Learning to celebrate

What I learned during A Year of Celebrating Well  

Learning to celebrate all of life's blessings.

We have had an incredible year in so many ways, and have enjoyed some memorable celebrations. This has been the year when I learned to value celebrating well.

I’ve never been great at hosting parties. They just aren’t a priority for me. Celebrations are expensive, inconvenient, stressful and time-consuming. I even find having people over for a meal stressful, and I spend way too much time planning. Often I suggest we eat out instead.

When our children were small, they didn’t have many birthday parties. I didn’t do the themed decorations, organised games and elaborate cake. It was just too much for me. We usually celebrated with a simple store bought cake, some friends over for a play, and a favourite meal for dinner.

So while birthday celebrations are still really simple in our family, we have had a year full of memorable celebrations in 2017.

25th Wedding Anniversary

Our Wedding Anniversary in Paris

Murray and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Paris. We planned meticulously for nine months and had the best three weeks of our lives.

Marriage is worth celebrating. 25 years is a long time. We have a great relationship, and spending time and money to build memories together is worth every cent and every moment. As we head into our empty nest years together, I’m glad we can still find so much joy in each other’s company and plan many more adventures.


Our daughter got married. This was by far the most expensive party we’ve ever thrown, and again, it was worth it.

It was such a great day! My beautiful daughter married a wonderful young man who loves her deeply, surrounded by family and friends who were so happy for them. We laughed and cried and danced, and celebrated well.

The Newly Wed Shane and Kate Walters

It is hard to compare our trip and the wedding to the ordinary occasions that we have celebrated with friends and family this year, but they are worth remembering as I reflect on the year.

New Job

When my husband got a new job, it was wonderful to see him celebrate with a big table of mates who supported him along the way. The men who invested games of squash, cups of coffee and long conversations in the church car park were there at the end to cheer him on in the next season.

70th Birthday

Celebrating Mum's 70th Birthday with my sisters.

My mum turned 70 this year, and a few weeks before her birthday dad called with an idea. We secretly arranged for the daughters who live out of town to fly home to surprise mum for her birthday dinner. Usually, I would dismiss the idea. It’s too expensive, too inconvenient, and I dislike flying; but not this year. I changed plans, bought flights, and spent the day ‘hiding’ at my sister’s place ready for the big surprise. And it was worth it! Seeing my mums face as she realised we were all there, and spending the evening with my sisters, was worth it. It was an evening we will never forget.

It was a pretty special year, and it has taught me to value celebration more.

People are worth celebrating

Life can be difficult, and we spend so much of our time in the mundane or the struggle. The thing that gives life purpose and meaning is the people we do it alongside.

I take my great family for granted.

I have four sisters. We don’t all get together very often, but whether there is just 2 of us, or all 5, we have a wonderful time and enjoy each other so much. Not every family is like that, and I don’t treasure it enough.

My kids and their partners all get along and enjoy each other’s company as well. I love watching them all together, chatting, teasing, negotiating. I wish I could bottle those moments! I know that in so many families these precious relationships are broken or strained. I hope I will never take this time and these people for granted, and I will pray for peace and joy over my family; the people I love most in all the world.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Psalm 51:12


Next year my ‘one word’ is going to be ‘JOY.’ It was our theme for the Christmas series at church this year, and the preaching challenged me. Joy is a Fruit of the Spirit. Joy is God’s character. Joy is a command for God’s people. My theme verse for next year is Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Next year I will be intentional about enjoying God, enjoying my family and friends, enjoying the simple blessings that fill my life, and giving God the glory.

I don’t know what next year will bring. There are no significant trips, weddings or job changes planned. But my life is full of wonderful people who I love spending time with. Next year I would like to continue to celebrate well. Celebrate friendship, celebrate family, and celebrate the blessings that fill my life.

God bless,