Happy New Year 2013!

It’s been a while since I blogged. We were busy the last couple of months of 2012. My sister and her family came to visit us for two weeks for Thanksgiving. I had not seen them for almost 2 1/2 years — and that visit was for my step-father’s funeral and was a short time together. We toured many museums and had so much fun watching the cousins together.

Christmas was wonderful. I often feel overwhelmed at Christmas with all that has to be done, but this year seemed very smooth and was so much fun. We entertained a few times in December, having students out twice, having our small group over, and hosting friends two or three times for dinner. One dinner party was unexpected and planned on short notice, but those seem always to be the easiest and best kind.

My husband’s family were all out of town this Christmas, so we enjoyed a quieter one with my mom. I’m so glad she moved here this year and is getting to spend a few weeks with us while the family that has rented the house to her are back in town for their Christmas vacation. It’s been great!

So now we enter a new year. I don’t like to leave the last year without some kinds of reflections and enter the new one without having a theme.

A few reflections for 2012:

I never did update after I took the 10 day prayer challenge in October about how my heart was being deceived. At first, I anticipated a specific answer each day, but there were 2 specific answers during that time. One was the blog post I wrote about bridling my tongue. That has continued to come to mind more times than I can count when I am in conversation. It has been an important truth for me to remember and an area where I can continue to grow.

The other answer came over several days and seemed to be a highlight of those days of prayer. It was a verse that showed up in both of my Bible studies during that time. And it was a verse I saw on Facebook and in other places during those days. It was this:

Matthew 16:24-25:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

There were specific ways this was applicable to me at that time. Isn’t this such the reverse of what we would naturally desire? Self-denial, carrying a cross, losing our lives? But it’s in embracing those things as we follow Jesus that we really discover our lives and true joy! My heart can deceive me in these kinds of things.

So those were some meaningful verses for me in 2012.

Some “Favorites” from 2012:

A favorite song was 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. The third and last verse will always remind me of our friend who went to be with the Lord in 2012.

Some Bible studies I enjoyed in 2012 were Beth Moore’s study of James, Beth Moore’s study of Esther that I did on my own and finally finished last night!, and the Bible studies we did at church on the minor prophets (spring) and the Storyline of the Bible (fall).

This is when it’s fun to keep a blog and scroll through some of the events from the last year and remember different things, from speaking at Women’s Bible Study in the spring, to the third book in my husband’s trilogy being released this summer, to knee surgery in the fall, to seeing our friend go to be with the Lord. It’s good to trace the journey of life through these seasons and record God’s hand at work in each of them.

Entering 2013, I don’t yet have a theme for the year. Last year it was prayer. I’ll give this some thought over the next few days and see what emerges. I am going to try to read through the Bible in a year. I’ve tried before, but never actually done it! This is the book I am using:

I’m very excited and enjoyed the first day today! We’ll see how it goes!

Happy New Year to whoever stumbles upon this blog! May you be blessed in the new year and know the joy of following Jesus daily.

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