Christmas and Life Update

I’ve planned on stopping in many different times to do just a quick blog post, but each time, the thoughts just didn’t come together.

So here I am today, with a few spare minutes so at least I can say hello!

My time lately has flown by, often crazy busy but in other moments slow and wonderful, too—all wrapped up into one beautiful package called “life”.

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I’ve had my busy moments.

I’ve been working on a variety of projects lately—getting some sewing completed, starting some more sewing, in between swapping stories with my brothers and working at my away-from-home job quite a few different days.

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Besides some of my own projects, part of my time and brain space has been taken up in trying to understand how buying homes in New Zealand works, and what one needs to do or have to buy a place.

Beyond that, there are endless questions about how to organize a cross-country move (thankfully it’s only four hours away, but still…!), and all the technical little details about how we’re going to get ourselves and our stuff over there in good time—and still somehow leave this house in decent (i.e. mostly clean and tidy) condition.

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It’s an intense time. But it’s wonderful. I’m thankful I only have to do one day at once, and that the amount of stuff to think about for just today is all I really need to worry about for now.

I’ve also been away from home quite a bit these last few weeks, so that adds more socializing (yay!) and also another level of busyness.

But it’s also been slow…

As much as life has been full-on, though, there have been times that it’s been amazingly slow and I had time to just enjoy the moments.

When I was on a trip over to the West Coast to pick up my brother, I distinctly remember several times where I was able to just sit and soak in the gorgeous scenery flowing past. I also read quite a bit, and finished a book on that trip.

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Another afternoon, I had time to sit down with a cup of coffee and read a magazine for a while.

Over Christmas, my brothers and I played lots of different games. That was relaxing, and a great way to bond. It was beautiful.

Christmas Day, our family went out to the beach for lunch, and had a delightful time. The boys loved swimming in the sea, and I greatly enjoyed watching them and having some quiet time to enjoy nature and think.

Also over Christmas, our family did a little celebration of Hanukkah. I remembered the second-to-last day of the holiday, but we started then and lit one candle per night for it. But still, it was a time to reflect on the story from thousands of years ago, and for me, it’s always fun and relaxing to have candles burning in the window after dark.

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Otherwise,

I’ve been working on my plans for the new year. Due to moving, and lots of anticipated life craziness over the next few months, I’m (working on) keeping things down to more of the basics. They still aren’t all finalized, but I’m hoping to take more time for that on New Year’s day.

Despite everything that needs to happen in the next 3 – 3 1/2 weeks before I move over to the West Coast, I’m still feeling very relaxed about how things are going. God is good!

Oh—and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and will have a blessed new year!

How is life treating you right now?

Springtime Memory-Making

Today is a beautifully sunny spring day, almost untypical for this year’s weather. Usually, Canterbury’s spring consists of some rainy days but mostly sunny ones—this year it almost seems like its the opposite! However, after three years of drought I’m enjoying every moment I hear rain drumming on the roof.

This afternoon, the little guys had a hose running into our front creek, and took great delight in dousing each other and all the land around them with a liberal helping of water.

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Reminds me of old days back on the farm when my brothers and I used a small pool for swimming in…or played in the spray from the sprinkler. Great memories!

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You can see our oldest lamb, Daisy, on the far left of this picture.

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And here are the two newest additions to our family: Dusti (left) and Debbie (right), both born yesterday! They’re so cute right now, just learning to take the bottle, and both have good appetites at this point!

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Keep looking to Jesus. And, if needed, get out the hose every once in a while. Apparently, it’s great fun!

What are some of your favorite memories of springtime when you were a child?

Hope in the Hurting Places

It’s been a cloudy day here in North Canterbury, but this evening the sky is starting to show slices of blue through it. It’s beautiful. And with the dandelions scattered around the yard like little bursts of starlight, I can’t help but feel a little happier.

Last year at this time, that wasn’t the case though—I was reeling from the devastating news that my brother was dead. Today, I haven’t been able to help but remember all that happened that day, and how our family was changed forever from that time on…but despite that and the difficult memories that come with it, I’ve continuously tried to direct my thoughts up.

Like the Psalmist of old, “Oh Lord, I’m sinking…but You in Your salvation and mercy will lift me up.”

And in this case, that’s enough.

Trust Him

One thing I’ve purposefully been doing these last few days leading up to the one-year anniversary is focus on God’s character. I knew this time would be rough, emotionally speaking. And I wanted to be prepared to some extent. It’s been such a blessed time. Even though there’s been a lot of pain, eyes stinging with tears at times, I know I can still look up and see the truth of God and His Word. It’s one constant thing in my life right now—and it has been constant for the last 2000+ years. It’s not likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

This has been very helpful for me. Making note of these things, to read over and ground myself in when I need it, has been so special.

I’m thankful…

  • For the riches of God’s Word
  • For God’s holiness and justice
  • For the peace only Jesus can give
  • For God’s absolute love and guidance
  • For God’s mercy and grace
  • For His unending faithfulness
  • For hope in Christ
  • For the fact that we can trust God in everything
  • That He is in control
  • That He will never leave us
  • That He has (and will) bring us through
  • That He has cleared the path before, and He will again
  • That He is God, Jehovah-jireh, the Provider

God is so good.

I don’t know what you’re going through right now, what testings (emotionally or physically) you might be facing at the moment. But do know that you are loved, that you are in the center of His hand, and He will never let you go. God is there, in the situation with you. And that, as cliché as it sounds, is really enough.

Trust Him.

If you had to choose, what Bible verse comforts you the most when you’re walking through the valleys? Share below—I’d love to hear!

Jandal Weather

We’ve been in Michigan for a week and a half now, and yesterday the rest of Mom’s family arrived for the reunion. All eight siblings, the inlaws, and all 22 grandchildren are here. It’s been a blast. It’s so good to catch up again!

Today, a lot of the younger generation went swimming. It’s been a lovely warm day (hence the title!), and now it’s time to get ready for supper. I count myself really blessed!

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