Welcome 2017!

After spending a few days in the mountains near Leavenworth, it seems a bit surreal to come home to freezing temperatures, icy windshields, and a little snow here on the coast of Puget Sound! I must admit I love the cold, crisp, and clear days of winter like this...with beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Walking outside perks you right up and you feel alive, ready to take on the New Year.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in Isaiah 43:19, which says, 

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

I don't know about you, but I look forward to God doing new things in my life in 2017. I'm excited to look for the ways He will reveal himself to me and those I love in the beauty that surrounds us, in kind and thoughtful words and actions, and in his word.

Last year, for only the second time in my (not so young!) life, I followed a Bible reading plan that I found in a magazine I subscribe to, Life:Beautiful. Though I had received the magazine for several years, I had never taken advantage of the Bible reading plan found in this quarterly magazine. Each issue contains 3 months of the reading plan, which entails reading a portion of the Old Testament, New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb or two. I really liked the format, reading a little Old and New each day, and ending with a Psalm. The other new thing I did was purchase an ESV journaling Bible and read all the passages from that Bible. After years of using the same NIV Bible, it was fun and insightful to read a slightly different translation and have new, pristine pages to underline and doodle in the margins. (More about that another time!). I highly recommend Life:Beautiful magazine, but if you are interested in only the Bible reading plan, you can actually look it up on their website and get the daily assignment there.

I really wasn't sure I wanted to do another year long Bible reading plan, but as the first couple days of the New Year slipped by, I missed the structure and discipline of following a plan. Go figure! I've been a heavy devotional book reader for years, but am liking the continuity of reading longer passages of scripture at a time. So, what to do? Do the same reading plan again or find something new? A friend on facebook posted a link to Lingonier Ministries (associated with R.C. Sproul) that contained a variety of Bible reading plans. After reading through the descriptions of the plethora of options, I selected the first one, the 5 Day Bible Reading Program. I like the fact that you follow the plan during the week, and have the weekends off. The plan hops between Old and New Testaments, with an added Psalm 3 days of week or so. Want to join me? Would be fun to be reading along together! (Last year my college roommate, Barb, read along with me and it was fun to exchange an occasional email sharing thoughts about a passage). 

 Oakley loves the snow...

Oakley loves the snow...

Hope you are all staying warm and cozy (or koselig as they say in Norwegian) during this cold spell here and across much of our nation! I've been wearing my favorite smart wool socks and even dragging out my old UGG boots to wear at home...love the warmth and comfort of those! 

I'm hoping to do a better job of staying in touch through blog posts this year. I'll be back soon! Warmly, Gracia

 A beautiful log home down the road from us in Plain...

A beautiful log home down the road from us in Plain...