Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Blessed be the Name of the Lord

If you have been reading my blog for many months, you might know what a rough year last year was for our family. I haven't talked about it much more than to mention that it happened... it was something that touched a lot of our life, but it didn't really lend itself to being shared candidly. For those of you who haven't been reading very long, Mama suffered two miscarriages, an emergency surgery, and lots of testing last year. This was hard for our whole family, but especially for Mama, understandably. Thanksgiving arrived and I believe we were all conscience of the people who would forever be missing from our table; Haven had been due to arrive right at Thanksgiving, and the loss of little Selah was still fresh, and both of these things made the fact that we had two other children/siblings, Micah and Michael, already in waiting in heaven even closer to our heart.

But the Lord sent a gift to make that day of remembrance one which brought us much to be thankful for, as well. Because in His grace, the day ended with this news...

The grace of the Lord is so wonderful, His gifts are merciful, and I am so thankful for the joy He brought out of our sorrow <3. This precious little one is due to arrive in our family this July, and the Lord has blessed Mama and Baby Bear with wonderful health! We would appreciate prayers for this little one's arrival, but also praise that the Lord has given this life to be treasured, not as a replacement to the little ones who touched our lives so much in such a short time, but as proof that our Father cares for His children <3!

"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." -Psalm 30:5

"O Joy, that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to Thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain. That morn shall tearless be." -Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go"

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." -James 1:17

Monday, March 12, 2018

50 More Random Facts About Me

I sent a random picture of a new recipe I made to a friend recently and was given the response, "This reminds me of something I read about you." Instantly I was a little disturbed, because what could she have read about me that I didn't already know she had read about me ;)? She replied that she actually read 50 things about me... and I realized she was talking about this post, done spontaneously a few years ago. And then it came about that we decided that I should do another such post, and this is the end result of that! That being said, without further ado, 50 more random facts about me!

