Monday, January 02, 2017

New Year's Revelations * The Blessings of 2016

 I'm not one for cheesy checked off lists of things to accomplish in the new year but there are a few things that I can reflect on that were huge blessings from 2016 that I would like to take with me into the new year and multiply. So here goes in no particular order. 

  • Game nights with the family
Our kids are finally at a really fun age for playing games together with. They are showing off their competitive sides and also using their little minds to come up with some pretty fun ways to play our games. Some of our favorite game night choices right now are Memory, Red Light Green Light, Operation, Puzzles and good old fashioned races.
  • Podcasts over TV 
Choosing to listen to a great Podcast over vegging in front of the TV has been one of the best things I've discovered this past year. You can accomplish so many things while you listen, laugh, cry, or settle in for a cup of coffee while you enjoy a great topic discussion or conversation. Here are some of my favorites right now: The Slow Home, At Home with Sally, Blythefield Hills Baptist Church, Becoming, Life Without Limbs, She Wrote a Book, and Anything & Everything by Jeff and Alyssa Bethke. I will continue to expand my list here in the new year because this one was a really great one for me. I love listening and having the chance to multi-task while I listen. Also, it never hurts to avoid some of that unnecessary TV time! 

  • Tea Time
Making a cup of tea over a cup of coffee in the evening has been a good choice for me. It helps me wind down and avoid the extra caffeine and those extra calories from sugar and cream that I would have normally chosen had I made myself a cup of coffee for my nightcap. 

  • Specific and Intentional Prayer
Prayer has been a very central part of faith for me since I decided to trust God as a 14 year old but my prayers were never very intentional nor were they specific. What do I mean by specific? I mean really going before God with something specific in mind, day after day, in expectancy because we know we can trust Him to come through for us. Even when the way He "comes through" is not how we may have liked it to be we end up being able to see clearly that He has answered us because we have been persistent. When you choose to be persistent you begin to see that your imaginings may not be the best way but that He can work all the details out, little by little as we release them to Him. He has our best in mind and longs to bless us, He will when we allow it in His way.

I love the YouVersion App. If you don't already use this App you really should check it out (use the link here to download)! Here are some of the plans that were really instrumental in helping me understand scripture more and/or guiding me through some of the questions I was facing in 2016. May you find some that guide you into God's word deeper this year!  

  • You Make Me Crazy
  • Refugees
  • Unashamed
  • Chasing Failure
  • The Impact of Scripture
  • Comfort Zone: Stretching Beyond Your Limits
  • One Minute Apologist- Doubting Toward Faith
  • Upside Down- Kingdom Living
  • God's Goals for Your Roles: Devotions from Time of Grace Ministry
  • Favor With Kings
  • Battlefield of The Mind Devotional
  • Prayers for Mental Health
  • God Is...Through Matthew
  • 2 Are Better Than 1: Uncover Your Marriage Purpose
  • Fear Fighting in The New Year
Last but not least...

  • Get Moving! 
This year was really motivational in that I learned to really enjoy movement again. It's been some time since I've been able to move without pain or fear of falling. I was so thrilled to be able to walk up and down the small sand dunes at Pioneer Park in Muskegon Michigan along the shores of Lake MI in early spring 2016 and it only got even more fun from there. Long story short, I found movement to be a great blessing this year and one that I do not want to take for granted. Each time we get out and about I am reminded of what a blessing it is to move freely and I can only look to God and say thank you and celebrate in the enjoyment of it. Winter is harder because it is hard to get out and about but I will keep looking for ways to enjoy movement even in the colder months! :D 

Happy 2017 Everyone!