The year chases conclusion and wraps a cold arm cling around the year past.  All too often the blares, hats, revelry of New Year’s Eve brings droll doldrums of “wish it wasn’ts” and “I miss him or her so much”.  The car that broke, the health that failed, the friend turned foe, the farewells of moving, and all the ‘the’s’ imaginable.    So, what’d I miss in ’18?  Winter melted into a pretty brief spring, summer heated its way ‘til November despite the drifty dally of coloring leaves and breezes, and now I’m shivering.  Somewhere in there must have existed some little happys and smiles, at least one would think:

Corn Flakes and fresh toast – a sneaky cat’s slow slink when I get more milk;

Riding the ’54, creating fresh mowed grass as a breeze breaks the monotony of heat;

A snow angel just for grins;

Harper tappy-tapping on my patio door-“Is Cherise here?”;

Girl Scout cookies – mints – and teasing with Lilly;

Model car chats and rummage sale busy-ness with Kerry and Lisa;

Begonias stored in the dark basement, returning to life when exposed to spring;

Crab apples blossoming;

Phantom Lake “chatting” as ice spreads across the water, echoing the fault cracks;

Fred’s visits to the garage and listening to his bike voyage of the day;

Seeing Gordon on his walk and fishing talk as we remember feisty Ruby;

Faith conversations with Pastor Micah next door;

Meghan’s warmth and Tim’s Air Force, world news discussions of reality;

Home;

A new home sans stairways with a yard scampered by squirrels;

God as co-pilot when a deer destroyed my SUV on the freeway;

Tufts of green renewal peeking through the brittle browns as buds fill branches;

Sunshine, blue skies, and snowflakes – all at the same time;

A brother’s successful surgeries;

A neighbor’s little white puppy that shares a paw and tail-wagging joy when I drop by;

Rain on my upturned face in early evening;

Three in the morning insistence that I open the keyboard and “write”;

A perfect bowl of just-the-right-consistency Cocoa Wheats and too much butter on toast;

Monkey bread, enough said;

Sharing the peace;

On an icy, sleety Sunday, all the right folks in all the right pews in faith community;

Christmas tree cutting with 3 daughters, my son, and granddaughter – with a dull saw;

Hugs;

Sun glinting off a windshield as a stuffed cheek chipmunk wins the cross the road race;

Christ in my life as I walk the autumn days of my journey.

This tinker with the tip of blessing’s green rolling hills, fills me – brings out the soul that God gave us all.  Oh, certainly big ouches, anxieties, money, politics, world strife, and change put some odd color on days.  Thankfully, the quilt of my travel has far, far more patches touched by God’s grace and love sewn with the strong thread of Christ’s assurance.  I look forward to finding the first of these 2019 patches on New Year’s Day.    submitted by Dave Smith