  1. My favorite time period to study and read about is the late 1800's. I love it.
  2. When I fold towels, I always make sure the ribbing is facing the top of the stack, and the outer fold is on my left. A stack of well folded towels is very satisfying to behold, I assure you. 
  3. Constantly eating the same foods can get old sometimes. Unfortunately, if I am given the option of something new or something old, I usually overthink things and reach for the same, boring, trusted old foods. If you take me somewhere I have never been to eat, I guarantee you I will get a hamburger or a grilled cheese sandwich if they have it. (Funny that this post was born from making a new meal, isn't it? That shows that nobody is hopeless ;)!)
  4. I have 19 drafts in my blog folders right now. At least four of those are finished. But by the time I got around to editing them, they were too old to share as they were. But I can't ever throw away something I actually spent time working on...
  5. I have gotten better about taking notes for the patterns I create! The problem? They are very loose notes, not actual patterns, per se. And I can't decide how to share them. So, you know. I still don't know if you all will benefit from that...
  6. My favorite coffee drink is a caramel frappachino. I was once told that I make delicious coffee drinks and should work at a coffee shop. Later, I was told by the same person that they really only loved my coffee drinks so much because I put whipped cream on the top, hahaha!
  7. I make some of the social media graphics for "The King's Blooming Rose" ministries :). If you haven't checked KBR out yet, you should <3! It is such a blessing.
  8. If you do not have a nickname, I will give you one. If you do have a nickname... would you like a few more ;)?
  9. Yes, I have two blogger accounts and a wordpress account. I'm sorry my profile picture keeps "changing" on you all in the comments. Tori pointed out to me that it's confusing, and I plan on making them all match soon, but I promise you that they each serve a purpose, haha! Grrr...
  10. There are very few things that I buy without a purpose, especially for myself. The exception is scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. At only 44 cents a sheet and with the explanation to myself that it MIGHT come in handy to make something for someone else or for my shop, I usually come home with 3-5 more designs than I started out looking for when I dare to browse that isle in the store. It makes me so happy to admire such a beautiful design with the potential of purpose, that it's worth it.
  11. There are very few people I can watch cook in person. It's not you, it's me. I promise. But... please. Can I show you how to use that spatula ;)?
  12. When I was little, I cooked with my aunt every time I went to my grandparent's. They kept their flour in this HUGE bucket, that I was allowed to use as a stool. One day my aunt sent me for something across the kitchen, and opened the flour bucket, unknown to me. I came flying back across the kitchen and took a leap - not onto the bucket lid, but straight INTO the flour. We laugh about this quite frequently when we're in the kitchen to this day.
  13. I eat ice cream out of a tea/coffee cup. It's the perfect size to hold the perfect amount of ice cream, and since it's in a smaller space, it doesn't melt as much, and the handle allows you to hold it without your hand getting cold. Plus it's a reason to use my cup that has a crack in the side, so I can't use it for coffee anymore. I hate melted ice cream -My mom teases me about the time she ordered me an ice cream from DQ, we had to walk forever to find me a place to sit down and truly enjoy it... and instead of being thrilled, I cried at the disappointment that it was "melty!"
  14. My hair was perfectly straight until I asked my Mama to cut about half of it at 14. It curled up immediately after drying at that time, and I have had curl to my hair ever since, though I notice it gets a little more limp during summer. 
  15.  I wash my hair with baking soda and vinegar, not because I am "one of THOSE natural fanatics" ;), but because it it the only thing that consistently works on my hair. Once my mom was asked what she would recommend for a lady's hair as she was in the shampoo isle. She shared what she used, but it didn't really answer the question, so to try to sound more helpful, she told the lady what I use. I am told this lady looked horrified and answered, "But that's what they use to make VOLCANOES IN SCHOOL!!!" I never heard of her again, but I am guessing she tried another method ;)... hahaha!
  16. I quickly develop shared obsessions. I can not help it. It's a way of connecting to people. If you make it obvious you love something, I will think of you every time I think of it, and eventually getting excited about it for your sake will make me just excited to see it, haha! I don't even know what things I love are even mine at this point...
  17. I am reading through the bible for what I think is the 8th time. I know many people have read through the bible more than this, but this is enough times to know that God can teach you something EVERY time. You don't know everything this wonderful gift holds by examining it just once <3. I like to read through the bible cover to cover, than do small passage or topical studies, then eventually read cover to cover again :).
  18. I love weeding! I like all aspects of gardening (except the bugs met), but weeding is the best. I know I am helping those little plants survive, I see immediate results, it creates such a neat affect, and it's something to keep my hands busy outside while I just enjoy the quiet. .
  19. I can (or at least could for years) imitate a pretty good rooster crow. But I'm very self-conscious thinking of doing this now, and told Andrew just yesterday, I'm not sure I'll ever know if I still have it. 
  20. I started to read Louisa Alcott's Hospital Sketches for free one time, and then I quit. Not because I wasn't interested, but because it was a good enough book, I didn't want to read it on the computer, I wanted to read an actual book, haha! I have yet to finish it...
  21. I journal at least once a week - an average of 7 pages. If I skip my regular journaling time by even three days, that number will probably go up to 12. I usually journal on Sunday, because it's a day I have time for it, and because if I have a set time, it helps me not push it to the side, because I really benefit from it, but it also means that if I am tempted to journal on Saturday when I should be working on extra projects, I can tell myself, no, I have time set aside tomorrow ;).
  22. The most disappointing fiction books I ever read are a tie between "The House of Thirty Cats" and "Rose in Bloom". 10/10 would not recommend, I hated the endings of both. Sigh...
  23. I play piano... with lead sheets. Ha. I don't even really think that it counts, although I enjoy it by times anyway, but other people seem to think it does sometimes, and it's confusing to explain. An elderly gentleman in choir once asked me if I played instruments... "Not really, definitely not well." Mama then posted a picture of my baby brother and I playing in the piano with lead sheets, and the next time I went to choir, this gentleman asked me when I was playing a solo, because he had found me out. Haha!
  24. I love open windows. I love the brightness of compromised sunshine, and I love the sound of the wind and birds and leaves!
