What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Journey



The chair is warmed with the sitting, the desk snowed upon in an avalanche of lined white. Rumpled lists, haphazard plans, pens scribbling and myself, more and more overwhelmed.

The last day of December, the closing of 2008~ a day and year never to be relived outside of memories~ is also one of my ritual days, spent reevaluating where I am and where I ought to be and setting myself up for a more successful year. 2008 has been the year of most growth that I may have ever had. In my LIFE. 2008 was the road I trudged along as my eyes (and heart) were slowly opened to my own hypocrisy, my own rash (and foolish) judgements, naivety, and ill-founded trust. I sit here, at my desk and ponder the depth of who I am now-from the woman I was at the start of this year and I am an entirely different woman.

My perceptions of government have changed, economy, of finances, of worship, sustainability, of covenant children, of healthcare, even of celebrating CHRISTMAS, for goodness' sake! I believe whole-heartedly that we are living our lives in a more pleasing and God-honoring way than ever before...and yet....

I lived my life up until this point, not realizing the need for my life to change. Living my life without knowledge of a NEED to grow in those areas. How many things am I faithfully (or not so faithfully) screwing UP on without realizing it? I am reminded now, as I reflect, how it is NEVER a good idea to become so content with yourself that you never find it necessary for introspection. How many adults find themselves living the SAME life they have lived for twenty years? The characters might have changed, but the storyline is the same as ever? Those adults are missing the point. They are missing the fact that NO one is perfect. EVERY day~ EVERY year~ EVERY moment of our lives we can change something~ for the better. We can become more Holy. We can become more sanctified. Our jobs are never done, our expectations of ourselves ought never to be fulfilled. Our lives SHOULD look different every year because we ought to getting a different perspective as we draw nearer to God.

This time of year, while some reject the notions of resolutions proclaiming loudly that they are at best futile and at worst a waste of time, I sit quiety and ponder how far I've come on my journey and humbly recognize how very far I still need to go. I draw my roadmap for the coming year~outlining all those areas that I ought to visit, for how can we get to where we need to be without a plan? I write my lists of provisions (after all, a long journey requires some preparation for success), lists that will help me to succeed and make the path more tolerable.

I would rather make my resolutions and not get as far as I would have hoped than to not make any and get nowhere.

Those things I spoke about that have recently been revealed to me? Those things require work. Real work. Hard work. CHANGE. Recognizing how MUCH change is necessary is both humbling and overwhelming. Recognizing that those things listed are only the tip of the iceburg? That is just depressing. It doesn't take monumental shifts in perspective to realize how far short you have fallen. You needn't look that far, or that hard.

"MY SON, GIVE ME THINE HEART AND LET THINE EYES OBSERVE MY WAYS."

The hearts of my children are turned toward me and they DO observe. And that frightens me to no end. They see me stumble. They see me fail, sometimes without my even realizing it. The IMPORT of those words stop me in my tracks. If only I were a more accurate representation of what it means to be a person of God.

How far have I led my children astray with my own foolishness? How many times have I set them up to sin themselves, when I didn't control my tongue or act with wisdom? When did I muddy the water of their priorities with the sludge of my own misguided priorities? I can not count the time I have taught them IMPATIENCE and SHORTNESS of temper. These little people are my mission field and at times I feel as though I am screwing it ALL UP. I feel as though the Lord might be better off without me on His side.

"For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon you."

Yes. There is MUCH to change in my life, much work to be done.

This coming year I do not pretend that I will 100% succeed at all of the things I intend to work on, nor am I so foolish as to say that I will even master them. It is interesting that each year, the stops on my roadmap are often revisited, but at the end of every year I DO see change for the better. PROGRESS is what I am after. IMPROVEMENT. Even just one step forward is still one that draws me closer to God.

I am lying in the quicksand, the muck and the mire~ but my eyes are fixed toward Heaven. It can be done.

Lord, Cause me to know the way in which I should walk...

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Sneak


sleepin bunkin, originally uploaded by sgrbear724.

While uploading photos the other day, a mysterious picture showed up ~one that I hadn't taken...

Matt took a picture of me, fast asleep mere seconds after having retired to bed early with a migraine.

I love it when I find secret surprises. Especially when they involve photos of me and my darlings. I never get photos of my darlings and I~ unless they are taken at arm's length-my own arm, that is.

Thanks for the memory, Mattie

Monday, December 29, 2008

A week away~ what a week it was!



Soooo...how was everyone's Christmas?

If it was anything like ours, it was B.U.S.Y

Because this is our first year closeby the family AND with Matt having Christmas Day off, we were pulled in lots of different directions for the holidays. Still, we were able to carve out a bit of our own holiday time. We started Christmas morning with fresh baked cinnamon rolls and HIS story. Sweetness for our bellies and our souls, truly filling us from the inside out.




In order to appreciate the gifts of the season, we decided to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas-which we are in the midst of as we speak, although with only three presents each, the gift part of the celebration won't be stretched out quite that far. On the days that we celebrated elsewhere (my parents', Matt's parents' and Gram's house with extended families) we didn't open any of our own personal gifts~and on those days that we stayed home, one was all we got for the day. It worked out wonderfully well~ affording us lots to look forward to and lots of time to appreciate (and enjoy) what we had received.



