I've come to realize my blogs have been a bit heavy, so here are some of my favorite things from 2008. 1. Our 10th anniversary trip to Leavenworth, WA (3 days of Brian all to myself, great hotel, great restaurants [mmm, pear crepes], and I scored two fabulous purses in the village!) 2. Finding out we're having a baby (this of course tops the list) 3. Brian's loving accomplishment of some huge projects (hardwood floors, new molding, sprinkler system, garage organizational system, the repainting of our main living area, baby room, etc) 4. Another vacation week at Wannacut Lake with the Ogle clan (despite morning sickness, there still isn't much better than a week of floating on the lake and eating "The Aunt's" delicious treats) 5. A week at IHOP (this has nothing to do with pancakes) in January. (great time with Jesus, friends, a tour of a chicken farm and tasting root beer flavored milk for the first time) 6. Shopping for our quickly coming baby girl with Brian (each time it feels like a dream...thank You for Your goodness Lord) 7. A super cool valentine's date at this tiny restaurant in SE (Brian rocks at making great special dates) 8. Seeing Brian break his marathon PR TWICE! (Yay, baby!) 9. Going to the pumpkin patch with Ty, Kristy and the kids (Caden was very careful to find the roundest one possible) 10. The miracle of docs discovering my IC in time to keep our baby safe (God can use anyone for a miracle, even radiologist students) 11. Getting to be with Maudi, Malachi and the rest of the fam almost every Monday night (man, I'm gonna miss the Roscoe's while they're in Africa) 12. The Thanksgiving drive around Walla walla with Brian just before turkey dinner (the combo of Christmas lights and families eating dinner together in windows was beautiful) 13. God's awesome provision of our SUV (thanks Ron and Jill) 14. A relaxing and beautiful WHITE Christmas with my family (even though I'm convinced Dad cheats at Scrabble and Brian is sneaky when playing Life) and the snow days before and after 15. The first felt movements of Elliana (she's an acrobat now) Well, naturally this doesn't cover all of the great things that happened in 2008, but these are definitely moments that are close to my heart. I'm so thankful for all Jesus has given me.
Posted by Jenn Becker at 6:47 PM
Unlike my goal-oriented husband, I'm not one to normally set up specific resolutions or goals for the new year. I'm usually more the type who has an idea of what I want to change or see happen and then move (quite slowly I hate to admit) towards it. This year, however, is different. Everything is different, actually. Right now I feel like my life direction, friendships and pastoral perspectives are all being stretched and pulled in a way that's causing a mixture of uncertainty and anticipation. I desperately want this year to be a huge step into the purpose and position God has for me and my family. What this seems to require, however, is much bigger and scarier than I thought. First, I want God to truly be my obsession, my deepest desire. We sang a song this morning about giving our every heartbeat for the glory of God. I want to live and breath like that. The question then must be answered, am I truly willing to let go of self, of pre-concieved ideas, of plans, of my fears, my time? Am I willing to embrace new directions and new roles? Second, I want to be an godly influencer far beyond what I am now. This year that will begin with our soon to be born baby girl. Do I have the type of relationship with Jesus that I desire for her to model after? Will I be willing and able to push aside other's opinions and raise her in the way God wants us to? My dream is to love Jesus so much that He is real to her from the moment she's born, that the practice of prayer and worship and communing with the Holy Spirit is as practical and necessary as eating and sleeping. I also want to influence and pastor others with a new measure of wisdom and grace. I want to know when to speak and when to pray. I want to know in the depths of my heart God's way verses man's opinion. I want to be able to discern when to cover another and when to step back. My heart aches with sorrow for all of the mistakes I've made in this area. This year I MUST grow in this realm! For this to happen, some will probably think I'm being too "tolerant" and others will think I'm being too "involved". How far am I willing to dive into this? How much of my own "wisdom" am I willing to leave behind? Third, I want to have true friendship once again. I want to have a kindred spirit. My husband, without a doubt is my best friend and always will be, he is the greatest gift of grace God has ever given me. Like most girls, however, I desire a girl friend. I want a friend that I can be working side by