  25. My favorite decorating technique is a big, full wall collage. The sight of them makes me so happy. I want to do so many... so I haven't done even one yet, because I can't decide which to start with, haha!
  26. Fuzzy socks and mechanical pencils are always a good gift choice. Or chocolate. And I probably need a chapstick, because I have to use them constantly, haha...I'm easy to please!
  27. I have lived in 4 different states - South Carolina, Iowa, Indiana, and Virginia. (But I have lived in South Carolina *3* times!)
  28. My memory obviously fully developed at age five. The Indiana house is where all of my youngest "firm" memories took place. Mama baking maple twist and singing to me at bedtime... Christmas baking with Daddy... sneaking downstairs to make sure that my Mom was leaving some of the chocolate caramel eggs (haha!). It's neat and odd to think of all at the same time!
  29. I was supposed to be born on my grandma's birthday. I ended up arriving nine days late on her brother's birthday, instead. I can't imagine the disappointment, hahaha!
  30. I stayed up to wash dishes at 3:00 a.m. ONE TIME and now my family thinks that that defines me. ::sigh:: Haha!!!
  31. My first ever "writing" project that I remember was plastering Lisa Frank stickers of a cat (I thought that cat was gorgeous) into a notebook, then scribbling around them and "reading" the story to my parents.
  32. I really liked being 14. I'm not sure why... there wasn't anything terribly different about that year. But if you were to ask what my favorite age was, I wouldn't hesitate before saying 14. 
  33. There is about a 60% chance that if we are close friends, one of your names starts with C or K. I don't search those names out. They just... happen.
  34. I am currently learning Swahili. Habari! Mimi langu ni Bri S. Mimi ni mmarekani. Ninapenda mkenya. Kewi hari! I would love to adopt someday in the future, Lord willing, and if I did, I would probably lean towards either Chinese, African, or domestic adoptions (and the children with special needs). I thought once when I was younger that it must be terrifying to be adopted by someone who doesn't know your language, especially if you are only three, and so I decided I would like to have at least a working knowledge of Swahili and Chinese :).
  35. I am closer in age to my mom than I am to a few of my siblings & I am also closer in age to my aunts than most of my cousins! My aunt has called me her son's Aunt at times, not on purpose, but because it somehow feels natural, haha! I don't mind, being an honorary Aunt is fun ;).
  36. I learned to knit continentally and crochet from a formerly British neighbor. This was an issue when my friends talked about their american version knit and crochet projects - the two versions have different names for different stitches at times!
  37. When Tori and I were little, our favorite things to play during our daily "quiet time" was that we were snowed in during a blizzard, hehe. I grew up reading Little House yearly for a while, okay ;)?
  38. I once read a quote that said "she was the girl who over watered plants because she didn't know when to stop giving". This took me very aback, because it brought memories of my Dad telling me I needed to water the plants this way, this much, or I would drown or uproot them... and what a hard time I had not giving in to the desire to give them just a splash more, so I was *sure* I had taken care of them. I don't know, it was weird to find! But every time I think of that, my mind then goes to the girl who was walking our neighborhood while I watered the potted plants, who walked past our house with her friends and then spun around and asked, "HEY, DO YOU WANT TO BE MY FRIEND?!??!?!" I was very shocked at the suddenness, but never got a chance to answer, because her friends yanked her away because she was being "weird". I've felt bad for her because of their response ever since, but I still laugh because it was hilarious. She must have been quite the character, and I'm sure being her friend must have been dizzying in an amazing way, haha!!!
  39. I have 400/20 vision. For those who don't know what that means; you are legally blind at an uncorrected 200/20. I have yet to meet a person (who actually remembers their prescription) that has one even close to mine.
  40. I am directionally challenged. It's one of the hardest parts about driving. The other main issue is that I have really bad night vision...
  41. I have been known to scare friends by telling them exactly what they are thinking about a situation before they tell me, even though I have never lived it. Or by remembering their life better than they do...
  42. My dream starter home is a tiny, sunny little two bedroom house with a sofa table covered with plants by the front window, bookshelves full of beautifully meaningful books, a table dedicated to my bible study because I take up allllll the space when I work on that, and a small grey cat named Raspberry purring on the rug while I make supper, with a little basket of toys always out in the corner of the living room for when our little house busts at the seams with small as well as tall guests.
  43. I am probably shorter than you, given the statistics of my life.
  44. Growing up, 19 always seemed to be the age you became an adult. Something about it seemed so old. At twenty, I think that has changed. I'm not old yet. Now I don't know what age sounds old after this, haha.
  45. I give people deals if I am winning at Monopoly. I can not see you struggle while I am winning. I hope this translates well in life, but honestly, I don't have thousands of dollars in real life like I do in Monopoly, so I haven't tested it yet ;).
  46. Tori and I once nicknamed a lady "Miss Crystal Lady" because we couldn't figure out her name without admitting we didn't know it, and she looked like a friend's mom. We found out her name was Linda. Six weeks before we moved. Miss Crystal Lady stuck though. Sorry Miss Linda.
  47. My full first name is not Brianna as you may have supposed; it is Ambrielle. This is a little-known name, which my mom picked out for me when she was just a little girl. It's said about two people per generation have it. From what I have been told by a friend and the fact that my mom and I decided that I'll have to have an Ambrielle, I may know BOTH Ambrielles in the next generation, now wouldn't that be crazy?! Haha! And yet we would all have different nicknames, which would also be neat!
  48. Some of my favorite family adventure memories were made at night. Watching the thunderstorm from our porch, watching the meteor showers last year, looking at the moon when it was supposed to be "different" with Tori... Night adventures are the best. 
  49. I wash my hands constantly. I can make a simple breakfast of bacon and eggs and wash my hands five times just to get the stuff in the pan. Haha!
  50. I am the oldest of my parent's 10 living children.
Thank you for joining me for this blog post <3! I had so much fun writing it out, although it took a while... I hope it's at least a little fun to read, as well ;). I'd love to hear from you in the comments! What are some "random facts" about you? What did you think of this post? What was the most exciting thing about me you learned today :D?...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Light-Hearted and Short Look at February

