What Really Matters?

Hawaii 2021 with Violet and Cindie

During our time in Hawaii with Violet, many daily tasks did not get done. The time spent with Violet and Cindie was the priority. While it was fun to play in the Pacific Ocean, to explore Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii, those aren’t the things I treasure. There was beauty all around us. The food and the lodging were wonderful. The change of pace was a blessing. There were emails that I did not open and stock options I did not buy or sell. What I really treasure about that trip was the time Cindie and I enjoyed with Violet. We made memories together.

This morning, however, I finally opened a message from Amazon Photos. Little did I know, but I should have, that Amazon wanted to sell me something. Their goal was to get me to purchase a book with a collection of pictures in my Amazon Photos account. They gave me a selection that was tempting. But I could pick the year and their recommended photos appeared.

What I Saw From 2018

Every year my photos include flowers, insects, fish, places, food, projects, and important events. But what struck me was the importance of people in the pictures. The pictures I snapped of beautiful flowers are enjoyable. The scenery is amazing. But the memories triggered by looking at pictures of people I love captured my attention and my heart. It was as if I could hear the voices and step back to relive some special times with those I love. Let me give you a brief tour of 2018.


It should be obvious that we have two amazing children and six wonderful grandchildren. You cannot spend much time looking at my Facebook page and not see them. Matt, Kelly, Mia, Noelle, Beth, Jason, Violet, Charlie, Henry, and George all fit into this amazing gift God has given us. We also have been able to bless and be blessed by Cindie’s mom and siblings. During 2018, we also had the benefit of friends who helped us, and who continue to be a blessing in our lives. Pete and Suzy are two of the friends who make life even better when we are with them.

Friends Close By

In 2018 I was given the privilege of helping some new friends who came to this country from Venezuela. Herim, Waldely, and their two daughters hold a special place in our hearts. It is a joy to see them thriving in their new home in Madison. We all learned together about the immigration process and God provided help each step of the way.

Herim and Waldely and their daughters. A wonderful family!

Friends Far Away

September 2018 marked the beginning of a core group of new friends when I traveled to India. It was both a learning experience and a shock to my view of “reality.” But the most precious part of that trip, and a subsequent one in 2019, was getting to know some dear people in Dehradun India.

Christmas Number 70

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will experience my seventieth Christmas. Some of the faces from 2018 are no longer here. Others are far away. But I am reminded once again that the real blessings are those we receive from family, friends and from a God who loved us and sent his Son to be our Savior. Love God. Love people. Enjoy what you have, but don’t do it at the expense of your time with others!

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11