Before 2012 slips away too far into the distance, I will take time to reflect on some of its blessings.

Discovered Olafur Arnalds. Wow. His Pandora station is beautiful, too.
Caleb the Band includes 2 of Steven Curtis Chapman's children, who have experienced great heartache for being so young. They are fun, and their music...touching, true, and moving.
"God I Look to You" by Jenn Johnson I discovered a day before the Aurora theater shooting. It was a gift.

Compelled by Love by Heidi Baker shines the beauty and power (in that such living makes room for Jesus) of the Beatitudes. It opened my eyes, too, to the poor, broken, hurting lives that are truly everywhere. Here in the U.S., for example, it's not financial poor in abundance like Mozambique; it's the spiritually and emotionally poor and broken that are prevalent. Our country, my community needs tangible Love.
Seven by Jen Hatmaker was funny, thoughtful, encouraging, and could be life changing

Jenny's Sketchbook is a sweet and encouraging mix of her gratitude art journal, her watercolor animal portraits, stories and inspiration
70 piggies leaves me touched by her beautiful photography and words
Owens to Africa is about the 70 piggies family "preparation" for their new work of love that will take place in Africa. They will be moving from Indiana to Kenya summer 2013.
and I love the hearts of my childhood friends on Ruminating, Lis Dunn, About the Barkers, and my sister.

Changes at home:
Our deck from the 1970s had it's last day in the sunshine. Espi tore it down, and rebuilt a new one pretty much all by his lonesome (I was his only help, and it was minimal). He is talented, starting from nothing and making such a beautiful, functional addition to our home. It was a great labor of love!

We relocated our garden plot. We now have a wonderful 50' by 20' plot of gardening space steps away from the children's play set, and I can keep an eye on it from a window, too. Given how far away it was from the house before, I can agree much with the sentiment "close to the home, close to the heart." I'd never want it any other way again.

For the last half of the year, I have been working with an acupuncturist/nutritionist for the first time to gain more understanding about why I tested positive for gluten intolerance about 2 years ago and make changes to aid in a healthier internal system. The experience has been very positive.

An unusually quiet year for trips. We only made it to Texas, but we did twice. We only went camping once on the way back from Texas in the springtime at Villanueva State Park, but it was wonderful.

sincere kind and encouraging words and actions from some I have known most of my life, from some I hardly know
my siblings
my husband and our children
less talk and more living
less "right vs wrong" and more open, respectful, and peaceful relations
caring relationships

What I know from 2012:
God is very present. God is very patient. He hears and answers our calls out to Him, whether we call for His presence or His absence. (Does that scare you? It does me. That fear makes me want more of Him.)

I found this prayer yesterday; I must have written it about a year ago. I am thankful to God for His intimate presence He is making known more fully in my life. I have far to go, but He is working, caring, hearing, answering:

Lord, what a year. Great pain and sorrow, but you have not disappointed. You have been closer than ever, tenderly guiding, making clear what looked very confusing at times. Thank you for your Word given to us. There need not be any confusion. You are so open and straightforward with us. I know it will not be easy and we will not understand everything, obviously. Yet, there is so much for us to be clear on. Lord, I need your help to walk in obedience. It...

I don't remember why I left it unfinished.=) But here, a year later I am thankful for His presence, His answers to prayer, and His change in me in 2012. And I welcome His change in me in 2013. I need Him and want Him. What I anticipate for 2013? Change--good, healing change.

{welcome, Lord. welcome 2013.}