Friday, January 4, 2019

My Word for This Year

I am not athletic.  Never have been.  I'm actually not even super keen on athletics.  It seems so many
games, and sporting events happen...well, outdoors and, if I'm not athletic, I am certainly not outdoorsy.  I love God's beauty seen in nature and I appreciate the health benefits of getting outside, but in my heart of hearts...I'm not outdoorsy.  But, I do try.  When my children were younger, I tried even more (funny how that works).  We hiked regularly.  We climbed boulders.  We biked and we canoed. We did a lot.  Outside.  More than once, we even went white water rafting.

I remember one rafting trip all too well.  The rapids were supposed to be two's and three's.  Fun but not too rough.  Getting wet but not soaked.  (Soaking your head is not acceptable.  Indoorsy people have to have limits!)  It was not terribly far into the trip downriver that it became very clear our trip was going to more than we thought.  Much more.  The internet's definition of  Class IV rapids is: Long, difficult rapids with constricted passages that often require complex maneuvering in turbulent water.  I don't know if we actually hit Class IVs but turbulent water is exactly what we felt!

My mama bear instinct kicked in quickly.  I began to paddle harder, paddle stronger and do whatever I could to make sure everyone stayed in the raft.  However, (being indoorsy and alland not really knowing what I was doing), I'm sure I was not helping and even making things more difficult for our trained guide.  Exhaustion eventually took over and I sank back in the raft and yielded all control to the guide.  He handled those rapids like an experienced rafter would.  He even had the kids enjoying it and, to this day, we have great memories of that afternoon.  Most of us.

Surrendering control is something with which I have always struggled.  Not only when my children were little (and about to be lost downstream) but even now, as an empty-nester.  Not simply when circumstances seem threatening but even in the best of times.  I need control.  With my to-do list.  In relationships. With hopes and dreams - of my own and everyone around me!  A sense of control is what keeps me even-keeled.  Emotionally, mentally and in some ways, even physically.

2019 is the year for surrender.  My surrendering.  This is a journey that will, no doubt, take longer than a year; although, I do hope to have made real progress by year's end.  It will be, in the largest part, a spiritual journey.  Obviously, I certainly can only expect to see change with His help.  I also know if I will first surrender to Him my hopes, my plans, and my heart's desires - as well as the insecurities that cause me to crave control - I will see victories spiritually.  Only afterward, will other victories follow. 

I'll admit, the task ahead - just the idea - seems a bit overwhelming; however, I know that God placed this on my heart as I prayed for a word to take with me through the year ahead.  I'm eager to see all the difference at the end of this year.  Looking back, I'm sure I will be able to say "that was worth the trip" - just as we did on our vacation years ago.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Welcome 2019 - So Glad You Are Here:)

I am a morning person.  Through and through, the lover of a brand new day.  It is also no secret I love Mondays!  Love them.  I also love the beginning of a new month and, well, the beginning of a new year is just the best of new beginnings.  I am in my happy place on this exciting day!  Happy New Year - the possibilities are endless.

No doubt, many started this Tuesday - this first day of 2019 - with heavy hearts.  With more concerns and burdens than with thoughts of anticipation.  Some are facing real trials and the days or weeks ahead seem never-ending.  I don't make light of any of that; however, I do know that if your new year feels like a fresh, new beginning or if you feel something completely opposite, as a Christian we can start this year with hope.  Not worry.  Not anxiety, dread, discouragement or even despair.  But our hearts can have hope that comes with the confidence that we will not walk through 2019 alone.  Our savior not only is a friend, but He is also our counselor, encourager, our guide, and our shepherd.  I pray that truth gives you a fresh expectancy on this first day of 2019!!  I pray it gives you peace...but, as well, stirs your heart and mind with excitement for all He can, and will, do in the year ahead.  Once again - Happy New Year!!

As promised, just for fun,  I wanted to share a quick recipe.  Maybe something new to try in this new year.  It is for Pineapple Casserole.  It is similar to a bread pudding but more of a side dish than a dessert.  You decide:)  It is easy and very tasty  - and was shared with me by a very special friend.  Thank you, Bonnie!

Baked Pineapple Casserole

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, with juice
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1 cup white toast, cubed

Mix pineapple, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and flour together.  Saute toast cubes in melted butter until golden brown.  Add toast cubes to the mixture.  Mix and place in greased casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

And, just for a little more fun....let me share this YouTube video.  It is from three years ago (so, nothing new) and is one last listen of Christmas cheer but it is a delight and took place at Union Station downtown.  I live in the suburbs of our nation's capital and, apparently, these fun things happen often "in my backyard" but, trust me, I never see them.  Clearly, I need to get out more!  Here's hoping something - just for fun - happens in your backyard soon:)

One more time - Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 28, 2018

A Lover of Words

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Christmas.  Mine was special - and involved a lot of change...or new things for our family.  New, in a good way.  (New people. New places.  New plans and new traditions.)  Actually, there has been quite a bit of change around here.  Hopefully, I will be sharing a bit more about those changes in the weeks ahead.  Without realizing it, I think "change" has even impacted my word for the new year.

Although I do enjoy making resolutions - more of a personal goals-setting activity for me - I really find a "word for the year" to be helpful.  It keeps me mentally focused.  (And, I can use all the focus help I can find.)  I will also post more, next week, about my word...but I can give you a preview.  My 2019 word is:  SURRENDER. See the connection?  Between change and surrender.  It is a great word, for me, for the months ahead.

There were other words that stayed on my heart.  One was SAVOR.  I love that word - and the idea of completely appreciating and enjoying something.  It is so easy to go through the day on auto-pilot.  Or to become so focused on a daily agenda.  Or to become so familiar with our routine and/or comfort zone that we actually miss the day.  We miss the details.  The small things and, often, the divine appointments that God puts in our path.  I don't want to go through my days that way.

To savor my days is to mentally slow down.  To take notice.  To be fully engaged.  And then to enjoy each day. Even if it is not my word for 2019, it is still a wonderful goal.  I tried it over the last few weeks leading to Christmas.  I wanted to intentionally savor all the little details that combine to make Christmas uniquely special for me and my family.   Toward the end of the month, I joined Whitney at Come Home for Comfort, as well as a few of her friends, for an Instagram challenge.  It was 12 Days of Cozy.  My Instagram skills are very basic, to say the least, but I loved looking at the everyday Christmas things around my home and seeing them in a fresh way - and enjoying them.

My Instagram is located on the sidebar and you can see the photos I posted during the challenge there.  I won't repost them here but I hope you enjoy a peek into our Christmas - and, yes, there might be more than just a couple of pictures of our granddog!!  At the end of the challenge, I even won a prize.  Chosen from the participants.  Who would have guessed?  Being chosen is a special feeling - and was actually another word I had prayed over for next year.  CHOSEN.  So many words to choose from.....

I pray that you have a wonderful new year's celebration and that your heart is anticipating good things - blessed things - in the year ahead.  Next week I will share a quick recipe on Tuesday and then will post more about 2019's word....SURRENDER.  I anticipate some changes for my blog, too, but for now, I will continue to post every Tuesday and Friday.

Happiest New Year wishes -