Happy New Year!!!!! We are very excited to see God working in 2014 and for the things He will allow for our family and all of our loved ones in the coming year!
To celebrate New Year's Eve we started some new traditions. We went to Chilhowee Park and did the drive-thru lights thing and then we ate dinner at Litton's. I have been wanting to eat there for months and my wonderful husband surprised me last night! I now know why they are voted best burgers, diner, and desserts about every year for the Best of Knoxville contest. Then we came home and let the boys stay up late and watch a movie (well, not Andrew, he only made it till about 10 or 1030) and me and the boys actually stayed awake to watch the ball drop. First time getting to do that with the children. They climbed up into bed with us and we rang in the New Year together. Sooooo sweet!
Today we are doing the typical tradition of ham, black-eyed peas, collards, and cornbread and my husband made an apple cake. He actually is making the whole dinner, minus the ham, which we purchased from Honey Baked Ham. The boys are getting a free day around the house and I am trying to get some chores done.
I LOVE new beginnings. I LOVE the start of a new day and I LOVE the start of a new year. I just like new. I also like new purses, new shoes, and new clothes, but that's neither here nor there. :) We aren't really the types to make resolutions, per se, but we do have some goals that we felt like God was leading us towards for 2014.
1. We are going to try to be ON TIME!!! Especially to church. We are the worst about getting to church on time. It's really bad. Shame on us!
2. We bought a devotional book for the children that has a devo for every day of the year. We also bought them new Bibles for our evening family time.
3. Sean and I bought the Love Dare devotional that we are going to read together in the evenings.
4. I also bought a new study Bible to start.
5. We are starting off the month of January, learning the books of the Bible in order, which is a challenge from Pastor Bates for our church. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENT6HD58yA4 is a really good song and it will get stuck in your head for days!
6. I am feeling led to start memorizing James and 1 and 2 Peter. Whoa!!! Challenging!!!
Of course I want to (through the power of Christ) change the things in my life that don't give all the glory, honor, and praise to God. To be more thankful. To love more. To enjoy each moment God gives me. To discipline my children more, but praise them EVEN more often. To LOVE, honor, delight, cherish, obey, and submit to my husband more. I just want Jesus to have ALL of me and I want to walk in sweet fellowship with Him and be a blessing to others.
I am also calling this my "year of reflection". I am going to read through my past blog posts this year, just to remember the memories and also to make sure my posts are appropriate because God has changed me since I first began this blog. I can't usually go back to old posts because I end up crying. I am also going to go through all our photo albums this year and reorganize them. Another thing I usually can't look at. I think I am EVEN going to try to read all of me and Sean's letters to each other from when he was deployed. He told me to let him know when I start to do that so he can be prepared for me. HA HA! It's time I have some healing in that area of my life and it's time I look at the past with joy and thankfulness, instead of sadness and regret. "On life: You can't change the past. But with God's help you can change the future. No matter what your life has been like so far, God wants to put your feet on a new path...a better path...His path"-Billy Graham.
Lastly, well second to last, we talked as a family last night (another new tradition) about the ways God blessed us in 2013. We got to travel a TON! And God provided the financial means each time, even with our sometimes-more-limited-income-than-other-times times. He allowed us to go to Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Colorado, Florida twice, Nashville twice, Virginia, North Carolina, and Gatlinburg many times. Such wonderful trips and wonderful memories that we made together! We also were blessed with a new pregnancy and we are so excited to meet our baby soon! Ryan learned to start reading. Andrew celebrated many milestones, like a first birthday, crawling, walking, talking. Hunter has found wonder and amazement with God's creation, like animals and trains and planes. :) I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in nursing and got a new job that I LOVE and is such a blessing to our family. We had lots of visits from Pappy and Grammy and a visit from Dave and Michelle. Sean has been doing amazing in school and has been passing all of his classes. Our marriage has improved a 1000 times over and I LOVE him more now than EVER before. We had ups and downs with our townhome, but we are on an "up" right now, which is GREAT! We have thoroughly enjoyed living in E TN and Lord willing would happily spend the rest of our lives here. We LOVE our church and all the families around here that we have gotten to know and love, both at Bible Baptist and from our old church, Still Waters. They are all such an encouragement to our family. We were able to help celebrate two weddings and watch these new couples grow in love for each other and with God. We memorized scripture and hymns as a family and Sean and I read the whole Bible in a year together as a couple! Any way. It's been beautiful and wonderful and joyous. We had our down times, too, like the pasing of Grandma Brewner, townhome issues, lots of colds and stomach viruses in our house, and working through some tough spots in our marriage. BUT God always sees us through. He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us!
And here's some pictures from last night. :)
May you have a God blessed 2014!!!