Review of 2017, and a Happy New Year to Y'all

Well, 2017 was quite the year. 

Just four days into the new year, Mum was diagnosed with cancer, and for most of the year, this has been our constant theme.

In January, we all got together for Mum's birthday. It was only two weeks after Mum's terminal cancer diagnosis had been confirmed, and so was definitely a day of strong emotions.

How do you celebrate a birthday when you know it's going to be the person's last birthday? 

Well, you count your blessings. The greatest blessing of all was that we all knew that though Mum's life here on earth was coming to an end, she was going Home, where she is now experiencing life as we can only begin to imagine.

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In February, Calum Stewart took Niseach to the top of the Mither Tap (seen in the background of this photo). When they came home, she told me that in her five months of life, it was the best fun she'd ever had.

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In March, we took a gorgeous trip along the North-east coast, and I discovered that the East is almost as bonny as the West.


lighthouses ...

amazing ruins, 

and gorgeous sunsets.

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Most of the first half of the year was taken up with trips to and from Lewis, and coming off the ferry one evening, I noticed this sign.

Clearly, no one had told the sign maker about Ness, the real capital of the Hebrides.

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If I wasn't travelling home, I could often be found like this ...

I do believe I spent a good deal of time admiring this little bundle, a bundle which has made such a difference to my life since she became part of our family.

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In May, Catherine was able to come to visit us in Lewis, and on one of our days together, we took a wee trip to Harris. Niseach absolutely loved it, and smiled the whole day.

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The MV Loch Seaforth coming in to Ullapool. This was when I headed home again for the first time after Mum's passing. All was calm and beautiful on the outside. In my heart, things were somewhat different.

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I took this photo sometime during August. This was during my Quiet Time. 

Yes, I have a rather needy baby.

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Towards the end of August, almost as a smacking reminder that 'life goes on', I travelled to Northern Ireland in preparation for the birth of our first grandchild.

Some of Catherine's church friends had organised a surprise baby shower, and safe to say, we laughed a lot that day. They're a crazy bunch over the Irish Sea!

Whilst we waited for baby to arrive, Catherine and I (okay, I) decided her garden needed some TLC. She and I went for a wander in a Garden Centre and filled a trolley. She made clear she thought I was off my trolley.

And then, on the fourth of September, Caleb Finlay James was born to Catherine and John.

I already posted all about his arrival here, but I can't resist posting a few photos from that amazing day,

A couple of months on, and here he is ....

The wonder of modern technology has never been so precious to us! Having daily photos and videos and regular Facetime fun times is such a blessing and joy to us all. 

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And, finally, on Boxing Day, the day after spending Christmas with a very noticeably 'empty chair', we had the delightful news of DR and Diana's engagement.

And so, 2017 has closed its doors. It was a year in which I had more times of trial than in any previous year of my life, and it was also a year in which we had unspeakable blessings. Through it all, God has taught, and continues to teach me, that HE is my Rock; that He is unmovable, unchangeable, and that HE must be my all in all.

In good times and in bad, He is the sovereign God, in control of every jot and tittle of our providence. I am learning to rest in this.

And now, as the first day of this new year draws to a close, I would wish every one of you a Happy New Year. Lest any of you be in doubt, the happiness I wish for you is, without doubt, the happiness that's to be found in Christ. Because after all, what will it profit any of us were we to gain the whole world and lose our soul.

That would be the most unimaginable horror rather than happiness.

Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

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