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Goodbye, 2009.

December 31, 2009

It’s been a long journey this year. But it has passed by in the (almost literally) blink of an eye. It’s quite hard to believe that we are really, truly looking at the dawn of 2010… not only the beginning of a new year, but the beginning of a new decade. And for me, and my family, the beginning of a new chapter of life.

2009 was like most years: full of pain, laughter, trials, joys, many thousands of different proofs of God’s love and provision for us. But it had many defining aspects.ย  I think one of the most important lessons I have learned is not only knowing how to learn, but having the desire to learn. I have learned to overcome the sick-cycle-carousel of Laziness and Procrastination. I have learned to become open (again) to Hard Work and Self-Sacrifice. I’ve learned the importance of friendship and How to Be a Friend.

I have learned that God needs to Be My All. One of my goals this year (well, truly my most important goal) is to truly draw close to my Saviour. To put Him first, not only at the beginning of the day, but All Day Long. I am asking Him to teach me how to make Him first, how to spend time with Him, how to study His Word. I am going to read through my Bible (for the first time) this year.

I am so thankful for what He has taught me about Himself this year. He has been such a beautiful Comforter and Provider for us. At the end of last year, I felt like life could never be good again. Laughter and smiles seemed to be possible nevermore. My world, my family, was torn to pieces, and pain was my constant companion. We couldn’t see how God would provide through the next year, the wonderful things, the amazing people He would bring across our path. He taught me that time is one of His most useful tools in ‘binding up the wounds of the broken-hearted’, and He proved to me how close He could really be.

He provided a home for us, and brought us back to family and to new friends. He has opened up new opportunities and provided the best of jobs for my mom and me. He has blessed my family beyond belief, holding us in the Palm of His Hand through the darkest of times. He has brought us out of the dark valley, and given us hope to light our Tomorrows. He is my Father, and our family’s Covering.

This is a song that meant a lot to my family and I this last year. It is so precious in its Simple Truth.

I pray you all have a blessed new year, you and yours!

Goodbye, dear 2009. You will always live in my memory as the bitter-turned-sweet year I finally learned to grow up.

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Multitude Monday

December 14, 2009

Thank You, Father for…

13. Jon’s 12th birthday on Friday.

14. Successful Surprises.

15. Prayers answered in ways we didn’t expect.

16. Your Faithfulness when I am unfaithful.

17. Your Faithfulness when I think You haven’t answered a prayer, but I find out later You did; You were just doing it in a different way than what I was thinking, and everything turned out alright (-even better!-) than it would have had it been done my way.

18. Your Wisdom.

19. My beautiful new Canon Rebel Xsi.

20. The resources to learn photography skills.

21. Beautiful Sisters in Christ who are such encouragements and inspiration. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” -Proverbs 27:17 NKJV

Why I Won NaNoWriMo… But Didn’t.

December 12, 2009
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So, I know this is way after NaNo ended, but hey, better late than never, right?

First off, I will say this: I did not technically win NaNo. I wrote about 7k+ words, but didn’t make it beyond because real-life stepped in and took over. :-/

HOWEVER. It was a great experience while it lasted, and I will most definitely be doing it again next year (though hopefully I will actually win it next year!) Also, I did not ‘lose’ empty-handed.

Though I didn’t make it to 50,000 words, NaNo helped teach me some other very important skills that I’m very thankful for. Mainly, it (and serious prayer) helped me get out of the cycle of laziness and procrastination that I’d fallen into. It helped give me a ‘kickstart’ to actually DO things, instead of thinking and writing about them. And, it also gave me several great tips from other writers for future reference as well as the knowledge that, if nothing else, I’ve written 7k+ words of a story! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I won some things that were, for me, even more important than a winner’s badge.

(Besides, this year was just a taste; next year will be the real thing! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

And for any other writers out there, we are actively working on getting the ‘Writers’ Society‘ up and running! If you have any ideas or would like to be part of it in any way, please let me know!

~Tea

Multitude Monday

December 7, 2009

I actually discovered this via A Bowl of Moss and Pebbles (thank you, Breezy!), and have decided to partake in this journey as well. If you’d like to see more details, click the banner above.

I think this will be a very eye-opening experience for me, showing me how blessed I truly am.

