.
On Sunday, our family was blessed to attend a morning worship service in my childhood church, Penwood Christian Church, which was started by my great-grandmother many years ago.
This was also the same church in which I gave my heart over to the Lord as a teenager.
It was the first time our family has been able to attend a morning service at the church in many, many years. My wife Kristy and I were having trouble remembering just when the last time was during our 15-year marriage.
My Uncle Jerry, who is about to become an ordained minister, gave an interactive presentation that morning as the innkeeper who allowed Joseph and Mary to use his barn.
He was filling in for my Uncle Don, who is the full-time pastor at the church.
It was indeed a special time to reconnect with so many friends and family who have cared enough about my family to pray for us through the years.
After a special Candlelight Service in the early evening, my grandfather’s childhood home was packed with around 30-40 relatives for the annual family gathering. Our family had not been a part of this for countless years as well so we were grateful to be able to finally attend this year.
After spending time in Baltimore, we traveled down to Fairfax, Va. to visit my dad, who is living with my step-brother as he recovers from blood clots in his lungs.
We played countless games of UNO and Skip-Bo and I just enjoyed watching my father interact with the kids.
He doesn’t get to see them much so every second we have with him is precious for their relationship.
Lord willing, if he can get healthy and things work out for him on timing, he might visit and possibly even move to Missouri some day. I’m so looking forward to that becoming a possibility as we haven’t seen each other much during the past 15 years.
We also had the opportunity to bond with my adopted niece and nephew. My niece, who is from China, stuck to us like glue and we really enjoyed getting to know her better than we ever have before.
I’m forever grateful for my step-brother and his wife and their willingness to take care of my dad during this past year.
Family gatherings are such a special time during the holidays.
While none of us are guaranteed our next breath, all of us need to make time to spend with extended family when we can.
The holidays always give us a perfect time to take a pause from our extremely busy lives to spend it with family. My hope is that most of our readers made memories with their own family and friends during this past week.
I’m also thankful for God’s hand of protection around our family as it took us nearly a full day with several stops to drive 900+ miles, mostly in the snow, on the way to Maryland.
After sending the December 27 issue to the press during the evening of Friday, December 29, I worked several more hours to finally get out the door a little after midnight.
By the time we reached Troy, it was already snowing. So I knew the time it would take for our family to reach Baltimore, Md. was going to be longer than we anticipated.
It was even worse driving the more than 900 miles in mostly snowy conditions on the way home.
From the Pennsylvania Turnpike, into West Virginia, through all of Ohio and through most of Indiana, 70 m.p.h. zones on Highway 70 quickly became 35-40 m.p.h. stretches for countless miles.
Thankfully, the Lord helped us reach home safely.
The problem for me when I got back is I ran out of time to finalize the 2017 Year in Review in time for our first issue of 2018.
Our full Year in Review will appear in our January 10 issue.
While we enjoyed our trip, we are glad to be home and back in Vandalia.