Wednesday, November 9, 2011

From A Thankful Heart

So, I realize it's been a while since I updated this here blog.  So much has happened that I am not entirely sure where to start.  So I'm thinking it's time to make a list of things that have happened that I am beyond excited and grateful over.

*I was asked (and able) to "pinch hit" on background vocals at a gig with the incomparable and always wonderful Tenley Westbrook (you think I'm just saying that...totally not, she is tops).

*I found out that I will be an auntie again this spring...twice!  Yea for nieces and nephews!!

*The kids and I were able to go with my mom to visit relatives from The has literally been years since I have been able to go up there for a real visit and it was absolute heaven.  I loved seeing the family, and I can't tell you adequately the feeling of awe you get when you come the top of a hill and all you can see is field and trees and big, big seems like you can see forever.  Especially at sunset.  Oh, the sunsets!!!!

*I was invited to sing at a concert with Justin Havu, musical genius (again, you may think I'm kidding...not even close.  Totally brilliant) for a live (and I hear recorded for DVD) concert.  Way cool and way fun.  If and when it is released I will totally post the details.

*I got a new job!!!!  This one is HUGE.  Totally wasn't looking for it, but once again God is just beyond good.  It is four days a week, better pay and hours, at Great Works Chiropractic and Wellness.  Look us up on facebook or better yet if you live in Seacoast ME/NH come on in and say hi and check it out.  I love it, and it is affording me the opportunity to spend more time with the kids and also the time to (finally) get serious about writing and singing and all that.

I have one other big thing in the pipeline that I can't quite share yet...but since the other ones are so good, I just know you'll be keeping those eyes peeled for it!  :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Beacon or a Battlefield

I was driving to church yesterday morning, and as I rounded the corner I could see, like I can on most clear days, the top of the steeple over the tree line as I came around the bend, still a good half mile from the church itself.  And for some bizarre reason, it struck me...I get excited when I see the steeple.  I know what I will find when I get there.  A place to rest at Jesus' feet, to gather with others who also live busy lives but like me have found it important, necessary even, to spend the time away from all the hustle, bustle, and noise of life and to climb under the feathers of the wings of our God and just rest.  Now, I could find a way to do that alone at any time, but I relish doing it in a community of believers because somehow it helps to know I am not the only one, and that I am surrounded by others who need the refreshment and rest as much as I do.
But I started to wonder...what do other people who maybe haven't stepped foot in a church (other than for a wedding or funeral) for a long time or maybe ever, think of when they see the steeple.  Do they see a beacon, like that of a lighthouse, calling out to all the hearts adrift on the often stormy seas of life?  Or do they see a battleground, a gathering of people who are judgmental and cold and out to ruin all their fun or take away their "rights", or perhaps even worse a gathering of people who are so stuck in their rules and regulations that they are willing to fight each other too just to be right.  I wonder if the people who see the steeple see it as the symbol of a beacon or a battlefield?
At our church we recently finished a series called "The Hole in our Gospel".  It really challenged me along with everyone else that if we really believe what we say we do, then we are called to be God's hands and feet in very practical ways not only inside the walls of our church but in our communities and homes.  The message of the gospel was not meant just to be talked about in our sanctuaries, but to be lived out in reality in a world that is often desperate for the smallest piece of hope to cling to.
James 1:26-27 (msg translation) has this to say about the matter:
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.  
I wonder what people see when they see us too.  If we are the body of Christ on earth, His living, breathing, "churches", then what do people think when they see our "steeples"?  It's a very sobering, though-provoking thing to consider.  But it's worth the effort.  The people we run across on a daily basis or even once in a lifetime do not need another person they have to battle with, be it intellectually or otherwise.  They, too, need a place of rest, a haven and a help in a world that offers far more questions than answers, conflict rather than piece, that can chew up even the best of us and spit us out.  So here's the question for today:  Are we a beacon, or a battlefield?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Light it Up

