Friday, January 05, 2007

Special Edition!! Reflections On The New Year.

I know this is a few days beyond the calender's roll-over, nevertheless, these reflections are applicable (at least for me) every day of the year. Though not the annual (late:-) letter our family will be sending out shortly, this is my version, in my words, written just for you!

This last week has been considerably slower, and has given our family extra time to spend together. Whether it be working, playing our instruments together, music lessons, ice-skating, a whole meal of junk-food and snacks, or just being hilariously goofy and silly together as only families can do, many precious memories have been made. As I look back over the past year, my heart is filled with gratefulness for all the ways the Lord has drawn us together. Though not without struggles, I can truly say this year has been the best in that respect. Through times of relationship building fun, heart-binding tragedy and grief, special trips, and times of seeking the Lord together for desperately needed wisdom, this year has been full of opportunities to love, live, and grow together. I am so grateful for this precious season of life I am living right now, surrounded by those who I love the most!

Here are just a few snapshots highlighting the extra special times and memories shared with my family and others that have made 2006 so meaningful!

Father's Day we all headed out to Scharr's Bluff. When I was young we used to go their ALL the time, but
hadn't visited for at least 10 years. What a special day of family bonding
time and reliving memories!

Late Spring and Summer I enjoyed spending three weeks in Southern WI helping to prepare for, and attending a dear friend's wedding. Amidst all the wedding preparations, I never dreamed I'd learn to drive a skidsteer while there, plus help with milking! Thanks to Ryan for his patient teaching! :-)

Learning to play our instruments together has been an exciting, challenging, and sometimes frustrating journey. A family evening at some friends offered us the opportunity to play in public for the first time. Hopefully those times will be coming up more frequently as we hope to branch into nursing homes soon.

A day of horseback riding and then one last evening of singing that following weekend marked the final time our family would see Jamie Hilsgen this side of heaven. Adjustments have been many and painful, but God's grace has been sufficient through it all. (Jamie is holding the music and is on the closest horse.)

Satisfaction at the end of a Fall of canning! Thanks to Amy's help, I was able to get it all done before flying to CO! See that link for the continuing story of my time out there.

Dad's "bowtie" before our special night out at Orchestra Hall hearing the Handel's Messiah!

Working with a dear friend at a bakery some mutual friends of ours own during the Christmas rush. If we look a little bit tired, it because we had been up and working since 3:00 that morning!

Christmas Day!

New Year's Eve my cousin and I were discussing days gone by when all of us were younger. How the laughter rolled as we recalled those weekends at Grandma and Grandpa's playing spy-on-the-grownups, "What-time-is-it-Mr.Fox?" in the horse arena, the baby-powdered "slippey-slide" in the basement, and the breathtaking sled rides down the snow covered back pasture. For awhile, we wished we could leave our young-adult lives behind and go back and relive those times of innocence are carefree gaity. Yet, amidst all our wishing, the reality is that time has gone on and we will never again be able to reclaim those days of childhood.

The same holds true for right now. I am living in those very moments I'm going to someday wish I could come back to. Am I treasuring them for what they are worth? Though God has laid on my heart very specific visions for the future, am I so caught up in them that I miss the beauty and specialness of today? Am I so busy "looking forward to" that I lose the sparkle of living?

I am so grateful that God has pressed upon my heart the value of these days I'm living in. My siblings are at a very special spot in life right now. The older ones of the brink of young adulthood, and the youngest is still one that loves to be cuddled and played with. I am blessed more than I can comprehend, and it is my desire to daily live in the realization of this precious gift from the Lord's hand!

May God bless each of you as you anticipate serving Him in this brand new year!


Cheri said...

Aw, what a sweet post. =) I loved all the pictures too!

And I must add that I really like your sweater in the last picture. It looks so cozy. =)

Anonymous said...

I love the pictures. Monica

Shelley Baldridge said...

Thanks so much for all these pictures and the post, Andrea! We also know the Hoshers - we live in the same town as they do. :) Blessings!

Bethany said...

Thanks for the special edition! I enjoyed your commentary, and seeing all the pictures. I especially enjoyed seeing all your canning jars -- wow! What a lot of work!

God bless you Andrea! May you have a wonderful, blessed 2007!

Alyssa Faith said...

I'll add to the comment heap :o) that I really enjoyed looking at your pictures and seeing a bit more of your family!