We have been abundantly blessed by the kindnesses of those we love and we are basking in them with each new book read, each truck pushed along, each tip of the ballerina shoes and each extension of love now unwrapped.

Giftwrap now ripped and wrinkled is getting set aside for the burnpile, gift bags carefully folded for another day, new acquisitions made room for and all the tasks that have been put off for days are now glaringly obvious in their need to be done. Laundry. Dishes. Cleaning. Slowly but surely, life is returning to semi-normalcy.

There is so much I would have liked to share with you this holiday season~ the crescendo of Corynn's voice singing "O Come All Ye Faithful", the vanity I struggled with as our massive, glorious Victorian tree turned into "The Dorky Tree" with Matt's hasty and extreme "trimming", Mary's ponderings made my own, and joy.

Such JOY.

Time is fleeting and slips too easily between my fingers, so these things will just have to be cherished quietly, without the aid of hastily typed finger clacks.

Bellies rumble as I type and I must be off to feed those noisy beasts before their rumbles turn to roars~ but in the meantime, I leave you with my favorite stocking stuffer this year...

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Slim pickings

Though we traveled here, there and everywhere for the holidays and enjoyed every moment in each place we visited, and despite the fact that I lugged my camera to each location, *still* my camera was actually only put to good use at one particular celebration.

Thankfully, it seems to me that it was this particular time that was most important to document anyway. It was Christmas Day, at Gram's house. Gram is Matt's grandmother, newly begun her 9th decade.

It was a wee bit emotional, especially when she handed each of the granddaughters by blood (and marriage!) a handmade crocheted afghan. She had worked her fingers to the bone this past year-and it touched me very deeply to receive such a heartfelt gift.

It is easy to take for granted the health of loved ones, the years they have been given to us, and the time we have been given to share in their lives. Seeing another one of my children held by a great-grandmother, and another great-grandmother smiling with joy in the holding made me especially thankful this year.

Four generations of Newman...


Gram did the best in Andrew's eyes this year, gifting him a bells n whistles Hess truck and loader. He plays with that thing for HOURS at a time! And at the opening (his first gift) he was no longer interested in opening presents.

One more of Gram, because she has such a nice smile...

And then~one of her and I. I love her like my own.

And one of our whole family...because these times, they are precious. (Don't you just love that Matt is holding her hand?! I love that man.)


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Monday, December 22, 2008

The Littlest Elf



A newborn Santa Hat gave me such pleasure. 50 some pictures worth.



I've always wanted a Christmas baby. Miss Adele is pretty darn close!

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Captioned



I've entitled this one "Proof" because if I were a REAL photographer, I'd have a newfangled lighting contraption that bounces light into the eyes to create a perfect twinkle reflection. Instead, I have a perfect WINDOW reflected in the eyes.



"Ah Ahhhhh Ahhh....CHoo!"



"Revenge of the Elf"



"Twinkle Toes"
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Most Elf-like expressions






My personal favorite is the third one down: The "Storing Up for Winter" Elf

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Friday, December 19, 2008

It's a Marshmellow World



an inch an hour until midnight, then 6-12 more tomorrow.

Then another winter weather storm warning for Sunday.



But the warm indoors and table full of envelopes, photos, stamps and cards beckons me. I *WILL* get done the Christmas cards.

BEFORE the New Year!



I HOPE.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So much to do!



My in-laws just left, hand in hand with Corynn and Andrew for another day together.


This is twice in the last two months.

The first two times EVER that I have gotten a day without the kids, and it was THEIR idea both times.

The first time, I wasn't all that thrilled with the notion-after all, I actually LIKE to be around my children! ;-) But then...the day passed and I realized how HELPFUL it had actually been! You know I love my children and miss them terribly when they are gone, but I will tell you one thing:

I am incredibly THANKFUL for this time.

With Miss Adele's arrival and the move this past year, Christmas was far out of my vision-until about Saturday! Christmas cards to write, birth announcements to ponder making (if at all), Christmas gifts to inventory and accumulate (we have a LARGE family so the list is comparable to the Jolliest Elf himself!), cookies to bake for a cookie exchange, shopping, preparing, yada yada yada.

I have been able to accomplish so very very much in the short amount of time I have had been free of two extra sets of hands to hold.

Not just to sing the praises of my in-laws, I must include my dear Mattie in this too. I have been able to run errands for a few hours on Saturday without the older tag-alongs occasionally.

I've never had it so easy! Which is ironic, because I've never had so many children before either! :-)

Now.

I'd best get to taking advantage of this time because my list of TO-DO's is...


L


O


N


G
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wait! You didn't know?!?!

Why YES! I DO have other children!



A Little Miss



and a little Panda...



both decked out in the most generous (and gorgeous!) knit offerings made by a nimble-fingered friend.

And never have my children looked more posh.

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Snow Angels and Umbrellas






An interesting combination, to be sure.
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