Josiah-isms, because he is at that delightful stage where everything he says seems quoteable... (Tori reads Mama's old blog now kept mostly when Tori was 4-6, and says, "It seems like all you wrote about was me." Haha!)

Jojo: "I don't need my bears."
"Okay, I'll just set them at the end of your bed then..."
Jojo: *sits up really fast as I go to leave* "Where is the other one?!"

Josiah wanders downstairs and looks in the fruit bowl.
*sad little voice* "There aren't any with stickers."
Me: "Tori. Tori. Here." *peels a sticker off my cup* "Go give him a banana with this sticker."
Tori: "Oh look, Joey, here is a sticker!"
Josiah: *completely happy, very excited* *peels the sticker off his banana* "Here Bri, this is for your cup!"
You don't say... hahahaha!

Josiah: "I will clean it up fast. It will just take a little bit and a crumb!"


This child is really odd and hilarious sometimes, hahaha! From the jean shorts, to the fourth of July shirt at Valentine's season, from the church vest to the unbrushed hair and Mr. potato head glasses, I mean, what even is he getting ready for?! I love it.

We don't make breakfast sandwiches often, because it takes a while, but I did one morning this last month. We up-graded from a two-slice toaster to a toaster oven about nine years ago, but the past few years, even that is too small and slow... I just lay all the bread on a metal rack and throw it in the oven on broil for a couple minutes, haha :).

Mama was sick, so all the little ones picked flowers for her :).

I had so much fun designing Valentine's Day cards this year! Peter loved his and carried it around for days, it was sweet and somewhat hilarious... he loved the hearts right off it, haha. But he put them back on ;).

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lordwhose trust is the LordHe is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” -Jeremiah 17:7&8

That would be the cup that was subject to banana stickers by a small army of banana eating, sticker bestowing siblings, haha!

He's in our room, and so we get to here him talk in his sleep... hahaha! He loves his puppy!

He got a haircut this last month, too. It's much shorter, and so it doesn't look nearly as curly... and he looks so much older. But he's adorable <3.


A few more random parts of my month: I washed the kitchen floors. I spilled maple syrup all over them the next day. This makes three times in less than a year that I personally have cleaned the floors and have personally thrown a whole jar of something on them withing twenty-four hours. I don't usually spill that much of something at a time... unless I have mopped the floors. I don't get it.

Which is stronger, a garlic press or a clove of garlic? By all practical logic, the answer would be, the garlic press.

Which is why, when I tried to crush a clove of garlic and half of the metal grating can out instead, I was a little more than shocked and laughed really hard. We needed a new one anyway... for the past five years since it lost the pin, we've been using knitting needles and those weird fork things you stick in turkeys to keep the halves together. But that's not exactly how we always imagined it giving up all life.

*I'm on google, and a recommended article is "how to stuff a chicken"*
*my brain as I scroll past: "How to wear a chicken"*

I was offered a goat. A baby goat. A FREE baby goat. A free baby goat that needed bottle fed.
And I turned it down because I am responsible and knew I didn't have anywhere to keep it or know exactly how to take care of it right now.
Why do I have to be responsible.


So, there is a short, incomplete, but hopefully fun look at my February. I would love to hear about yours! What was the highlight? What is something that made you laugh? How can I pray for you this coming month :)?

Rejoicing in Hope,
Bri <3

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"Spring" Zoo Day!

I know a lot of you are still experiencing snow and cold, but here in SC, we're wearing flip flops and everything is in bloom and we are taking trips to the zoo before it get to hot to stand being outdoors... haha! Daddy had a long weekend off last/this week, and so we went to the zoo on Monday :)!

First zoo picture of the year! Mama was watching this picture being taken, and she let us know, "From now on, it's age order or stair steps." We can't do both anymore!

