Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Goodbye 2010

As I sit and look back on the past year of this blog, it is funny the thoughts that come to mind. I can literally remember every post and the purpose behind each writing....which, in itself, brings both joy and pain. 2010 has been one the best and most difficult years that I have ever walked through. Rereading my posts, however, I see a clear picture of "me" in them. Each one is spun with a happy ending, an encouraging thought, maybe even an insightful epiphany. It makes me wonder why I do that, why I write that way. And that is when it hit me....it isn't that IT IS always happy, encouraging, or insightful, but I write with hope...hope that it can be.

So it is with hope that I say goodbye to 2010 and look forward to 2011. Hope that I will take the lessons God has given me this year and make me stronger, better, and brighter for the years to come.

Just a few things I've learned this year (in no particular order):
*I am a social person. I love people. I love to laugh, have fun, play, dance, do for others, etc. And staying at home has been one of the most difficult jobs I have ever done. This is the first full year I have had not working.....well, not working an "official" job. Just like any job....it takes experience, and I discovered....that I have A LOT to learn. I am still learning to juggle my daily responsibilities, spend quality time with my kids and, you know, maybe teach them something while I'm home, be resourceful, live with a limited budget, not lose my "cool", and still find time for me and the things that make me Laura. I have without a doubt gotten a big fat "F" in this category this year......but when I think back to my first year of teaching, I probably got a big fat "F" then too. It takes patience, practice, and learning from my own successes and failures. Bring it on 2011!!!!

*I have learned that friendships can come into your life in the most unusual ways......like finding that person to rock a serious air guitar with! Never underestimate God's sense of humor.

*I've learned that building a house....STINKS! Flat out...not fun...would not do it again! I don't care if I lived in a castle by the end of the whole process. Be prepared to allow it to take over your life throughout the entire process......marriage, kids, friendships, everything.

*I've learned that complicated means complicated. No win situations really are....no win situations. And no matter how many you wish upon, you can't line up the stars.

*I've learned that I enjoy running, if nothing else, for this reason.....NO MATTER HOW SLOW YOU ARE, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE SLOWER THAN YOU!!! I also love Zumba for that reason....no matter how silly, non-cordinated you look....someone always looks worse.

*I've learned that your heart is never too experienced, mature, or confident....to be completely broken.

*I've learned that Panama City Beach looks a little bit different as a 29 year old than it did as an 18 year old.

*I've been reminded both how hard and how fun living with people are! Invading anyone's lives as a family of 4 means life is going to look at little crazy from everyone's point of view. But tv nights, movie dates, dinners together, walks, game nights, popcorn and Dr. Pepper days, and everything in between were worth every bit of the not as pretty moments! I've also been shown true selflessness and true friendship and for that I will be forever grateful and forever changed!!!

*I've experienced what true grace and forgiveness looks like....and what being loved unconditionally feels like.

*I've learned that I can apply an Office quote to just about any situation! And I bond instantly to those people that can share in that same depth of appreciation!!!

*I've learned that some of my best days are the days I do absolutely nothing but play with my kids....build forts, make brownies, build towers and then destroy them, have dance parties. I have two boys with the most contagious laughs.....and taking the time to truly take in those moments is all the joy I could ever need!

*I've learned that I love reading, and I would LOVE more time for reading! A Mother's Hope and A Daughter's Dream literally changed my outlook on so many things in life! Definitely my favorite books of the year!

*I've learned that I can fly on a plane by myself with my two children and handle it with complete sanity!

*I've learned that true friends....are life long friends. They love you at your best, and even more so at your worst. And I have some pretty amazing friends.
So this year I am not making any new years resolutions. Instead I will just keep writing, keep seeking, keep learning lessons so that that "hope" will never diminish from my life......so that my heart will in fact keep "Beatin" on!

Adios 2010!



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Come to Save Us


The lights were dim, candles were lit, the worship team was singing, tears were streaming down my face. This is where I found myself in church this morning. The message that has been stirring in my heart for weeks had never been made so clear, had never been so powerful in that moment.

