A lot has happened over the past year for our family! To highlight:

  • we finally settled on some good homeschool curriculum and subjects, getting into a great routine (finally! although I’m sure it will change, again :D)
  • The Boy took off with his reading and JJ has started to read
  • we finished our first full year in our new homeschool co-op – and loved every minute of it!
  • The Man taught The Boy how to ski, and JJ is well on his way
  • JJ and The Boy both learned to skate, and Keeker is starting now too
  • we found (praise God!) a monarch butterfly egg and watched it grow into a butterfly (check out the posts #1, #2, #3 and #4)
  • we made many trips to the zoo, just enjoying God’s creation through our visits and our Apologia science
  • we camped with The Man’s for almost 10 days with gorgeous weather and spent good time at the cottage with my grandparents
  • MANY family birthday parties and MANY get togethers = LOADS of cupcakes, learning to make new kinds
  • The Man surprised me with a trip down to PA while the kids stayed with his parents
  • went to Niagara Falls, Toronto Island, The Ex, Markham Fair, Indiana to visit friends and many park trips.

Whew! I’m tired just thinking about all we did!

I have also learned and grown a LOT over the past year. All of these are, of course, on-going:

  • found out I LOVE writing!!
  • worked my way up to a 5 AM wake up so I can focus on spending dedicated, focused time in God’s word and prayer, studying and learning, as well as blogging and exercise
  • finding a heart to TEACH THE TRUTH and finding the wisdom and words to do so – from studying God’s word!
  • releasing pent up anger and frustration to God, letting him work in my heart
  • learning how to pray, and to pray constantly and persistently
  • learning how to manage my time
  • growing in maturity spiritually and as a wife, mother and friend
  • growing in understanding God’s grace for me and my position as his child, and learning how to transfer that to others (especially my children!)
  • growing in my writing – I received 2 writing opportunities, one from Homemakers Challenge and the other for The Homeschool Classroom – and I’m loving it!
  • finding a purpose and focus for my life as a mother and wife, and my place in this blogging world

The Lord has greatly blessed us by his presence over the past year. He’s always been there, but we have finally begun to lock into really receiving the full power of his love and the Holy Spirit. I have grown so much from an angry, frustrated, stressed out mama at the start of the year, to a mama who still gets angry, frustrated and stressed out, but know nows how best to deal with it – in humility, on my knees before the throne of God, seeking his peace and grace and direction.

After celebrating this Christmas season, for the first time with the biggest sense of joy and gratefulness in my heart, I think ahead to 2012 and how we can carry that joy over into everything we do. Christmas, I’ve finally started to realize, isn’t just about celebrating this time of year. But it is about our focus on Christ every moment of our living, that he is the center and the WHY for everything that we do, say and think.

A local Christian school put on this absolutely amazing, totally hit the nail on the head, black-light production for Christmas. Watch it, listen to the words, and the simplicity of the actions.

It’s not just about the manger where the baby lay; it’s not all about the angels who sang for him that day; it’s not just about the shepherds or the bright and shining star; it’s not all about the wise men who traveled from afar.

It’s about the cross. It’s about my sin. It’s about how Jesus came to be born once so that we can be born again!

cross by lady_jess, on Pix-O-Sphere

Christmas is just the beginning of the story. He came so that we might have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). I want to live that every moment of every day, teaching it to my children, binding it on their hearts. I want that to be the main message of my life, and of this blog. I want to come to the well, drink daily and deeply, be filled and satisfied by Him alone. To be taught, and to teach. To have my heart and life awakened to His promises and his desire for me.

I want to thank everyone who has commented on or visited my blog. There have been many times I’ve thought about quitting. But I would always receive right then an encouraging word from one of you to keep on. I struggle with comparisons – but who doesn’t! My focus needs to be on what does GOD want me to do with this opportunity he has given to me? And I am praying more for his wisdom and guidance than ever before.

I hope you stick around, there are some new changes coming to the blog in 2012! This will be my last post for 2011 as my hubby will be making some updates. The blog may be a bit up and down, but I’m looking forward to seeing it looking fresh for the new year.

Praying you all have a wonderful New Year celebration, remembering that the joy of Christ is in his death on the cross which has saved us from our sin!

You are loved!

Multitudes of Blessing:

41. Puppet shows.

42. Fresh baked bread.

43. Glitter glue (rather than glitter :D)

44. Real Christmas trees.

45. Extra pine branches for decorating.

46. Smell of pine needles.

47. The Man humming upstairs.

48. Christmas lights.

49. Cold winter nights.

50. Warm blankets to snuggle into.

Sharing this post on these great blogs – be sure to check them out for some encouragement and challenges!

Mustard Seeds