That's Christmas Holiday, New Year, JTerm, birthday and party abbreviated!
(this is the whole Lewis gang... sadly I don't have one on my computer of the Thompson clan... cough cough mom you should send me those pics we took!!)
We had such a Merry Christmas with all our family and a few of our friends back in Texas. We love Texas a lot and really enjoy the chance to see our families and are so thankful they live close to each other! However, each time we go back we realize anew that Kentucky really has become our home. This is weird, but it's also a huge blessing because it is only by the Lord's blessing that we have found such an excellent apartment, church, friends and school!! He has blessed us more than we ever imagined coming out here a year ago!
We spent Christmas going back and forth between Fort Worth and Dallas and no amount of time in either place ever seemed like enough. We were overwhelmed by the sweet and thoughtful gifts we received and so excited to give our gifts... especially the ones we've had for months! I think one of the most rewarding gifts we gave was to one of my sisters. I was so unsure what to get and doubted every single thing I picked out for her. I wanted my gift to show love and thoughtfulness but to also be from me and my personality (and Drew's) too. So one of the things she (and actually both sisters) got was a CD from a couple at our church. They are the most awesome musicians in every way that I have ever seen. They are so talented and their music is very thoughtful... and it's very ROCK! So I thought my sister would appreciate the talent and the lyrics both but was so unsure. We gave this CD to all the "kids" in our family b/c we just love it that much and wanted to be giving our money to a good cause if we were going to be spending money on gifts. I wasn't sure if any of them would listen to it or even give it a try since they hadn't heard of it but then I got a call from this sister the other day and she mentioned in passing that she loved the CD a lot. This made my whole Christmas (even thought it's over).
We didn't do anything for the New Year but it did give us time to reflect on all that God has done for us and to us this last year. We are overwhelmed with blessings in the form of an amazing church, community with other believers, a place to live and money to be able to go to school... this is very similar to the list above! haha. It also challenged us to seek growth and change in our lives this upcoming year and not to coast. We want to be ever growing and learning. I want to be a better wife and helper to Drew. I want to lift him up and help build up our home and not tear it down through criticism or neglect. I want to keep in better touch with my close friends and with my family so they can know how much I care.. because I do care even when I neglect calling and emails... but actions speak louder.
The Monday after we got home was my birthday but was spent in an intense JTerm. This Jterm almost consumed my life for the complete week. I didn't even get to check all my phone messages (much less call people back) or my email on my own birthday. It was pretty sad. But the Lord got me through the whole week without over stressing or worrying but just diligently working every minute I was awake (which I did). The class taught me so much about how (even in the Old Testament) Got is primarily concerned about our heart. The law is there because we do sin and need guidelines but the truth of the matter is the heart. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, constantly points to this fact by pointing to the law and then intensifying it by revealing the heart that has to be behind the work to make it matter. It was truly challenging but also encouraging. So often I worry over the details and I have always been such a rule follower... but this truth frees me to instead focus on purifying my heart and mind and focusing on God and then making a decision in that mindset instead of looking for the written way. Not that I will be breaking all the rules any time soon, but this helps in those decisions that you have to make for yourself with the Word in your heart. The great news is, if I mess up and if my heart leads me astray b/c it isn't perfect, there is more grace and more learning up ahead! It was great and exhausting!
After my final on Friday morning I went to hang out with my mentor... while I was there my husband called (way too early for him to be off work) saying he was at home and my bag was packed and I needed to get home right now. So I headed home and we took off east for a birthday adventure. He had wrangled some of our friends into the adventure and so we caravanned east. I had no clue where we were going and didn't try to figure it out and he ended up taking me to a cabin in the woods at the Red River Gorge! It was so beautiful and amazing, I couldn't have thought of a better way to end the week or celebrate my birthday. We relaxed with friends, slept, hiked and ate ate ate and watched movies!! It was so beautiful on the trails and so relaxing in the beautiful log cabin!!
(this is the loft in the cabin where we slept!)
WAY TO GO DREW! He is truly the most caring man! Then when we got home on Sunday he had arranged for all of my friends to come over off and on between 2-5 and had some amazing bakers make me chocolate birthday cakes (thanks Bethan and Chris!). Then we ended by going to church and had a wonderful worship service and sermon on Romans, which we will be in for the next year. It's so great!!! This weekend will be a memory I cherish forever!
(perfect nap spot on the trail...haha)
Now I am cleaning house, catching up with friends and getting ready for a new semester to start. I am taking a counseling class, anothey systematic theology w/ Dr. Moore, a greek exegesis of Colossians and Philemon and possibly church history II.
Errands are calling my name........