Christmas in Tennessee

The Sunday before we left for Maryland we exchanged gifts in our family. We enjoyed our traditional breakfast bake for brunch after church and then later opened gifts. Andrew, Dave's cousin, was passing through on his way back home to Virginia. He stayed with us two nights over the weekend. He's a great guy and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with him.

The next night my cousin, Mike, and his wife, Jess, were in our area buying a car. They're from FL, but found the exact car they've been searching for in Knoxville. So, we got to enjoy them for a night too. I didn't take any pictures with them, but here are a few from when Andrew was here and we celebrated Christmas with our family.


When the perfect comes...

While on the topic of a new year, I thought I would share this. A friend sent me this article. It's full of hope. I loved it.

Enjoy and be encouraged!


A few musings on suffering + resolutions

It's a new year, already. As is always the rave around January 1, we hear of people making resolutions for the upcoming year. They're resolving. To do things better. To do things differently. Perhaps never to do again. Resolutions are good things. They motivate. Inspire to change. To improve.

However, for the person who's been severely tried, tested, and walked a hard road, resolutions can be daunting. As if just thinking about them will set oneself up for failure. Why is that? Maybe perhaps they focus too much on our effort. What will I do? How will I improve? What changes will I make?


Just the sound of that word can elicit exhaustion for the suffering saint. There is no effort to offer. They've been beaten down and the only effort they have to give life is to get out of bed in the morning.  To struggle just to do the next thing and make it through the day. To care for children. To prepare food. To love their husbands, their wives. To bring home enough money to meet the bills. To bear grief, illness, defeat, loneliness, rejection.

Where is there room for extra effort? Not much.

Yes, I'm speaking from experience here. I'm familiar with having no effort to offer. Wanting to, trying to, but coming up empty handed. Having no desire to add extra for my mind to process. Just maintaining status quo is all the mind and body can do as it looks at a new year ahead.

I look ahead to a year of many uncertainties for our family of numerous kinds. The road seems clouded and confusing. There is an inevitable move again. I still feel very weak, recovering in health and mind from last year. I will continue to bear the burdens that life has brought, while adjusting to a new place, new way of life, new people, new church.

As I think about all this, yes, I am going to resolve. A different resolution. No effort. No extra doing.

I resolve to depend.

There are many I know who are suffering in ways I cannot even comprehend. I look at their lives and cannot believe they have not given in yet. I will be praying for them this year. That they will experience rest, help, and not a burden to do, but to depend. To depend on the One who is able to do all that they can't this year and more.

In my weakness He is strong. And if He can enable me to depend on Him through whatever life may bring this year, good and bad, to see Him around every corner, in darkness, in light, to recount His gifts, tackle life with thanksgiving, experience joy, always depending, then it will have been a successful year.

There is a season for everything. You may be in a season of life where setting goals, resolutions, doing more and thinking hard about what to do differently is custom for you. It's wonderful to always be growing and improving in our work and gifts when our minds and bodies are able to. The thought of not setting goals for this new year might be foreign to you. Maybe you've been able to improve at great lengths, do more each year for as long as you can remember. That is a gift. Thank God for it. And if you know someone who is especially struggling and suffering going into this new year, perhaps you can do something for them that they are not able to. Perhaps one of your goals and resolutions could be to pray daily for them. Email and text to tell them so. Offer to babysit. Give financially. Make regular phone calls to encourage.

For all those who look into this next year with fearful sighs, let's resolve to depend on the Lord. The One who has been a faithful rock through the storms and has promised to provide and carry us through, as scary as this year may seem, will once again prove faithful this year. It's His promise.

My Resolutions {actually there are 2}:
1. Depend on the Lord for doing all things this year.
2. Complete my list of 1000 gifts. Experience joy!


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