Our Blessed Life

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking Back & Forward

My simple homemade wreath

Did you wonder where I went? Well, mostly, I've been here... taking care of Littles, preparing for holidays, and enjoying the season with my family. We try to keep it as low-key as possible, but somehow we still ended up with 11 extra people in our house on Christmas evening. I loved it, though. We wouldn't have it any other way.My parents came into town Christmas afternoon, and it was the first time we've seen them on Christmas Day since before I left for China 8 years ago. So it was very sweet to have them here with us.

I let the girls decorate this year.

As many of you may remember, we 'do' Christmas a little differently than most families. We don't 'do' Santa, and maybe you're thinking that's not all that radical.... but we also don't 'do' gifts at Christmas. Jeffrey & I were convicted before we were even married that God wanted us to make this change, and I'm so glad we did with our very first Christmas. So we've never had extravagant gift-giving Christmases and then had to backtrack.

Instead of exchanging gifts, we write Christmas letters and put them in our stockings (and the kids' stockings)... We read them to each other Christmas morning... we enjoy cinnamon rolls for breakfast - a tradition I brought over from my childhood... I also buy each child a book and leave them in the doorway of their room Christmas Eve night (also a tradition brought over from my childhood).... We sing, and pray, read the Christmas story, and light our last Advent candle and enjoy a scrumptious traditional Christmas lunch.

Christmas Lunch... notice the 'Mexican' coke in a glass bottle.. a treat my hubby loves to buy me.

Jeff jumped in so I could take picture # 2... one day we'll get a tripod.

Then Jeff's Mom usually sits with our napping children while he and I sneak off for a date. Sometimes it's a matinee, but since we had just seen the new Narnia movie days before, we decided to sit down at the only open coffee shop around. It was gusty and cold here on Christmas (quite unlike our balmy 72 degrees now, just 5 days later.) I enjoyed holding a hot drink in my hand, sitting in an overstuffed chair, and gazing at my adorable hubby. We both had pen and paper in hand, as we talked about a vision for 2011 - where the Lord was leading us... what goals we wanted to put down for the next year and beyond... it was nice to have a few uninterrupted moments while it was still daylight outside! Most of the time, we don't get to sit and talk to each other until after the kids are in bed at night.

I love this time of year - making new goals... listening for what new thing the Lord might be saying to us... starting our Bible reading over again for the new year. Everything feels fresh, like we can leave all the mistakes of the last year behind and start new again.

As a wise teach once told Anne Shirley, 'tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.'

And I like that feeling. 'Cause I make a lot of mistakes!

I've also been challenged, by Joy over at The Stay-at-Home Missionary to pray about one word that will be the theme for the new year. What one word will describe my journey, my goals, my yearning in 2011? She brought up one word that instantly came to my head before I even read it on her blog: Simplify. Ah, makes me feel better just typing it. But I'm not quite sure that's where the Lord wants my focus, although I believe He has told me to 'simplify' - remember this post?

So, I will be praying more about this, and asking the Lord to turn my vision in His direction... and I'll let you know when He gives me my word for 2011. How about you? Will you join me in seeking what word the Lord would make your focus for the coming year? What will it be?

As for this little guy... I think his word would be 'Action!'... it certainly wouldn't be 'Sleep'.


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