Scenes from a Christmas House

I wish all our family could come to our house over Christmas, but the busyness of this time of year always seems to catch up with us.  I wish they could all see how we've incorporated decorations and ornaments that have been handed down to us on both sides from our grandmothers and great grandmothers.  I wish they could feel "the glow" we feel in our home this time of year.  Instead I decided to take some pictures so I could show them our cozy flat from afar.  Hope you enjoy the tour!
















Oh, hi there.

What a crazy couple months this has been for us! Kyle and I just wrapped up yet another semester of classes. He is now half way through law school, and I am done with my graduate couse work! All I have left is a couple big exams (one in January, one in March), completing my internships next semester (one at an elementary school and one at St. Louis Children's hospital) and I am DONE.   I am amazed at God's grace sustaining us through the last (almost) two years. There were many unknown factors and risks when we followed the Lord's guidance to come here, but he has made our paths straight.

Saint Louis University SLP Class of 2012
(SLU Speech-Language Pathology, Class of 2012)

I wish we had any other big news to report other than the busy-ness of life. For those who have been inquiring/praying for my stepmom, we still thank you! As of this morning, dad said she's hanging in there, working through the pain. She is done with chemo, done with everything, trying to make the best of whatever is left. She has had to cut back to working part-time, which has been very hard. Diane loves her job and takes so much pride in her work. She's always had a deep commitment to the bank where she is a Senior Vice President. They have shown her incredible kindness and made it clear that her years of hard work would not go unnoticed. We are grateful for that. She will keep working as much and as often as she can.

There is an uncertainty about the whole situation, however, that makes the holidays a bit bleak. My dad and Diane LOVE Christmas and typically go all out. Dad told me this morning they haven't bought a single present because they've been trying to spend every moment together. What could anyone say to that? How do you face the holidays, knowing it's the last with someone you love so dearly? Shrug.

Thanksgiving 2011
(Thanksgiving 2011)

A number of other health issues popped up over the last couple months in my family, including my stepdad getting an abscess colon which is incredibly dangerous and life-threatening. Our family has been in relatively good health for a long time with no major issues, so I suppose we were just "due."

In the midst of all this, Kyle and I are still trying for a baby, which is gut-wrenching. All the drugs, the books, the blogs, the talking to other couples with infertility - none of it can really predict how you will feel when you go through it and still see negative after negative. Some days I am able to trust in perfect peace, and be content that God's timing is perfect and some day we'll see all of this clearly, other days I am a haze of emotions from bitterness to jealousy to deep sorrow.

I can honestly say, however, that because of all of this (NOT in spite of all of this) I have gained a deeper love for Jesus, and a deeper love for my husband and family. I am continually amazed at God's kindness to me in these hard times, and the way it continues to shape my soul.

I am so often reminded of my sin, how prone I am to jealousy and gossip, to resentment and hopelessness, but he continues to remind me that my hope is not in the things of this world, my hope is in Christ alone.  He surrounds me with people who remind me of this.  He shows me that lasting joy is not found in anything here.  At some point all the people we love will pass away, all the dreams we have about our lives will mean nothing, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
(Psalm 73:26 ESV)

August Gate Church, 11/11
(August Gate's new location)

The next few weeks will be spent relaxing as much as possible, reading books, being crafty, and spending time with friends and family.  Kyle and I have are so happy and so deeply in love with each other.  I say that only out of gratefulness.  So many are torn apart by hard times, but Jesus has pushed our hearts closer together.  We are so excited to be home together (when not working) over the holidays.  We are truly trying to count our blessings instead of sheep.  I hope you all have a very merry Christmas filled with love and peace.

Christmas party!