17 January 2012

2011

Before 2011 is too far out of reach, I must reflect on the blessings.

Music Discoveries:
Santus Real: Pieces of a Real Heart
Mandi Mapes: Til I'm Home
Kim Walker and Jesus Culture
John Waller

Books:
Choosing to SEE stepped me through great grief with love, faith, and hope.
Help Meet challenged my thinking about God's design of men and women for the better.
Message from God and One Thousand Gifts were my favorite reads. The authors felt like dear friends sitting by my side, uncovering precious treasures only known in the great walk of faith in Christ.
Super Natural Everyday is filled with tasty recipes, but is just as delicious to read and gaze upon.

Blogs:
70 piggies,
my sister's Jeanne Oliver Designs, and
{whimsicalities} consistenly, sweetly blessed and encouraged...and were a beautiful feast for my eyes, too.

Movies:
Mother Theresa: She is one of my most respected women, and Olivia Hussey seemed to portray her just beautifully.
No Impact Man: eye opening and funny
Beyond the Gates was very hard to take in, but I was saddened most by how ignorant I was about this part of our current world history.

Changes at home:
With Espi's current ability to work from home, we tried 2 and 3 week long vacations out of state this year. Espi worked from his mother's place, for example, and we camped "locally" on the weekends. It worked.
We expanded the garden.
H started first grade, and AF started working on PreK.

Travels:
Mustang Island State Park, TX
Goliad State Historical Park, TX
Garner State Park, TX
Guanella Pass, CO
Fredericksburg, TX

Inspiration:
Retha and Aldo
Kim Walker
Ann Voskamp
"D" moved across the country seeking to do God's work with family in tow on the Mexican border.
"M" began facing the fight of her life.
"M" began stepping toward the biggest changes of his life "independently."
"N" took love to a new level with her family and adopted "Little M."
humility
openness
accountability
grace

............................................................
I think it is safe to say 2011 has been the hardest one, yet. The lies uncovered, sad truths confirmed were heartaching. Much garbage come out into the open; so for that, I am truly thankful for all involved. At least now we can plainly face what before was confusing and unknown. Through it all, Espi has been a sound and compassionate voice, balm to a grieving heart, and friends, near and far, have been blessings of love and encouragement. I am thankful to God for those who show love and tenderness and proclaim Truth with their actions.

What I know from 2011:
Good and evil are real. God is not one to be secretive or hide His ways. The Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit are our source of Light, our Guide from heaven; they are always in agreement with one another. God and Satan are real. We get to choose. This life hurts. Hurt is unavoidable if one is living sober, with eyes and heart open. God is with the brokenhearted. God is the great healer, counselor, and our very present help. When a wrong has been done, we are accountable to God for our part in the wrong and our part in "coming clean." We must not take it lightly. I can't think of anything more beautiful than the act of openness, honesty, forgiveness, and grace.

I better stop for now, because this year I feel like I could write a book.



2011, see ya! Would be ok not seeing one like you for awhile. Yet, hurt and need are a given, and I know where my Life and restoration come from and where I must go. Jesus.

Love from our home to yours!