Saturday, January 21, 2012

One Little Word 2012

Inspired by Ali Edwards, each year I prayerfully choose one word to be my focus.  This year I had no trouble choosing my word.

One morning in December as I spent time in God's Word I read these verses in 1 Thessalonians.

"Now as to the love of the brethern, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethern who are in all Macedonai. But we urge you, brethern, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,"
1 Thess. 4:9-11

There it was!  Excel.

There are so many areas that I could pursue excellence in: sports, photography, writing, homeschooling, gardening, animal husbandry, sewing, cooking and while all of those have some value I am primarily compelled to pursue excellence in another way.

I have thought about this quite a bit during the past few months.  The Bible is a super-big book, and I'm certainly no theologian, but I propose that if the Bible could be distilled down to one key action it would be love.  

We love because He first loved us.

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
1 John 4:9-11"

Relationships matter. Loving people matters.  When my very short life is finished, I'm not going to wish that I had exercised more, been more educated, decorated my home more creatively, been published as an author, learned more or any other myriad of activities that I could pursue.  I will care about relationships that I have invested in.

You will still find me taking photos, homeschooling, sewing, gardening, working out like a crazy woman and yes, homeschooling (for many more years!), but this year as I contemplate my One Little Word, "excel," I desire to pursue love.

Loving my precious Savior
Loving my husband
Loving my children
Loving my friends
Loving the world around me and, as John Wesley said,

"Do all the good that you can, in all the places you can, in all the ways that you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, for as long as you can." ~~John Wesley~~

2012, the year of "excel" for me.

Have you chosen a word for this year?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Catching up...

Hey there!  Oh!  How busy we have been here... Christmas was *wonderful*~ our oldest son Nate was home from Ft. Benning GA where he is stationed with the Army for two whole weeks, our oldest daughter Micah and her husband Joshua were in town and my brother David, who I have not seen in seven years was home as well!  Oh!  I thought my heart would burst with joy!

We did manage, after several tries to get our annual family Christmas photo taken.


We actually ended up with several that I liked...

When you are trying to get 11 children to all look the same direction and smile while using the self-timer on the camera there are bound to be some amusing expressions!  I still love each of these photos~ and there were more as well.  So, so cool to have these to look back on from each year!

For some reason a number of my photos from past blog posts have mysteriously disappeared!  Flickr, what are you doing to me?!!  I will try to go back and fix those in the next week or so.  If anyone has any idea about why that might be happening, I'd love to hear!

So much has happened in the last few weeks that I hardly know what to write about!  As I mentioned, Christmas was fabulous... flew by entirely too fast, but still I was somewhat relieved when all of the fun was done.  I *love* Christmas... celebrating Jesus' birth, decorating, baking, family fun, etc, etc, but I also *really* like to get "back to normal" when it is all done.  The day after Christmas I was already putting decorations away, glad to get back to our normal routine around here.

On New Year's Day my sweet family decided to celebrate my birthday a little early before Nate had to leave and head back to his job as a chaplain's assistant in the Army.  They were so sweet!  The girls made a delicious dinner and even made my favorite black forest cheesecake!  The older children decided to surprise me and purchased a new Specialized bike helmet for me!  It even matches my bike and is so much nicer than the cheap WalMart helmet that I have been using for the past 5 years!

And speaking of bikes, helmets and exercising, I have been officially given the "go-ahead" to swim, bike and run as much as I would like!  So I am back running with Tom or the boys... keeping it to every other day for now, but I'm pretty pleased that after only two weeks I have already put in a 7 mile run and several 3-4 mile trail runs.  I'm really excited about the races that I am training for this year... I'll post more about that soon.

We started back to school on Jan 2 and on the 3rd the boys were unloading firewood from our pickup truck.  Daniel was down on the ground while his brothers were tossing the wood out.  A piece accidentally hit his hand, tearing his fingernail off and breaking his finger as well!  Poor boy!  I am so grateful that we have a children's hospital here in Kansas City.  Six stitches, some bandaging and a splint later we were home.  Daniel was *fabulous* at the hospital... I think the nurses there are used to having to practically tie down children who need x-rays, stitches, etc, but Daniel was super-good!  So proud of him.

We are now more than two weeks out and his finger is looking much better... don't worry, I won't post a photo here!

This past week we had a bit of a viral "bug" go through the family... I think it was the first time we've been sick all winter... definitely made for a quiet day or two around here...

One of the children captured these photos of Tom and I as he was getting ready to go run... I love it when they do that.  For too many years I was "missing" in our photo albums.

So many memories to record!  Several of you have written to me about Project Life with questions, etc.  I think that I replied personally to each of you, but if I missed answering any of your questions, please feel free to leave a comment here or shoot me an email.  I've completed two years of Project Life now, (you can see my PL posts here) and yes, I am definitely going to fill another album or two this year as well.  I don't have time to scrapbook any other way, and I have found this system of documenting our lives and stories to be fabulously rewarding and fulfilling.  As I come across interesting PL freebies (like free journaling cards) and examples of PL pages I am trying to post them to my Pinterest PL board.  Hope that will be helpful!

Oh!  I have so much more that I have been thinking and praying about... so much to share, but I need to stop writing for now.  I want to tell you about my "One Little Word" for 2012 and so many other things! Soon....

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!  It's good to be back here!