Monday, January 09, 2017

Hello 2017

We're nine days in.  And 2017 has been absolutely delightful!  Last year, particularly the last few months, lent a lot of perspective that has me really looking forward to this new year.

As usual, the new year began with black-eyed pea cakes topped with cranberry roasted red pepper relish.  I always look forward to making these.  My plate was rounded out with cabbage and cornbread.  That's the new year's meal of champions!
The older kids headed back to Sequitur last Monday.  It seemed rather sudden to return to our homeschool schedule on January 2, but Mason and Hannah Kate were ready and excited to go.  I found myself, yet again, being so grateful for this journey with them.  They also asked me last week if they would be returning to Sequitur next school year.  Registration opens this Thursday so they knew we'd be making our decision soon.  They were both glad when I told them that's the direction the Lord continues to lead us in.  

Next year will, once again, bring some changes to our schedule.  Mason will attend classes at Sequitur Monday through Thursday since he'll be moving up to 7th grade, and the subject blocks change at that point.  There will be some big changes in grammar school so Hannah Kate will also being attending classes at Sequitur Monday through Thursday.  She told me several months back that her only complaint was that she goes to Sequitur only two days a week because she would rather go everyday.  Yet again I chuckle at the way God works.  We are already used to commuting to Sequitur four days a week now so I'm glad that's out of the way.  But, for the first time, in two years, Ellie and I will have some "alone" time four mornings of the week.  This is a huge gift because Ellie will officially begin kindergarten, and I will be teaching her how to read.  I've never taught a child how to read from the very beginning so I've been a little nervous about that.  But now that she and I will have some time daily without the older ones, I'm not so nervous anymore.  Our schedule change next year is actually an answer to a pretty big prayer I'd been praying.  Only, my idea of the answer was drastically different, and I never imagined that it would be answered in this way instead.  I actually didn't know how it was going to be answered because it seemed kind of impossible to me.  It's so exciting when God's ways and His plans are beyond even the scope of my imagination.  It's exciting when prayers are answered in ways that you just never even thought of.

I was reminded again today what a tremendous opportunity this has been for my children and our family.  Mason has been studying the Civil War.  I remember studying the Civil War several times throughout my own schooling career.  But I learned two things today that I didn't know, and I'm so glad my children are able to dig a little deeper into the stories and lives and character of people who have shaped the course of history (because you know I love people's stories).  

Upon reading about the Battle of Gettysburg, we learned this about Abraham Lincoln, something that has really changed the way I look at him, something that I know we'll always remember:

Before his death, Lincoln was asked by a clergyman if he loved Jesus.  This was his response:  "When I left Springfield, I asked the people to pray for me.  I was not a Christian.  When I buried my son, the secrets trial of my life, I was not a Christian.  But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.  Yes, I do love Jesus."

I also didn't realize what strong witnesses for Christ Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were.  Not only were they brilliant military leaders, they were spiritual leaders as well, and many of the soldiers who served under them came to know Christ as their Lord and Savior as a result of the witness of these two men.  I never knew that.  In the midst of the horror that was the Civil War, there was a spiritual revival going on.  Think about that . . .

Last Tuesday I finally saw my eye doctor and got new contacts and glasses.  Afterwards I met a dear sister in the Lord for lunch.  I enjoyed her company so very much.  We don't often have a chance to see each other, and I hadn't seen her since August.  I sure am thankful for her!

Last Friday night Seth and I went to LSU's first gymnastics meet of the season.  We went a couple of times last year and really enjoyed it.  They hosted the Georgia gym dogs so I was definitely a little more invested in this one.  LSU was very impressive, and they set several records on Friday night.  I do look forward to watching them again this season.  But I'm always a Dawg fan first! 
So, in case you missed it, winter supposedly came to Louisiana this past weekend.  There were several comical memes circulating social media, such as "Attention residents.  Winter will be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday ONLY." and "Brace yourselves.  Winter is coming.  All at once.  In one weekend."  Basically, winter in Louisiana means it gets really cold, and it rains.  And get really cold it finally did.  We (okay, so mostly not "we" but most definitely I) enjoyed temps below 40 degrees for 48 hours or so.  But, as usual, we'll be back up in the 70s as soon as . . . tomorrow.  I took advantage of it as much as I possibly could.  Meaning I sat on the couch covered in a blanket reading a book.  And I made soup.  Three pots.    
I could decide which to make so I just made all three.  A friend shared some beautiful broccoli crowns from his garden so I made my favorite broccoli cheese soup.  My people aren't big soup eaters at all (because gumbo "isn't" a soup, but don't even get me started on that) so the next pot was baked potato soup because that's something they would all eat with minimal complaining.  That's also Hannah Kate's favorite soup.  I love cooking for her because she enjoys my food!  The final pot was homemade chicken noodle.  I don't even know why.  Well, I do.  First of all, I've been craving chicken noodle soup for a long time.  Second of all, I wanted an excuse to roast a whole chicken because it makes the house smell so good.  And third of all, I had a new recipe I wanted to try.  I couldn't choose just one.
Most people in these parts don't like cold weather.  But I sure do!  And I was reminded this morning of yet another reason why.  I love the bare naked trees.  I love the gray winter sky.  And I love the sunrise!  This morning was a clear, crisp morning.  As I sat on the couch reading my Bible before the children woke up, this was my view.
A winter sunrise.  But you know what?  Were it not for the winter cold that chases the leaves away for a little while, I'd have missed it.  Once these trees are covered in leaves, I can't see the sunrise in my back yard because it's hidden.  Oh, it's still there.  I just can't see it.  But, during winter time, I can.

Really and truly, there's been nothing extraordinary about the first nine days of 2017.  They've been rather ordinary.  But there's a novel titled The Magic of Ordinary Days.  I've never read it.  But I love the title.  Because these ordinary days . . . well, to me, there's just something really special about them.

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