Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know. It’s been longer than a week. It’s been two and a half weeks, to be precise. Forgive me. :o)

I had a blessed time at home with friends and family. God has blessed me so richly. I had a wonderful time with my immediate family, lots of laughs and good conversations. Here’s a picture of Christmas morning. We’re eating our traditional pull aparts—bread dough, brown sugar, butterscotch pudding mix, butter, cinnamon; how can you go wrong?

Not sure why I thought I should smile in this picture instead of look ravenously hungry like the rest of my family. Perhaps I subconsciously knew that I planned to put the picture on this blog. :o)

I flew back to Spokane early Wednesday morning so that I could be at work by 9 a.m. I made it on time and worked full days on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to make up for being gone. I am so thankful that I was able to take time off and still make up the time. Another gift of God while I’m working part time.
On Saturday, I picked up two friends at the airport who will be spending a month at Tall Timber Ranch for a class called Christian Spirituality with Jerry Sittser. I did this same class exactly three years ago, so we had a lovely time on New Year’s Eve, me remembering my trip and Amy and Christina looking forward to theirs. Maybe I’ll write a post about my time at Tall Timber. You actually live out a semi-monastic routine for the month and have no access to technology. It was a wonderful and challenging experience. Amy, Christina, and I had a progressive dinner that evening. We had delicious, garlicky tomato bruschetta at Christina’s house, cheese fondue and a sparkling strawberry drink at Amy’s, and apple dumplings at my house. It was a lovely way to usher in the New Year.

I have had the chance to host several groups of people in the past week, which I love to do. On Thursday night (12/29), I had four college friends over whose families live in and around the Spokane area. Three of the four are in grad school, so I don’t get to see them very often. For lunch on Sunday, my dear friends Tyler and Lydia Thralls came to my house to top off a quick weekend trip to Spokane from Vancouver, WA. On Monday night, I had Jerry, Mary Jane, Angela, and Jessica Leonardi to my house for dinner and dessert. Angela and Jessica are friends from Whitworth and their parents, Jerry and Mary Jane, live in Hayden, near Coeur d’Alene. I am so blessed to have hosted these friends at my house, and it reminded me how much I love to have people over for meals. I would like to have more people over in 2012.

Speaking of goals for the new year, I would like to write some of my goals down here. You don’t necessarily have to keep me accountable, but it’s just rather nice to have one’s goals written out. I would love to hear what some of your goals are for this new and blessed year. Please share them with me! Here are mine:

1.     Keep to my budget. I am thankful to have a budget (thanks Mom and Jules!) because it gives me boundaries for spending and saving, as well as the freedom to learn generosity and frugality both.*  It will be a new challenge this year, but one to which I’m looking forward.
2.     Walk at least 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. I would also like to do Pilates and strength training on a semi-regular basis, but we’ll see if that happens… :o)
3.     Eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Eat local as much as possible.
4.     Establish a rhythm of devotional reading and prayer. I’m not sure what this looks like yet, but I would like to incorporate Scripture, hymns, and liturgy (including prayers) into my devotions.
5.     Read at least two books a month, fiction or nonfiction. Since college, I’ve been reading mostly cookbooks. I need to get back into more rigorous reading. :o)
6.     Keep up with friends and family. Ask questions. Listen well. Pray for them regularly.
7.     Most of all, I want all these things to be bathed in the love and life given to us by Jesus Christ. I want each resolution to stem from a deep-seated desire to honor God with every choice I make, big or small. And I want to know Christ’s mercy when I mess up.  

*Frugality means to be prudent in saving, the lack of wastefulness. I think I have a negative connotation with the word, but it’s actually a positive word. It strikes me as a way to be a good and generous steward.

I want to leave you with a New Year’s hymn from “The One Year Book of Hymns.” May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and keep you in this New Year. 

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting,
Of quiet, happy rest. 

Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.
-Frances Ridley Havergal

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