So lately I just cannot ignore the way God is moving.  I don't know about the rest of you, but there is a sense of excitement, like little bits of electricity in the air lately.  And I have never felt more compelled or desired more to "light it up" everywhere and anywhere.
Scripture tells us to "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).  The thing is, I am pretty ordinary.  Take God out of the equation, and I'm pretty much your average girl.  Husband, four kids, nice apartment, jobs, etc.  Nothing all that special.  But I am seeing and experiencing what it means to hand over my life, everything I have, to God, no strings attached, and just say, "Here I am, use me.  Don't know what you can do with me, or why you would want me, but You've got me, all of me."  Letting your light shine is not about you.  You cannot produce the light on your own, and it's not about getting glory.  It's about walking daily with Jesus, letting Him take control, and shine through You. He is the light...we are merely the lanterns.
Lately, there have been so many things going on that just break the heart, around me, locally, and you don't have to look far to see the kinds of devastation that are being caused by weather alone.  Recently, a young boy's body was found in my town on a remote dirt road.  I live in a small town...these things aren't supposed to happen anywhere, but they definitely aren't "supposed" to happen here.  And for four trying and nerve wracking days, we didn't know who he was, what had happened, and who the perpetrator was or where they were.  Scary, heartbreaking stuff.  But what the devil means for evil....
There was a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night.  I was kindly volunteered (by someone else) to sing Amazing Grace.  So I did.  Impromptu.  In front of a few hundred people.  And sat back in amazement as that song was played over and over as the backdrop to the news story surrounding the event.  Amazing Grace on the news.  To God be the glory.
This remote road is not exactly easy to find if you don't know where you are going.  And yet this (as it turns out) out of town woman left her son there.  While what happened is totally heartbreaking, God is amazing.  The people who found him are Christians.  I was able to witness firsthand as they testified to the love of Christ in front of hundreds of people and at the service the following night.  And the wife also co-officiated this little boy's funeral in Texas.  To God be the glory.
This world is not our home.  It can be and many times is a scary place.  But we are called to be light, that our lives would shine so brightly that we light up the darkness around us in a way that attracts others to our Savior, who says if He be lifted up, He will draw all men.  Light it up people.  It's amazing!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

God Here, I Have Something to Say

Have you ever had a moment where you knew, straight up beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was talking and confirming all the whispers you knew you were hearing all along, just to let you know that YES, you are on the right path, YES, that was me whispering, NO you are not forgotten!
If you are reading this you likely read my last post, Bloom Where You Are Planted.  Well, today I'd like to share something that was total confirmation in a way that gave me goosebumps.  It comes from the blog of Meredith Andrews, one of my favorite Christian worship artists.  She was writing about her experience of winning her first (two) Dove Awards this year...and finding out while in her pajamas at home feeding her baby.  This is what she wrote at the end of her post:

I share this with you not because I seek congratulations or accolades, for God has used this honor to bring about in me a renewed humility and gratitude, and I am again reminded that my only boast is in the cross. I say all this to encourage YOU, wherever you may be in your life. God has not forgotten you. He hasn't changed His mind concerning you. Romans 11:29 says, "God's gifts and his call are irrevocable." Philippians 1:6 says that we can be confident of this: "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." He will see you through. He will finish what He started in you. And in me. We can be sure of it.
So let's continue to bloom where we're planted and be faithful in small things. Let us press in to know Him, to seek out His heart and pursue His presence. May our complete and every day surrender be the natural response to His life laid down for us. For as I was reminded by a good friend recently, we can never out-give the Giver. We can never out-do God. He is always standing by, ready to teach us, ready to bless us, ready to lavish His love upon us as a Father lavishes love on His children, not because we are deserving, but simply because He is good.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bloom Where You Are

