Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Wrap-up

7:14 p.m. Today's project was to begin wrapping up 2011 in a variety of ways. Even though our tree still looks beautiful, I resigned myself to at least taking our most memorable ornaments off the tree and placing them in their individual boxes. While supervising Steve's raking out front, I made a quick call to our neighbor of 23years, Joanne, to see if the City had given a date for Christmas tree pick-up, since we don't take the newspaper any more. She has an artificial tree, so she hadn't paid attention, but did offer that we could just put it out on the next garbage day.  She wanted to get caught up on Steve's condition, and I advised that if she and husband Craig might want to visit with Steve while he can still smile and talk a bit (although he won't remember them. ) Hopefully they will come by soon.  Joanne was in our brand-new Moms in Touch prayer group that met at my house that started when Taft Elementary opened in 1990. We saw many changes of heart and outright miracles as we  lived the truth of Jesus' words in Matthew 18:20:

For where two or more are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.

As for my business, December 31 of any year means the dreaded Inventory Count. Since my thrird year, I've put my count on our website in a "dummy" order that doesn't get sent in, even though I still made the initial count with paper and pencil. Today, I took my laptop and the portable wi-fi hotspot to my office, and input the whole inventory online. Still need to tote up my demo items, charitable donations and personal use, but the biggest job is finished, praise the Lord!

2011 is also closing out our "private" lives here at home. Our Korean student from University of California Riverside is arriving at the school around 12 p.m. on Tuesday the 3rd. So even though we've painted, polished and prepped the spare bedroom and bath, I had a lot of personal things to remove from the bathroom, along with my journal and notes from the roll top desk.  The bedspread and pillows just got rewashed as well. On the morning of the 3rd-nothing like cutting it close!-- a veteran Homestay "mom," Kathy, is coming over for a facial and last-minute hints and tips that only an experienced hostess would know. And I will be increasing the morning caregiver hours to last until 9:00, so I can drive our student to UCR and back from the 8:30 a.m. weekday drop-off without worrying about Steve and his caregiver getting back from their walk with Jada on time.The Lord is setting all we need in place. Jehovah Jireh, our Provider!

2011 was devastating for Steve, and utterly heartbreaking for me. Despite being on very high doses of Alzheimer meds, powerful behavioral and anti-seizure pills, as well as natural supplements, he has just plummeted month by month. Our family has witnessed his slipping from very forgetful but actively engaged, to confused, off-balance and physically compromised. Steve no longer knows where the garage or the dog food barrel is; cannot open a door, even the slider, without assistance; has trouble eating, dressing and caring for himself; and rarely speaks. He also needs constant supervision, and extensive help at bedtime as well.

When our foreign student leaves in February, a new program of care will begin. Brightstar Agency  will begin providing that constant supervision here at home. Details to come!

All was not tragic this year, however. My book, Galatians: an Exploration of Faith & Freedom, was published, the culmination of almost 25 years of Spirit-led teaching and writing on Paul's doctrinal declaration. Our daughter Heidi married a wonderful Christian man, Pavel, beginning a lifetime of love and shared ministry. Oldest son Sean is affiiated with and serving at the VA in Loma Linda, and his boys are excelling in high school. On my birthday, son Kriss and his wife Marisela surprised me with news of a baby on the way! Our son-in-law Nick finished his Masters' Degree at Cal Poly Pomona, and both Heather's ministry to high school girls and her photography are taking great leaps forward. Steven with his girlfriend Kathy, continue in prayer and evangelism, and he continues ministering to high schoolers in Fresno and ranks high at each of his bodybuilding competitions.  And my Mary Kay business is building with a team of Christian sisters to lead, encourage, and be encouraged by.

It wouldn't be December 31st if I didn't confess my sins to the Lord in my journal today, and if I didn't feel a need for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit! The former politician in me would like to say, "mistakes were made," but sin must be called what it is! Bad attitudes, lack of compassion, selfish motives, Gods sees it all. He not only sees, but stands ready to forgive. His indwelling Holy Spirit makes the difference between convicting us of sin to repentance and restoration, and the devil condemning us and driving us away from the Lord Jesus in perpetual shame!

Believer, confess your sins to our Jesus, and be forgiven. Unbeliever, confess your sins to the Lord Jesus, ask Him to save you, and begin 2012 as an entirely new man or woman, from the inside out!

I'll close this year of posts with a quote from Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest for December 31st:

    As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.
  Leave the irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.                                                                     

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