You may be seeing this title and thinking, New Years?? That was already four weeks ago!! (Yes, I know – hard to believe, isn’t it?!!) But though there have been many other exciting things going on since then, we still couldn’t bypass that wonderful event that kicked off our 2012!

But before I get to that, I have a few thoughts I’d like to share. First of all, this year I’ve really enjoyed the idea that God has given us a new year to live and work and praise Him in! I think it’s partly because our 2011 was so crazily busy, but whenever I think of the rest of the year before us, I have this exciting feeling of freedom – and anticipation. Looking over our calendars, there are so many little squares representing our days – 366 of them, to be exact – and I wonder, How will the Lord fill these days? Many of them are already filled up, and more are being filled each day. But there’s still so much time in a whole year – time that we need to be using  for God’s glory!

And yet, on the other hand, there’s really not that much time in a year. Sure, there are about 8,784 hours in 2012 (some 550 of which are already gone forever, leaving us with  closer to 8,200), but compared to eternity, that is only just an infinitely tiny speck. When I think of it that way, I am reminded that I need to be spending every bit of this speck of time to advance the Kingdom of God. Some verses that I’ve thought about a good bit recently are Proverbs 3:5-6. Yes, they seem to be extremely common, and I think we often quote them without really thinking about them, just because we’ve heard them so often. But think about the richness in these words: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” So as we enter (or keep living in) 2012, let’s purpose in our hearts, by God’s grace, to acknowledge Him in every area of our lives, including the seemingly insignificant things, so that He can work in and through us, directing our paths for His own glory!

But back to the start of the new year: we were in New York the week between Christmas and New Years, and had a wonderful time up there, working, playing, and visiting with family. We were planning to leave on Saturday, get a hotel about half-way back to our home, and then finish the drive back on Sunday. But we were surprised and delighted when Dad announced that we would be able to spend that New Years Eve with the Wilkes Team instead of by ourselves: they graciously allowed us to use their home as our hotel!! Open-mouthed smile  We had a fabulous 24 hours together, and one of the highlights was the time that we spent “praying in” the new year. Around 11:30 pm, we gathered together and began praying – praising God, thanking Him for His many blessings, praying for our homes and for our nation. We prayed for over an hour, right over the stroke of midnight. It was such a precious time, and an incredible blessing – we would encourage everyone to do that sometime! There is something strengthening and exciting about knowing that you’ve just spent the last bit of the old year, and the first moments of the new in fellowship and communion with the Giver of time itself.

So, even though it’s a bit late, we still mean it very heartily:
Have a blessed 2012, Everyone!!

Dinner was scruptious!!IMG_8499Singing around the piano"Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is excellent!!..." (Ps. 148:12-13)Huddle to decide final details on......the Twelve Days of Christmas!!"Fiiivve Goolldennn Riiinggs!!!!"Hilarious!Everyone enjoyed the special performance!Josh and Lisa were quite popular :-)IMG_8521How many people does it take to......change a light bulb? :DFriends......and more friends!Our wonderful dads!