So lately I've kind of felt like I've been in a holding pattern in a lot of areas in life...lots of possibilities, but no real actualities.  Anybody who knows me knows it makes me nuts to "live in limbo".  I like decisions, realities, even if they are not decisions or realities that I particularly like.
One of the things that I've been pondering is this feeling like I need to stretch, like I've somehow outgrown my little corner or something.  Wondering what the next thing is.  But in the process, I forgot something important...everything God does is on purpose.  Where ever we are in life or even in actuality (right now I am in my living room), is on purpose.
We are not called to merely sit here and just kill time waiting for the "next big thing" or adventure.  No.  I saw a sign today driving home from my daughter's dentist appointment.  Like I said, there is nothing coincidental.  It simply said "Bloom Where You Are".  It caught my attention in a big way.  Whenever we start to think we have grown to small for the space we're in, and get caught up in what ISN'T happening in our lives, we are merely taking up space and wilting where God called us to bloom.  He is the gardener.  He is going to place us in the perfect space to do the blooming and growing.  He is not going to place us somewhere where we don't have enough room to do the amount of growing we need; on the contrary, He will put us in the perfect place.  If we are willing, He has called us to bloom where we are.
And if you are thinking, "Yeah, but..", consider this...have you ever considered picking a seed?  Or a sprout? Or a wilted flower?  I'm guessing not.  But how often has a beautiful rose in bloom caught your eye?  Or that adorable daisy patch made you want to pick one?  They all bloom in different places.  But yet it's the full grown ones that catch our eye, that we want to pick.  If you don't bloom where you are, how are you going to catch anyone's attention?
And the attention we should be after, by the way, is that of the Gardener.  Oh how He longs to revel in us; oh, how we long to be reveled over, to be noticed and admired.  The only way to accomplish all of this is to bloom where you are.  :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Heavy Lifting

So, any of you who follow me online, particularly on facebook, will know that I started a new workout routine a little over two weeks ago (the power 90 series for those who are interested).  I love it, I'm doing great, and I'm already looking and feeling a whole lot better.
Now, interestingly enough, my pastor told a story on Sunday that not only caught my attention and really got me to thinking.  He was talking about lifting weights in correlation with the the burdens we face in life that seem to get increasingly heavy with each subsequent trial we face.
Matthew 11:28 says "Come to me, you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest".  The next couple of verses go on to say that we instead take on Christ's yolk, which is light.
But here's the point the pastor made, and that we often don't think order for us to come and trade our burdens for Christ's yolk, we must first pick them up and give them to Him.
Now, if you are like me, chances are you have in the past or are currently looking at a situation or burden in life and feeling rather discouraged right now, because there is no way that you can imagine picking up this thing at all, much less picking it up and putting it down at Jesus' feet.  And if you are like me at all, you have or maybe still are asking why the burden was given to you in the first place.
Well, let's go back to exercising.  Part of my "routine" two nights a week involves strength training.  And one of the exercises involved is called a bicep curl.  I have to pick up the weights, then bring them back down.  Repeatedly.  But along the way, I got good at picking up and putting down those cute little two pound weights I bought for myself.  It was no big thing anymore, and I was stronger than the weights I was using.  So this week I had to switch to my husband's ugly (sorry babe) five pound weights.  They are big, black, and mean looking.  I can add more weight to them as I go.  And this week, I curled a bigger weight.  Yup, that hurt a bit.
The same is true with our trials.  There is a reason they seem to get easier, and then WHAM!  The next one looks ridiculously hard.  Guess what?  Those trials are not there out of meanness.  God is not punishing you.  But in the process of picking them up to lay them down at His feet, guess what they are doing?  Yup, those mean old trials are making you stronger!  Stronger in faith, stronger in confidence, stronger in conviction.
I Peter 5:10 says:  "And the God of all grace, Who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast".  
The thing is though, the trick is to pick them up, then lay them down (at His feet).  If I were to pick up that 5lb weight, curl it up, and then never lay it back down, I could and likely would hurt myself.  The same is true with our trials.  We were never meant to pick them up and hang onto them.  We were meant to pick them up, to lay them down, and in the process be made stronger, firmer, steadfast.  And the best part is if we obey in the lifting and laying, we don't even have to worry about choosing the wrong size weight, because God promises that He will not give us more than we can bear.  (I Cor. 10:13).
So the next time you face a trial, and it seems like to much for you, remember, He chooses the weight; He always chooses the right weight for where we are at in our journey.  You were made for this; pick it up, lay it down, and just see what God will do!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Song teaser...and a quick update

