new year.

much has happened since my last post. thanksgiving, christmas, and a pile of visitors and stress.

let me say first that christmas was excellent. we flew to a snow-less iowa and spent 8 days immersed in family, friends, and games. it was difficult to leave again--i thought it would be easier this year, but after getting used to being back in iowa, it took a mental adjustment to be ready to come home. and home is wonderful, too. we missed ophy and our bed and our space. but being with my family was spectacular.

this break was much needed, since grandpa haveman's health has been plummeting the last two months or so. hospital stays, a move to the care center, dealing with grandma and her's been a rollercoaster. time and time again we've heard "hours to days." each time this occurs, philip's parents fly in, prepared to say goodbye again (three times since i last posted). having guests in our home is wonderful, but this kind of visit is stressful. it involves frequent trips to the hospital and/or healthcare center, and planning for meals and guests all while remaining flexible in case something happens. i really feel for my mother-in-law. i'm continually amazed at her patience and steadiness throughout this difficult time (and for my father-in-law and his support of her!)

just before leaving for iowa, philip and i stopped by to see grandpa and grandma in the care center. it was december 20: my 28th birthday and their 61st anniversary (great coincidence?) we assumed this would be our last visit with grandpa, and it was pretty special. philip had written a letter to them thanking them for being an example to us and encouraging them with scripture. i read it out loud to them, choking up a bit and feeling thankful for the time we've been able to spend with them these last three years.

i have to admit, i've been pretty stressed out about this situation which is completely out of my control. i haven't always been so hospitable or generous--i mostly feel that i want everything to be back to normal. i like my space and my routines, and having them disrupted definitely affects me and the way i act toward others. but this weekend (with my in-laws here again), i've heard a good sermon reminding me of God's forgiveness of my actions, inactions, and general sinfulness, and remembering that God has a purpose for this time. i know he's preparing me for other things in my future, and this is a time i can either use to be frustrated and selfish, or it's a time to give generously even when i feel i can't. ultimately, i am remembering that i can do nothing on my own, but only through Christ's strength.

it's a new year. i'm praying for God to transform me (again). i like january. fresh start. simplifying. low-key? i can hope. i'm grateful to take this life day by day.

also, an excellent book: sitting at the feet of rabbi jesus by ann spangler and lois tverberg. it's changing my perspective of the old testament, which hasn't always been so positive. looking forward to gleaning more from it.

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