|Celebrating 4th of July with a family parade.|
But here is my long list of thank yous for 2015:
1) For family and the opportunities to celebrate:
- Holiday feasts when the table bulged with food and family members with the youngest enjoying their own table. How lovely it is to see the cousins playing together so happily. We rarely see a tear or hear a cross word when they are together. Thank you, Lord.
- For the many visits from our little local grandchildren who love to come for the day, sleep over, play Kings in the Corner and Go Fish, bake cookies, ride bikes, swing, and just hang out with Gramma and Pakaour. They are doing a good job of keeping us from rusting out. Thank you, Lord.
|Bike riding at Niagara Falls|
- For the joy of having extended family in the same town. For my brother and sister-in-law whom we see at Mass most days and with whom we frequently share breakfast and riveting conversation. Thank you, Lord.
- For a niece and her family who also live in town and whose daughter loves to visit with our Fresh Air girls when they come in the summer. We also often see one of their sons reverently serving Mass. Thank you, Lord.
- For the Labor Day party our daughter hosts every year for the Kreitzer clan that allows us to stay connected to all those dear ones: Larry's siblings and their spouses, our nieces and nephews and their spouses, and all those darling little grand nieces and nephews. Thank you, Lord.
2) For safe travels and fun adventures:
- For our square dancing clubs, especially Campfire Squares, that offers many camping adventures, wonderful fellowship, and lots of good eating. We are especially thankful for our caller and his wife, Mac and Phyllis, who taught us how to dance back in the '70s and continue to introduce us to new calls. Their cheerfulness is a gift and a blessing to all of us. Thank you, Lord.
- For fun travels this year to St. George Island, FL; Niagara Falls, Ontario, and to Jim Thorpe, PA. What a great time we had biking and sightseeing! Thank you, Lord.
- For two trips to Austin to see our son and his family. Six of our grandchildren live there and we miss them and their parents. It is our major euchre-playing time and we love to visit their local parish, St. William's in Round Rock, which, despite being huge (6,000 families), offers a friendly, family atmosphere while we're away from our own home parish. Thank you, Lord.
3) For hearth and home and our family parish:
- How blessed we are to live in Woodstock and to have a house big enough to welcome and offer hospitality to all our children. With beds enough for fourteen and plenty of floor space and air mattresses for overflow, the Kreitzer B & B is always open for business. This year we had many visitors both family and friends and enjoyed every opportunity to make memories for the future. Thank you, Lord.
- We continued to manage our bees and harvested fifty pounds of honey that we share among family and friends, with a five pound jar delivered to the Poor Clares Sisters in Alexandria who keep our little enterprise in their prayers. A shop in Woodstock sells my homemade beeswax lip balm and it will only take fifty more years for us to recover our startup costs. Thank you, Lord.
- We love our little parish, St. John Bosco. With only 400 families we still manage to maintain 48 hours of Eucharistic Adoration every week (Larry and I each have an hour in the midnight to 6:00 a.m. slot) and a number of apostolates to build the faith. Our community outreach group is one of the largest private charities in Shenandoah County with a food pantry, rent and fuel assistance, etc. In January we will begin hosting homeless families one week every quarter through Family Promise, a private charity that helps families in crisis get back on their feet. Thank you, Lord.
4) For good health:
- Despite challenges this year, everyone in our immediate family is in relatively good health and we all praise God for it. We pray for family and friends who are facing serious physical or mental health challenges. What difficulties we have give us the opportunity to pray and offer the Fatima prayer: "O my Jesus, it is for love of you, the conversion of sinners, and in atonement for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
5) Most of all, I thank God for the faith. This was, indeed, a difficult year for Holy Mother Church with continuous confusion emanating from Rome, a Family Synod that exposed the internecine warfare in the Church, and additional scandals. Nevertheless, God is still God and, as Padre Pio reminds us, we should, "Pray, hope, and don't worry."
On to 2016.