Thank you, Father for…

  1. My car. I know the only way it worked out was through You.
  2. Christmas party at work, as awkward as it was for me at first.
  3. Being able to go with another family to the Chik-fil-a Open House so we didn’t feel so out of place or alone.
  4. Helping me find yarn that’s a close enough color to work with the blanket.
  5. Moments of ‘light’, where something I’ve been confused about or struggled to understand has been made clear to me.
  6. All the seasons. Even though I sometimes complain about the extreme days of winter and summer, there is something to appreciate about them.
  7. Irish and Scottish heritage, culture, accents, music, history…
  8. Mรกirรฉad Nesbitt’s Celtic Violin.
  9. My amazing, wonderful Mom who works so hard to support us, who keeps the home running, is always there for us, teaches us, trains us, points us to You. She does so much, and I am just so thankful that you’ve blessed me with her as my mother. (and that You opened my eyes to realize that before it was too late.)
  10. For being able to be with family again for holiday time (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, etc.) We’ve missed them so much the last few years; it truly is a blessing to be near them again.
  11. Our house. That was a miracle, a precious gift the way You worked it out, Father. I am so thankful; I often forget, and just don’t think about it. These are precious gifts that I must not forget.
  12. For teaching me patience and trust, little bit by little bit, as You unfold Your Will for me.

Soli Deo Gloria.

~Tea

He is Faithful

December 6, 2009
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Today’s sermon was absolutely fantastic.

Normally, sermons on the Christmas story seem to go over the same things every year, but this year, we’re at a different church (I love it and the church family, by the way) and Pastor Chris preached on the first half of Matthew ch. 1 (which you’ll notice, if you look, is mainly just Jesus’ genealogy). Now, he is very enthusiastic and excited when it comes to Scripture, and the enthusiasm is very catching, hence the feeling jubilant! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, because it’s Sunday night, I can’t remember exactly how he said it all, so I’ll just give you the few main points I can remember:

  1. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ” – did you know that the actual Greek word that was translated into English as ‘genealogy’ was ‘Genesis’? Sound familiar? ‘Genesis’ means ‘beginnings’. This is (obviously) about the beginning of Jesus’ human life, but it also shows us that even in the writing of the Gospel according to Matthew, God was pointing back to the beginning of the Bible, showing us that He had this all worked out from the dawn of time! Everything points to Jesus; all of history, stories and situations throughout the whole Bible. He didn’t just say, oh, I guess they need someone to save them. He planned it all out, down to the last detail!
  2. The lineage gives us one proof that Jesus was a REAL person. He had a family, a heritage, ancestors, for His human-side. And even the timing of all the generations points to His perfect timing. Even Jesus’ name, ‘Yeshua’, means “God Saves.”
  3. I’ve always wondered at the significance of the 4 women who are specifically mentioned in His lineage. I know all their stories, but I couldn’t figure out what the importance of them being a part of Jesus’ lineage was. Pastor Chris offered an explanation that I think fits very well: all four women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba) were foreigners; (Tamar was a Canaanite, Rahab was from Jericho, Ruth was a Moabitess, and Bathsheba was a Hittite) and most of them had dark pasts. Why, you may ask, were these women even mentioned in a lineage where usually only males were listed? Why these particular women, who most of them were not exactly poster children for virtue and purity? – Why? Because each of them is proof of God’s redemptive power. He proved through the example of these women that He can overcome our dark pasts. He can overcome the disgusting sin in our hearts and bring good to and from our lives, no matter what we did before; He is the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah! And if we choose to believe Him, and turn from our wicked ways, He will make something beautiful from it. This is the very reason Jesus came.
  4. I wonder if anyone else has wondered the significance of the whole ’14 generations’ thing at the end of the 1st half of Matthew 1. I’ve read it, and since I know that usually numbers seems kind of significant in the Bible, I’ve wondered what that meant. Here’s a cool fact you may not have known: The Hebrew language does not have numbers. Jews count using letters instead; also, their alphabet doesn’t have vowels – it’s all consonants. So, the name ‘David’ is actually Dvd (haha). Here’s another cool fact: Daleth is the 4th letter, Va is the 6th. So if you were using the letters ‘Dvd’ to count, it would read 4+6+4 which equals…14. Now, 14 is 7 (the number of perfection) twice; thus, there’s extra significance, since it’s like perfection doubled. (my paraphrase->)”The generations from Abraham to David were 14, the generations from David to the deportation to Babylon (the ending of the Monarchy) were 14, and the generations from the deportation till the Birth of Jesus are 14.” Notice that 14 is used 3 times? 3 is the number of the Trinity. God’s fingerprints are all over even this timing!
  5. When Jesus came, the Jews were expecting the Messiah to save them from earthly rulers and afflictions, such as the Roman Empire. After all, God did some similar amazing things back in the book of Judges! But, in a way, it was like God said, “That’s too small a thing; I’m going to save you from your sins instead.” After all, what’s the good of being saved from a horrible earthly life if you’re still going to be eternally separated from God? He could see the big picture even though we (as humans) couldn’t/can’t.
  6. That last verse says something like “Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” God made 2 Big Promises, to Abraham and to David. Jesus is the fulfillment of all those promises! God doesn’t forget, even though it seems to take a LONG time to see the results. We just have to trust and be patient, because God sees the whole of History and the Future and Eternity.

