Monday, January 9, 2017

A Needed Reminder

One of the many beautiful sunrises I have enjoyed since moving into our new home. 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." 
Lamentations 3:22-23

The last few months have been a whirlwind. So many changes filled with happy moments, scary moments, and sad moments. Through it all there is one thing that remains steadfast through it all; the love and faithfulness of God in our lives.

Christmas was really nice, but squished between two very busy weeks. My mom and dad came to visit December 16-27th. During those two weeks we tackled a HUGE project - a complete renovation of the upstairs landing that included busting out all of the interior walls, then adding a bathroom and family/rec room (more on that in another post). It was a lot of work, a lot of late nights, so many trips back and forth to Home Depot (40 minutes each way) for supplies either forgotten or that we didn't know we would need. All the while I was still working during the day, the boys were still in school for a week of it, and it was COLD COLD COLD!

Right after mom and dad arrived we went without running water for 2 days due to a broken water line. While we waited to see what the issue was and how it could be fixed my dad and Nate hauled water up from our pond for flushing toilets and washing our hands. Thankfully our pond is a spring fed pond and doesn't freeze in the winter.

I realized that if I had been born 100 years ago, I would have had to move to a tropical climate to survive. Outhouses and hauling water in zero degree weather and snow is NOT for me. I will just admit it, the cold makes me a wimp, I would just curl up in a corner and beg to die!

Yep that's the Spring Fed Pond down there... and an outhouse (not currently functioning) lol!

 I almost had a heart attack when a huge excavator showed up the day after I reported the lack of water to the city. It managed to make its way down our long slippery hill, past the pole shed and into the pasture. We had just committed two days before to take the plunge and install an upstairs bathroom and now we didn't even have running water, and a humongous excavator almost took out the side of the house! I was trying not to panic, all the while mentally calculating the bill that I was certain we would receive after 8 hours of work out in our pasture that involved the aforementioned excavator, numerous men working in miserable conditions, a load of gravel, and a bobcat running that gravel down the hill out into the field. It was a glorious day for Matias, as he is quite obsessed with all things construction, but it was an ulcer waiting to happen for me.

Thankfully before the sun set on the second day we had running water and praise the Lord the city did not charge us for it. Apparently our water lines are a bit of a "gray area" that we had no clue about when purchasing the home. Our valve from the city is a LONG way from our house and down in our pasture... technically the lines from our home to the pasture are our responsibility, but that's a lot of waterline and if we had had to dig those lines ourselves to find a leak under so much snow and frozen soil, I don't know what we would have done!

We took 2 days away from our big project at the farmhouse and went to Lake City, MN to celebrate Christmas with Nate's family. My parents went with us. We had a wonderful time celebrating family together.

On New Years Eve we had some of Nate's family to our home to sled, chat, and eat together. It was a wonderful time and I really hope that we have many more of these opportunities in the months and years to come. Sadly not everyone was able to make it, but like I said we plan on many more opportunities to spend time with our family since we have moved closer!

On January 2, I had off of work and the world seemed to slow down. All three of the boys were tired and a bit rundown, Nate wasn't feeling the greatest and for some reason I found some alone time. I knew I wanted to take the day to reflect on the past few months and to prepare for the coming year.

Generally, to me, "prepare" means to plan and organize... But the morning went in a completely different direction than I had planned. Early in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand I found myself reading a devotional, then a blog post that really reminded of what I needed to focus on in 2017.

There were three words that kept resonating with me:




So I began to create a place in our dining room that would help me accomplish this.

I decided I would like to make a space in a very visible area where I could keep some printed scriptures, my devotional, an ongoing list of all that God has blessed me with, scriptures that I write down as reminders or that really speak to me, as well as any written prayers that are on my heart. My favorite piece of furniture, an antique buffet I painted about a year ago, had been sitting with no specific purpose in the dining room for a few days so I decided to put it use.

I used a free tool from Ann Voskamp's Blog - "This Year I Purpose To..." I printed out the piece of paper and I prayed about each of the 12 words listed (Engage, Embrace, Be, Believe, Grow, Break,
Daily, Do, Let go, Learn, Live, Give) and what God would have me focus on in 2017, and then I filled in the blanks, colored it, and framed it. I framed it so that I would see it, I framed it so that Nate would see it, so that the boys would see it. These are things I "purpose in my heart" to do in 2017, and I need to see them daily and my family needs to see them too.

I also printed a reminder from Ann's "Sticky Notes for the Soul" and framed it to. I will probably change this out throughout the year.

"In the stressful times seek God, in the painful times praise God, in the terrible times trust God, and at all times thank God. 
 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The "Word" for January is "Embrace" and I purpose in my heart to trust God and Embrace the Unknown! 2017 holds so much unknown for our family.

I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, I will not lean on my own understanding, in all that I do will seek His will and I have faith that he will show us which path(s) to take. (Personalized from Prov 3:5-6)

I hope and pray this New Year finds all of our friends and family doing well and that you take the time to reflect and pray on what is most important in your life and do what it takes to purpose in your heart to make that your focus in 2017!

- Jessica

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