Sunday, December 26, 2010


It is late Sunday night after Christmas. Everyone has gone to bed, the dryer is humming its cyclical tune and the Christmas lights on the tree are glowing in the background. It has been one of the busiest Decembers that I can remember and in all honesty I have to admit that this wasn't one of our best Christmases. In fact, I'm relieved that it is over. There were some real rough patches during this holiday season. Have you ever had a Christmas like that? I think everyone does once in a while. And it's weird because I was just looking at last year's Christmas post and it was so wonderful I couldn't decide what was best about it. I'm glad I blogged it because I got happy and all encouraged reading about it.

Oh, there were good parts to this year- the night my girls, all four of them, gathered in the living room for our tree decorating night was a highlight and was truly the Christmas of my heart. An unexpected afternoon visit on Christmas Eve from my mother-in-law was a special time. A slow and relaxing Christmas morning with two of our girls waking up to see what Santa had left was a sweet time together. And having three sweet grandchildren kept our eyes on the joy of the season. Two of them were old enough this year to open the gifts we gave them and that made it very wonderful. But this year it seems that more than ever I let the stress and the pressures get to me and I didn't do well in keeping my focus on Christ. For those reasons and others - well, I'm glad that it is all behind me. So very glad.

The positive thing is that I have already made up my mind about what I am going to do about it. I already have a plan in action for how it will be different next year. And not just for next year but for now. Starting right now I am choosing to make things different in my life. Here is my plan in bullet point fashion:

* I am going to make it a priority to stay focused on Jesus. He is my source of strength. When I let life get in the way of my Bible reading and prayer time I suffer personally. And even though that is not a new revelation - something that I didn't already know - I allowed it to happen and I had a difficult month because of it.

* Beth Moore has come up with the greatest idea for what she is calling 2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Challenge. I ordered her sweet little spiral note card set and have already picked out my first memory verse - Phillippians 4: 4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally *Robin, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (*slight paraphrase!)

I got such a kick out of reading how Beth was so excited to start this challenge personally and was on a search for just the right pen to begin writing her verses out! So January 1 is the day to start memorizing. Memorizing scripture is an area I always need to do more of.

* I am going to stop dwelling on the negative and difficult circumstances of life. I think that in my earlier years I was more blessed than I ever realized because life just never seemed to hand me difficult things. Perhaps it was all being stored up for these later years! Sometimes it sure seems like it. Apparently I never have had much practice at how to live victoriously through tough times but I seem to be getting a crash course now. I have a nasty habit of thinking too much about what is wrong and hard and being a "fixer" by nature I spend way too much time trying to make everybody happy. Of course, nobody ends up happy and I end up exhausted.

* I am letting go and moving on. There isn't too much I can share about this on my blog and it won't make much sense to most of my readers, but I need to write it down to imprint it on my brain. This will be big to me - personally.

* Perhaps this one will be the most difficult of all. I am going to try with everything in me to stop having such strong opinions. Or at least stop putting a voice to them. I come by it naturally - it's in my genes - and I am a first-born. Sometimes that proves to be a lethal combination!

* My friend Becky, over at Keys to the Cottage, inspired me last year to choose a word of the year. My word last year was "serenity". I can certainly see how God designed that word for me for the year. Unfortunately, I failed miserably at allowing the word to be a source of growth for me. I failed so much that I had pretty much decided to forget about this little tradition this year. But a word kept coming to my mind and as I look over my little list in this post I can see that by making these changes in my life I am putting this word into action already. So, I am going to try it again. My word for 2011 is RENEW. And in a nutshell that is what I have been talking about. I am going to allow God to RENEW my heart and my mind! That sounds so refreshing to me.

* This last year my husband and I began a walking and weight-loss regimen. I have not spoken about it on my blog because, well, so many times I have started this and failed. But we have really gotten into a routine (although we seriously slacked off this month) and now our daily three mile walk is something we look forward to doing together every day. We have both lost some weight and we are rewarding ourselves by dusting off our skis and boots and we are ready to hit the mountain again! We are choosing to make skiing our new winter hobby and even hope to get our little grandbabies involved with us. That sounds like so much fun to me. Yay! Hopefully I will have pictures from the mountain to post soon.

So, there you go. My little personal list of changes and improvements. I wrote this mostly as a form of accountability for myself but perhaps my list will encourage you to challenge yourself to make some changes in your own life.

Today, my son-in-law and daughter dedicated little Aiden Ryan to the Lord in a sweet ceremony at church. Sweet Aiden is the most adorable, good-natured baby I have ever seen. He is happy all the time and his smile absolutely melts my heart. He is a snuggle bunny and I just can't say how much I love this precious little child.

We are so excited about the arrival of our fourth grandbaby - Ryan Craig. He is scheduled to arrive the end of March and we all anticipate getting to see him. I love this moment that was captured on our tree decorating night. Two sisters and our sweet, unborn boy. Little Ryan has no idea how much he is already loved.

These sweet little lives are such an incredible blessing to their Poppa and Mia. We are so blessed and thankful that we get to be such an active part of their lives. How tenderly we guard the great responsibility we have to be such an influence in their lives. We don't take it for granted and we are blessed beyond measure to be in such close proximity to them. We keep asking ourselves if all grandparents feel this way about their grandchildren, or are ours sort of special! We never knew how awesome this grandparenting could be. I pray the Lord grants us the privilege of living close to them forever!

This wasn't the greatest picture of the kids - but it's the only one I had my eyes open in! And since it's my blog . . . . . .!

I am happy that I have this whole week off of work. I love slow starting mornings and coffee. I intend to enjoy this week to the max and look forward to catching up on all the posts I have missed this month!
Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

I liked your blog. But with not voicing strong opinions.....Robin, you are a Morten afterall! Why put a stopper on what you think? I love sharing opinions and different thoughts with all (well most all) people. As long as you aren't attacking someone else (which I suspect you arent)and are respectful.....share away!
Merry Christmas sis!
Love ya!

Nanato4 said...

Praying that your plan for 2011 prepares you for a fantastic year. Blessings!

Becky said...

I really like your new Word for 2011. Renew. It will have unlimited possibilities .. and God will teach you much. I'm glad you decided to choose one.

I really loved this post, and the one above also. Great to hear that Christmas is not always what you wanted it to be ... but our love for the Lord means we always have a new day. Renew. It's a good one.

Anonymous said...

beautiful pictures of you and your grandchildren GBU all and many blessing to you and yours in the new year