Something surprising happened to me about a month ago. Maybe when I tell you what it was, you won’t be surprised, but I sure have been! If you have been reading my status updates on Facebook, you will know that I spend the first week of December in a discipline of silence for five days. I expected to come back with more to write about and share, anticipating the spiritual download that would come from the quiet focus.

But what I have found is that the depth of the silence has stayed with me and I actually have a sense of having less to write about. I want the words I use to be meaningful—I have been savoring the stillness. I’m putting less on Facebook, blogging less, texting less and chatting less. Have you noticed? There is a passage in Psalms which seems to sum up my current sense of things: “I have composed and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.” (Psalm 131:2)

Welling up from within this quiet and restful place is a very intense sense of gratitude—gratitude for my existence, gratitude for God’s love, and gratitude for all of the amazing people in my life. It seems appropriate at the start of a brand new year to share that and express it out loud! Words of gratitude are extremely meaningful words, so I want to tell you how much you mean to me.

Just having you in my life means so very much. Your encouragement, support, love and care is humbling. The ways you show how much our relationship and friendship means to you are simply wonderful. I appreciate you more than I can express…words cannot do an adequate job of expressing the depth of my gratitude. When I think about all the things that fell into place so that we could know one another, I am just amazed. Isn’t it pretty incredible?! And here we are, with another year ahead of us to grow closer and deepen our love for one another.

It is a privilege to know you and to have you in my life. I love you so much.

Happy New Year!