When I allow myself to look back over the past year, I realize that it has been without a doubt the toughest year I have ever experienced to date (which is a scary thought in itself....to date.....knowing that there will be harder years to come). I have experienced the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, been transitioned, unsettled, uncertain, unprepared, uniquely broken. And though all of these things continue to wage war against me daily, I have marveled at God's ever impeccable timing. It is such timing that reminds me beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is in fact there, that He is in control of all things, and that He does love me. I have said many times that Christmas is what has saved me this year. The joy, the lights, the snow, the plays, the baking, friends, family, giving, and most of all the continuous reminder of why we celebrate this season. It has given me hope again. But, listening to this song today, I realized that it is NOT Christmas that has saved me.

"Jesus, you're the one who saves us! You're the one who saves us! King of all the other kings on Earth!"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow

I love snow!!! I could sit for hours wrapped in a blanket watching it fall to the ground. It is the only time I don't mind the cold. I love building snowmen (or snow women). I love making snow angels and watching my kids try to make them beside me. I love snowball fights and using objects as shields. I love sledding. I would be Chevy Chase greasing up my sled for a big hill (if there were any where I live). I love building snow tunnels. I love when the trees completely ice over and it feels like you are in a winter wonderland. I love ice icicles. I love hot chocolate when you come inside. I love potato soup. I love hearing my kids laughter and joy playing in the snow. I love that everyone looks crazy in their snow get-up and no one even notices. I love snowbird reports and I don't even teach anymore. I love that snow makes everything look beautiful. I LOVE SNOW!!!

But most of all I love that it is the tangible proof that a new season is here. So I say....bring on the snow!!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Unspoken

A few weeks ago a friend (literally) dropped a book on my doorstep. Untouched, unopened it sat on my coffee table until a few days ago. Unspoken is a historical fiction story of Bathsheba and King David. While I loved learning more of Bathsheba, turning down pages where quotes spoke to me on deeper levels, and even learning from her story in ways, it was David who led me to write this blog tonight.

David was a faithful man. A son of a shepherd, he defeated the mighty Goliath. God delivered him from his enemies and chose him to be King. These are the stories you hear growing up about David. Reading this book, however, opened my eyes to a David I had not previously known. David lusted over Bathsheba, had her brought to him, had an affair with her. When she became pregnant he had her husband killed to cover up his sin. His first born son raped his half-sister Tamar and David did nothing. His second son killed that son, fled the country, and still David did nothing. When that same son brought an army up against him to defeat David and take his crown, God delivered David and his people. Yet David's first reaction was of mourning his son's death rather than being grateful to the men that fought for his life.

From the outside looking in, David did not look so good. The great, honorable man whom God stood by and chose to be King made some serious mistakes. AT TIMES, his father skills were lacking, his kingly duties were overlooked, his views on love were clouded, and even arrogance got the best of him. If that was all we got to see of David....how would our opinion of him be any different than those of the people that saw him even in that time period?

But thats when it hit me. I started thinking about Psalms.....the many, many Psalms where we not only can read, but feel David's cries for peace, forgiveness, strength, mercy, joy, sorrow, etc. How often do we go to those same Psalms to find relation and understanding in our own circumstances. We GET to see David's heart. We all make mistakes. We are all flawed beyond reason. We all hide behind a smile. We're all judged by our actions. How rare it is to GET to look past that hard outer shell and see the person that truly lies beneath? To see the motive behind the actions or the brokenness after the fall?

(Bathsheba) "God loves you because you repented every time you realized you'd sinned. You grieved. You tried to do right. God knows you are only a man."

(David) "A man who has hurt everyone he loves and cost the lives of countless thousands." He shook his head, his eyes filling with tears. "Why did God do it? Of all the men in Israel, why did God choose me to be king?"

(Bathsheba) She knelt in front of him and rested her head in his lap. She smiled and closed her eyes as he combed his fingers through her hair. "Because you're the only man who would ask that question."

~Unspoken

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ruins

"A friend took me to the most amazing place the other day. It's called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it a long with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome's first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It's one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won't let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we're afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked at around to this place, at the chaos it has endured - the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn't been so chaotic, it's just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation."

~Eat, Pray, Love