A new year, a new word

For the last few years, through prayer and pondering, I’ve had a word for the year. This year, the word that came forward and offered itself was ‘promise’.

No specific promise came along with it, so I began to look into the word itself and it was the second verb definition that resonated with me:

with obj. ] give good grounds for expecting (a particular occurrence or situation): forthcoming concerts promise a feast of music from around the world | [ with infinitive ] :  it promised to be a night that all present would long remember.

Mmmm…a year of promise – a year full of the expectation of – I’m going to go ahead and make it a positive, as you knew I would 🙂 – good occurrences or situations. I quite like that.

The words I’ve had previously have had an application aspect to them e.g. rest – deliberately concentrating on being restful; or intention – requiring me to really think and plan. But promise, well, promise requires me to do nothing but hope and keep my eyes open for the forthcoming good things.

And I’ve also been challenged by what I define as good. As is often the case, my definition of a word isn’t always what God means by that same word. And good definitely falls into that category.

For most of us, good things are the things that make us happy or make our life easier somehow or have some reward or kickback. Yet even a cursory read of the Bible should cause us to rethink what God means by good. By God’s definition, it seems good is anything that brings me closer to Him. And we all know that those things aren’t always what makes us happy or life easier, nor do they always carry a reward we can see in the here and now.

I like the freedom that this word brings and it ties in nicely with last years’ word of rest – rest in the promise of all this year holds 🙂

And what says promise more than the dawning of a new day? This pic is from a couple of years back that I love because it captures two of my favourite things – the beach and a fresh new day rising to meet us.

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Day 13 – entertainment 

Yesterday, I didn’t get to post but I wrote in my grateful book of course 🙂 

Last night we went to see Cirque Adrenaline, which is basically Cirque de Soleil on steroids. It was full of dare devil acrobatics, amazing strength and precision. There was also a wonderful clown who was hilarious. The whole thing was fantastic. My heart was in my mouth most of the night, sure they were going to fall to their deaths, though. 

As I watched I was so struck by what the human body can do. And how these performers gave their time and put their bodies through strenuous training just for the enjoyment of others. 

We are capable of so much. And to use what we have to give to others the gift of entertainment and fun is no small thing. I was completely in awe of what they did and could have watched them for another two hours.

What extraordinary creatures we are 🙂

  

Day 8 – simple pleasures

This week was the first week back at work and the last two days, especially, were rather busy. So today I’m grateful to come home and enjoy a nice cup of tea and a biccy (that’s a biscuit for you non-Aussie folk).

Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that are most appreciated after a big week 😊 

  

Beach escape, day six – whales

During our last visit here, we went whale watching. And took this photo – Whale Fin

We had an absolutely amazing time. It truly was one of the best days of my life.

As we walked along the beach, headed to the rock pools, I remarked that the sea was so flat and glass like that we surely would see any whales or dolphins who happened to be passing the area.

Sure enough, not ten minutes later, Charli spotted a telltale splash on the horizon.

We all rushed to the furtherest rock to watch flippers, just like the one in this photo, rise and fall way out yonder. We stayed for an hour or more, pointing out to each other when we saw one, or two or three flippers, tails or great spurts of water.

And we reminisced about the time when we literally could have touched them that day four years ago. We laughed all over again about how four of them popped up at the back of the boat and eyeballed us before spraying us with their fishy breath. And how at that exact moment I had my mouth wide open with sheer joy and copped a big mouthful of salty, disgusting whale saliva. And how I immediately said it was the best thing ever.

Seeing those flippers off in the distance today made us relive the entire experience.

Isn’t it great that God made us with the ability to store memory, and that in the remembering, we can find all the joy, excitement and wonder of the first experience?

We may never get to go whale watching again, or, if we did, have the sort of experience we had that day but we will always have those memories.

What special memories do you have that will last a lifetime?

14 things I love about Christmas – Day Thirteen

I had thought – because I’m not that great at maths – that fourteen days from when I started would land me on Christmas Day. Well, it doesn’t and it means tomorrow is the last day, so, you are getting the one for Christmas Eve, today and will get the one for Christmas Day, tomorrow 🙂 Hope that’s okay with everyone!

I love, love, love Christmas Eve. It’s always full of cooking, last minute dashes to the shops, last minute wrapping, the atmosphere is rife with anticipation and excitement, and this year, there will be a late evening drive to the airport to pick up that boy of ours.

I have always loved Christmas Eve but it has held extra meaning for the last 20 years.

You see, 20 years ago on Christmas Eve night, a certain someone popped a certain question. Unfortunately, my response wasn’t a quick ‘yes’ as my beau had hoped, it was ‘where’s my ventolin? I’m having an asthma attack!’ as that’s what happens when someone asks you something you have been waiting to hear but are completely surprised by all at the same time.

Clearly, and eventually once I caught my breath, I did say yes and we whiled away the evening and small hours of Christmas morning sipping champagne and making all sorts of plans and dreams for our future together.

So every Christmas Eve since has been just a little bit special and we always share a glass of bubbly and toast all the nay-sayers who said we wouldn’t make it 🙂

I love that he chose Christmas time to ask one of the most important questions one human being can ask another. Marriage is all about love, commitment and unity, just like Christmas.

God sent Jesus because He loved us and was committed to seeking relationship with us through Him which brings unity with Him and others, in our spirits and our hearts.

So what better time to commit to loving another person for the rest of your life? It hasn’t always been easy but each Christmas time, I am reminded of the commitment we made, as well as the commitment God made to us through Jesus.

And that gives me hope for the days ahead, peace for the turmoil, joy for trials and love…for always.

Our wedding, 10 months after that special Christmas Eve.

Our wedding, 10 months after that special Christmas Eve.

Day Four

Today was another lovely day – hot stone massage, reading, writing, big walk on the beach, topped off with yummy fish and chips.

I am extra grateful today, not only for this holiday but for my life in general.

On Sunday, when I was at the supermarket grabbing some supplies, a couple with a half full trolley were having a very loud argument. She was a beautiful, statuesque African woman with a gorgeous timbre to her voice, even raised as it was. Her husband – I assume it was, for who else but a married couple would argue so freely in the middle of such a mundane task as the weekly shop – was European of some description, I couldn’t pick his accent.

Their argument started fairly run of the mill – he claiming he had done what she asked, her stating she shouldn’t have to ask etc etc but soon turned to deeper issues, their voices not diminishing as it continued. Mothers told their small children not to stare, reminding me that I shouldn’t either. It was uncomfortable to witnesse such issues of the marital life on display for all to see.

Yesterday, I saw a man vehemently berating his teenage son whilst getting out of their car, the son cowed and sullen, the father redfaced and coiled like an unsprung spring.

Today, while waiting for my fish and chips, a man came to use the public phone box, depositing what sounded like a whole piggy bank of coins into the slot.

The onesided conversation was hard to listen to and broke my heart. His pain, laid bare for anyone’s hearing, was raw and ragged, his voice catching on every word. I was embarrassed that the conversation revealed him so plainly to me. Far too intimate were the words for a stranger such as I.

People in pain. They’re everywhere. It may be in varying degrees but the pain is palpable.

And so, as I collected my order from the counter, I felt so thankful. Thankful for my husband, who made this holiday happen and allayed my many concerns about going with his ever soothing words. Thankful for my stunning children who never cease to amaze me with their observations on life, their dealings with others and their inexhaustible love for me, even when I give them plenty of cause to do otherwise.

My life is not without it’s up’s and down’s – I have known hardships, trials, and have sought to learn something through those times.

And, now, when life is good, rich and joyous, all I can do is stand back in awe and wonder…and be thankful.