A Look Back at 2012…

As 2012 is coming to it’s end, I just wanted to do a review of sorts, as to what all has gone on in my life this year, and also the many ways God worked in me 🙂   

As I read through journal entries and looked through (WAY too many!) photos that I took this year, I’m amazed at how much really happened!  I think, “that was this year?!  It seems like so long ago!”  Who knew you could fit so many things into 365 days 😉

Okay, so enough with the ‘intro’, lets get to the “feature presentation” 🙂

To start off the new year, we had a few friends over to celebrate….poor Ryan was the only guy there!

New year

Just a few days into the new year, we said goodbye to our cousin, Graham, as he went into the army…

Graham

Then…the next dayI failed my drivers test. 

Test

But we still ate what was to be my ‘celebration’ dessert….vanilla ice cream with green olives and chocolate syrup 🙂

Ice Cream

Towards the end of January, I thought God was calling me to attend a Culinary Arts program, but after much prayer, God showed me that wasn’t where he wanted me.

The end of February, we took in a pregnant momma cat to foster and on March 2nd she gave birth to 5 little fur balls – the “minions” as I called them 🙂  We had them for about 8 weeks I think, and it was fun watching them grow and learn…and basically become little terrors 😉

Minions Minions2 Minions3

At the end of 2011, I had applied for a counselor position at a Christian camp near here, and, for several months, anxiously waited for an answer.  March 9th I received it.  I knew God had greater plans in mind for me when I read the letter informing me I had not gotten a position.  Was I upset?  Not really…I was more excited to see what God had for me instead…and let me tell you, He had AMAZING things planned 🙂

Now jump ahead, if you will, to March 24th…is that wedding bells I hear?!  It is!  I attended the wedding of a good friend of mine, Megan 🙂  It was a beautiful wedding, and one of MANY that took place this year 🙂 

Megan

In June, we celebrated my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary 🙂

G&G G&G2

The end of June, we began fostering a dog, Sophie Marie (aka. Soapy Jeans)  🙂 We had her until August 24th

Sophie

Jump ahead once more, and we are now at July 5th…the first day of the WIT singles conference!  I won’t go into much detail, since I already blogged about it, but God worked on me so much that weekend, that I would definetly have to say that was a turning point for me in several areas of my life, and I am so grateful He allowed me to go!!

WIT

Then there was (what some would call a ‘little’ ) blessing, but to me it was a HUGE blessing!  As many of you knew, I had been having to push mow our (very large) yard, and it was not an easy task.  I was down working in the garden one day, feeling somewhat discouraged that I wasn’t able to keep up on both garden and yard work, when our friends showed up with zero-turns and weed-eaters, and in about 30 mintues, had the yard done! 

August 7th rolled around, and I celebrated my 22nd year of life…complete with friends and 2 homemade cakes!! The one in the picture, and another decorated to look like a large pink M&M 🙂

Birthday cake

Birthday

Officially 22 🙂

A couple of weeks later, we lost a ‘family member’…our cat Milo passed away.

Milo

Zoom ahead with me to October 15th!!  After 4 years of praying, we were able to get a mini-van!! 

DSC_0073

Moving onto November!  I packed my bags, and on the 3rd, my friend Tiana and I left for Journey to the Heart!  It was only by God’s provision that I was able to go, and once again, I am SO grateful He sent me!  It was definetly another turning point in my life 🙂

Group

My team!!

A week or two after I got home, we had another ‘family member’ pass away.  Miss Emma Leigh…

Emma

November 19th I started helping out at my grandparents, since my grandpa was having eye problems, and needed eye drops every hour, around the clock.  I took the night shift.  I helped out over there for about 4 weeks…coming home on the weekends and going back Sunday nights 🙂  After many eye drops, visits to the doctor and lots of prayer, my grandpa’s eye is healing and he no longer needs the drops at night 🙂

December 2nd was a special day for me and also for my friend, Tiana.  We were anointed at church, and I remember thinking while dad put the oil on my head and prayed, “This is it. I’m dying to myself.  Whatever God wants, I’ll do.  Wherever He wants me, I’ll go. No turning back.”  I must say, God has sure sent things my way to test me! 

And that, dear readers, is pretty much a review of 2012 from my point of view 🙂  I must say it was one very busy, full year…but amid the craziness and hardships, this was a year that I heard from God SO many times!!  This year was a blessing…perfectly planned by God!

