I don’t think saying goodbye is ever easy and we have said goodbye the past three Januarys to some very special people whom God used to shape and define us for His purposes and plans. In January 2010, we said goodbye to my Grandmother Mackey, the great adventurer and my hero. In January 2011, we said goodbye to Jim’s mother who raised an amazing man that I am blessed to be on this journey of life with. And, then this year, we said goodbye to my mother. It has been difficult to say the least. I think one of the hardest things in life is losing your mom. But even the midst of it I knew His love and His peace. She waited for me before she left and I got some precious time with her … to love her and release her … no greater privilege than to read Psalm 23 to her just moments before she left this life for His Presence. I was able to be there to honor her and the life she lived. I was so blessed by all the love and support … I am a very rich person indeed. And now, I continue to live this life … a better person because of all I learned from her life. I learned so many thing from her, things I’m sure I’m not even aware of at this point. I learned how to cook delicious southern food, how to make fudge in her fudge pot (the only pot that can produce good fudge!), and how to make a home out of a house, just to name a few things. There are two things she taught me that I am extremely thankful for: One thing was perseverance: to never, ever give up. No matter what life throws your way, keep your head up and keep living. Another thing I learned from my mother is how to love people even when they are unlovable. If my mother left nothing behind for me other than these two great life lessons, I would be blessed. These are the kind of life lessons that have impacted my life and made me a much richer person! After returning from saying goodbye to my mother, we faced a bittersweet day as we said another goodbye. Bitter, as we said goodbye to an amazing group of people who will forever be etched upon our hearts. People who have opened their hearts and lives to us and allowed us the privilege of serving them for the past 2 1/2 years. Sweet, because God is taking us on a journey of faith that will propel us into the next place of His destiny and purpose. It will be a walk like that of Abraham … called to go for our own advantage … to a place He WILL show us … a place where we will be blessed … and a place where we will be a blessing. We go much better people and much better prepared because of the people we have served. I don’t know exactly what God has planned for 2012 and beyond … but I do know that I completely trust Him and I am very excited by the peeks He is giving us. He is a good God and I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that He plans to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a future and a hope … He is working it all together … the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly for my good! I am thankful … and blessed… Closed Doors … Open Doors … we are trusting our God who is utterly and completely trustworthy! “Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].” 1 Thessalonians 5:24