10, 9, 8, 7...

>> Saturday, December 31, 2011



May peace, joy, and contentment be your constant companions in the coming year,
and may this year be filled with unexpected blessings
and pleasant surprises.
 
May the peace surpass your understanding,
and may the blessings be only surpassed
by your gratitude and growing love for
the one true God,
our Lord and Saviour.


2010 Ball Drop 

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A Time for Everything

>> Friday, December 30, 2011

Man, it feels like forever since I've blogged. Like, really blawged.  There's been the standard weekly Thankful Thursday posts and my weekly posting over at the Through the Bible blog.  More recently, I've been looking back through old photos for Forgotten Foto Friday posts, and sometimes there's a random or reposted thing on the weekend or early in the week... but nothing original and/or of much substance since October 23rd!!

I've found myself wondering again if maybe this blog has run its course. It's not that I have nothing to say, but I somehow don't seem to have the time or want to MAKE the time, to get my thoughts sorted out and in print.  I still sit here at the computer too often and too long, but I'm never writing anymore.  Just reading, making a short comment or two, updating my FB status, and looking through a few Pinterest boards.

Of course, it's the end of the year, a time when one naturally tends to take stock of  last 12 months and wonder if the New Years resolutions have been kept ~ or what they even were!  Most of us tend to feel like we've failed.  Because I kept my goals few and relatively simple, I actually accomplished two of the three I set for myself.  Today I finished reading through my Bible in a year once again, and looking back through my prayer journal, I can see most of my days began with asking God to help me prioritize in a way that would honour Him.  In this case however, my success is limited to the letter of the law. I never learned to co-operate well with that request; I just started my days with good intentions.

So not too shabby, right?  Except that the one goal where I feel like I've failed is the one that was the most important as far as the outward manifestation of my relationship with Christ goes.

I wanted to spend more time discovering how to put my husband first among my earthly relationships and how that's supposed to look in my daily living. I wanted to spend more time doing things WITH my girls instead of merely being together in the house every evening, each of us pursuing our own agendas. I wanted to conscientiously work at developing an attitude of service and hospitality, to serve my friends and church family members better. I said, "All the above categories of people deserve more from me than they've gotten in the past. I don't want people to hear that I care about them; I want them to FEEL it."

But once again at the close of the year, I don't think I can say that happened. Others may be in a better position to comment objectively, but I feel like I did quite poorly in this area. And I know I've said it here several times in the past that I want to improve in this respect, so I'm starting to feel quite hypocritical about it all. I realize I'm a work in progress and to the casual observer, it's virtually impossible to tell the difference between a hypocrite and someone who's continuously trying despite constant failure, but recently, I feel that God has really been speaking to me about my half-heartedness and lack of commitment to true change.

I was offered a casual, part-time job that will start sometime in January (not the same job I was offered back in November, but still with the same company), but before I agreed to accept that offer, I spent a lot of time praying about it. The end result was a feeling that I should take the job, but that I also needed to spend a bit more time focusing on living out what I claim my priorities are. I feel like that's been a constant struggle over the last few years. I consistently put my children ahead of my husband, my hobbies ahead of my children, and all the housework that piles up in the mean time ahead of my friends. My "in real life" friends.

I believe the time may have come to take drastic measures to remedy that situation. Obviously, I will have less time to fool around here anyway due to the job (even though it shouldn't amount to much more than a dozen or so hours a week), but I think I need to actually do something about breaking this habit I have of just sitting here, idly, wasting precious time. Which is another thing I've talked about ad nauseum here and in person... Ugh, so many good intentions that never get any further than that!

I listened again last week to a Revive Our Hearts series from last Christmas about putting first things first, about disciplining ourselves to look after the truly important things before allowing the urgent to take up our time, about weighing the temporal against the eternal. The thing that piqued my interest initially and made the entire series resonate so deeply was host Nancy Leigh DeMoss' introduction in the first broadcast, saying her life goal is to be able to say something similar to what Jesus said to His heavenly Father in John 17:4 ~

"I have brought you glory on earth
by completing the work you gave me to do."

The reason that struck me so hard was because wa-a-ay back in 1990 as a 17-yr old giving my testimony in church before my baptism...

...that's exactly what I said, too.
John 17:4 was MY life goal as well.

