(Otherwise known as The Aggett Christmas
Can you feel it? That tugging that starts down deep... In a world spinning fast, all dizzy and blurred, I love that pull that is nearly tangible to slow it down, to stop, to breathe in deep this cold winter air. It fights within us... the drive to keep up, and the need to slow down! There is a hunger and thirst for more than just some peace and quiet, but for Peace on Earth and a little Silent Night!
Can you feel it too? It can go unnoticed, nearly ignored all together - we can rush right by it... push it back down and keep running around, crossing things off our bossy lists... but oh how I pray that we don't do that! No - let's not dismiss it... instead of pushing through, let's lean in!
Let's agree together that what this weary world needs most is a Holy Night, is a Falling on our knees, is a little rejoicing! I'm learning honestly for the first time about Advent and the glory of waiting... of expecting Him to come!
I heard Liz Curtis Higgs speak it earlier this month - how Mary departed after encountering the angel, heading for Elizabeth's and how maybe, just maybe, it was Elizabeths' greeting that revealed to Mary that she was pregnant. She may have not even known when the Spirit overshadowed her and that got me to thinking:
Miracles often happen when we are unaware!
Advent means "Coming" and while many still wait - we know that He has come... He is coming and He is here and no matter where you are or what you are needing, He comes for you.
For the 2nd year in a row, I participated in OneWord365 - my word this year is "Surprise!"
Surprise has showed up for us in some amazing ways... blessings, winning numerous giveaways, provisions and favor... it's also showed up in some hard ways: health issues with family, being faced with old fears and insecurities that I thought were conquered, and a few disappointments... but probably the most surprising "Surprise" is what God is doing inside... this shifting and awakening and I know that work will continue even as 2014 arrives and a new word is brought to light. Through the 'good' and the 'bad' - miracles have happened while we were unaware... blessings multiplied the more we tried to count them and write them down one by one...
Now ya'll know I love me a Bossy List and a Full Calendar - so here comes our Year in Review:
In January, we were all FAFSA, all the time. OK - not really! But it was back to school and back to the craziness of Kayelyn's senior year. I took a great photography class that helped me to decide to keep doing photography on the side, as a hobby. In February, I hosted a fun Valentine's Pinterest party, did a bit of guest posting around the web, Dave continued to volunteer at The Seasons and be pretty much incredible, and we pressed in and hosted a few prophetic painting parties too! March came in with a few Surprises...Kayelyn competed once again with DECA at State in Bellevue and was honored to be named a Washington State DECA Member of the Year! It was a huge surprise and a great recognition of all her hard work and leadership as President. I was honored and surprised to be invited to teach a class on prophetic art at the 1st Pres Women's conference.
In April, we spent Spring Break in Redding, CA. We took one of Kaye's friends with us and we all 4 had a great time! Bethel on Easter Sunday! Enough said!
We had a houseful of family when we returned and we always love that! I hosted (in)RL at home, an online live streaming conference for women! Then - in wrapping up her 'career' in DECA, Kayelyn and 7 of her local members made it to Nationals this year in Anaheim, CA. So our girlie flew out and had a week to compete and take in Disneyland and Universal Studios. She had a blast! In May our nearly grown Girlie turned all Grown Up and 18! Amazing how quickly that flew by! She had her Senior Prom and I was blessed to be able to photograph her and her friends! They all had a great time!
June - oh June! Graduation week was all kinds of crazy... filled with happy and sad tears the whole way through! We had several events: 3 Graduation ceremonies, a DECA Banquet, The Rammy Awards, parties and celebrations for graduating friends and for our own graduate. We were blessed with many friends and family coming to celebrate Kayelyn. And as much as I love to take pictures, the BEST gift to me was Robert, my brother, taking great pictures during Kayelyn's graduation so I could relax and be fully present through the whole thing!
Beyond Graduation week, life slowly went on... more portrait sessions, more family (the Aggett Reunion!) and thankfully, more rest and a little bit of summer! July and August included more annual traditions like the Worldcast conference, Jazz in the Valley with friends, and Dave's annual Fishing trip to Whidbey Island (in which we tagged along this year!) and our girlies first ever self planned vacation with a friend. (They went to the Oregon Coast... we raised them well!)
In September, once again - our whole household was back to school! Kayelyn decided to stay home and attend YVCC and Dave and I (and Lorraine) are all back at Soar (a sattelite school of BSSM) Dave and I took a few shifts in Soars' "Deep Fried Prayer Booth" at the fair, offering prayer and encouragement to all who came by. That was super fun!
Then came the Blessing and Craziness of October! Once again, I participated in the blogger challenge of #31days - writing for 31 days on one topic! This year I wrote #31Days of Encountering God. We had a local Soar Retreat where Dave led worship and I was able to paint... it's been great to reconnect and be a part of this amazing community again! We took a year off last year to focus on Kaye's Senior year! We wanted to do that - and are glad we did - but, as I said - it's so nice to be back! Toward the end of the month, Dave and I flew to South Carolina and we fell in love! (Ya'll... South Carolina in late October is PERFECTION!) I attended Allume - an amazing Bloggers conference in Greenville - and we added a few days and wandered The Biltmore Estates, walked the streets and alleyways of Asheville, strolled the grounds of the Magnolia Gardens and Plantation, and dug our toes in the sand and warm Atlantic waters of the Isle of Palms. We LOVED Charleston and Battery Park and King Street and the lovely Resort and Marina. It was a relaxing and romantic vacation and it confirmed yet again how I am out-of-this-world, beyond-crazy-blessed to have this man of mine!
We flew back and I stayed a few extra days in Tacoma with my friend Rebekah to attend the Women of Faith conference... it was so good! Me - not a huge conference goer - but this year that has been different! After being gone from home, my bed, and my girlie for eleven days - it was so wonderful to be back! I was thrilled to have no where to go for at least a week... catching up on sleep and hugs and processing All. The. (Conference.) Things. In November, I decided to try to reignite the spark in our local SparkPeople team (ya see what I did there?) and scheduled weekly walks. I am getting myself back on track in living a healthier lifestyle after slacking off a bit this year! Kayelyn and I hosted our 2nd annual WAR Chest Jewelry Party and we raised just over $1100 for Women At Risk. Human and Sex Trafficking is something that we are both passionate about and helping to make a difference and bring awareness is our motivation for continuing on with this event! In fact, this Fall through the month of December, I've partnered up with a great community of bloggers helping to raise money for the Mercy House in Kenya... To see God show up BIG, again and again and again has been such a joy! We - along with many of you - stepped up and partnered with the (in)Mercy Project and were able to help purchase a van, build a classroom, buy a back up generator, buy computers, etc for their school, and - incredibly - in about two days - we raised enough money to buy a second home - all for our sisters in Africa! You can read more about The Mercy House ministry HERE.
This brings us to December and Christmas and as I said - Advent! - and His Coming!
I know for me - looking through our year - I can see miracles happened - both big and small - often when we were unaware!
We are praying miracles happen for you too, and as you celebrate His coming, you will find that He is always ALWAYS worth the wait, and that He is just waiting to show up for you!
Believing for miracles,