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Anne Adriance

Featured in 2013 Edition
In the midst of a year of transitions, ANNE ADRIANCE of Oldwick, New Jersey, has learned more profoundly that the most important things never ever change. For that, she says, “I am deeply grateful. My husband Matt and I have had one son graduate from college and start a life on his own, and another son live in faraway cities all year long. It's meant we've had to learn new ways of relating as parents, expressing our feelings and sharing our connections as a family. Through it all, my love for my precious family, and my joy in living the life I have before me, has only grown!

Sam Adriance

It has been a year of many blessings for SAM ADRIANCE of New Haven, Connecticut. Chief among them was his marriage to Emily Siefken in Austin, Texas. “Our wedding was a perfect day because it was so true to us both,” he says. “It was an intimate ceremony that focused on sharing our love with each other and our family.” He also saw his brother, Ned, graduate from Davidson College and start work on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the same city where Sam spent his summer off from law school, working as a legal intern at the Department of Justice. Sam still frequently sees his parents, who live in New Jersey with the family dog, Nellie.

marci alborghetti

“It was a very challenging year for me and my husband, Charlie,” MARCI ALBORGHETTI of New London, Connecticut, acknowledges. “I believe it was an opportunity to grow closer to God by realizing that no matter how much I want to control my life, He is in charge. I'm trying to trust Him even more.” She also used the time to work on two new books, Being the Body of Christ and The People of the Nativity Story. Marci lost her dear friend and correspondent Lynn Holm, a longtime Guideposts reader, and “one of the most truly godly men I've ever known. The only comfort for all of us who knew him and were mentored by him is that he's now where he most wanted to be: with God and his wife and daughter.”

Andrew Attaway

ANDREW ATTAWAY of New York City writes, “As our daughter Maggie, 12, and our son Stephen, 10, continually remind us, we’ve had three seniors in the house this year: college senior Elizabeth, 19, our son John, 17, a senior in high school, and me, now a senior citizen. We’ve also got Mary, 15, diligent as a high school sophomore, joyful and radiant as a dancer. And my wife, Julia, who does more for her family and her community than I have room to tell. And, of course, there's Amsterdam, who sheds nearly as much happiness as he does hair.”

julia attaway

“We had a Philippians 4:11 year,” writes JULIA ATTAWAY of New York City. “One in which we've had to find contentment in all kinds of difficult circumstances.” She notes that there's value in having to dig deep—and then deeper—to find God's presence and light. “Every now and then I still find myself praying, `Please let some of this be over already!' But I've learned that a strong relationship with God doesn't depend on getting to the other side of a hardship. I have to, and want to, love Him at every moment, in every situation. Figuring out how to do that is ongoing work.”

karen barber

“One of the greatest joys of the Prayer Igniters trip to Israel that I took,” says KAREN BARBER, “was having the opportunity to worship with an Arab Christian church in Nazareth, with a Messianic Jewish congregation on Mount Carmel, and with an Anglican church full of Dutch tourists in Jerusalem. What a heavenly experience when you’re singing the English words of ‘How Great Thou Art’ while the rest of the congregation is singing in Arabic! Now that I’m back home in Alpharetta, Georgia, where Gordon and I are enjoying our children and grandchildren, it's amazing to think that our times of greatest joy get even better when we join together in worshipping God.”

evelyn bence

EVELYN BENCE of Arlington, Virginia, is particularly grateful for her extended family: siblings spread across the country who support one another through prayer and lifelong encouragements. “I also get great joy through my small church community, hosting potlucks and serving as a lay Eucharistic minister. The many aspects of hosting took on new meaning this year as I finished the book manuscript Room at My Table: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality, fifty-two personal meditations along with some favorite family recipes.”

erika bentsen

“BlueDog, my McNabb cow dog, has been my constant guardian through the entire ordeal with back surgery,” writes ERIKA BENTSEN of Sprague River, Oregon. “However, I'm afraid he's become positively rotund from all the inactivity. But I have great news at last! My doctor has determined the pain is being caused by an inflamed facet joint. Through a combination of treatments, we now have the pain curbed into manageable levels. If healing continues, I hope BlueDog and I can get back into shape to begin the next exciting chapter in life that God has in store for us.”

rhoda blecker

“This was the year that my husband died,” says RHODA BLECKER of Bellingham, Washington. “We called hospice on Friday, just days after the doctor had told us Keith had six months to live. We were not that fortunate, and he died on Sunday. He waited until only he and I were home, and I was right beside him, singing the song we blessed each other with every Shabbos. My husband died just as he wished: in our home, in our bed. It was a blessing. And now my prayer is that when it’s my time to die, Keith comes to get me so that we can be together again. As for me, one of the nuns who came the evening he died said that she thought the grace of God was all around me. And so, I believe, it is.”

“It’s been a year of really appreciating family,” writes MELODY BONNETTE SWANG of Mandeville, Louisiana. “Two things stand out that helped me get through the loss of my husband. First, my four children and eleven grandchildren filled my life with such love. Second was my church. Its glorious praise music and Pastor Steve’s inspiring messages did so much to heal my broken heart and bind up my wounds—not to mention the caring women in my Bible study. And my family continues to grow! Misty married a wonderful man, and we welcomed Jeff and his two children, Blake and Riley, into the fold. Kristen’s husband, Paul, is head chef at a local seafood restaurant; Christopher is playing music again; and Kevin is out of the US Air Force and studying computer science. Life is good!”