No Christmas cards sent out two years in a row.
No family picture amongst the beauty of the snow laden trees that I have been wanting.
4 remaining cabinet doors that are begging to be painted and hung back up in their rightful homes.
1 large, very fun frame that has yet to be emptied and made mine and hung above the bed.
Two closet openings still remaining open waiting for their rods to hide the contents.
1 picture still propped up in Maggie's room waiting to be hung.
This is actually kind of helpful.....sort of an online, public to-do list the more I sit and have these unfinished items come to mind.
In addition, there were...
2 amazing weeks at home with the kids, no school, no running around, less work, more rest.
3 great weeks leading up to Christmas spent enjoying a new kind of Advent for us...I loved it.
3 very messy, cluttered areas cleaned up (finally!!!) and made new for me.
1 annoying box that has lingered for almost 3 years finally emptied and dealt with.
1 daughter's room cleaned again in preparation for a big change coming soon.
Many bags of things given away in our lifelong endeavor to have less.
Several books enjoyed....some devoured, some slowly taken in and savored (Jane Eyre, 7-An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Kisses From Katie, Absolute Surrender, Hebrews, Colossians)
Evenings with neighbors well spent enjoying friendship and celebrating Jesus' coming in a way I think, I hope, pleased Him.
Day after day of incredible, white, abundant snow.....so. much. beauty.
So many moments of joy and surrender culminated in this beauty of a month where we anticipated one day to remember that Jesus came to this earth for us. This past year has been anything but what we thought it would be. We started out last January beginning our journey to become foster parents and could only see one path of what lay in store for us. Little did we know that 6 months later the Lord would give us someone we never thought possible.
I think this picture was around 20 weeks? Right about the time I realized that she might just be sticking around long enough for us to "have her." Feeling her move and having the undeniable presence of her life in mine every day to be reminded that my God is God and I'm not. To be reminded that He is good no matter what and that He loves so so deeply all the time. To be challenged to trust Him with the unexpected. To learn a glimmer of peace in His presence and not trying to figure out all the angles of what He is doing. Just resting in Jesus because there is no better place to be than looking at Him and knowing Him more deeply.
A memorable quote I came upon while reading Brennan Manning's "All is Grace" this past year:
"...If God wants it to, my life will be useful through my word and witness. If He wants it to, my life will bear fruit through my prayers and sacrifices. But the usefulness of my life is His concern, not mine. It would be indecent of me to worry about that." Something Brother Dominique Voillaume shared with the author.
My eyes have been opened to not striving so hard to be useful for Jesus but instead to strive hard to be close to Jesus. And He has delighted my soul in the outworking of this as my thoughts are more and more surrendered to Him and He has been ever so present in my life.
So while my now-public "to do" list sort of spilled out of my head as I sat down to write, I guess I just needed to "think out loud" to help me get where I had wanted to go for some time now. The Lord has been doing so much in me this past year and especially with the unexpected pregnancy that I didn't know how to share without cheapening the beauty of what He is doing.
There are still fears of the worst that I have to see as quickly as I can and give them over to God so they don't take hold of me and steal the joy of this time. So please do pray for my mind to not be pulled in those places. Because even if He doesn't give what seems so likely, He is still good...so good to me.
These little treasures are growing like weeds! This was the closest I came to get a holiday picture. :)
|Oscar is almost looking. He's still an amateur when it comes to having his picture taken. He just needs a few weeks with Aunt Jennifer and he'll be smiling for the camera like her dogs do!|
|Blurry, but such sweet happiness captured here. She was reading a favorite part of this book to her Daddy. So sweet.|
|Oh my joy...I set up camp here while the kids played in the snow last week. Could stay here all day on days like this.|
|The power had gone out. Michael and I previously had bemoaned our kids' new affection for Pokémon but I've come to appreciate that it's something they all enjoy doing together.|
|Everyone had their own headlights and life was good without power!|
All glory be to God!