Okay, so some of you know I've been working on a new song that has taken me a while to get together.  Not so much because I didn't know exactly how I wanted it to sound, but BECAUSE I knew exactly how I wanted it to sound and it has taken some serious work on the keyboard skills to get it close enough to share.  I'm still learning as I go on the keys, and while I've definitely gotten better, I still sometimes hit that hump where what I hear in my head and my actual skill set don't exactly match up.  It's taken lots of work and practice to get to this point (here's hoping my family isn't sick of this song yet lol).
This song is also deeply personal to me.  Out of everything I have written thus far, it's the one where I've dug deepest into something that will not let me go and really laid it out there, so it's a little intimidating to share it with the world in that regard.  The story is that of a girl, comes around to my understanding of the situation, and goes back to the story; however, I could be and have been that girl.  Most days I still am.  I have my struggles, and being accepted, loved, and supported by people who should hasn't always come naturally to me. (sidenote...sooooo not talking about my husband and kids here...they have been ridiculously supportive of me).

Soooo....check it out on the music page ( )

In other news, I just had an awesome afternoon singing the National Anthem at the Sea Dogs game.  Beautiful day for baseball (or any other outdoor activity), and did the best I've done ever on the Star Spangled Banner.  Wahoo!  Many thanks to my husband, kids, Shallon, Beth, Candace, Dave, and Bradyn for coming out to hear me sing and hanging out to watch the game after.  The Sea Dogs won...I'm thinking that maybe they should switch places with the Red Sox, they are certainly playing better!  Some day dreaming and hoping to sing at Fenway.  Who knows, dreams can come true ya know!  ;)

For those who missed it, I sadly do not have the Anthem recorded from this past Sunday's game BUT you still have a chance to hear me sing it live at the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Thursday, April 28 at 6:30pm...would love to see you there!

<3  Elita

PS  feedback on the teaser definitely encouraged :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

For I Know the Plans

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. "
That verse has become very true to me in a very real way in the past week.  Six days ago, I was driving my van on the Spaulding Turnpike headed to drop off some keys to my boss at work and pick the kids up from school.  Out of nowhere, my van started shaking rather violently, so I pulled off the road (thankfully I was already in the right hand lane, as traffic was fairly heavy).  After calling my husband at work and trying to help him figure out what was wrong (I am pretty car illiterate), I sat in my car waiting on AAA and crying out of sheer frustration.  We just spent money fixing this thing in January to get it to pass inspection, plus having to pay for a new battery a few weeks before.  And here I was, on the side of a busy highway, with my van broken down.  Again.  So I sat and prayed and asked the question, "Seriously God, why?". 
Well, now I know why...and that not only had God not left my side, but He had protected me in a huge way.  What I didn't realize at the time was that the back rear axle of my van had cracked almost clear through right down the middle.  By all rights, my tires should have popped off and I should have rolled, going approx. 65 mph, into oncoming traffic.  I should not have been able to steer the van off the road, and by all accounts (AAA, car dealership, etc.), I should have been killed.  Then add in that I was less than a mile from being up on the bridge over the ocean, where I would have had no place to go even being able to pull over.  You get the guardian angels were definitely on duty with extra coverage.
Now, my van is beyond repair, and because the axle was under recall (side note:  if you know anyone with a 98-03 Ford Windstar in a cold weather state, PLEASE make them go get their vehicle checked at their nearest Ford dealership), and we are now looking for a new, safe van for a low price, as we can't afford much.
But here's the thing...I know, that I know, that I KNOW, that I was spared for a purpose.  But it is a hugely weird feeling to reconcile being told you shouldn't be alive, knowing that you are beyond blessed to even be breathing, or hugging your kids, or kissing your spouse, with KNOWING that I am here because I am supposed to be.  I'm not exactly sure why I am supposed to be here, but I trust God to reveal that to me.  After all, He has already more than proven this week that His plans are for my PROTECTION from harm, to prosper me and give me a FUTURE that nothing, not even a broken axle, can take away. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Not Myself Lately