side to build God's kingdom and having a blast while doing it. I want to celebrate life's joys with someone and cry with when disappointment comes. I want the privilidge to cheer someone else on in their endeavors. This past year has definitely been filled with many lonely and isolated moments and I do not want to continue in such a manner. I want to BE a friend as much as I WANT a friend. I haven't done a very good job at being a friend lately. I've allowed myself to accept isolation and even self-pity. The question is what do I do now? Do I repair old relationships or move forward toward others? What needs to change in me to be a good friend? So, with all of that, as the new year rings in, I'm going to write down some specific goals and resolutions. There's too much at stake for me to allow my life to ramble aimlessly into 2009. I desire to please God and to walk in such a way that brings glory to Him. The only way to do that is to make a change...or a lot of them. I know I won't find all the answers right away, but if I don't start looking I won't find them at all. Lord, help me! Lead me and guide my steps. Your word says you'll order our ways, please do so. Help me to yeild to you and to make changes accordingly. Give me the courage to follow the burning desires you've placed in my heart. I love you. Thank you for all you have given us this past year and all you're going to do this coming year. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Posted by Jenn Becker at 6:16 PM
As this week is coming to a close I'm listening to crinkling sound of icy snow hit our windows while basking in the golden light of our 12'+ wild Christmas tree. Throughout this past week we've been semi-housebound due to "severe" weather conditions and I've been loving every minute of it. It's a rare treat for me to be able to stay home and work on little home projects without the nag of guilt that tells me there must be something else I should be doing or taking care of, so the mandatory home time was more than welcome. This week we've (my husband and sister and I) officially finished cleaning out the soon to be baby's room, organized all of my craft stuff, categorized and stored the already growing pile of baby items, organized and filed our tax papers and receipts from the past 7 years, switched our hall linen closet to decor storage, moved our linens to more convenient locations throughout the house, reclaimed my husband's office as a real functioning room rather than a storage space, reorganized our bill filing system and completed our main Christmas shopping. Whew! Needless to say, our snow days have not been wasted! In between working on projects and staring out at the beautiful white snow I repeatedly thought about how much I love home. I love how safe and warm and loved I feel all snuggled up with Brian in a Christmas lit room. I love the smells of cooking that hang in the air in the evening. I love the current excitement and anticipation that fills each day as we prepare room for our new little one. I love the cuddles from our dogs and their trusting eyes. I guess you could say that this past week at home as simply reminded me of how much I have that's wrapped up within these walls. I am truly blessed and thankful for a marriage and home that reminds me of Jesus' love for me.
Posted by Jenn Becker at 10:36 PM
I just finished reading a blog by Jennifer Antonucci about expectations. Her basic point was that when we place our expectations on people we are bound to be disappointed and our expectations should be focused on God. This got me thinking about how many times I've placed expectations on people without them ever knowing it. The results almost always end up the same, anger, hurt or bitterness on my part and complete oblivion and freedom on theirs which in turn fuels even more anger, hurt or bitterness. Lately, I think I've not only put way too many expectations on people, but I've also allowed myself to not take any responsibility for my lack off communication with those around me. This has lead only to my disappointment or frustration. It has also short-changed the people I love and work with due to the fact that my false expectations stunt my ability to see what others are doing well and to praise them accordingly. So, my goal is to do two things. First, I must go before God and ask Him to help me to have appropriate expectations towards Him and towards people. I must regain the proper balance that puts my faith in God and His sovereignty rather than in man. Second, I must develop the leadership, courage and discipline to communicate with others my needs or expectations. This of course, will require a good chunk of humility, but to live free of bitterness or disappointment towards those I care about makes it worth it.
