Friday Coffee with PJ - Special New Year's Edition

Here we are with just a little more than a day left in the year 2016! So as you pour yourself a cup of coffee ... allow me to wax eloquent ... well at least ramble on as I reflect on 2016 and look ahead to the new year of 2017. 

1. For starters ... a look back at the year that is ending: 

- I began the year loving coffee ... and have finished the year still loving coffee! 

- As the year began ... Sharon was still unable to bear weight on her left leg (due to a broken femur she suffered on November 10th of 2015). During the year, she has made much progress ... but not enough. More on that later.

- We enjoyed getting to know our two newest grandsons, both born in the waning months of 2015 (Logan on November 1st and Lucas on December 31st). What joy they have brought us! 

- My favorite college football team, the Penn State Nittany Lions, exceeded all expectations by winning the Big Ten Championship! Go Nits! 

- I underwent an ulnar shortening osteotomy in August. Still not where I hope to be, but making progress! 

- Our family was shaken by the news that one of our sons-in-law's father was diagnosed with cancer, as was a member of our life group (among others in our church family). We are so grateful for gifted doctors who are able to treat even this dreaded disease, giving hope to us all. Of course, we realize that all who suffer physical ailments are in the hands of our Great Physician. We draw much comfort from that! 

- Our church was blessed in so many ways ... one of which was the birthing of our baby - One City Church in Lancaster city on September 11th!

- Our family will long remember our annual beach vacation in August. Ten of the sixteen of us came down with the stomach bug. We don't know if the bug was awaiting our arrival or if one of us brought it to the beach. Here's to hoping next year's will be "bug free!" 

- God again (no surprise here!) showed us his faithfulness ... through both the good times and the trying times. No matter how turbulent life becomes, the God of the Bible is still on HIS throne! Every single promise he has ever made, he will fulfill! Morning by morning new mercies we saw ... Great was (and is!) HIS faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-24). 

I could easily go on and on and on ... but I will stop with the reflections so I can move on to ... 

2. A look ahead at the year of 2017: 

- Of course, none of us are guaranteed the next day, let alone the next year (James 4:13-15). So as I look ahead, I do so knowing that it is God who will determine what lies ahead for all of us! So for all that follows ... I say, "Deo Volente" (Latin for "God willing") to everything I list below. 

- As I mentioned above, Sharon's progress with her knee/leg has not been enough. She will therefore undergo a knee revision surgery (removal of plate and screws used to repair femur and replacement of original prosthetic knee joint with another). The surgery is scheduled for Monday, January 9th. Thanks in advance for your prayers! 

- It will be fun watching our eight grandkids continue to grow (especially the two youngest who are moving from babyhood to toddlerhood)!

- I believe that as our world grows darker in so many ways, that the light of the gospel has all the more opportunity to enlighten many! I am excited to see the impact the gospel of Jesus Christ will make upon our world in 2017!

- As I look at my calendar for the upcoming year, I am praying that God's favor will be upon me and both of my families (Smith family and Grace Church family) and that God would establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17). 

3. FINALLY ... a few questions to ask yourself as we move from this year to the next: 

- Do I know God better today than I did a year ago? What one thing will I do differently in the upcoming year to get to know God better? 

- Am I glorifying God in my day-to-day routine more than I was a year ago? What is one thing that I could do that will help me to more consistently honor him in my life?

- How am I doing sharing God and his story (think "gospel") with others? Am I doing better at this than I was a year ago? Again, what is one step I could take that would help me to be a better witness for Him? 

Thanks for stopping by ... and may God bless you in abundance as you say "goodbye" to 2016 and "hello" to 2017!


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