I’ve normally been a bit more ‘prompt’ in posting a Collie Family Christmas Card of sorts — to send cheer and warmest wishes to you friends and readers I hold so dear. But I juggled a few new special privileges this Christmas season and the time for sitting down for a Christmasy-year-end-wrap-up didn’t permit.

So here it is… a little belated, but perhaps still perfectly timed?

2013 has been a year unlike any other for me. I have wept like never before. Hurt like never before. Laughed like never before. And just maybe — lived like never before.

It’s hard to sum it all up with one special nicely decorated and well-framed image of 2013, so I think I’d rather give you several favorites from this year, and stir together some thoughtfully chosen words for good measure.


I’ve been surprised by joy recently. At a time that I expected a heap of sad to carry around with me, I’ve been happy… joyful. Even unexpectedly hopeful for what’s ahead.


Day-to-day life is full of reminders, great and small, that there is so much to be thankful for.


And it’s been said before, even right here by me: Only he who sees takes off his shoes.


But I’ve practically been walking around barefoot lately. Learning to say thanks, to see the gift in every circumstance. It is an exercise in re-training an old soul.


Gratitude is the best new trick this old soul can learn. And it’s no trick at all — it’s more of a decision to change the way you see the world around you.


To turn all of life into a treasure hunt, just keep looking for gems to bury in your heart. Giving thanks is grabbing a shovel.


Someone commented in a sympathy card after my Dad’s passing that he’d been promoted. Promoted to glory. This was his promotion. I thought long and hard about it. Turned it over like a two sided coin between my fingers.

And truly. I believe it. I shouldn’t feel sorry for him. If I believe what I say I believe about what it means to love Jesus, he has been truly promoted. And it is glorious. Perhaps I’ve felt a little sorry for me. Maybe even a lot sorry for me. For my kids. For our loss that was his gain.

But re-focus the lens, grab the shovel and get back to looking for reasons to give thanks — and my heart lightens, my step lightens, my perspective changes.

A year has passed. 2013 is fading away. And though it contained hard and sad and conversations with children about death and a funeral, it would be so wrong not to see this year as gift.

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It is not all perfect — today a backed-up septic tank, tomorrow, we can’t be sure. But I’ve seen enough, and seen enough cause to be thankful that I’m certain, still, It’s all good.


The hope that we celebrate this time of year — the Good News of God with us — is the greatest reason for joy all year long.

I hope your Christmas has been incredibly Merry and Bright — and that the God whose birth we celebrate on December 25th will be present with you, day by day, in the year to come. And a tip? Giving thanks might help pave the way.

Thank you for your friendship this year. It has meant more than you know.

From our hearts to yours, with love,

the Collies xoxo