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to put it very clearly; I know my writing can be confusing! But I hope at least some of this made sense, and maybe encouraged your heart. It sure filled mine with joy to see more evidences of God’s Divine plan of salvation! ๐Ÿ™‚

God bless you this week!

Soli Deo Gloria.

โค Tea

The Sun’s Come Out…

November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving was absolutely lovely. I hope you all enjoyed yours! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sadly, though, when we returned, we found our poor little betta fish, Leo, had jumped out of his bowl and was on a cookie rack that was drying on the counter. We don’t know how long he was there, but even after we put him back in his water, it was too late. He died during the night. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ I know it might sound silly, saying that I cried over a fish, but it’s true. We had become very attached to him. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

On to happier things.

Last night my family and I went shopping for Christmas things! (Lights, stockings, etc.) And after a trip to Walmart and Target, came home with:

5 loverly stockings (yes, we even got one for the dog! I had to roll my eyes, but have laughed and gone along with it)

This one's mine... isn't it so cute??

lots of beautiful lights

and even 2 celtic christmas cds and

a nightlight! (Yes, even at almost 18 years old, I need a nightlight. That might be a post for another time.)

I loved the whole Classic Winnie-the-Pooh thing. Too cute! ๐Ÿ™‚

~*~

The night before last, we watched ‘The Shop Around The Corner’.

At first I was rather skeptical, but I recanted. I love it! It’s rather witty and amusing, though tinged by sadness. It’s a perfect example of human nature at its best (or worst.) I definitely recommend it.

~*~

Oh, before I forget! There are two giveaways you should go see:

1) Natalie Lloyd is giving away a copy of her book, Paperdoll – go to her blog and leave a comment saying your favorite part of thanksgiving. The ‘drawing’ will take place next Thursday, the 3rd.

2) Maggie is giving away an absolutely ADORABLE bag! Go here to find out more; the contest ends December 31st.

~*~

So what are you doing to prepare for Christmas? Got any decorations up yet? Planning a party? Trying to figure out what gifts to get (or make)? If the latter, you might want to check out Emily Rose‘s A Homemade Christmas! Click on the button in the sidebar -> for more info.

~Tea

P.S. So far I’ve only had 1 response for the writing group idea… I’d love to hear from any more of you! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Eagle and Child

November 20, 2009

So… I have something I want to ask you. Yes, YOU. A proposition, if you will.

I’ve had an ‘inkling’ (pun intended ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) that I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks, and now the time has come to try to put it into action.

I want to start a sort of Writer’s Society (or Club or Gathering or whatever you like) for all of us writers. A Fellowship, if you will.

A place where we can discuss, share, encourage, help, and read. A place where we writers can go (through the whole year, not just during NaNo) and have fun contests and challenges, and share our work with those who know and understand completely the trial of producing readable work (much less completing it!)

Because, if we’re honest, not many people in real life understand why we like writing. Not many can give us advice won from personal experience and know what it’s like to write something that’s so horrible it makes you want to cry. Only a few know that desire to produce a work of art, full of beauty and truth. Even fewer understand that longing to create a STORY, one that more people than just yourself would want to read.

(And sometimes, we just need someone else who understands to spur us on, which is one of the great things during NaNo)

So.

Obviously, with NaNo going on, the actual beginning of said Fellowship can wait till December.

BUT… right now, I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, suggestions…

Because it can’t be just me. It has to be a group of us that want to do this.

It would be pointless to have a group of 1.

So what do you think? Would you like to help me create something like that? If I get the interest of at least 3 more people, I’ll make a nifty button specially for it and we’ll get the word spread. ๐Ÿ™‚

And yes, if you were wondering, I would very much like to pattern it off of The Inklings. Perhaps even using the name (as it’s already recognized, but that’s something we can decide later on.)

And before I go, you can go here to read an essay on Who and What the Inklings were (just a note, it’s a PDF file), and here you can see a short page that has 4 great quotes on it from some of the Inkling members.

I can’t wait to hear from you, lovelies!

Have a blessed weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