First we went to see the seals, and we spent quite some time there, as we waited and stuck around for the feeding, as well. One of the employees brought out a piece of seal skin for everybody to touch. I declined, but some of my siblings let us know that it felt like... Daddy's hair. Interesting. Haha! It *was* more furry than it looks when it's wet.

The sea lions were taken out for years, they wanted to great a more friendly habitat for them. Now they have an indoor viewing and a outdoor viewing and an over head viewing, and a seal added to the mix! The feedings don't include as many "tricks" as they did formerly; I think that might be partly because most of the sea lions and the seal are new to captivity, being rescue animals.

I don't usually share Daddy's pictures that don't have people in them, because I never know what he wants to do with them, but I had to share this one. It really looks like this seal is smiling for the camera, haha! Actually, though, he was grunting like a little pig ;).

Watching the feeding :).

The gorillas were being civilized for once... most of them were sleeping. Ha! They have really gross feet.... *ugh* But Noah liked this one.

<3 He's so cute.

They always have to climb to orangutan statue...

Peter wouldn't go into the bird exhibit for... reasons ;)... but Josiah wanted to go and did wonderful with it! I don't know if it's because he knew what to expect this time or if it's just he's older or we have birds now, but he held his cup the whole time and didn't scream, even though they were EVERYwhere that day. Mama was told that the animals are crazy on Monday, because they are expecting to be fed as much as they were on the weekend, and they aren't because very few people are there. Poor things, haha!

I mean, look at all those, haha! Mama was holding Noah and the cup, and she had soooooo many birds on her. I expected Noah to be scared no matter if he likes birds or not, but he wasn't!

For just a little more, you can upgrade your membership and get free rides, food to feed the animals, etc, for the year. So the merry-go-round has been a new attraction to all the little ones :). Noah wouldn't sit on an animal, but I held him on a seat and he seemed to enjoy it. Then we played "Poohsticks" over the bridge, because Josiah was disappointed when the merry-go-ride was done, and Josiah won!

He liked the slide more, though ;).

Emmi-Lou Who <3. Peter told us he wanted to see the penguins... asked over and over. When we got there, we discovered he wanted to climb in the fake tree in the exhibit, haha! The toucan flew (something it never does, haha... it usually just sits, like the koala bears ;)), and impressed Daddy with it's wingspan! Our zoo is one of the leading zoos for raising toucans, which is neat, but I have never seen a baby. It's sad, haha! They had baby shark pups last year, but I didn't recognize any of them either. They also got a couple more lions, which makes me feels better, because the one left was so sad alone...

Josiah's favorite part was the outlet plugs in the sea lion indoor viewing... haha! And Abbi wanted to know when the Naked Mole Rats were going to get clothes... they are really nasty looking, y'all, but the other something they had in the same exhibit (it had fur, I don't remember what it was) was running through the "hamster tunnels" and ran into another, and ran back OUT the tube backwards, and it was hilarious... it didn't really run, it like, quickly hopped... or something. It was humorous!

We left right at closing time, and as we got everybody buckled into car seats, Josiah told Tori, "That was nice, and that was good." That's high praise from that little man ;). We picked up some pizza on the way home and everybody tried to get Noah to talk about the zoo ;). Mama asked him that night if he saw the giraffe, the zebra, the birds, the fish. He answered yes to each, then squinched up his little eyes and thought for a minute, and Mama mentioned he was trying to think of another animal, but couldn't remember the name, and then he shouted something... it took us a few times of him repeating it before Bethi realized he was saying animals, Mama must have jogged his memory :). The day was nice, and it was good ;).

Rejoicing in Hope,

Saturday, February 24, 2018

He Said, "You will find Rest for Your Souls"

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion', says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." -Lamentations 3:21-26

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust." -Psalm 91:1-2

"Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." -Matthew 11:28-29


Here it is, almost March, and this is my New Year's Resolution post. But that's okay, because I didn't make resolutions this year anyway.

I have a love/hate relationship with resolutions. See, as a list-maker/follower, I love to make them and feel like I should love following them. But I do better with short term lists... I like to just write down what needs done on a "master list" and then I pick things off of that to put on my daily to-do list. Resolutions are hard for me, because it's hard sometimes to see even a day ahead. In fact, you can't at all; you just have a general idea of how it might go, given the past, if the Lord doesn't have big plans you don't know about. A year out is too broad a time to make plans for that are definitely going to be changed. I always ended up discouraged as I looked at my uncompleted resolution list, which made me discouraged making out my new one... or made me throw it in a drawer and decide that this year, I wouldn't have goals. 