It's important to note that Jesus didn't accomplish everything others wanted Him to.  Maybe not even many of the things that He, as a human, wanted to do.  But everything GOD wanted Him to do?  He had exactly enough time for that and accomplished it all.  I believe there is exactly enough time in every day to do everything God wants me to accomplish as well.  But I need to get better at allowing Him to direct my time and guide my actions.

I believe, like Solomon said, there is a time for everything.  And maybe, just maybe, it is time for me to leave ~ or take a break from ~ the blogosphere in pursuit of things I should have started working on a long time ago.

Map 

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Practicing Gratitude: Year-End Edition!

>> Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hosted in December by Iris @ Grace AloneLast one of 2011.  Wow.

I had thought to go back through my gratitude journal or at least through my blog and post thankful highlights, but you know, what it all boils down to is that I'm thankful for my life.

Sure, there are many things about it I wish were different, but I have an amazing family ~ immediate and extended; I have wonderful friends; I have everything I really NEED and so many additional things countless people would consider luxuries; I have a beautiful view of the setting sun each day from my dining room window and a mile road on which to walk daily and meet with God...

I am truly blessed.

Dove


*Click the button at the top of the post to visit our host and other thankful bloggers!

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I Believe

>> Sunday, December 25, 2011





Have a happy Sunday...
and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, too!!


Manger 

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Merry Christmas Eve!

>> Saturday, December 24, 2011

Over the rivers, and WAY down the road—
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It'd sting the toes and bite the nose
If in a sleigh we'd go.

Over the rivers, and WAY down the road,
To have a first-rate play.
We hope to arrive by a-quarter-to-five,
It's our second Christmas Day!

Over the rivers, and WAY down the road
Drive faster, my Windstar grey!
Eat up the miles while we're still all smiles,
How we wish for a shorter way!

Over the rivers, and WAY down the road—
Straight to the city's south side,
We seem to go so EXTREME-ELY slow,
It is so hard to wait!

Over the rivers, and WAY down the road—
Now Grandmother's face I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the supper done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!



Merry Christmas!


Stacked Presents

(My apologies again this year to Lydia Maria Child!)

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Forgotten Foto Friday

>> Friday, December 23, 2011

Wherein we dig through our memory cards, hard drives, photo CDs and flashdrives, mining for memory gold ~ pictures we liked or were significant but somehow got forgotten ~ and we finally share them with the world in a delightfully random post!

Wanna play, too? If you want, you can grab the button code from my sidebar and link up your FFF post using the Mr. Linky tool at the end of the post.

Well, since it's the day before the day before Christmas and tomorrow the days start getting longer...




Man, I can hardly wait for summer! ;)


What are some of your favourite memories?

(Remember to please enter the URL for the specific post you wish to share, not your blog's address. This way, even though you may have posted a few other things since linking here, people will still be directed to your Triple F post rather than having to try and hunt it down. Thanks for playing along!)


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Practicing Gratitude

>> Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hosted in December by Iris @ Grace AloneWell, the hustle and bustle is indeed catching up with me!  But it has been a good week.

I'm thankful all the presents have been bought, all the wrapping is done, and I'm so excited to see the faces of two little girls when they open their gifts!

I'm grateful my best friend and I took the time to go out for coffee one night this week just to chat.  Both of us had plenty that could have kept us busy at home, but I'm glad we decided to visit for a while instead.

I'm thankful to reconnect with an old friend whom I haven't seen in almost a decade and whose address I misplaced last Christmas after she sent me a random card after years of silence. This year, when a card from her appeared in the mail, I KEPT her return address and mailed back a card with a note as well, including my email address.  A few days later, there was an email from her!  I'm looking forward to giving her a call in the New Year and catching up.

I'm grateful the issue I alluded to last week has been dealt with and peace and happiness has been restored!  It IS a work in progress (aren't we all??), and it's not like these things will never happen ever again, but having worked through it once makes it easier the next time.

I'm thankful for Christmas and I'm so looking forward to heading down to The Big City to celebrate with our families.  It'll feel chaotic like it always does, I'm sure, but I'm praying for a good attitude and the desire to be a blessing to my parents, in-laws, and siblings.

I'm grateful for the end of the school term and Christmas holidays!!

