Saturday, January 21, 2017


Our cousins hold a distinct place in our lives. They are our first friends, our first confidants. And although as we age and form friendships at school and in life, our cousins still hold a special place. At least that has been true in my life. This week, I celebrated the life of my cousin's wife, who passed away on Sunday. Although I did not grow up with Michelle, I have known her for around 10 years. And although I did not see her often because of distance, I feel like she has always been a Forsberg. Her death will leave a gaping hole in our family, as any death does. But her life will also be something we can celebrate through memories and stories. This week on Facebook, her friends and family have posted many tributes to her in order to process grief and loss. To know Michelle was to know her contagious smile and laugh. That sparkle in her gorgeous blue eyes. The fierce squeeze of her hugs. She lived life well. Michelle suffered from a kidney disease and was waiting for her third kidney. Most of the time, I would forget this about her, because it was not what defined her. She did not want others to see her pain or suffering. She wanted to enjoy being with you and focus on what you were doing with your life.

The bottom pictures are pictures from a cousin's party we had.  Michelle is in the Cubs shirt in the middle.
I don't know what was so funny, but of course, Michelle is front and center with her great laugh, doubled over! :)

That laugh will be something to miss, but also something to remember.

In death, Michelle was able to donate her beautiful eyes, so that someone would gain sight.  It was a hard week, but death has a way of reminding us how precious life is and how much we take our friends and family for granted.  I was honored to call Michelle my cousin.  Because I can't give her a great big hug anymore, I hope to remember that contagious hug and pass it on to others.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Blessings Jar 2016

This is my 4th year using a Blessings Jar to chronicle my year and recognize ways God has blessed me each day. It is one of my favorite things that I do each year, although I'll admit, that as the years have continued, I get bogged down sometimes. I think it is important to have something every day, but sometimes I forget to record anything for a week or week and a half. So, then, I have to sit and try to remember the blessing. Not quite what the activity had in mind. This year, I often turned my blessings into prayer or even into a praise, "Thank you, Lord, for..." This helped to refocus me a little bit this year. In 2017, I want to take that even further, and record actual prayer requests on the back so that I can look back at the end of the year and see what prayers God answered for me or for others that I am praying for.

And now, for some of the highlights of my blessings...

good sleep
dinner with friends
Scripture memory review
sunshine on snow
talks with friends
quiet days at home
units billed at work (this was a really good year after a couple of not so good years)
joys of Tuesday night Bible study
a group I led at work with my adult clients
serving at church
jeans in the summer
haircuts! (it made the jar twice!)
visits from family
productive days at home and work

And here are some specific entries:

January 3rd--"Thank you, Lord, that even though I often desire change in my life, the steadfast love of the Lord never changes."  Oh. my. goodness.  Did I bring 2016 on myself?  Since when do I desire change???  Apparently, 2015 had been a year of sameness and I wanted some things to change.  Just goes to show that we always want what we do not have!

January 12--4 year old client saying, "I love Teresa days!"

January 23--Thank you, Lord, for quiet days.

January 26--Thank you Lord, for people who will pray with me and for me

January 30--60 degrees in January?! (punctuation was original to the post! :) )

Feb 2--Thank you, Lord, for friends who pray.  And for friends who follow-up with prayer.  And for comfort in the midst of trials.  And for routine that keeps you going. (This was the week of my grandma's surgery)

Feb 25--in bed by 8:50, lights out at 10:00--feels so good

March 10--Lord, thank you for the motivation for Scripture memory and the desire to make it effective for knowing You more.

March 17--"dinner with Sarah to discuss co-leading Bible study"  Such a gift this was the latter part of the year.  Little did I know that the same time I was praying about approaching Sarah, she was making some changes in her own life that my co-leading would help.  God is so good!

April 22--Daniel's adoption!!!
                Surprised Dad for his birthday with Daynah

May 14--hit 30 pounds lost!!!

May 17--Sorry, Lord, for letting circumstances decide my mood--thank You for being in control and showing me grace upon grace!

June 4--spent the morning at soccer games in the rain
             spent the afternoon at Grandma's house.  She was in good spirits and joking and telling                        stories.  Was there to put her to bed and say goodnight.  (This was the last conversation I had              with her.  She passed away the next morning)

June 12--Grandma's funeral, meeting Aunt Thelma, spending time with family and sharing memories, saw the house where Grandma grew up

July 15--a not-so-good day with little sleep last night--thank you, Lord, that I can have a deep, abiding trust in You

August 24--Made an offer on a condo.  Eek!!

Sept 26--Thank you, Lord, for changes in seasons

October 7--Closed on my condo!

October 28--Moving day :)  Moving crew was AMAZING!

Nov 2--Went to Joe and Ginger's to watch the Cubs win the World Series!

Nov 29--gorgeous sunrise after lots of cloudy days...and a beautiful sunset.  Thank you, Lord, for the splendor of your majesty

Dec 19--Forsbergs arrived from Arizona!!!

Dec 31--New Year's Eve at Burkes.  Lots of games and fellowship!  Holding and playing with Mazie!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, 2016 was not a favorite year.  There were a lot of changes.  It was good to see the blessings in the midst of those changes.  This was also an emotional year to review.  I was surprised at how emotional I got reviewing my blessings, but am thankful to see how the Lord led me through each of those emotions, one by one.

And now for 2017...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

7th Annual Cheesy Christmas Movie Night

Another year of tradition!  We changed venues for the first time, hosting at Ginger's so that she could join us and we could have a little bit more room.
We had cookies...
And hot chocolate...

And movie choices.  The ornament secret ballot continued, even at a new place.

We chose Ice Sculpture Christmas.  It was a pretty good one.  And we cozied up by the light of the Christmas tree.

Group pictures are a must, so we can know who attends each year.
Another successful year, if I do say so myself.