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2016: Dumpster Fire? Or Camp Fire?

2016 has been called a dumpster fire. So many well-loved public figures have died, most recently Carrie Fisher. Donald Trump was elected president. Global temperatures have been the warmest on record. Zika virus became widespread in the Americas and spread to Asia.

But, let's be optimistic, not everything about 2016 was bad. In fact, in my world, 2016 really wasn't too bad a year. Besides, in 2 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says to the Thessalonian church in his final words of the letter to "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Here are some of the things I have to be thankful for from 2016.

1. We had an exchange student, Ashley, from China live with us from December, 2015 till June, 2016.

2. Patrick's mom, Marilyn visited in March.

3. Ashley and I took a trip to New Jersey and New York City in April!

4. Chris and Ashley went to Chicago with the high school band.

5. Chris had the lead in the school play, Aladdin, in April.

6. Lydia finished her 6th semester at UWSP in May!

7. Lydia taught dance at Dance Dynamics in the spring as well as taking a couple of dance classes. Ashley also took a dance class.

8. Lydia and Ashley performed in the dance recital.

9. My parents (Grams and Grandpa) visited in May and June

10. Christopher graduated high school in June!!

11. Ashley went back to China in June :-(

12. Patrick and I celebrated 24 years of wedded bliss

13. The family spent a week at Family Camp at Fort Wilderness.

14. Christopher got a job at Pick N Save.

15. Lydia moved into her own apartment.

16. Lydia got a full-time job along with her dance job.

17. I got a kitten named Rhapsody!

18. Patrick started teaching Introduction to Engineering along with his other math classes at the high school.

19. Christopher started studying music at UW Stevens Point.

20. My parents sold their house in Florida and bought another one in Georgia.

21. My parents both had surgery in November without significant complications and I was able to be there and help out.

22. Lydia got promoted and made full-time with benefits at her job in the same week!

23. Both kids were home for Thanksgiving.

24. Both kids were home for Christmas day and for Christmas dinner on the 26th.

25. Patrick's mom, Marilyn, is renting a place nearby and will be here a good bit of the time (although she likes to travel a lot)!

There are 25 good things that happened to the Martin family in 2016, and I'm sure there are lots more that I forgot to include (like the fact that I had the carpet cleaned). As much as there were bad things that happened this year - and there were bad things - there were also plenty of good things for which we can be very grateful.

What appeared at the time to be a dumpster fire seems now to be a campfire where we can roast marshmallows and remember the happy times about 2016. And we'll remember what we loved about Carrie Fisher and Alan Rickman and the rest of the good people who left this earth this year. And we'll thank God for the good things we have right now. Because we don't know what next year will look like.

But, I know that Jesus will walk with us if we're going his direction and we ask him to. Bring on 2017. We've got this.

What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments!


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