Winter 2012resized

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Perseverance Pattern

I always love how God sends me encouragement at just the right time!  I received this e-mail this afternoon from Wisdom Hunters Devotional (more about it here: http://www.wisdomhunters.com/) and it seemed to speak right into a couple areas of my life right now 🙂 

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“Surely God is my help, the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4 

Our Savior sustains us by His strength. Christ causes us to carry on with His compassionate care. Our Heavenly Father is forever loving us to Himself; and then sending us forth into the fray by faith. And the Holy Spirit is our Helper (Romans 8:26). The Lord leverages our life for His longevity. His desire is for us to not give in or give up. He is a God of determination and He expects His children to do the same.

 Indeed, the Almighty’s aid is better than all the help of men. Heaven’s help stands ready to sustain you. It is in prayer that you perceive God’s help and persevere. Perseverance is a product of seeing your circumstances from Christ’s perspective. It produces peace and a quiet confidence (Isaiah 32:17). Indeed we have a divine champion in whom we can be confident. We have no need to fret because our Heavenly Father is here to help.

 Sometimes the pressures at work pour over you like the constant pelting of golf ball size hail. You are bruised; beat up and unsure of yourself. The nick picking of people makes you feel like you are about to be nibbled to death by ducks. Nothing seems to be going right so you begin to conclude that you need to quit. However, don’t quit before God is done with you. His ‘will’ may be for you to persevere in your pain.

 The Bible teaches, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36). Hang in there so you don’t miss out on what heaven has for you. God’s best may be yet to come. Furthermore, we persevere in our pain in order to grow our character. Paul understood this principle of perseverance. He said, “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4)

 God is our help in times of trouble. He is whom we trust. We persevere when we see Him. It is easy for our eyesight to become preoccupied with problems. Our immediate issues can overwhelm us, if we allow them that unhealthy level of influence. But the Lord would rather have us linger with Him. Replace unproductive time of worry with productive time in prayer. When you gaze on God fears fade away. The writer of Hebrews captured this confidence in the life of Moses, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27).

Little do we care for the defiance of our foes when we have the defense of God.
God’s grace will sustain you. His grace is sufficient for your specific situation. You can move forward by faith. Do not allow this financial set back to keep you from going to God. He owns everything. He has what you need to make it through this transition.

God is already on your side, so stay by His. You have His mammoth mercy and loving kindness to draw on in your discouragement. The help of people comes and goes, but the Lord perseveres with you, so you can persevere with Him. Your Savior, not stuff, is your sustainer. Be encouraged by heaven’s help. Remain steadfast with God. He is… with you! 

Taken from Reading #40 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http:// bit.ly/InvUdR

 

Hidden Valleys

I remember being 7 years old and listening to our Kelly Willard cassette tape each night to fall asleep, but it wasn’t until tonight, as I was listening to some of those same songs (now in MP3 version of course 🙂 , that I really began to understand one of the songs, and realized just how powerful of a message it really has. 

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Hidden Valleys by Kelly Willard
 
In a hidden valley just over the hill
A young shepherd boy surrenders his will
As he lifts his voice in praise to his King
Only the lambs will hear and follow as he sings

In a hidden valley a faithful one leads
No one looking on, he cares for their needs
For he knows the One that tries the heart
So he is steadfast and content to do his part

Chorus:
Hidden valleys produce a life song
Hidden valleys will make a heart strong
Desperation can cause you to sing
Hidden valleys turn shepherds to kings

In a hidden valley a leader is born
He has faced the fierce and weathered the storm
So with humble heart and love for his God
He becomes royalty with just a staff and rod

Chorus
 
 

Gladly Would I Leave Behind Me

I don’t remember how I came across this song this week, but it’s a song that I want to have as the cry of my heart. 
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Gladly Would I Leave Behind Me – by Sovereign Grace
 
Gladly would I leave behind me
All the pleasures I have known
To pursue surpassing treasures
At the throne of God the Son
Worthy of unending worship
Love and loveliness is He
By His precious death were millions
From the jaws of death set free 
 
Gladly would I give to Jesus
All affection, everything
For the washing of His mercy
Makes my ransomed heart to sing
“Holy, holy!” is the chorus
Rising up from those who see
Christ exalted, bright and burning
Full of power and purity
 
Chorus
Where else can I go?
Jesus, You’re the One
That I was made to know
What else can I do?
Jesus, You’re my all
I gladly run to You
 
Gladly would I flee temptations
For their troubles fill my life
Turn and seek my God and Savior
For His goodness satisfies
Earthly treasures, all are passing
Thieves break in and rust destroys
But in God are awesome splendor
Love, and everlasting joys
 
Chorus
 
Gladly would I give to Jesus
All affection, everything
For the washing of His mercy
Makes my ransomed heart to sing