Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back ... and Moving Forward

Quite an interesting year -- 2010. From what I hear, it's therapeutic to go over the highs and lows of the year. Personally, I think it's always interesting to look back and see God's fingerprints all over everything. There are times that I feel like things are so out of control and so stinking chaotic ... and when I look back, I'm pleasantly surprised by His control. Isn't that sad? Not that He's in control, but that I just can't seem to see it as it's going on. Since you're reading this blog of mine, you get to be in on the therapy with me. Fortunate you!!

Our year began with someone (I won't mention names, but I happen to be married to him) turning the big 5-0. Within a month, we had kids moving out of our house and other kids moving back in. Wes's dad had been diagnosed with dementia that affected him very much physically as well and we helped move him to a facility, which was very difficult for all of our family, including Wes's sweet mom. Wes and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a small, welcome trip to a neighboring state to enjoy each other and our family who lives there.

By the time summer hit, our youngest son had gotten engaged (to a girl we adore and who fits in with our family wonderfully!) Our daughter had been hospitalized with intense symptoms that were eventually diagnosed as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Her recovery process was lengthy and fairly life-changing. A second grandbaby was born -- a precious little girl who has already captivated our hearts, just like her older sister has done. I joined my husband at the half-century mark (how is that possible? I don't feel that old!) Our grandbaby went BACK to the hospital at 4 days old with a cyst in her tear duct and an infection, but she recovered quickly and well. And then, my mother had a heart attck, had stent surgery, and a hospital stay. My mom has always been in great health, has been feisty and active, and that was scary for all of us.

When autumn rolled around, three of our four adult children had moved back in to our home, bringing all the furniture and boxes they left with ... plus some! We somehow managed to fit a 4-room apartment in to two rooms (and a storage unit - we cheated.) Our middle son finally had shoulder surgery to correct an injury from three years back. At the time, he was told that at the age of 26, he had the shoulder of a man in his 70's. Not encouraging, but again, we know that God is in control, and we're grateful for the wisdom He gives our doctors so that they can help him. Our oldest son smashed and mangled a finger at work, but fortunately there didn't have to be a surgery. Finally, our youngest son was deep in the middle of taking all of his teacher certification tests (and passing them all, might I add proudly!).

There have been some big events in 2010. Some we welcomed ... some we weren't too crazy about. But in each and every circumstance, God has shown His bigness ... His control ... His sovereign power ... and His incredible love. He never lets go, and for that I'm extremely grateful. My daily recitation is that God loves me, God's in control, and He wants the best for me ... it's true!! And He does for you as well. My prayer is that we'll continue to keep our eyes fixed firmly on Him as He takes us through this 2011's adventures.

Enjoy some of our year in pictures!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Child at Christmas

There is just something about having a child around at Christmas. For us adults, we get caught up in all of the planning and activities. There are still gifts to buy ... still gifts to wrap ... parties to go to ... cookies to bake ... not enough time ... not enough money ... and we tend to be a little "Grinchy". Our focus is on what we have to do, or what we don't have, instead of the celebration that it is.

Add a child to that mix, and all of a sudden, Christmas takes on a whole new twist. It becomes fresh and new ... it's exciting ... it's a joy.

Our oldest granddaughter is four. She loves to get baby Jesus out of His stable and sing "Away in the Manger" to Him as she cradles Him in her arms. She loves to look at all of the family ornaments on the tree and hear the memory related to each one of them. She loves to turn out all of the lights and help her Nammy light the candles. She loves setting up the little villages, turning on the lights to the houses, and playing in the artificial snow. She loves driving through neighborhoods to see all of the different Christmas lights and how people have decorated. She loves singing "Jingle Bells". She loves reading Christmas books and hearing the different stories. She loves seeing all of the different stockings for family members and telling others which stocking is whose. She is excited about helping Jesus celebrate His birthday ... and her sweet little heart helps this Nammy become more excited and child-like as well.

Isn't it a little ironic? Christmas began with a Child to bless the world... and He continues to bless the world through other children as well.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God's Personal Advisor

Planning is a good thing, right? When you plan things out, then everything is organized ... and put together ... and not chaotic ... and perfect ... and all is right in the world. Well, that's how it should be. I am a planner. I love to organize. I love order and routine and check-lists. And yes, I especially love checking things off with a red pen. I love having a plan and seeing it work out just as it's supposed to.When things come together as "they should", it's a wonderful feeling!!! It's fun to organize myself and everyone I know around me ... for me, at least. Everything in its place and a place for everything. Sigh! I get goose bumps just thinking about it!

If only God would just let me take over and organize everything like I want. Oh, I give Him lots of advice. I'm always telling Him, "Don't you think it would be nice if {insert something here}?" To be honest, I don't know how much stock God puts in to my wisdom. God loves me. I don't think He especially loves my advice. For some reason, I don't think He wants me to be His personal advisor.

I've given Him a lot of guidance over our years together. He knows who I think would be suitable companions for our single children ... how I think our country should be run ... how Wal-Mart should stock their shelves for short people. I've had my family's entire future planned out in advance for God (just to help Him out, you know). I chose husbands and wives ... chose occupations ... chose living locations ... chose friends. If I thought it would help, I would type up my suggestions, file it under Important Stuff that Diana Thinks, and then harrass talk with Him daily about it all.

I guess this is the time that I should probably confess something I've learned. Believe it or not, I'm not always right. I know you're gasping in total disbelief at that ridiculous confession, but it's honestly true. And this is one lesson that I have NOT enjoyed learning ... and relearning ... and learning again ... and learning once more.

God made me a planner. And that's a good thing. At least, I think it is. But when MY plans and MY ideas begin to take precedence over what God's plans are ... well, there's bound to be a collision of some sort, and unfortunately -- I'm not going to win. Why? Because He's God and I'm not. He sees the TOTAL picture and I see only part of it. He sees with eternal eyes while I see with my temporal eyes. He sees with perfect, holy vision and my eyes are ... well, mine.

So, even though I continue to keep check-lists, and even though I continue to plan and organize, I have made a choice. What seems to be a good idea to me at the time might not be the "best" according to what God has in store. I don't want to settle for just "good" when the "best" is out there and available, and God doesn't want me to either. The hardest part for me is sitting and waiting on God to work while I have a plan of action that sounds incredibly "good". But I sit ... and wait ... and pray ... and sometimes complain, then apologize for my complaints ... then sit some more... and wait again ... and pray constantly ... and cry loudly ... and watch for God's work ... and then, all of a sudden I'll see a glimpse of what He's doing and become absolutely overwhelmed at His incredible goodness. And it'll dawn on me what a brilliant idea God has when He does it "His" way. It's at this time that He reinforces to me that HE is the Master Planner, HE has complete control, and HE has good in mind.

Let's all be glad that God is God ... and I'm not.