So recently I had the experience of spending time around an invidual who I just for whatever reason am not myself around.  I think we all have people in our lives who for whatever reason seem to draw the worst out of us, and I believe the majority of the time it has much more to do with us than it does them.  But the point is, I was not feeling like myself at all, instead I was feeling like the worst version of myself and couldn't seem to snap out of it.  And that alone drove me crazy.  What the heck was wrong with me?  Why couldn't I just be my normal, generally happy self? 
This question was still niggling at me Sunday morning as I arrived at church for our pre-service rehearsal at the crack of 7 am, bleary-eyed and struggling a bit to wake up (side note:  thank heavens for DD's ice coffee!!).  And I was still feeling somewhat out of sorts from wrestling with the question and being irritated with myself. 
One of the songs we were singing that day was "Lead Me to the Cross".  As I was listening to Caroline lead us in the song, one of the phrases hit me like a lightning bolt...."rid me of myself, I belong to You".  Whoa.  Right then and there it occured to me that my problem was not that I was not feeling or acting like myself.  Quite the opposite.  I was feeling and acting EXACTLY like myself.  The self that exists outside of allowing God to fill me and lead me. 
I don't need to be more like me.  Left to my own devices, I am not naturally gracious or kind or patient.  I am, to be honest, a miserable person to be and to be around.  I don't need to be more like me. I need to be more like Him.  John 3:30 says "He must become greater; I must become less".  And the more I pondered it, the more it occured to me how backwards I had it.  I am fallen, a sinner, and on my own not a lovely person.  But every time I allow God to fill me, to "clean house" on any area of my life He chooses, I become more like Him.  He is gracious.  He is kind and merciful, patient and forgiving.  If I want to be those things, I don't need to be more like myself.  I want to be more like Him.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Playing in the Middle

I was driving my car to church Sunday morning, listening to Air1 on the radio (now that I've figured out what it is) and I heard this little snippet that's been rumbling around in my brain the last 48 or so hours.  It has to do with playing in the middle of the road.
We all know it is a dangerous thing to play in the middle of the road.  Especially in a busy street.  Take downtown where I live....busy almost all the time, and fairly narrow for a road that sees as much traffic as it does.  Add in several downtown shops, a couple restaurants, a school, couple of churches, etc.  Now add in all the people who walk up and down the sidewalk all day...taking kids to school, running errands, paying their oil bill, whatever their errand might be.  Nobody in their right mind would ever think to walk down the yellow line of Main Street to get to their destination.  Frankly, they wouldn't reach their destination because the odds are extremely high that they would be hit by any manner of, van, even a tractor trailer truck.  And even if they were fortunate enough to get missed, the fear of being hit alone can be crippling.  Nobody would purposely choose to do that (unless they were certifiably insane).
But what of our spiritual life?  In Revelation 3:15, Jesus says "I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish you were one or the other".  In our spiritual life, how often do we play in the middle of the road?  Sure we believe in God, but we're not really so sure we can trust Him, and we still aren't convinced that walking His way is the only way.  We know we aren't supposed to walk with the world, but we aren't 100% walking with God either.  So we play in the middle of the road, thinking that we are smart enough to see or hear the car bearing down on us  and surely we can get out of the way on time.  And God is gracious, of course He will take us back and heal our wounds.  So off we go, playing in the middle of the road even though we know it's a dangerous place to play.  Our parents taught us to pick a side to walk on.  God told us He'd rather we be hot or cold than lukewarm.   Yet we go on playing in the middle of the road.
The saddest thing to me is how we have it all worked out in our head how God is gracious and we'll turn back to Him and He'll heal us and it will be fine.  But if we are honest most of the time when we inevitably find ourselves either grazed or hit smack dab with disaster, that plan goes out the window and we blame God and ask Him where He was, like He was the one Who let us down and didn't protect us, when we were the ones who chose to play in the middle of the road.  He told us not too.  We didn't listen.  Yet we blame Him like it's His fault.  Sure, He could have stopped us from playing in the middle of the road.  He could have forced us to walk in His paths.  But then again, if He forced us, He would no longer be a gracious God but a dictator.  He is kind enough to give us the choice.  And we blame Him when the consequences of not obeying strike us.  Even though we were right where we were told and warned repeatedly not to be...playing in the middle of the road.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The tough stuff

