Tuesday, December 31, 2013

springing forth into 2014.

While I will certainly upload my photo documentation of the blessed Christmas season, I couldn't bid 2013 adieu and welcome 2014 without a few thoughts...which aren't all actually mine, by the way, as I'll be sharing some Clive Staples and some scripture. 

This year has been no picnic (hello bi-lateral wrist fractures and double surgery), but as I reflect on the highs and lows, the growing pains, the suffering, the happiness, the new experiences, the sorrow, the joy...and everything in between...I can honestly say without any hesitation that this has been my richest, fullest, most wonderful year yet. I have witnessed the Lord's hand moving, orchestrating, and ordaining events in the most unbelievably tangible ways that it has left me utterly overwhelmed and increased my faith exponentially. He is real. He is good. His love is perfect. And He knows best. End of story.

As I was reading in Isaiah, I rediscovered a passage of scripture that I thought was perfect for the new year. Read it. Claim it. Believe it. Be encouraged.

Thus says the Lord, Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters, “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. “Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

On a completely unrelated note, I also wanted to share a portion of my daily C.S. Lewis reading because I loved the perspective and insight he had reflecting on individuals and eternity.

But it is also said ‘To him that overcometh I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it’ [Revelation 2:17]. What can be more a man’s own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him? And what shall we take this secrecy to mean? Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the Divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the Church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.

From The Problem of Pain
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

So as we take on 2014, I pray we would enter into the new year with hopeful expectation that no matter what the new year holds (even if it's double broken wrists), the Lord has gone before you and has ordained every moment and everything that you will pass through. Let us press into His presence with the full assurance that only He can satisfy (Psalm 16:11) and that "better is one day in His courts than thousands elsewhere."

Happy New Year! Pop some bubbly, dance a jig, and cheers to life in Christ!

Monday, December 23, 2013

merry christmas.

Joy to the world. The Lord is come!

John 1:1-5, 11-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Wishing you, dear reader, a Merry Christmas.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eat, drink, and be grateful.

Thanksgiving 2013 was a double, or really a triple-header. It was filled to the brim with amazing food, dear family, tables filled with friends, excellent wine, and even a few dances parties thrown in for good measure, because hey, life is a party so why not dance?

The festivities were kicked off with Friendsgiving at the "clubhouse." The weather forecast predicted snow and ice, but things didn't really pan out as expected, so we had a house full of probably 30+ hungry peeps who were ready to get their grub on. I made two birds using my go-to recipe (it is seriously the juiciest and flavorful turkey you will ever get your hands on - thank you, Ina Garten) and of course, beer bread. The guests brought sides and truth be told, we barely squeaked by with enough food. I think it ended up being the largest crowd we have had here (at least for a full sit down meal) and I couldn't have been happier. We laughed, feasted, and ended the night with a dance party to work off the stuffing and pumpkin pie. It was a joyful night and my heart overflowed with gratitude.

For the "real" Thanksgiving celebration, I headed out to DC to celebrate fousin-style with the Dehan fam. Elisa was my gracious host and I got to see Lianna (the married mama) every single day of my stay which was a HUGE treat and a half. We had dinner with her and the girls on Wednesday night and then headed to a family friend's for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. It was such a wonderful day and the food was superb. Romy (the hostess) made Italian stuffing that had mozzarella cheese and hello, how have we never done this before?! It was amazing! Here are some pics of the first 2 days.

Because we didn't get enough of the thanksgiving goodness the first go 'round, and because Lianna's family didn't get to join us on the actual day of thanks, we decided to do it ALL over again. That's right, I roasted an entirely new turkey. We made all the fixins, and had pies for dessert. It was a brilliant idea and I think back-to-back Thanksgiving dinners should be a new tradition. It was just as good the 2nd time around and we capped off the night ushering the Christmas season in with a dance party to our fave Christmas jams. Oh, and there may or may not have been several rousing rounds of Bananagrams, at which I lost miserably all 5 games...I think it was the food coma. We also had the added bonus of welcoming China back to DC that night, so that was a most glorious gift that I was beyond grateful for. The next day we bundled up and headed out for some culture, and by culture, I mean the Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery. It was certainly brisk, but I put on a tough face and did my best to not let all my warm-bloodedness show.

All in all, there wasn't a moment I did not savor. It was all joy, all gift, all grace. And my favorite part (aside from being with my nearest and dearest extended family) was going around the table and giving thanks. Yes, I have been given so many material gifts which I am exceedingly thankful for (home, car, job, disposable income, etc.), but I am most thankful for the gift of salvation, the gift of grace, the gift of family, and the gift of community...in that particular order. I cannot imagine my life apart from Christ and I am overwhelmed by the fact that He chose me and calls me daughter. And because of this, I have millions of brothers and sisters in Christ, many of whom are a part of my community that I get to walk through life with. It is a gift and my gratitude is tenfold. Amen.