>It’s been a couple weeks.

>January thankfully has flown by. It is honestly my least favorite month, not just because it’s after Christmas but because of the nasty weather. I’ve lived in central Illinois my whole life and I find this weather gets more and more on my nerves the longer I live here.

It seems we’ve not accomplished a ton in school. The first week back we had Thursday and Friday as snow days, so that was a four-day weekend. This past Monday we had MLK, Jr. Day off and just yesterday we had a day off because there was no power in the community where I teach. Even with the three snow days our last day as teachers is May 25, which seems early to me.

Leah, my youngest sister, was in a bad car accident last Friday. My mom called me on my lunch at work to tell me. She lost control on a hilly, windy road and slammed into a tree going about 45 mph (it was completely not her fault). Her left hip was fractured so on Monday she had surgery to put a plate and six screws in place. She went home yesterday. The truck she was driving, however, wasn’t so lucky. Looking at the pictures makes me so thankful more damage was not done. It was truly the grace of God that kept her safe.

So, having a sporadic work week and being at the hospital a lot makes for a very strange week. I hope things will get back to normal soon.

On an unrelated note, Aaron and I had some photos taken over his break by our friend Mila. I will share a few with you here. We are so pleased with how they turned out!

I’m definitely enjoying my “me” time when not at work or other activities. I’ve been reading, working out and dabbling in a few crafty projects. I cannot wait until it gets warmer outside! This cold weather and dreary skies are killing me! Spring cannot come soon enough.

>My circumstances do not define me; the power of the Holy Spirit does.

I’m in between formal Bible studies right now as our next Beth Moore study led by Lois doesn’t start until Monday. But in my devotional time in the morning I’ve been reading “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. If you’ve never read this book, you should pick up a copy at the bookstore for just a few bucks. This is my second or third year reading through the 365-day devotional. Along with it, I’ve been doing a casual study of 1 Peter. It’s interesting how the content of both are intertwining, even with my life circumstances.

As most of you are aware, Aaron was home for two weeks and left again last Sunday. I have to say it’s been tough this time around being apart as we won’t see each other again until Easter (my spring break). However, I’ve been able to stay positive and keep a routine. I’ve been waking earlier than last semester, at around 5:40. I get up, get my coffee, get ready and then make breakfast and sit down to pray and read my Bible. This time has significantly improved my moods and outlook on life. What a great way to start my day! I’ve also been working out every day and really challenging myself (I ran three miles consecutively for the first time in my life!) Gotta love those endorphins.

Anyway, here are some scattered insights into 1 Peter. It’s straight from my journal so bear with me!

A couple quotes from the devotional:
“Friendship is rare on earth.”

“When once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely, we never need sympathy, we can pour out all the time without being pathetic.”
–I love this quote!! It’s so true and definitely my goal for 2010.

1 Peter 2:5 “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
–we give sacrifices of spirit.
–What is our spirit? uneasiness, pain, suffering, happiness, gladness
–we give them through Jesus – our relationship with Him is essential!

He called us out of darkness into His wonderful light! (v. 9). So why do we act like we still live in the dark??

“…and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.” v. 6, Isa. 28:16
–Why should we be ashamed of our humanness? God created us – He fashioned every side of us.

To summarize, to feel sad or hurt is not bad. What is bad is putting those things on a separate altar from God. He wants us to sacrifice everything to Him. And give thanks in all circumstances. That’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’m trying to think back to when Aaron first left. I cried.. a lot. I felt sad to be separated from him, but I definitely looked to God to fill that void. That’s what I need to continue to do now. It’s so easy to get complacent, especially since we are nine months in out of our hopefully only 14-month separation. But Sunday after Aaron left, and probably before then, God allowed me to bring myself to a place where I needed Him.

This sounds cliche, but God is only thisfar away. His grace, love, hope, peace.. only that far. No more. Cling to Him!

This is the study I will be beginning on Monday:

And the study Aaron and I are doing together: