Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012

This new year has much in store for our family. I'm looking ahead with excitement as I get to be a part of some new beginnings, some "landmark" moments and just another year of the Lord's faithfulness.

Here are some things I'm looking forward to in 2012:

  • First time taking the kids on a real sledding hill and not just the plow pile in our backyard.
  • Josh getting his IT certification.
  • Watching the kids play soccer for the first time this spring.
  • Welcoming baby #6 into our family and our world.
  • Taking the kids to the amusement park for the first time this summer.
  • Celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary (Yes, we have actually been married for that long, or at least we will be in August).
  • Having all three girls in elementary school.
  • Gideon getting to begin Preschool.
  • Celebrating Jade's 5th birthday.
  • And honestly, I'm a little scared about this last one - turning 30. 
These are just some of the things this year holds, but I'm definitely excited about what I know is to come. Imagine how exciting all the extra surprises will be!!!!

Happy New Year!!!! May your year hold many blessings from the Lord.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Who I've Been, Who I Am, Who I Want to Be & the People Who Help Get Me There

The other day I was thinking about the people that I have looked up to throughout my life. These are people who have inspired me, taught me, or just modeled for me what I want (or wanted) to be. So rather than just doing a look back over the last year, I guess you can say I looked back over the whole of my life. Where was I at certain points in my life? Who did I look up to and why? Where am I now? Where do I want to go? Who do I look up to that models where I want to be? Does this line up with what God wants me to be? These are the questions I asked myself and here is the outline version.

Let me preface this by saying, I never wanted to be these people, but I admired certain qualities they have/had and think about do I exemplify these in my life and if not how can I.

The younger years:

When I was little I looked up to my sister Cathy. She was only two years older than me and my best friend, but she taught me so much. She was kind to me, even when I was mean to her. She helped me with my homework and even taught me some of the things she was learning so I would be smarter than my classmates : ) - not sure how well that worked.

Older elementary:

At this age, I was really into my music and already wanted to be a professional dancer. However, I still looked up to those who didn't get into a lot of trouble because they chose not to be troublemakers. (I obviously was not one of those.) One friend in particular who was like this was my friend Mary Black. She simply didn't want to do what she wasn't supposed to. I didn't understand that, being a rebellious sort. Anyway, I admired that in her and continued to admire that as we went into jr. high and high school. As I got into more and more trouble, sharing my adventures with her, she still just didn't understand why I would seek after that. It made me question that myself.

Jr. high:

Honestly, at this age I looked up to any woman who was a professional dancer in music videos or who was considered attractive by men. Yes, I was very shallow. That was where I was at that point in my life and I'm not going to deny it.

High school:

Jon (my stepdad). It took me a long time to really even like Jon, but when I finally got over my immature ridiculousness or just not wanting a father figure around, I was able to see how much he really loved our family.

As an adult:

I am saying as an adult meaning from the time I was 18, because, well some of them have stayed the same.

Glen and Georgann Richardson have been staples in my life for as long as I remember. But it wasn't until I was about 18 that I really got to know them. I truly admire Glen's dedication and commitment to studying Scripture daily, and his incredible recall of Scripture. Whenever I am realizing that I have let myself get out of my quiet time routine, I think about Glen and his commitment to being in the Word daily. Oh how I want that kind of commitment. When I think of a gentle and quiet spirit, Georgann is always the first person to come to mind. She is the sweetest person I know. She always has a word of encouragement on her tongue. I do have to say when I learned that she has only ever yelled at her kids one time I was struck with shock. I can totally believe that she would never yell, because again she is just a gentle and quiet spirit. I was shocked because I could never imagine that being me, although I would love to have enough control over my tongue that I don't yell at my kids (or Josh), so that is something I am working on, because I know that it is Christ in her that is the reason she can do that. Knowing that it would have to be Christ in me gives me some hope of it being a possibility.

Wendy Whitely is a great model of being a supportive help-mate to her spouse and I truly admire that. I'm not always so supportive or encouraging to Josh and I definitely need real people to be examples of that for me. At times when I need a reminder of what it looks like to be the help-mate, I think of Wendy.

These people are by no means perfect. However, I see them as the Paul's in my life that are saying, "Follow me as I follow Christ". They are living what they believe. They are living what they say they believe and what they teach others. I admire them in that I want to develop those Christlike qualities that I see in them, because I know that's what God wants for me and that's what He wants to do in me, if I will give up the control so He can. (As I stop writing to yell at my kids) Quite obviously, I am by no means perfect either.

Anyway, I don't know if those I wrote about will read this or not, but they have really meant a lot to me and continue to mean a lot to me. They are also the ones I still keep in contact with regularly, because of how much they mean in my life. Love you guys, and thank you so much!

Monday, December 12, 2011

To Be an Oak Tree

This week, in the homework of a bible study I am just finishing up, we had to take a look at Scripture that refers to those in Christ as oak trees. The key verse we were looking at is as follows:

Isaiah 61:3b - "So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."

After looking up some other Scripture that also use the metaphor of trees, I started thinking why an oak tree? Why would this be the metaphor God chooses to describe His people? So I started thinking about what I know about oak trees and how beautiful a metaphor this truly is, and this is what I wrote:

The oak tree is strong, with roots that run deep, making it sturdy, able to withstand strong winds and rains. At times a storm may come when the branches may be torn, but the longer that tree has stood, growing, the stronger it has become. Its branches have been the joy of many a child or small animal that has played or sought refuge in its arms. Its leaves, so green with life, are a display of its connection to a significant source of water and food. Those same leaves, a wonderful display of beauty as they change colors, unveiling God's wonderful design. As winter comes and the land is barren of food, the animals feed from the fruit of its branches that has been gathered and stored for time of need. During this time it has been stripped of its clothing, washed clean and clothed in purity. It wears the snow and ice like a crown of jewels. After the snow has melted away, it bears new life on all its branches. Throughout every season, it is a wonderful display of the glory of the Lord in its strength, life, fruit, and beauty. Oh that I may be an oak tree firmly planted to display the glory of His splendor!