There's been a lot of words rumbling around in this brain of mine. A lot of 'drafts' of blog posts, a lot of bits and pieces of the tornado that seems to be 2013. Its been a crazy year, no? Everyone I speak to says similar. Its been one crazy (for many tiring, exhausting, painful) roller coaster ride of a year. Rather than write the long of it, I'm going to sketch down bitty glimpses into the sprague happenings. I want to remember this season-this not yet 2014, end of 2013-that has been so filled with so many things. Mostly, its been filled with grace and good stuff. So, Here we are. Here's what God's doing:
- After writing a newsletter that we decided not to send (its two page of rainclouds and praising Jesus anyways,) Ben observed one thing. "Wow, its been a really hard year." He said it in a sort of surprise tone. I agree. With both his tone and his words. While the reality is we can list off half a dozen rock-our-world events that 2013 has held (that we'd like to not repeat,) we can list off two dozen ways God's showed up with each passing month, each passing day. Its left us, as Ben often says "better than we have been." I'm learning 'hard' doesn't mean bad. Hard, in the rawest, most beautiful of senses, for this time, means good. It's been a hard year. But its been a good year.
- After said conversation, we decided that there's so much of 2013 left! Two whole weeks! Its not over yet! I feel like we're a bit giddy with the slew of holiday celebrations that we are on the cusp of. We've decided to let this year end in all of the merriment we can muster and to celebrate Jesus' birthday with even more rejoicing. Why? Because we've experienced death this year but because of him, we get to forever experience life on the other side of this timeline. We sing a million thanks for that.
- We have a lot of Christmas traditions, one being we only buy 3 presents each. One need, one want, one surprise. It's tied with the 3 wise-men gifts, but I think it especially allows us to curb the deep desire to get ALL THE THINGS for each other. It also remind us that presents, as great as they are, aren't what this is all about. That being said I've noticed an increased intentionality in our giving. I'm so excited for our Christmas present gifting this year. So excited to see Eowyn's face when she opens her gifts. I bought things for my family that matter deeply to me. Things that left me changed. I look forward to sharing such gifts of meaning this year.
- This next year, 2014 will undoubtedly be the craziest year of our lives to date. Because of this, and because Eowyn has been hit with a nasty cold on the cusp of travel, I've found my days incredibly quiet. This is a straight up blessing from my Jesus. When talking to Ben over personal pizzas and delicious dr pepper nectar (that we got for free from buying diapers and getting a target gift card. Huzzah!) I commented that I've never felt more 'spiritually fit' in all my life. This whole year has been a tangible example of feeling the effects of sin, then feeling the even greater effects of a savior and healer. I'm already praising God for what I hope will come, and if it doesn't-and if all doesn't turn out how I hope, that's okay. This year and all God has done for us screams that we are still right.where.we.need.to.be. I can't even explain how much peace we have despite the tsunami we're about to go surfing in. Go big or go home, right? I'm thankful for this week to catch my breath.
- I sent out our Christmas cards and picture-newsletter today. I'm especially excited for them to reach my near and dear in a distant asian land-even if it takes 2 months to get there. I may or may not have washi-taped all over it. Who knows if that alone will make it take longer. I guess we'll see.
- Ben gets the best husband and dad award this year. Seriously. Praise God for that man. I'm so excited, if the Lord wills it, to have more babies with him. Kid's deserve the treat that is this bearded face and his fathering skillz. If this year has done anything, its made me fall in love more with my Jesus and more with this man. Ben, on the off chance you read this: You're a really good dad and even better husband.
- Quotes that were said a lot in our home:
- "May we someday know that the most exquisite work of our lives happened in those days of darkness."-Dillow
- "There's several ways to tell the same story." -Niequist
- "Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle" -Voskamp
- "There's only going up from here."
- "Fear is not a good motivator"
- "People are thinking about you far less than you think they are"
- "There's still mercy reserved for him/her, you/me"
- "The Cure had begun"-C.S. Lewis (From the full quote: "It would be nice and fairly nearly true to say that " from that time forth Eustace was a different boy." To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses, but most of these I shall not notice, the cure had begin." Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
- Bible Verses that were looked at a lot and shaped who we are:
- "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him"-Isaiah 30:18
- "Sharing in Christs sufferings becoming like him in his death, (you come) to know Christ and the power of his resurrection" -Philippians 3:10
- "See now that I, I am He, and there is no god beside me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal." -Deut 32:29
- "Surely just as I have intended, so it has happened, an just as I have planned so it will stand." -Isaiah 14:24
- "Thou he slay me, yet I will hope in Him" Job 13:15
- But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' Mathew 9:13a
- I've got so many exciting designs, and dreams in my head that I hope to create in 2014. I'm looking forward to sharing some of those things here. These next few weeks (and perhaps month) will be pretty quiet though on the blog front. I've been pulling out of social media slowly and have found it to be kinda awesome. I'm sure Ben appreciates me not feeling the urge to instagram everything. And I've found it to be restful to forget that there are other people in the world other than my 'home team'. You'll probably still catch me on IG, and maybe even here (because Lord knows as soon as I leave I feel the urge to write a trillion posts) but, just in case it works out how I speculate. Merry Christmas, happy new year (And happy valentines day too, Just incase.)
A special thank you to all who have reached out to us this year. If there ever was a year where we learned the value of real community, its this one. May God, in His deep goodness, lavishly pour out His presence on you. May this season be a 'thin place' where you feel Him even more than you normally do and may you have wisdom to rest in that place for a while.
Also, I hope you get all you want for christmas! Eowyn wants laptop cords to put in her mouth-Santa nor his elves will not be delivering her wishes this year, but she does get a (soon to be very annoying for her awesome parents) light up cell phone! It even has an electronic puppy on it that dances. I anticipate lots of squeals. She got purple pants too. She's gonna be stylin' with her cell phone and skinnies. Watch out world.
Merry Christmas & May 2014 Be Stuffed Full with Joy.
And if you haven't had enough of us, look at how little Eowyn was last christmas. Gush-worthy. Or to see her with horn-bows on her head here's that too. I like her toddlerness now, but I miss her babyness.