A New Year and New Outlook

All the Christmas chaos is over. The tree and decorations are packed away. The house feels almost empty with the space previously filled with garland and presents returned to its clean state. The fridge is slowly emptying of holiday treats and leftover decadence. It will be refilled soon enough with the stuff salads and healthy entrees are made of. A Christmas Story and Elf have been replaced with football and parades. Today is New Year's Day and though I am an absolute nut over Christmas, today is one of my favorite days of the year. It's calm and quiet and restful.


After staying up to celebrate the ball drop with the Eastern Time Zone (yes that was an hour early), we slept in this morning. Like a large part of the country, we've been hit hard with an unusually cold bit of weather and us Alabama folk will be taking no part in the 16 degree weather outside our door. So we've enjoyed the morning with cups of coffee, a fire in the fireplace, completing a puzzle and watching an endless carousel of birds, all puffed up to protect themselves from the cold eat at the feeder. We're watching for deer at our backyard feeders and are enjoying the last of the days when no one rushes off to work or school. Our pup is spoiled rotten and snuggled up by the fire or buried under the blankets on our bed. It's a cold, cozy day of just being together. It's a perfect day to be still.

Be still and know that I am God.
— Psalm 46:10

My husband asked me the other day what resolutions I had for this year, and in truth, I really don't have any this year. I have, however, spent quite a bit of time in the last few days thinking back over all that 2017 had to offer. Last year was an adventurous, chaotic, exciting rebuilding year for us. We started fresh in so many ways... new job, new city, starting kindergarten, new ways to volunteer in the community, new church, new friends. It was an emotional year of goodbyes and of working hard to stay connected to friends that are now just out of arms length. It was a hope filled year of new relationships and new opportunities as we settled in to our new home. It was a truly wonderful year of trusting in God through some big changes and being rewarded with seeing His incredible provision. But it was also a year that brought a lot of distractions that often come with big changes. So today, Day 1 of 2018 just seems like the quintessential day to start off a year that I pray will bring calmness, rest and a renewed focus on God and where He is leading our family to serve. 

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2018 will be a year of serving others in our community, in our schools and place of work, in our neighborhood. I pray this year will be one where we focus on remaining unhurried and get comfortable leaving empty spaces on the calendar so that there is plenty of time to love and encourage each other and those God places in our paths. May this be a year that is life giving to all those around us and one that leaves us catching our breath this time next year, not because of the busy rat race we run, but because of all the goodness and mercy and grace we take the time to notice, experience and soak up. May 2018 be a year of blessing for us all and one that puts God first and foremost above every dream, schedule and to do list we have. May this be a year we learn to turn over every anxiety and prayer to Him and trust in His eternal goodness as we wait on His answers, comfort, peace and guidance. 

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My sweet ONSEL friends, that is my prayer over each of you as we begin this new year together. As always, if there is anything I can pray specifically for with you, please jump over to our prayer page and let me know! 

Happy New Year my friends! May God bless each and every one of you!

With Love and Laughter,

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