This New Year's season, I wrestled with those facts up until I woke up and lay thinking in bed about this problem on New Year's Day -which less than stellar "growth-bringing" decision did I want to make this year to set me up for failure (not kidding, that's about what I asked myself)? I have a lot that I want to do in this year... but they are all things that I cannot guarantee, because they are in God's control. Those couldn't be resolutions, they would almost surely be broken in some way or other, because His ways are not my ways, and there are a LOT of variables hanging around the three biggest hopes I have for this year. I just couldn't plan them. And to plan anything smaller just seemed to mock the word "resolutions". But I didn't want to give up moving forward.

And then I began thinking about the concept of rest. And I realized, I could make this word my goal for the year. Because if I did everything to fit into this word, I would be doing all that I wanted to be doing, without it being about a checklist, which was exactly what I was wanting. 

Because the word "Rest" encompasses so much.

On the one hand, if I am accomplishing things that need done, instead of avoiding them and dreading them, it brings that rest that comes with things being done well. And accomplishing the things that need done frees you up to be able to take times of needed refreshment without guilt, which is many times more restful than a "break" after simply spinning your wheels all day. 

With that in mind, I have been trying to do what is right in front of me, to do the things that usually I only think about even if it's something I would usually be uncomfortable with, and push myself a little harder to get more done than I think it's possible when I look at my to-do list at 5:30 and would usually want to give up. I'm also doing things like reading books and writing, rather than browsing social media as often as I might be tempted to, as real refreshing times of physical rest.

But more importantly, I want to rest in the Lord.

I want to rest in His plan for my year. I want to rest knowing that He knows what is best for me. I want to rest in the knowledge that He is in control... I don't have to be all things to all people, because I can't. That's His role. I am just someone He uses to bring about His purposes, if I am willing to rest in His guidance and do the things He places before me to do. I want to rest in the promises of His word, and draw closer to Him. 

And really, that's what it's all about; and also the only growth that truly matters for any of us; to grow in Christ, made into His image and having our spirit aligned with His. 

And with that in mind, I have been trying to steep myself in the words and works of God. I have been setting more time aside to read the Bible, and been making the effort to fit extra bible studies into my week. I've been trying to read more books to spur me on in good works, and listen to more sermons expounding the Word of the Lord, listening to more "hymns and spiritual songs", and spending more time in prayer, because while I am becoming more willing to admit that I cannot be of any use to others without Christ's work in me and those around me, I am also realizing what a privilege it is that we can petition the God of the Universe and bring every burden before Him.

And it's amazing... here I thought that I chose this word for my year. But as the past couple of months have rolled by, I have realized two things: One... The word and concept of rest has been brought to my attention, and has been placed throughout the books and studies I have picked up more in the past two months than in the past two years. I totally believe that God knew this was what I needed to learn this year. And two, I also believe that He placed the desire to learn that lesson on my heart at the perfect time. Any earlier and I may have burnt out before I had a chance to see it's value. I needed to be able to search it out a bit before I could feel it's true value and strive to keep it at the front of my mind. But in the past two weeks, I have realized that it couldn't have been given any later, either. Because if it had, I wouldn't have the lessons I had learned through it for the paths He has me walking right now. Paths that are helping me realize my need to rest in Christ, and yet also the reason that I have to be able to rest in Christ. 

I have a feeling I'll talk quite a bit about "Rest" on my blog in the next months. The bible study Mama gave me for Christmas focuses on rest for the first section -another thing that God worked out, because neither of us were thinking about this at that time! It gave me such a smile to realize that when I first opened the book to study. There are a lot of thoughts within it that I want to be able to share at some point. And I am learning new thoughts about rest frequently. The first was that rest and trust go hand in hand... you cannot, will not, have one without the other. You cannot rest in the Lord if you are not trusting Him. Another thing that was brought to my attention lately was that surrender goes alone with rest... because the ultimate test of resting in the Lord is if you are able to surrender your "good things" for His "best things", no matter the cost. 

Ultimately, it's about giving God His place of authority in our lives, instead of having the pride and foolishness to think that our worry or work can change one thing in our favor. It is only as we Rest in Him, humbly admitting that He is Lord, that we can truly and faithfully serve Him with quiet joy. 

And if the Lord can use this journey to bless any of you as I share my heart, I give Him the praise, for I know my own inability to do anything of worth without His grace. Let us serve Him together <3. 

Rejoicing in Hope,