Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Decade in Review

2000-Finished our first year of marriage and my first year of teaching...a difficult year, full of of those that you look back on 10 years later in thankfulness for getting through and learning along the way.

2001-We were reeling from my aunt's diagnosis of lung cancer. My parents came and spent 8 months in Nebraska to be with her, thus also being closer to us. It was a wonderful year of memory making. We also enjoyed a summer vacation to Niagara Falls and around the Great Lakes states. Shortly after that trip, 9/11 left us reeling once again.

2002-Traveled to Oregon for my 10th High School glad I'm no longer the person I was in high school. It was great to see old friends and reconnect with people I didn't really know before.

2003-After over a year of trying to start our family the "conventional" way, we started looking into the adoption process.

2004-Probably the hardest year of our lives...2 family deaths in the first 2 weeks of the year, then losing my aunt 3 years after diagnosis. To this day, I feel like a piece of me is missing.

2005-After over a year of fundraising, we finally started the paperwork process to find our sweet daughter. On December 7, we saw her picture for the first time; on December 9, we accepted her referral.

2006-Quite possibly the best year of our lives as we spend the first 5 months preparing to be parents, followed by a whirlwind trip to China. Dayna has proven to be a sweet, sweet child who almost makes parenting easy (some days...)

2007-Dealing with the aftermath of being asked to leave a church plant, but finding our purpose and place back at the church we had attended for years. We fell in love with children's ministries, although our roles within it are constantly changing.

2008-Daily surprises as a 2-3 year old learns new things every fact, every minute. Never a dull moment!

2009-Maybe because it's fresh in my mind, but the week in November where we saw $1.00 grow and grow and grow will be close to my heart forever. This year also saw 2 weddings, a baby, and losing my grandmother. Part of me is missing my little girl, but I'm also learning to appreciate the newfound independence that is actually helpful!

I hope your decade has been full of more ups than downs and that you find yourself a richer, stronger person than you were December 31, 1999.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Highlights (and lowlights) of 2009

January: After a difficult end to 2009, the chance to start over.

February: Attending the BSF retreat in St. Louis, coming home (exhausted), and while snuggling with my baby, hearing her ask Jesus to be her Savior.

March: A long weekend trip to the Amana Colonies for a quick spring getaway and chance to see dear friends.

April: Losing my grandmother in the midst of the stress of a bathroom remodel, but also getting to spend some unexpected time with my sisters and mom.

May: Celebrating Dayna's birthday, motherhood, and 3 years with our sweet daughter.

June: The marriage of my oldest niece and birth of my youngest on the same day.

July: Ten years of marriage to my best friend.

August: A new school year with an incredible new principal.

September: The start of another great football season.

October: Having a greater appreciation of my husband and single parents as Dan took on seasonal work at the pumpkin patch, allowing me to take a greater role in keeping the home front humming.

November: Watching Dayna's generosity grow from $1 to over $1,000; giving up one scone to become 4,000+ meals.

December: Christmas in Oregon and the wedding of Dan's brother to sweet Holly.

Random Christmas Shots, Part Deux

Not so happy, but she's still pretty darn cute!

Somehow, a lot of Dayna's pictures center around cookies

They were very tasty!

Ruby's first Christmas

The Wilson boys and their Legos...pretty serious business

Christmas Day on the beach...beautiful!

Couldn't have been a more beautiful day!

Even Ruby enjoyed the hiking

Near Heceta Head lighthouse

Beautiful cousins

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Random Christmas Pictures

Enjoy some truly random snapshots from our Christmas season.
Dayna and her cousin Ruby in their matching Christmas monkey pajamas

The first step to baking is washing your hands. The second step is putting flour on your nose.

Wilson family by the fireplace

After spreading Christmas cheer at the neighbors and being given a cookie with VERY green frosting

Dayna got to watch a lot of Christmas movies at Papa and Nana's house. This one is the Santa Clause.

Making a gingerbread house. Whose brilliant idea was royal icing?

More baking with Nana

Dayna got a surprise early visit from Santa, who came to reassure her that he knew she was in Oregon for Christmas

Dayna's new big girl bike

We finally got a smiling picture with Santa

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Still Working on Grace.

