Today has also allowed me the chance to reflect on God's blessings from 2012 and look in anticipation toward 2013. I love a new year. Probably for the same reason I actually love Mondays and mornings and the firsts of the month. Brand new starts! A chance to try again! Oh the hope that lies behind an early Monday morning. And a new year. Thank God in heaven for do-overs.
2012 for me has been anything but dull. It has been a year of tremendous growth. I hope it has been for you, too. I felt led to attempt reading the Bible through chronologically this year, so I got the One Year Chronological Bible in the New Living Translation. In times past, I've done well til about the middle of Leviticus, then I usually give up. This year God has been faithful to show me something in His Word every single day- even in the middle of Leviticus! Seriously! Yay God! I kept journals of what stood out to me that day and what I felt He was saying to me from the Word. He was faithful to meet me every morning. I think it's safe to say I've been faithful to the end. I'm at the end of Revelation now. Just a couple more days. :) One day I'll post a blog of just the highlights. He showed me some good stuff.
We discovered that Samuel, our fifth child, has lots of food allergies, which is something we had never dealt with before. I don't think any of my other children have food allergies. Maybe sensitivities from time to time, but nothing so severe I really had to change our diet. While it was pretty devastating and stressful at first to try to figure out how to feed my little man with such limitations, I see it now as a blessing. God has taught me a lot about how important the right food is for our health. It's been an opportunity for all of us to eat a little differently and educate ourselves. The biggest thing was that he is allergic to every kind of milk besides goat milk. Hence, I have since learned a lot about the health benefits of goat milk and even how to raise goats. Now we have our own! Soon we will have our very own farm fresh goat milk every day! And next year for Christmas I plan to give everyone goat milk soap! See? Blessing. :)
Obviously God led us to a wonderful new home and farm this year. He also blessed us with another pregnancy. In April 2013 we will welcome our sixth child into the world.
I've come to a new place with my oldest child, Allie Grace. She turned 12 this year. The rest of my children are five and under, so this "tween" stuff is something totally new for me. While I obviously still have authority and guardianship over my sweet girl, I am moving more into a mentoring role now. A parenting seminar I attended described this stage as moving from "cop" to "coach". I like the coaching role, but it's unchartered water for me, so it's a little scary. It's an adventure, too. I really do like the person she is becoming. Almost daily I see beauty and maturity springing forth from this lovely maiden who was a child, yesterday. It's weird. Good weird, and like I said scary, but good.
God has brought new people into my life this year who have inspired me. Elaine has eleven children. She is adventurous and smart and tough. I get my cow milk from her. She is a portrait of strength. Caroline raises Nubian goats. I get my goat milk from her. She has convictions. She lives so differently from the world. She is a portrait of wisdom. Meghan is stunningly beautiful and radiantly eccentric. She makes my allergy appointments and took our family portraits in October. She is a portrait of inner beauty that radiates to the outside. Then there are two Lindas. One is my midwife, one is Sam's homeopathic allergist. Linda the Midwife is a wise, discerning sage. She is a portrait of gumption and good sense. Linda the Allergist is kind and helpful and also very wise. She is a portrait of health. I am so thankful that God brought each of these new people into my life this year.
Which leads me to my first resolution of 2013: to show appreciation for the people and relationships God has placed in my life. A specific goal I have with that is to write a note to one person in my life each week telling them exactly what I love about them and why. I will have no problem coming up with 52 different people to appreciate. The greater problem will be having more people than I have time to write.
I'm going to dig in with all my relationships, especially the one with God. I'm concentrating on prayer this year and getting serious about praying at all times, on all occasions. I believe we will see more of God when we ask Him to show us Himself. I commit to doing that this year.
I've realized that grammar and vocabulary are kind of a big deal to me in the schooling of my children. I am around so many people with bad grammar, and I have to constantly say to my children, "Don't talk like that. You know what so and so said? Yeah, that was wrong. Say it like. . . " :) It's a big deal to me because, no matter how much they know or how smart they are, it won't do much good if they can't articulate it well. I plan to continue making grammar and vocabulary and reading very big deals at our house.
I'm hoping for a water birth with Bethany in April. It's just an experience I really want to have, deep in my heart. If God allows it, that is the plan.
We're going to plant lots of crops this year and continue learning about farming, gardening, goats, and chickens. The ultimate goal is to be self-sustaining and only have to run to the grocery store for things like toilet paper and toothbrushes. It may take us a few years to get there, but we will start this year with lots of produce and herbs from the garden, eggs from the chickens, and milk from the goats.
I'd like to run the Warrior Dash in the fall and the Galaxy of Lights 5K in the winter. Other than that, I'm going to do a lot of family-friendly exercising like hiking and riding bikes.
So, I'm wondering. . . what are your hopes for the new year?