We've all had hectic and trying times in our lives. Many of us have said, "What a bad day it was!" Have you ever had a particularly bad week, when everything went wrong? Can you think back over your life and remember an especially bad year? For me, 1985 and 1989 were two years that weren't very good. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we've had those magical and wonderful times that we've never wanted to end.

Life brings us a few ups and downs. Sometimes life's events come at us too fast to take it all in at once. Other times, the burdens seem to linger on and on. Have you ever experienced a week, or so, of mixed events, all charged with emotions?

The "things of life" have occurred far too fast for me recently. I've needed to buckle my "emotional seatbelt" in order to ride it out. On the heartbreaking end, my cousin's wife in Utah complained of headaches and went to the hospital. She died twenty-four hours later of brain cancer. No one knew that she was ill. It was a shock.

On a happier note, some family members traveled to Sherman, Texas, to celebrate my father's 100th birthday. The day before, he lead a song during the morning worship service — "When We All Get to Heaven." I was so touched to see him lead that song. We had a wonderful reunion — seeing so many of our friends from the congregation.

Many people sent cards to my father. The telephone rang off the hook all day. Several friends dropped by to visit. One of the friends who appeared on the doorstep was the minister who officiated at my wedding. My husband and I had our picture made with him. It was an awesome feeling to know that we were all together again within a few days of our 40th wedding anniversary. Our wedding had taken place in Sherman — we live in San Diego — and it was great to see him after all these years. Coincidentally, we saw the best man from our wedding at the church building.

Daddy's birthday dinner and party were low-key. He didn't want any fuss. I couldn't believe that my father had turned 100. I had never even attended a birthday gathering for a centenarian. My parents' picture was on the front page of the local newspaper with a nice article about his life — see the links below.

Within a few days of that happy occasion, we had another sad one — my father-in-law's memorial service. He was a good man. Among the pictures and flowers at the front of the church building, one unusual item stood out. It was a large candy bar: dark chocolate. Only a family member would have grasped the significance of the candy. He loved chocolate, and had us trained to give him dark chocolate for any gift-giving occasions. He had become diabetic in later years, and wasn't supposed to eat it. One of his grandsons broke off little pieces of the chocolate bar to share during our time of light refreshments after the service. I almost "lost it" when I ate that little piece of chocolate, and thought of "Fafa" — his affectionate nick-name.

Today is our 40th wedding anniversary. We'll celebrate by going out to eat tonight — just the two of us. Later on, when things settle down, we may take a belated anniversary trip somewhere. However, I've taken a real live trip down memory lane over the past few days — that's sometimes the best kind of trip. Every year on our anniversary, my in-laws used to send flowers as their way of wishing us well. My mother-in-law called events like this "victories and milestones." We lost her two years ago, and the anniversary flowers stopped at that time. I almost expected flowers today, and then remembered that they weren't coming. However, I also remembered the joy of years past, when things were different. What a blessing!

He is with us in the ever-changing seasons of life!
If you're celebrating, sorrowing, or somewhere in-between, remember that God is with us always and loves us, no matter what. He is with us in the ever-changing seasons of life!

There is an appointed time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 NIV).