Word of the Year – Redemption. I Think…

You know how lots of people are now naming their years instead of doing resolutions? I do that too. Since November I have known what my word for 2012 would be. Redemption.

I was looking over my life and finding myself incredibly thankful for all the things God has redeemed in me. Things I didn’t even know He was working on, and I was/am humbled.

I had spent some time following a trail of verses I had written on the pages of my Bible – the Bible I had at 16 years old when I was pregnant with Fox. I hopscotched through the pages and was in tears. Each verse had to do with forgiveness, grace and redemption. My 16 year old self had been searching for forgiveness and a path forward. Hope.

I planned (and still plan) to share these verses and the many ways God has redeemed so many things in my life. I was stoked to share my word for 2012. Redemption! I wanted to shout about it.

Then something happened. 2012 got off to a very bumpy start.

January was not easy.

To start, I had a falling out with a dearly loved family member on New Years Day. A week later I had a fender bender. No one was hurt (praise!) but our 11 year old family van was totaled by the relatively small amount of damage. I spent half a day in the ER for precautionary treatment and Rh shot for the baby. We hoped to refinance our old home (we are renting it to family) only to find the appraisal came back much, much lower than expected – thank you economy. A close family member is separated from his wife, it’s a very sad situation. And my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer.


It’s been a day by day walk. I asked God if this was His sense of humor. Really? I named this year Redemption – I planned to share all the glorious things You have done for me – and this is how the year starts? You give me NEW STUFF that needs to be redeemed? Will the whole year be like this? Ugh.

I began to wish I named my year “Full Time Fun” or “Smooth Sailing”. Can I have a do over? Is it too late too change my word? The way this year is going, I should rename it something more fitting. I can see it now! 2012 – Year Craptastica! Yes, that will work.

But here I am. It’s February 1st. And I’m here to tell you I still have hope. My God is bigger than ALL this. He deserves praise during the storm. Just last night, amends were made with the estranged family member. Shane can usually work from home one day a week so I can use his SUV for field trips or errands. A sweet friend gave all 5 of us a ride to co-op in her amazing 8 passenger van. The baby is healthy and active. Finances may be tight, but we still have plenty. The family member separated from his wife has a great support system and is dealing well with the stress. My grandmother, the prayer warrior, is singing praises in her hospital bed. She told me “I’m healed either way. I’ll be healed on earth or in heaven” and she told my father “I’ve got my foot on the Rock and He has me on His roll.” That’s my grandma.

A friend at co-op shared this verse last week:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Phillipians 4:11

Did you catch that very important word? Learned. I have learned to be content. It might not come instantly or naturally. But we need to teach ourselves to be content, even in difficult situations. Because God is in control and He works all things to His glory.

A Quiet Christmas

Our Christmas tree stands in the corner of the room without decoration.

I was going to post a picture of it but the camera is dead, left uncharged on the desk, also not ready for Christmas.

No twinkling lights adorn the outside of our home.

Only a handful of my favorite Christmas decorations are sprinkled about the house.

I still don’t know what I’m going to fix for Christmas dinner. I’m not in the mood for ham or turkey so I decided on beef tenderloin. Until I went to the store and saw a 5lb beef tenderloin was $77. No thank you. Moving on. I’m now thinking pork or pot roast. If I don’t decide then I’ll pull a chicken out of the freezer.

Until yesterday morning I had not bought a single Christmas present.

And what I bought yesterday wasn’t much. I didn’t come home with armloads of bags. I didn’t experience a shopper’s high. But I also didn’t experience the next day buyer’s remorse.

And I find I like it this way. I think I’ve finally found that place in my heart. A place I’ve been striving toward for about 3 years now. Where Christmas is about CHRISTmas, not presents or things.

Some of this change is due to screaming tight finances. Some of it is due to taking things easy while savoring the life growing inside me. (I’ll be 16 weeks on Christmas day!) And some of it is the fruition of 3 years hard work. It’s not easy trying to change a lifetime of Christmas commercialism that has been wired into our brains by the media, brands and our own good fortune.

It’s easy to be givers when we all “have”. A large part of America have been “havers” since the 80’s. It’s so fun and easy to give when you have. So we did the big gifts and big parties (which there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with!) And it was fun. The problem lies in that most Americans are now teetering on the brink of being “have nots” and we suddenly feel inferior because we cannot give like we used to. Because before, the emphasis was on the giving, not praise to God for his Son and the generosity of Him giving us the ability to give at that time.

I am so thankful my family, immediate and extended, understand the true meaning of Christmas. My family is who ingrained in me, fighting against the worldly commercialized view of Christmas, that Christ is what Christmas is about. We gather together, enjoy each other’s company and praise His name. In the long run on earth and eternity

The tree doesn’t matter.

The pictures don’t matter.

The lights and decorations don’t matter.

The presents don’t matter.

And as much as it pains this pregnant woman to say, what you have for Christmas dinner doesn’t matter.

What matters it that you’re focused on Him. Let’s praise Him for what we do have, a savior for eternity and one another’s company.

It’s been a calm, enjoyable, quiet Christmas season here in my heart. Even with the kids running around, the pets knocking over the tree and family visiting by the truckload. I wish the same for you. May you have a quiet Christmas season in your heart. May our hearts rest in His peace this weekend.

Merry Christmas!

Link Up Your Christmas Posts!

I hope you’ve had fun hopping around visiting the participants of the 5 Days of Christmas series. There were so many topics covered and we had a blast sharing with you!

A Slob Comes Clean – Getting Your Home Company Ready
Feels Like Home – Christmas Traditions
Somewhat Crunchy – Christmas with Dairy Allergies
Spell Outloud – Children’s Books
Mama’s Learning Corner – Children’s Crafts
Many Little Blessings – Edible Gifts
Sunflower Schoolhouse – Decorations
An Oregon Cottage – Christmas Cookies
Catholic Icing – Wishing Jesus Happy Birthday
The Traveling Praters – Traveling
The Homeschool Classroom – Gifts Kids Can Make
Mama’s Laundry Talk – Laundry Gifts

Now it’s your turn – we want to hear from you! Share your Christmas survival tips, recipes, crafts, favorite reads, whatever knowledge you’d like to share. I need some fresh Christmas ideas to get my creativity pumping! And please don’t forget to link back to at leas one of the host blogs so others know where to join in the fun!!

educational videos