Dec 31, 2013

ten favorite moments of 2013 [part two]

learn from yesterday
live for today
hope for tomorrow

*   *   * 

This year has been full of blessings and fun adventures. I am so grateful for God's faithfulness over this past year. There have been good days and bad days, but through it all, God has been so good to me.
Here are the second half of the Top Ten Moments of 2013 [see the first six]

7. Blogging community. I am so thankful that I have been able to meet so many wonderful Jesus-loving girl bloggers this year! It's been so fun to find a whole community of girls who write so beautifully and honestly about life. Check out some of my favorites! And in October, I got to meet one of the sweetest bloggers, Miss Bailey Jean from Anchored in Love.

8. Some of my favorite blog posts of 2013:
9. Big sister//Little Sister. Have you read the posts on the Big Sister/Little Sister group I am a part of? It is a new ministry within our church that I have helped to get started. We as Christians are sisters with God as our Father. So with this in mind, one "older sister" (we're mostly in our mid-twenties, some married, some single, some moms) and one younger sister get paired up and spend time each month getting together. Texts, phone calls, emails, and other ways to communicate throughout the month are also used to encourage, uplift, and point these younger girls to Jesus. I loved having a breakfast with these some of these big and little "sisters" in October. It was so awesome to have girls of all ages and stages chat and have a fun time together as sisters! And my little trip with my "little sister" and her friend to our local museum was great this past summer! And seeing my "little sister" sing with the youth choir at Christmastime concert in Leavenworth a few weeks ago brought joy to my heart!

10. Work. I don't write about work too often because I wouldn't ever want any of the children I work with to be identified, because face it, anything written down on social media outlets and blogging is public access for all sorts of people. With that said, I am very thankful for my job as a pediatric nurse practitioner at a rural pediatric clinic. I work with infants, kids, and teens who come in for anything from a sports physical, ear pain, chest pain, sore throat, and developmental delays. But the most challenging population of teens I work with are teens with mental health issues, many of whom have complicated chaotic social situations. Providing the appropriate treatment and resources is so individualistic and personal to each teen, many of whom have given up hope. It caused me a lot of anxiety. I wasn't sleeping well. I always felt like a failure. I assumed everyone around me knew who inept I was at my job. Aside from these challenges, it is often overwhelming and easy to become entangled in hopelessness. But in the last year, God has shown me that He is worthy of trusting with our worries. He has shown me that His love for these vulnerable girls and boys I serve in the clinic far surpasses any earthly love or concern. And I have been learning to trust that even if I may not see the positive change or healing happen in their lives while I work with them, I can trust that God has it under control. He is capable of bringing other people into these teen's lives and tell them about the hope  that is in Jesus. He gives hope to the hopeless, and this truth has changed how I see my job. It gives me joy and hope for each day.
"What gives me hope is the belief that God will be faithful, because He has been faithful before, to me and the people around me.  I need the reminders [like ebenezers].  I need to be told that He was faithful then, and then, and then.  Just because I may have forgotten how to see doesn't mean it isn't there.  His goodness is there.  His promises have been kept.  All I need to do is see.
So when I'm on the edge, peering over into the unknown, trembling and terrified to move forward, afraid to take that next step, I practice believing that full life is beyond the fear.  I know that God's voice has led to me this exact place... He is leading my life, saying to me, as He has been saying to His people throughout history, I will never leave you, and I have left reminders all around, if you have the eyes to see them." 
Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines 
<< What are some of your favorite moments of 2013? >>

Dec 29, 2013

ten favorite moments of 2013 {part one}

2013 was an amazing year full of beautiful memories. 
God has been so faithful in taking care of my every need and bringing beauty
into my days. He has calmed my anxious heart + taught me over and over that 
He takes care of me because He loves me as a Father to His daughter.
When I look back at the last year, this beautiful hymn bubbles up in my spirit:
*  *  * 
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"
*  *  *
Here are the first six of my favorite moments of 2013:

1. Europe trip {Aug/Sept}. Wow. There were so many beautiful moments during my three weeks in Europe this past summer [see the posts here] that it would take up the whole list, so I will combine them all together in this #1 spot. I loved exploring London, Paris, and Nice with family (and a friend in London!). Climbing up the Arc du Triomphe, exploring the village-like Montmartre, walking to the Jane Austen world of Bath, swimming in the Mediterranean, floating across the Seine with family in the Batobus boat tour, biking on the Nice's boardwalk [Promenade des Anglais], stepping on royal footsteps in Windsor Castle, climbing up steps to the hillside village of Eze, and walking back in time to Mary Antoinette's Hameiu de Riene. I cannot believe that I saw so much beauty.

2. NYC {May}. Five days in the Big Apple with three friends. What a blessing! So many greats sights! [check them out]. Flatiron Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Top of the Rock, watching Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, biking through Central Park, sunset cruise around lower Manhatten [and getting thisclose to the Statue of Liberty!], all the amazing food [!!], Times Square at midnight, church at Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

3. Family trips. As we grow older, it is so much harder to coordinate extended time together, but I am so grateful that I was able to plan a few trips this year with the family. We weren't able to get the whole family [9 kids!] for a trip, but 1/3 of the clan is a good ratio! We went to my favorite Oregon beaches in June for Father's Day, Leavenworth [a quant German-like town decked out in Christmas cheer in December], and the Europe trip.
Leavenworth, WA
Seaside, OR
4. Reading inspiring books. It's been so hard to find time for leisure reading because I am so exhausted after 12+ hour days at work, but I managed to read a few books that I was pleasantly blown away with. I try to read books that challenge me, inspire me in my daily walk with Jesus, and teach me. I love a good novel but I try to stick with books that will leave me a little wiser than when I started.
My favorite book of 2013: Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis [check out my review].
Other great books of 2013: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp, biographies of missionaries Lottie Moon and Mary Slessor by Janet & Geoff Benge, The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken by Naomi Zacharias, Who Do You Think You Are by Mark Driscoll, Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman, Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius [review coming soon!]
Books I started in 2013 and hope to finish in 2014: The Autistic Brain by Temple Grandin, Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot, Fanny Crosby: The Hymn Writer by Bernard Ruffin, and Desiring God by John Piper.
Books I plan on reading in 2014: Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore, The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, autobiography of Hudson Taylor, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

{ see some of my favorite books here}

5. Holding babies. Is it just me, or was this the year of babies? I became an auntie for the second time in October to a beautiful niece and was able to hang out with several great friends who became new mommies in 2013! It's so fun to see the joy of new moms!

6. Weddings, weddings, weddings! Several friends got married in 2013 and it was such a joy to witness these lovebirds exchange vows and celebrate their love!

Dec 27, 2013

leavenworth // dashing through the snow

Well, Christmas is over. Sad, right? 
We anticipate it, decorate for it, and plan for it  . . . 
and then it's gone within an eye's blink. 
But the joy of Jesus lives on throughout the year.
That's good news!

I wanted to share my last day in the beautiful Leavenworth.
{ see posts one and two }
We spent the morning dashing through the snow in a two-horse opened sleigh.
It was such a beautiful ride and we enjoyed the sweet together time.
And then the trip finished and we were on our long drive home. Look at the sunset we caught!
 We stopped by the Stonehenge Memorial near the Maryhill Museum

Merry {belated} Christmas!

Stay tuned for a few posts to close off 2013 by posting
thirteen favorite moments of 2013 and thirteen favorite posts within the next few days!