For those of you who might have been wondering, I have not been neglecting the blog.  God is really dealing with a huge area of hurt in my life, and I have struggled with this one for a long time.  Pretty much all my life.  And it is incredibly intimidating to share with whoever cares to read this blog, because I know that I am leaving myself open to criticism here.  I am about to be incredibly vulnerable...not easy for me at all, and I think that to be open, honest, and vulnerable is going to a step in the right direction. 
For all thirty years of my life, I have always wanted to know that my father loved me.  Not my Heavenly Father...I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that He does.  But my earthly father.  Growing up where and how I did, it was easy for a lot of people looking on from the outside to assume that our life was pretty great, and that we had the best dad on planet earth.  Now, I have to say here I am not writing this to out my dad or openly criticize him, but to explain how I got here, and how God is dealing with me.  I very much love my dad and always will, and I realize that no parent is perfect. 
I understand to a point how they came to that conclusion, because on the outside things were great.  Very few people actually saw beyond the exterior of appearances to how they really were.  And I'm going to be very dad was married to his piano and the church we attended.  Again, nothing wrong with either thing...I happen to love playing the piano and I love God deeply and very much enjoy our times of fellowship and learning at the church I now attend.  But I also believe God does things decently and in order, and my first commitment is to my family....God gave them to me first for a reason. 
But to the topic at hand...for a long time my dad has loved other things more than he has loved me, my mom, or my sisters.  It has affected us all differently.  I have come to discover that I am a daddy's girl at heart, and I have always longed for his approval, hoping it would bring with it his affection and attention.  And for a little while in my adult years, I enjoyed a taste of it.  I very much enjoyed it.  And I very much miss it. 
Yes, I have talked to my dad about this more times than I care to count.  It's never made a difference.  And I have come to the realization that short of a miracle, which I very much believe could happen, it probably never will.  Not being pessimistic or boo-hoo, just being honest. 
Soooo....God is really digging this one out.  And it hurts.  A lot.  It has taken a long time for me to let go of my hurt and let God really deal, because I have never wanted to face the reality or deal with all the pain.  And yet that is exactly where I find myself now.  I have wrestled with even writing this openly, but for a long time in my life I have had to pretend things were fine when they weren't.  And I would be lying if I only wrote about the things in life that are wonderful and hunky dory if I was not also real about the pain and struggle.  Cause we all have them.  Life hurts sometimes.  I came across a wonderful quote by CS Lewis this weekend that in a nutshell says that God never promised that we would not have hurt or pain...He actually promised that we would when He said "Blessed are those who mourn."
This is where I am at.  It is a deeply painful process, but it is also wonderful because I know it is for my good and my healing.  One of my favorite song lines says "I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise You, Jesus bring the rain."  I am here to say I am freely letting God do His thing here and dig this one out.  It's rather deeply routed, and your prayers would be coveted.  For me and my dad.  I do not want anyone to read this and make it critical of me or my dad, but rather to cause you to pray for us both.  For tender hearts, open eyes, deep healing, and even reconciliation and a restored relationship. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Verse for the Year

Soooo, this is the time of year when a lot of people make resolutions, many of which will be forgotten, broken, and/or abandoned within a few weeks to a few months.  It happens, we're humans.  The only lasting covenants that I have found are the covenants of God.  I don't do the resolution thing...I'm terrible at keeping them, and I really loathe making a promise that I am unsure I can keep. 
I thought I knew what my verses for the year would be this year, but God gave me a resounding answer today that left no doubt that I had been a little off track and like always, His thoughts for me are not what I can expect or predict.

So here it is:

God, the Lord, created the heavens and stretched them out.  He created the earth and everything in it.  He gives breath to everyone, life to everyone who walks the earth.  And it is He who says, "I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate My righteousness.  I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them.  And you will be a light to guide the nations.  You will open the eyes of the blind.  You will free the captives from prison, releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.  I am the Lord; that is My name!  I will not give My glory to anyone else, nor share My praise with carved idols.  Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again.  I will tell you the future before it happens.  I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way.  I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them.  Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them."
~  Isaiah 42:5-9, 16

I cannot tell you how excited I am for this new year!!  God has confirmed some things in my heart and I will joyfully follow my Savior wherever and however He chooses to lead.  :)