Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 Lessons from 2011~

I'm wrapping up more than a week of being off from work, of not setting an alarm each morning, and staying in my bathrobe until who knows when. The time has been enjoyable, restful, and much needed. The days have been filled with lots of rest, good food, time with friends and family (my dad was even in town last weekend!), and catching up on some quality reading and crocheting.
With all the extra time afforded me this week, I've thought much about what all has happened over the course of the year. How will I label or define 2011 in the years to come? What has marked this past year, and what do I see when I look back? Do I praise the Lord and see evidence of, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope..." (Jer. 29:11)?
As I reflected on these questions, I came up with this "11 from 11" list, a list of lessons learned over the past twelve months:


1. I have so much more than I deserve, and so much more than I acknowledge.
2. With each passing year, I am increasingly more aware of the Lord's grace and care for me through my husband.
3. Value the friendships you have; don't force those that simply are not going to happen (or have had their season).
4. The fear of disappointment can be utterly crippling.
5. I am not in control, from the minutest of details to significant, life-altering events.
6. I long for somewhere to call "home," and yet, wherever I am with my husband is home.
7. Opportunities for counseling may be scarce, but my desire has not diminished.
8. Reading books, both fiction and not, is good for the soul.
9. My tendency is to want my 20s over and done with, but the reality of 30 drawing near is a bit overwhelming.
10. When you think you are dependent on the Lord, He reveals to you just how much you are still relying on yourself.
11. 'The Lord is my portion', says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in Him.' (Lamentations 3:24)


The Lord is good, the Lord is faithful, the Lord is our Provider and Sustainer. I'm eager for what lies ahead as we close this chapter and turn the page to a new year.

Now it's your turn: what have you learned over the course of 2011?

Friday, December 09, 2011

Favorite Photo(s) Friday ~ The Holidays at Our House

I'm not the only one who gets giddy this time of year ~ The minute that familiar green bin is pulled down from the closet (and believe me, they remember!), and I pull the lid off to start unpacking ornaments and Christmas decor galore, these girls start prancing around with an extra skip in their step. They really are the cutest dogs in the world, aren't they? (As I type, Big Dog is sacked out with half her body under the tree.)

This was the year to finally purchase a new tree! After six years of dreading the pitiful tree I had before, sifting through the color-coded branches and hoping those branches didn't fall off while tediously stringing lights around, it was time to invest in bigger and better. I adore the new tree - pre-lit, pinecones, and snow-tipped branches~

A little tradition we've kept up is purchasing a new ornament each year~

I'm not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way I began hoarding snowmen. Can you blame me? Look at this fun guy!

My dear, cherished Christmas village. The decor in our home is not complete without setting it out, and having it on display always reminds me of family~

Although simple, our Christmas decor always puts a smile on my face and makes my heart happy. "Oh, there's no place like home for the holidays..."