Posted by Jenn Becker at 5:03 PM
Pregnancy does weird things to you. Today I discovered these strange bumps on my wrist due to really dry skin, one of baby-cookin's great side effects. My hair is different, my memory is weakening, I have a hard time staying awake past 9:30pm and sleep now requires a minimum of 3 pillows all strategically placed. I've also succumbed to the stereotypical cravings, but even those seem weird to me. For example, never in my life have a even liked beets, let alone got excited about them. Now, I can sit down and eat a bowlful with joy and then marvel at the pink tinge that later results in the toilet (sorry, TMI). I've also fallen in love with sprout and ham "burritos". That is a piece of deli ham wrapped around a giant glob of fresh clover sprouts, MMMM! Above all, the one of the strangest things about being pregnant is also one of the most wonderful. I wake up nearly every morning and can feel my daughter doing her morning tap dance routine on my sides. I then eat breakfast and she does a few rounds of kickboxing with my belly button. The rest of the day she spends time rolling around, occasionally giving me a reminder or two of how strong she is becoming. I then lay down to sleep and there she is again dancing to the music of her mommy and daddy talking and winding down for the night. I LOVE it! I love HER! I'm amazed as each day my love for her grows and grows and I haven't even met her yet. (deep, thoughtful sigh...) I'm so thankful and so in love. Thank You, Jesus! =)
Posted by Jenn Becker at 6:21 PM
Looking from the outside in, our lives have been chaos lately. The past two weeks have been packed with hospital stays, ultrasounds, tests, minor emergency surgery (rescue cerclage), follow up doctor visits and stretching of finances. My husband and I have run the gamut of emotions including surprise, shock, fear, disbelief, confidence, gratitude, and peace. The little bundle of love in my belly is our miracle. We have endured more than 8 years of fighting infertility, dealing with loss and learning the true meaning of trusting in God's sovereignty rather than simply in His ability to answer. It's amazing to me that after all of that I assumed pregnancy would be easy, breezy and beautiful. I supposed God thought "she's had enough, let's give her a baby now". Instead we have dealt with the risk of cystic fibrosis, enlarged kidneys, cysts on the brain, a funneled and shortened (incompetent) cervix and the threat of premature birth. Looking at this list all at once makes it sound like I've had a pregnancy of horror, but the truth is quite the contrary. After all we've been through to have this baby, these bumps in the road have seemed so minor in my spirit. I truly believe God has used past pain to create a rich treasure of sweet and simple confidence in His control, which is just now being discovered. I'm now facing my 3rd trimester straight in the face and all I can think about is how grateful I am. I'm thankful for the strength and peace God placed in my heart, even during the scariest of doctor's reports. I'm thankful for a sweet and strong husband that has resorted to prayer over us every step of the way. I'm thankful that the Holy Spirit led a radiology student to discover the dangerous state of my cervix. I'm thankful for the support system that raised up while we were in the hospital. I'm thankful that we now have a great possibility of making it to full term with a healthy (and VERY active) baby. I'm thankful to finally be able to be in a place of trust and rest in God. To me, that's the biggest miracle of all.
Posted by Jenn Becker at 2:07 PM
I'm realizing more and more over the past few months how much of a slow processor I am. I've been home from the hospital for nearly 5 days and still haven't quite been able to jumpstart myself back into normal life. I literally woke up today not having a clue where to start my day. This practice is not normal for me. I usually lay down to sleep with a 'to do' list in my head and then wake up with an even longer list. This morning I've spent time reading my Bible and trying to regain some footing so I can face my day with some normality. All while reading my mind kept wandering to my inner questions, 'Why does it take me so long to process? Why am I so cautious? Is it a good thing or a bad thing or both?' I haven't gained any answers to these questions, yet I do know two things. No matter the season I'm in, I (#1) don't ever want to be so cautious or detailed that I miss the moment to jump into something fantastic that God may have for me, nor do I (#2) want to be so hasty that I avoid listening to wisdom or warnings from the Holy Spirit and cause needless pain or struggle. For now I'm going to sit down with my planner, pray for clear vision, make my lists, and hopefully the spinning from the past week's events will end.
Posted by Jenn Becker at 10:55 AM