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:14-15

This familiar passage hit me between the eyes last night. It hurt. Bad.

I'm not always the best at being peaceable. I'm irritable, grumpy, and like to get my way. Then, when I get together with people who don't see eye to eye with me, I tend to withdraw (and not always with the best attitude.) So...while I'm busy being disagreeable, I'm also not being holy. How can people see the Lord when I'm behaving like this.

And so, I'm sitting here writing in my blog and praying that I will be more agreeable, even with those who disagree with me (while not compromising my values), and praying against any bitter root that might grow and create trouble, causing the very people I should be loving to miss the grace of God.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Heart of Christmas

When Christ set aside his divinity to become a man...SACRIFICE

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:6-8)

Making this sacrifice to provide a way for man to be reconciled to God, our sinfulness being made righteous and the relationship healed...RESTORATION

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18)

A little miracle happened at my parent's house yesterday. One of my nieces has been stretching her wings of independence and spent the last few years finding her own way. This way has not necessarily reflected the values she learned when she was younger, and in the course of recent family history, there has been a lot of pain involved in many hearts. This past year, my niece moved across the country to continue her education.

It looked like another Christmas without the whole family together (which is bound to happen more and more as the family grows up, gets married, moves away...)

Meanwhile, another niece (younger sister, in fact), has been saving her money from a minimum wage paying job at a fast food restaurant. She worked out some details with her sister, got a little help from my parents, and managed to buy a plane ticket for her sister to come back to Oregon for Christmas (remember the spirit of SACRIFICE?)

Unbeknownst to my sister, her daughters managed to pull off this surprise for a remarkable Christmas reunion. In the first moments at the doorstep, as reality began to register, there was not a dry eye as we witnessed this beautiful moment. A moment of RESTORATION.

I don't know what choices my niece will continue to make as she finds her way, but I hope that she knows that she is loved unconditionally.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When Did I Get So Busy?

December...birthday (Dan), significant anniversaries (Dayna's referral, our engagement), bittersweet anniversaries of loved ones leaving this life (my Grandma and Uncle)...not to mention Christmas.

When did December become so crazy? Maybe it's always been this way. It's a good crazy, though. Snuggling early in the morning by the light of the Christmas tree; making gifts for our daycare provider and speech teacher; decorating sugar cookies; sending Christmas greetings. These things take time, but I can't imagine leaving any of them off our December agenda.

I guess it's not that I'm complaining about the busy-ness so much as I'm wishing I could linger over all these activities and take more time for reminiscing. But December continues rolling along, and so must I...

Take 2

Well, I ended up not having a program without a dress rehearsal. Instead, I ended up with yet another snow day and an 11 day weekend. we go again. Dress rehearsal is in an hour, program is Thursday...we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days

I'm trying not to stress, as I have absolutely no control over the weather.

But, truth be told, I'm really concerned about going back to school tomorrow.

Last year, we changed our program format at school and no longer do a traditional holiday program. Instead, we offer different music demonstration opportunities throughout the year that better fit our district's curriculum and standards. Parents don't always understand the work it takes to pull off a program...we spend an entire quarter of the school year learning less than 5 minutes worth of music. There is precious little time to teach musical concepts, much less assess any learning.

So, to still offer a holiday musical experience, we started doing a "Singalong" last year. It's short and sweet, doesn't take a lot of prep work out of classroom time, and parents still get to see their children dressed up and singing Christmas and winter songs.

Thing is, parents hated it last year. I got a lot of flack from parents because they didn't see their children on stage. further pacify our community, I've planned and planned and spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how to get kids in front of the audience without the Singalong becoming a full-blown program that lasts over 2 hours. And...the brilliant this is that I really did come up with a solution!

Problem's a rather elaborate plan that works on paper and we haven't seen if it works in reality. Further problem...snow days yesterday and today.

I'm getting peppered with emails from teachers who want to change program order, etc., and we're going into this "less stress" performance tomorrow without a rehearsal.

So, if you read this before tomorrow...please pray for the following things:

1. A positive attitude on my part, as I really can't control anything else anyway.
2. Accepting, gracious responses from my colleagues and our audience.
3. That the kids don't pick up on any of my stress and that we just have fun.