it feels like i was just saying how excited i was to see what 2015 had in store and here we are at the end. it was beautiful and hard all at the same time. but it's another year living, and another year growing in the LORD and in relationship with the people He's given. i'm looking back with thankfulness and excitement to see what's next. life is precious and such a gift. every year.
here's to you, 2016!
(last year's reflections here.)
i hope you had a warm christmas with those dearest to you. maybe with good food and funny games and thoughtful gestures and a lot of togetherness. those are always the things i love about christmas most. it's usually just a day of a lot of warmth and rest, i think. i know not everyone has a christmas like that, and for some people christmas might actually be a time of pain... over loved ones lost or divorce or other hard family things and relationships or financial struggles. the beautiful thing about whichever kind of christmas we had, even if there was hurt there too, it doesn't change the hope that is behind christmas, the hope that all of advent (which means 'coming') has been building up to.. the strangest, most wonderful occurrence: God in the form of a baby, a vulnerable infant dependent on His parents, in a totally human condition, coming to earth to save us and teach us a new way of living. it is so odd and so extraordinary. a story wrapped in so much peace and kindness and gentleness and wonder and hope. like mary, the mother of God, let us continue to "treasure up all these things and ponder them in our hearts" (luke 2:19).
our christmas morning is always my favorite! it's just the five of us, and everyone's in a good mood (which is rare for all five to be that way in the morning haha... let's just say not all of us are morning people ;)) and we just take it slow, open presents from one another, have coffee, eat the same breakfast every christmas, and later make an appetizer to bring to grandma's. it's just nice!
^ elf jammies (: and dressember, day 25! which... sorry i've been so stinkin bad at updating on here! i've been consistent on insta but not here, so sorry! ^
^^ grandma's tree! ^
if there's one thing ya need to know about us speichs, it's that we're foodies... every last one of us! which is something i appreciate for REAL (; the food options were overwhelming in the very best way, hah!
^ i love my grandpa. so much! there's no one like him!
^ i thoroughly appreciate my family's enthusiasm for coloring.
here we are! all 20!
^ah, man! the camera fell again! (;
"the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our LORD and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever."
amen & amen!
(^^world's greatest christmas card award goes to the schierkolk fam... am i right or am i right?!)
christmas last year HERE, the year before HERE, the year before HERE, the year before HERE, and the year before HERE. (haha, i've been bloggin for a long time! actually christmas 2010 marks my very first blog post ever, so... cool little blog anniversary ;))
"the LORD lives! praise be to my Rock!
exalted be God my Savior!"
"You hem me in- behind and before;
You have laid Your hand upon me.
such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
where can i go from Your Spirit?
where can i flee from Your presence?
if i go up to the heavens, You are there;
if i make my bed in the depths, You are there.
if i rise on the wings of the dawn,
if i settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast."
"i was young and now i am old,
yet i have never seen the righteous forsaken."
i am in pain and distress;
may Your salvation, o God, protect me.
i will praise God's name in song
and glorify Him with thanksgiving.
this will please the LORD more than an ox,
more than a bull with its thorns and hoofs.
the poor will see and be glad-
you who seek God, may your hearts live!
the LORD hears the needy
and does not despise His captive people.
let heaven and earth praise Him,
the seas and all that move in them,
for God will save zion
and rebuild the cities of judah.
then people will settle there and possess it;
the children of His servants will inherit it,
and those who love His name will dwell there.
"the water was as clear as anything and i thought if i could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. but the lion told me i must undress first. mind you, i don't know if he said any words out loud or not.
i was just going to say that i couldn't undress because i hadn't any clothes on when i suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. oh, of course, thought i, that's what the lion means. so i started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. and then i scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if i was a banana. in a minute or two i just stepped out of it. i could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. it was a most lovely feeling. so i started to go down into the well for my bath.
but just as i was going to put my feet into the water i looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. oh, that's all right, said i, it only means i had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and i'll have to get out of it too. so i scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out i stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bath.
well, exactly the same thing happened again. and i thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have i got to take off? for i was longing to bathe my leg. so i scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it. but as soon as i looked at myself in the water i knew it had been no good.
the the lion said - but i don't know if it spoke - 'you will have to let me undress you.' i was afraid of his claws, i can tell you, but i was pretty nearly desperate now. so i just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
the very first tear he made was so deep that i thought it had gone right into my heart. and when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything i've ever felt. the only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. you know - if you've ever picked the scab of a sore place. it hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.
well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off - just as i thought i'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt - and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. and there was i, as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than i had been. then he caught hold of me - i didn't like that much for i was very tender underneath now that i'd no skin on - and threw me into the water. it smarted like anything but only for a moment. after that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as i started swimming and splashing i found that all the pain had gone from my arm. and then i saw why. i'd turned into a boy again. you'd think me simply phoney if i told you how i felt about my own arms. i know they've no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with caspian's, but i was so glad to see them.
after a bit the lion took me out and dressed me - (with his paws?) - well, i don't exactly remember that bit. but he did somehow or other: in new clothes."
-the great c.s. lewis,
the voyage of the dawn treader
"aslan, aslan. dear aslan,” sobbed lucy. “at last.”
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