Monday, January 15, 2018

Number 8: New Beginnings!

Click on the picture to enlarge

Today we celebrate our eighth anniversary of being here in Thailand. 
Over the years, I have been reflective about our journey and you can check out some of those past posts by clicking on the links below:

8 years ago!
1 Year
2 Years
3 Years
4 Years
5 Years
6 Years
7 Years

The number 'eight' is a special number. It is the number of "New Beginnings!"

There are 7 days in a week but the eighth day is a brand new beginning to a new week of new opportunities and new possibilities! And that's what I am claiming over this year ahead.

We are excited about what God is going to do this year at both ZOE and in our personal lives.

Thank you for supporting us these past eight years and for your continued prayers for our family.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018... My One Word

Happy New Year!

Our house is currently a huge mess…
There’s a tent drying in the lounge room and sleeping bags scattered all over the floor, an ice box is in the passage way and backpacks are leaning against the tubs of packed (but not yet put away) Christmas decorations. The washing machine is on and camping mats are creating an obstacle course around the first-aid kit and the left over snacks!  But this ‘mess’ represents an unforgettable two days away camping that even the most disorderly house cannot take away. 

Now three quiet, exhausted children who last night squealed, ran, hid and played-hard for hours in the dark, sleep peacefully. 

As they toasted marshmallows and shared their memories from the year just past as well as their hopes and dreams for the one ahead, I was reminded how blessed I am to be their mother.  I reflect on the night, sitting around the mesmerising campfire, listening to them giggle and chatter and reminisce - all the while making the last few, lasting, memories in the final hours of 2017.

It’s been an interesting year.  The 5 of us each chose one word to describe it. 
‘Unexpected’, ‘Jam-packed’, Trust, Challenging and F-ard (Fun + Hard)!!

I laughed as my kids reenacted my most embarrassing moments but also listened in amazement when one of them shared a really embarrassing thing that had happened to them, being vulnerable, open and honest.  When I stop dwelling on all the areas that they need improvement in, I get to see the evidence of the growth they’ve experienced this past year. I really am so thankful. 

The word I chose wasn’t ‘f-ard’ but actually the more I think about it, I believe it does sum up this past year quite well. There have been incredibly fun moments and there have also been tremendously hard ones but through all these challenges and unexpected twists and turns, we have definitely all grown in our trust in God. 

I read an email yesterday entitled ‘What is My One Word?’
Last year my one word was ‘Brave’ – but that’s a whole different blog post!

It was this quote, in the email, that caught my eye though and spoke straight to my heart.

PAUSE. My word for the year is PAUSE. In my busy life there are so many times I need to pause. Pause to remember these days, for they will fly by so quickly. Pause to say yes … and no. Pause to give thanks. Pause before I speak in anger, judgment, or criticism. Pause to say I’m sorry. Pause to dwell on God’s goodness and mercy.

And so as I head into 2018, I choose to focus on the growth, developed in trusting God and leave behind the disappointments, failures and unmet expectations.
I remind myself {once again} to embrace hope, joy and love.  
And this year I want to take on the word PAUSE, taking time to slow down, pray more, reflect and be thankful.
A friend sent me a message this week that said, “I was touched by the Emmanuel song at church- God coming down to be with us in our messy lives…”

How lovely to be reminded that He is with us through it all {especially in the f-ard!!}. 

This huge, amazing waterfall was a short walk from where we camped.