As the end of the year approaches, I am in a place I have rarely been the entire year.  In my home.  Totally alone.  I don’t know how the good Lord did it, but I am in ‘peace on earth’ heaven.  I do love you, Toby, but…  you and the kids should leave more often!  I got so much accomplished.

Our old home school dresser was completely full of supplies.  That has been re-org’ed and re-purposed to it’s original intent for the Trippster.  (Toby, thank you for giving me a baby boy.  I love him.)  We moved him out of our room, moved our office into the dining room, and the boy into the old office.  There were all of those little boxes of clutter to sort through.  The ones you make when you just stuff a bunch of crap in because you’re tired of really cleaning.  I have a lot of those.  Tripp’s room is clean, clothes are folded and put away.  My room:  I’d say 75% better than it was.  Laundry that will never die is multiplying like rabbits on my bed.  But, I did get a pretty good chunk of it under control.  So, then I get to the girl’s room.  Oh mis estrellas!  (That’s “Oh my stars!” in Spanish for those of you not as cool or bilingual as Shannon and me.)

In all of this cleaning and renewing and restoring…  I felt so blessed.  Drawers overflow.  Closets are stuffed.  I have a beautiful home with everything I need and more.  The cupboards are brimming, the fridge is due for an after holiday overhaul.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Hypocrisy has been on my mind lately.  Sometimes, I think, I forget to slow down and realize how good I have it.  I focus on the negative and the bad and I completely miss whatever good and beauty is here right now.  I worry that my weak faith and uncertainty in times of difficulty will hinder my witness.  How can, one day, I be so thankful and have so much clarity, and the next, be so…  Dana! My response to trials and disappointing circumstances must change or I will not be able to grow closer to the Lord and joy will forever be out of my reach.  I don’t want to live that life.

As I end this chapter of 2013, I pray….

for continued spiritual maturity.

for continued Godly wisdom.

for a desire to have Biblical knowledge and scripture memorization.

for overflowing of the Holy Spirit.

I am thankful…

for the lessons I have learned.  The discipline that seemed so harsh, yet, I can now say kept me from even more severe consequences.

for the Lord’s crazy guidance on a route that I would have never picked.  Ever.

for closed doors and new opportunities.

for the awareness of the importance of having a routine schedule of Bible study, Church, fellowship, devotional, and prayer time.  These, sometimes monotonous, boring, and not-fun activities, build our relationship with God, with our church family, and with our own families.  Not only that, but I am convinced that it is these regularly scheduled programs that keep us grounded and going during trials and storms.  God is the only thing that does not change in a world with constant change.  I did not understand what it meant for God to be the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, as much I can honestly say I understand it now.

Which leads me to this.  The best moments of 2013.

*At a ladies Bible study one night, we separated into groups.  I was at a table with my closest friends at the event, but something told me to switch.  No offense, ladies.  I ended up getting switched once more and I had actually stood up and volunteered to go with this other group of women.  All women I know, but not “know”, ya know?  So…  here we are and it is somewhat awkward.  One of the women in group who totally intimidates me was telling us about her struggles.  I was thinking, “OK…  if we have all this bad stuff happen and we shouldn’t be sad, then…  why do we come to church to praise a God who is OK with the bad stuff?”  So, out loud I say, “Why are you here?”  She looked surprised.  She didn’t understand what I meant.  So, I asked again, the hard questions started coming out.  She got tears and she said that no matter how bad the rest of the world is, there is peace in coming to a house of the Lord and finding fellowship, encouragement, and the consistency of an unchanging God.  I still don’t know that I fully understand the depth of this concept…  but, I KNOW there is something to it.

*Twice I got mail at the high school youth group.  Kelsie and Sadie, I love you.

*Going to McCall to work on my book.

*I fought with my Shannon a few times this year.  One time in particular, she got me so ticked off, I screamed, “No!  I don’t trust God and I expect him to screw me!” and I took off in my car.  We seriously fight like sisters.  I don’t know anyone who can make me laugh and make me frustrated all at once like Shanny Lou.  She is more than a friend and I think that makes the difficult times in our relationship sting that much more.  Only because there is so much love, can there be so much pain.  I love you, sister.  Thanks for keeping me faithful even when I don’t feel like it.

*Bryon meeting me at the altar.

*My sister, D’Ann, being home a whole year.

*When I was told way after everyone knew, that we were now the only flower shop in town.

*When the doctor told me and D’Ann that mom’s cancer wasn’t on her liver at all, but totally removable.

*Disneyland.  First time at 33 thanks to my mother-in-law!

*The experience of Japan *WITH* my Toby.

*The call that I had a doctor’s appointment.

Taking stock of 2013 and realizing how blessed I am brings me humility and gratitude.


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