Thursday, December 1, 2016

Entering into December

Closing out November ...

It was a lovely month ~

One of many favorite months for me, filled with: unusually warmer weather than normal, mixed with some crisp fall days; caring for grandkids, including an overnight stay for two; sweet connections with our CityGroup (small group from church); joining friends for a Thanksgiving meal at a church we served at 40 years ago; spending hours each week helping with Cru ministry; helping at a fun hayride event for Cru students; attending a Citylight Harvest Party; caring for my 95 year-old father; enjoying our Family Thanksgiving Day on the 25th, with seven precious family around our table (much smaller than usual, but our big family gathering will be for Christmas this year); and much, much more. It was a lovely month.

It was a difficult month ~

As with many families across our nation, there were times of confusion and difficult discussions. It is strange how an election can bring out things that are usually kept quiet. With a variety of political and policy persuasions in our big family, it was an interesting and tense month at times. But by God's grace, we are navigating the turbulent waters that our country is in, and we are held together as a family. And we pray the same for our country ...

And it was a month of learning and growing ~

I will always keep on learning ... each day brings new opportunities. November gave opportunity for me to take more steps in learning how to pray more consistently and more passionately. With so many things and people to pray for, I am finding that writing out my prayers helps give me focus, and keeps me on track ... sometimes it may be writing out a paragraph, or a sentence, and sometimes just a word or two. Recording it in my journal, making it real and fervent, keeping a record so I can go back and record His answers. Focusing more consistently on writing my prayers, and in bringing everything to Him ... praying instead of worrying. Praying for family, friends, happenings, news that I hear on tv or read about, praying for our leaders, etc. Every day there is much to pray for.

And entering into December ...

Gifts from God at the start of this magical month ~

Several "firsts" for me at the start of December, all things I desired - and all gifts from God! I am so thankful! Our home is all decorated already for Christmas! Our tree is up, and all the decor is up (except for the greens on the banister, which will hopefully happen this Sat.). All done in November - so thankful!

Our Christmas/end-of-year mailing for Cru was mailed yesterday, the last day of November! Another first for us - it seems that I am always working on it amidst all the preparations for Christmas in December. Such a gift to have it done now!

Christmas gift shopping began in November, and at the start of this month I am realizing that I am maybe about 3/4 of the way done. This is another first for me - I am so very thankful!

A month of preparations ~

This will be a month of preparation for our Family Christmas - baking and cooking in the kitchen, finishing up the gift buying, wrapping gifts, preparing our home for our Family Christmas.

It will be a month of preparing my heart each day, continually tuning in to what is most important ... loving GOD, and loving others. I'll continue with reading through Luke (First 5), and also reading various Advent readings. Desiring to pause and make time for what is most important.

I am looking forward to learning and growing my heart by reading through The Broken Way, by Ann Voskamp. I started this book the last part of Nov., and am only reading a few pages at a time, pausing to soak in the truths, underlining and underlining, and recording key thoughts in my journal.

A month of Christmas ~

Our Family Christmas comes early this year - there will be 24-25 precious family members here to celebrate together on Sat., Dec. 17th! (One reason why I needed to start earlier with preparations this year!) Always a highlight of the whole year, and a gift from God.

There will be other Christmas celebrations and parties with friends, Christmas programs for grandkids, and a quiet Christmas Day on the 25th with my dear husband. All, gifts from God. And the greatest gift: Immanuel - GOD with us!

Blogging in December ... we will just see what happens! I will need to be completely flexible. But at this point, I am hoping to post a number of recipe posts. There are numerous holiday recipes that I would like to post, so that they are here, online, for family and friends, for years to come. So, if all goes well, look for some recipe posts this month! And maybe some other posts, as well ...

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