I'm thankful for fresh snow.  We got our first "real" snow on November 5/6, but haven't had more than a few flurries since then.  With the milder temperatures we've been enjoying, it was starting to look rather dingy and messy outside (more like early April does around here!), so I was happy to see the snow falling this morning in big, fat, lazy flakes and making everything clean and bright again.

And I especially loved walking in it before daylight and being the first one to mess up the new blanket of white on the road!!

Frosty 

* Click the TT button at the top of the post to visit our host and other thankful bloggers!

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Living Nativity

>> Sunday, December 18, 2011



Oh, thank God that He was willing to sacrifice something, Someone, none of the rest of us ever would have.






PS. Thanks for the link, Sharon!

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Forgotten Foto Friday

>> Friday, December 16, 2011

Forgotten Foto Friday hosted by Laughing at the FutureAnd I almost FORGOT!!!!

Forgotten Foto Friday, in case you're wondering, is a weekly post for random pictures. Where we dig through our memory cards and hard drives to find pictures we liked or were significant but somehow got forgotten, and we finally share them with the world in a delightfully random post!

Are you ready to play along this week?? If you want, you can grab the button code from my sidebar and link up your FFF post using the Mr. Linky tool at the end of the post.

Well, last week I posted a few old Fidget fotos, so I felt at least three Peanut fotos were in order this week. You know, to keep things peaceful around here!

I found these ones from a couple of summers ago that capture a part of her personality that you'd probably never guess about her:  she's daring!


Despite her sister's high energy, constant movement, and loud, boistrous nature, it's my quiet, detail-oriented, crafty, bookworm Peanut that always wants to try something new and exciting ~ something often a little bit scary. I love her complexities!

What are the memories, special moments, or hidden personality quirks hiding in storage on YOUR memory cards or hard drives? Take a trip down memory lane and invite us along for the ride! Just add your link below.

(Remember to please enter the URL for the specific post you wish to share, not your blog's address. This way, even though you may have posted a few other things since linking here, people will still be directed to your Triple F post rather than having to try and hunt it down. Thanks for playing along!)


Tree swing

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Practicing Gratitude

>> Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hosted in December by Iris @ Grace AloneWhich has been rather difficult this time 'round.

I am not gonna lie. It's been a rough week.

I've struggled to find things to write in my gratitude journal. Many of the days are just blank. Not because there was nothing to be thankful for, but because writing something down just seemed disingenuous. I haven't FELT thankful much this week about anything.

But I am thankful in weeks like these, that I can rely on God's promises. On His love, His grace, His patience, His forgiveness...

I am grateful for the power of His Holy Spirit working in me, shaping me, even through tough situatons, so that when they are over, I will (hopefully) reflect His glory better than I was or could before.

I'm thankful there is a time for everything ~ a SET time. Only God knows how long it will be, but I can rest in the assurance that it won't be forever. Maybe just another day or two, maybe a week, or maybe it will be a work in progress for many, many years. But in light of eternity, that's still only a temporary problem.

It's like I keep telling my girls when they complain about something being too hard (like practicing piano):

Nothing worth having comes easy.

Especially a close and ever-deepening relationship with my heavenly Father.  And there is nothing worth more than that.

But boy, am I ever thankful God is more patient with me than I am with my girls and their whining about piano practice!

Trapped Ornament 
* Click the TT button at the top of the post to visit our host and other thankful bloggers!

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Forgotten Foto Friday

>> Friday, December 9, 2011

That's Forgotten Foto Friday, in case you're wondering. Where we dig through our memory cards and hard drives to find pictures we liked or were significant but somehow got forgotten, and we finally share them with the world in a delightfully random post!

Are you ready to play along this week?? If you want, you can grab the button code from my sidebar and link up your FFF post using the Mr. Linky tool at the end of the post.

This is gonna be an "F is for FIDGET" installment today.

Fidget is:  fabulous and fun...


Frighteningly flexible...


and had a beautiful case of Fifth disease pretty much exactly two years ago.


Ahhhh, good times. Good times.

Whether they start with the letter F or not, I bet you have some forgotten gems that bring back all sorts of memories! Why not link up and share them?

(Remember to please enter the URL for the specific post you wish to share, not your blog address. This way, even though you may have posted a few other things since linking here, people will still be directed to your Triple F post rather than having to try and hunt it down. Thanks for playing along!)

Tangled Lights 

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