What I've Been Cherishing
Treasured family memories were made in December. We began the month with a week-long trip to visit our son and his family in Eugene, Oregon, and to meet our NEW GRANDSON! Levi Christian was 6 weeks old at the time of our visit, and it was so wonderful to be able to hold and cuddle our precious 11th grandchild. Of course, we loved our time with his sister and brother and his parents too! Since we were there in December, and there was a newborn in the family, most of our week was spent at home playing, reading books, doing some crafts, and celebrating an early Christmas together. We did do some Christmas shopping and go to the Children's Museum, but the best times were just spending time together as a family. It was an incredible blessing to be present for Levi's dedication service (which my husband was able to participate in!) as well as his baby shower that was given by their church!
For Christmas, our older son and his family came for a few days, and we had a great Christmas. We baked and decorated cookies, played a lot of board games, had our traditional Christmas-Eve gingerbread house decorating competition (Pa-Pa and his team won!), and just enjoyed celebrating a blessed Christmas. Having 4 grandchildren in the house made Christmas so special!
What I have been Reading and Enjoying
I finished "Gracelaced" (one of my all-time favorite books, and one that you can savor over and over again), and am currently reading and studying Adorned by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. I also am enjoying the book, The Life-Giving Table by Sally Clarkson. It is much more than just a book on hospitality and family recipes. It is full of inspiring Biblical explanation and encouragement on how to use the family table as a means of directing your children's hearts towards the Lord and to reach others with the love of Christ. I loved the chapter that pointed out how much of Jesus's ministry was centered around food and sharing meals. Also for Christmas I received a journaling Psalter, which I am loving. In case you are not familiar with it, it is simply a journal that has the Psalm on one page and a blank journaling page facing it so you can record your thoughts and applications. It's a treasure for journaling-loving people like me!
I have also enjoyed doing a bit of simple decorating by making seasonal tray centerpieces for my kitchen island. It doesn't take a lot of time and other than investing in a couple trays (I found an oval metal one on clearance at Hobby Lobby, and a wooden rectangular one at Kirklands, also on sale), it doesn't cost much because you can use things you already have or find little things at places like Target's Dollar Spot.
What I Have Been Concentrating On
Broccoli-Apple Winter Salad
4 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 large apples, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
If you aren't counting calories, add 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Dressing - Whisk together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 T lemon juice, 1 T sugar, and a dash of salt & pepper. Pour over salad, mix well, and chill.
What I Have Been Meditating On
As we began 2019, as is my habit I chose a word for the year - "delight" - because I want to truly delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4) and delight in the everyday moments and blessings around me. I also chose a verse for the year: Colossians 1:10, "To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Isn't that a wonderful verse? When I read it I knew immediately that was the verse the Lord was directing me to for my 2019 verse. It is a perfect verse to pray for the people in your life that you love, and that is what I do as well.
The past few weeks I have been reading about and reflecting on the subject of our purpose. When I was young and busy with raising a family and homeschooling, it was easier to discern my purpose in life: to raise my children and train them to honor and love and serve the Lord. When I was a pastor's wife (I still am the wife of that pastor but we no longer have a congregation - you know what I mean!) my purpose during those 23 years of pastoring was pretty clear as well. I never even really stopped to consider what my purpose was during those seasons of life. Now that I am an "older woman" it's not so easy to see what my purpose is. My children are grown. I am working a full-time, fast-paced job. I serve in small ways in our local church, but what is it of real value that I am doing? But as I have meditated on verses relating to purpose over the past few weeks, I have realized that my purpose, no matter what season of life I am in, has always been to do whatever God has given me to do at that particular moment - whether it be mothering or helping my husband shepherd a congregation or working - and to do it well.
Psalm 16:11 - "You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." God makes known to me the life path and His purpose for me by setting me on the course. Psalm 21:6 - "For You make him most blessed forever, you make him glad with the joy of your presence." From reading these verses, I was struck by this truth: The joy doesn't come from the path of life - our paths twist and turn and vary according to our circumstances and the seasons of life. The joy comes from His presence on the path.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me, whatever it is at the moment - that's His promise in Psalm 138:8 - "The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever..." The joy doesn't come from knowing my purpose, but from knowing that whatever path I am on, God is with me, and He is fulfilling His purpose in me.
Til next time,