This weekend was my grandmother’s memorial in Tucson, and the first time I’ve been in the same room with that many family members. It was a great celebration of her life. I made it through the ceremony with limited public sobbing and was so thankful to have my parents on one side and my brother on the other. Friends from far and wide came to tell stories; it was an hour full of peace and grace. (And even some Beyonce lyrics, which is a hilarious story for another day.)

Our family is really lucky to have so many good people in our lives. My gram would have hated the attention, but I’m sure she was happy to see all but one grandchild in the same room, in a church no less, sharing how much we loved her.

Have you heard this song? For those who listen to Christian radio, it’s a regular. The lyrics haven’t rung true until the last month. (Chalk that up to a very gentle and loving life to date, for which I am so thankful.) 2013 has come in with a fury — but there are thick, gorgeous silver linings around these clouds. I’m hoping to have put all the sorrow and angst of the year behind me in the first month. Concentrated? Yes. But oh, so glad to be done with it.

I’m reading a book right now that is total fluff and a much needed break from literary book club selections. One character describes the source of inspiration for long, loving relationships (may they be with a sibling, parent, best friend or lover) that “forever” is created from daily choices. To say your are sorry. To ask for forgiveness. To trust.

The character says, “Life begins when you realize love is stronger than pain.”

If there is one thing I have from my grandmother, it’s this: love. Love God first, and everyone else as you want to be treated. Trying to keep this in mind as I navigate a new month, full of possibility.