Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Final Thought...

Last year I attempted to follow a reading plan set forth by a Pastor whose blog I occasionally read; reading 12 Puritan works in 12 months. I crashed and burned a few months into the year- but what I did manage to finish was indeed a blessing. Today I found that he is planning to honor the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin with a reading plan centered on Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. As I have always wanted to read this myself, I've ordered the reading material which he set forth from and should be able to begin by January 10th. (Gives me time to take down the tree and set some things straight here as the New Year begins)

I pray that however much I am able to finish would enrich my mind and enlarge my heart to the truth of God's Word. It would also be cool to have others reading along with me- hint, hint. Please leave a comment here if you would like to give it a try with me!

Final Day of 2008

Another year finished, accomplished, survived. Depends upon how you look at it I suppose, but I am looking back at 2008 and feeling a bit empty at the moment. That, I am sure, is due to the news we received last night of the unexpected death of a dear friend in Florida. So far away, and yet we are in shock all the way up here in Pennsylvania.

This year encompassed many beginnings and many endings. We re-connected with family members from both Jim's and my side of the family, and will, in fact, be spending today with some of them. We began projects here at home... but those are somewhat unending. I began working at Curves, which I enjoy for the new friendships inherent in being there. New relationships warmed our summer months, but one in particular ended, bringing a chill into Autumn, accompanied by lingering pain. Kate began her Mission Internship in Ireland, and we have adjusted to home life without her presence- maybe.

In all of this, the temptation is to look back and wonder, "What could I have done differently"? I could get stuck in that hamster wheel of doubt and regret quite easily. Yet the truth to which I must cling, which indeed has gripped me when my own strength fails, is that our God has Sovereignly ordered the events of this year to play out as they have for a purpose higher than I can see. My own plans only go as far as I am able to predict the future. God's plans go as far as eternity into the future which He has ordained. I am responsible, yes, to obey God in my own realm of influence, and failing that, repent of my sins, (yes, much repenting...). To the best of my ability, I am to be a godly wife, mother, employee and friend. Trusting God takes great effort on my part and yet I must expend that effort. My days must be ordered by me to be as productive in my duties and purposeful in my Spirituality as I can.

Yet, ultimately, my responsibility ends with me. I cannot be responsible for decisions freely made by others that then affect those I love. I cannot change what God has from eternity decreed, nor would I want to. When events appear to careen out of control, I must fix my eyes on Christ and trust that he has the helm and is steering our little ship exactly where he wants it to go. Trusting Him, though the wind and the waves grow ever more menacing, I continue in what he has set before me, and take my next step. Oh, the mystery.

So we mourn the passing of our friend and grieve for his wife and children who will dearly miss him. And yet,... in my mind's eye I can just see him, standing head and shoulders above that great multitude in heaven, praising God and beaming his thousand watt smile across the sea of crystal...

"And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the heaven and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, 'To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!'" Revelation 5:13

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ice World!

We have experienced in the past week several "Winter Storms". Actually, we have only caught the edge of each of these storms. Folks who live North of us must have had a lot of shoveling to do, while we ended up slipping and sliding on ice. While snow is far more fun to have covering the yard, ice, once the roads are clear, is rather lovely. Erin took the camera out a couple of times, then I took it for a walk through the yard yesterday. Enjoy.

Down the road from us these folks put out a wreath at the road as part of their seasonal display- coated in ice, nothing actually dripping, it is frozen solid.

Trees of glass.

Looking across the tops of the hills.

This tree is right next to the house.

Rose bush.

Yucca- note the strands of ice where the plant must have moved during the coating.

On Sunday in the sunshine- no melting still.

Here's where I grabbed the camera yesterday and walked through our yard as
the sunshine illuminated the ice sculptures.


Dogwood blossoms that will open in the Spring.

Ornamental grass

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Family!

This really has been a year for family re-connections. Three days after Aunt LaRue and Uncle Graham spent an evening with us, their daughter, my cousin Meredith, arrived with her husband Cristi and young son Adrian from San Antonio for a cold-weather visit! Being from Romania and living in San Antonio must really have Cristi missing the cold since they wanted to come up here in December. And what a treat! We were able to deliver on the desire for cold, and even threw in some miserable weather to boot!

Our children have never really known extended family besides their Grandparents, and having an Aunt, an Uncle, and cousins visit all within a week was so much fun! This story will be best told through the photos, so off we go!

Isaac and Adrian hit it off the first evening-
wearing similarly striped shirts may have helped...

Bekah, babysitter extraordinaire, loves cuddling her little cuz.

"Make it spin again!"

Great times happen around the table.

We went to Daniel Boone Homestead for a brisk and freezing tour.

Adrian, Cristi and Meredith

Daniel Boone's childhood home- sorta.


Waiting for our private tour.

Little snuggle bear.

So very adorable.

Erin introduces Adrian to Milo.

More attention- never ended, really!

Saturday morning we all pile in the van to head for Lancaster!

The Lancaster Central Market turned out to be a fascinating place.

Not many Amish folks in San Antonio...

Beautiful blooms.

Adrian loves the soft pretzles.

So much to see...

Granola dude and his amazing bread.

We are having fun- as re-defined in our adulthood.

Bekah and Isaac, hanging out.

Sweet Erin.

Finding a laugh!

The whole gang, wares in tow.

The kiddo cousins

At the National Christmas Center in Paradise, PA.

Our shrinking family.

Erin shows Adrian wind-chimes in an Amish shop
while we all peruse the quilts and goodies.

Sunday after church we went to the Goggleworks open house.
We started our tour with a gleass-blowing demo- cool!

Everyone sits transfixed.

Neat process to watch as they transform the molten glass into a work of art.

Then we toured the artist's studios. progress...

Given the opportunity to add to this painting, Jim grabs the brush!

Cristi grabs the cookies...

...and Meredith paints toenails.

Erin and Isaac make cards.


"Thought Process", the illumination of the outside of the Goggleworks- too cool.

Out to dinner- Mexican style... for PA.

Meredith can't believe he's eating the whole thing.

Sly guy.

Tired little guy naps on the couch.
We stopped Milo just in time as he was preparing to join Adrian...

Cristi and Meredith

Adrian eventually got used to our sweet Milo-man.

Out on the swing.

Cristi and then Meredith got turns shooting the potato gun.

Last evening here, the girls entertain Adrian with cell phone sounds...
we don't have many little toys around anymore.

Adrian will teach Mommy how to do this someday.
We had a splendid time and these photos are merely a glimpse of all that we did. Time for me to rest up, rumor has it that Christmas is coming and last time I checked, I was not ready!