Thursday, December 30, 2010

The End of the Year

Oh, my friends, I pray your Christmas was blessed and that you felt the presence of Christ. Our holiday was very good. I especially enjoyed the Christmas Eve service we attended. The music was beautiful and the message was inspiring.

Later today we are headed up to the mountains with my in-laws to enjoy the snow and ring in the new year. We have no snow here in the valley but the mountains received about two feet of snow! That will make for great sledding!

The end of the year has me looking back at 2010 to not only see what all we did this year, but also how was God faithful again to us. I am reminded over and over that He is. Praise you, Father. I've said it before and I'll say it till the day I die: I am nothing without Him. He has pulled me out of more pits than a body has a right to be pulled out of, but then, that's grace, isn't it? So undeserved. He gets all the glory for any good in my life. I believe that I recognize the path that leads to the pit a little quicker at the end of 2010 than I did at the beginning of the year. So I can change lanes sooner. This is the healing power of the Holy Spirit in me.

As I look to 2011, I decided to set some goals for myself. I'm starting small, though, with 60 day goals. When March 1 arrives, I'll do it again. It feels so much more manageable this way. I won't be as tempted to procrastinate with a closer deadline. Do you make new year's resolutions? How are you at keeping them if you do?

One of the changes for next year is this blog. I started this in January as a way to keep accountable with scripture memorization. I've done well with keeping accountable, though the verses aren't as cemented as I'd hoped they'd be by now. I have meditated on all of them quite a bit; I'm just not sure I could give you word for word each verse. But that's okay. Transformation is a life long process, not an overnight accomplishment. I kept the enemy at bay while thinking about those verses and that is a victory! I hope I've challenged you or inspired you to be in the Word this year. That was another of my goals for this blog.

I want to mention here that I had one friend who committed to the scripture memorization and commented on each SMV day. Sherri, I am so proud of you! Way to go! (I took a picture with her, but with my computer gone for most of the month, it didn't get downloaded. Sorry, Sherri.) Also, my faithful Siesta friends I met in Houston, Karlys & Leslie - I looked forward to your emails twice a month. I can't wait to keep going next year and I want to see you in Houston again in 2012!

I will tell you this "blogging thing" is much much harder than I thought it would be. It took discipline, creativity, frustrations at the techno world, getting over disappointment at the lack of comments, and a lot of faith. I've said things I wish I wouldn't have said; I wish I would have said different things this year. But I did learn a lot about myself, my family, my friends, and my faith. It's time, though, to end this chapter. Even though there haven't been comments left here, you've emailed me or talked to me and your support has been so greatly appreciated this year. Your encouragement often came at a time when I was ready to throw in the towel. It was just what I needed to keep going. So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You remain dear to me.

My prayer for you for 2011 is what Paul prayed for the Ephesians in chapter 1: I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Amen.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, I still don't have my computer. Apparently the hard drive was bad. Needless to say, it won't be $75 to fix. *sigh* But that's not going to ruin my holiday spirit!

All the presents are purchased and wrapped and under the tree. Our weekend festivities began last night with the watching of the BSU football bowl game. It was a rough start, but in the end, the Broncos shone and came out victorious. Way to go Broncos!

Tonight we celebrate with my niece and sister & family. Brittney is going to Phoenix tomorrow to be with her family for a couple of weeks. She's going to thaw out under the brilliant sunshine and blue sky of Arizona. To say she's not a winter person is an understatement. We are going to miss her and are glad to know she'll be back in January.

Christmas eve will be spent at my in-laws for the traditional soup dinner. We are going to their church for a short service and then open presents. When I was growing up, our family would visit a different denomination every Christmas eve. Our church didn't have a service so it was a great way to experience other church's perspectives. We've been to Lakeview Bible before and really like the pastor, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's service. It'll be a great way to focus on Christ.

Christmas morning we'll open gifts with the kids and then go to my sister's for the afternoon/evening. My parents and brother & family will be together in Phoenix. We were all together this summer. I'm really really glad my sister lives here.

I ran across this poem this week and thought I'd share it with you.

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas Style

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust. But giving the gift of love will endure.

I pray your Christmas is the merriest ever. May you be aware of how much He loves you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

SMV #24!

Hey friends! It's been crazy around here since I last posted. My computer got a virus, a bad virus. I took it to a place (shall remain nameless) that fixes sick computers and they wanted to charge me $170 to fix it. Seriously? At Christmas time? No, thanks, I'll try to figure something else out. My brother in law came over and tried to help, but, alas, it's December! I have other things to do this month!

Then, I went to out of town last week with my daughter's school. Steve didn't have time to fix the computer, but did talk to a guy who recommended a guy to fix it, reportedly for less than $100. Well, since it's been over a week since the stinking thing went down, we caved and took it to the guy. $75 flat fee! Blessed news, indeed. It's still in the repair shop (I'm on my niece's laptop) but soon, very soon, I'll be back in business again.

I've realized how dependent on the computer I've become. I've also realized how much I can get done in a day without the computer calling me for interruptions. Amazing. I've gone through some withdrawal symptoms, but I think it's getting out of my system. As with most things in life, I'm going to have to be purposeful about my computer time in the future. Success rarely comes through accident.

On a related note, have you seen the Living Proof Blog on Beth Moore's website? She will be starting scripture memory again in 2011. I will be doing it again, as well. I would love it if you'd join us. The best way to fight the enemy's lies is with the truth of the Word in your hearts & minds. We must be equipped to fight, friends!

The verses that have spoken to me recently are from Romans, chapters 7 & 8. In dealing with regret and guilt, I have found a lot of comfort from Paul's words in verses 7 - 25. I don't do what I want to do. I am a prisoner of the law of sin. What a wretched being I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I wanted to do a nice Christmas verse from Luke. End the year with fuzzy warm feelings. But my reality is a little more complicated than that. I am in constant and desperate need of a Savior. I am a wreck without Him. Jesus came to be that Savior. That is what Christmas is to me this year. So here are the last verses for the year 2010:

Romans 8:1-2 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

What does the Christ of Christmas mean to you this year? Let's be purposeful in our celebrating. Remember to leave your verse in the comments.