Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

30 December 2012

Wrapping up 2012

I love this time of year in blogosphere when people look back on the year gone and look forward to the year ahead.  So, 2012 in this neck of the woods.

Stuff I said I'd do...

Reading glasses...Done.  Life changing.  Really. 

Cooking...Adding to the repetoire of weekly meals. 
Epic fail.  Man, mid week meals around here are Oh. So. Boring. 
I could possibly write a recipe book called One Hundred Two Ways with IKEA Meatballs. 
The brief but somewhat intense foray into Tupperware this year means that my hamburgers are so much better and I should mention that for one who is not big on gadgets, I cannot live without the Smooth Chopper.
The boys have learned to eat and appreciate soup this year.
I got a new carbon steel wok for Christmas.  My other wok gave up the ghost (due to my inattention) after fifteen years of good and faithful service.  Looking forward to seasoning this new one and getting it into use.
And the mince pies this Christmas were delicious.

Approach Bible reading differently...This was good.  Really good.  It was excellent to zone in on the prophets (and I only scratched the surface but enough to help me get by for the moment) and then it was quite something to try and race through the whole Bible in chronological order in six months.  I didn't make it through but not to worry.  The thing about the 2012 approach though was that I didn't get near the New Testament in my own personal reading (althrough I did read bits of it in Bible study groups and at church) until half way through November.  I love the Old Testament dearly but I did miss some of my good New Testament I will doing things a bit differently in the new year.

Add basil and mint to the pot of time on the kitchen windowsill...I got the mint and the basil.  It sat alongside my thyme and a little plant with pink flowers.  The thyme didn't like the pot it was in, never really grew and eventually passed away.  The basil couldn't grow fast enough for my consumption and I ended up a) stripping the plant until it wouldn't grow anymore and b) still needed to buy bunches of the stuff anyway to supplement my measly crop.  The mint however did what it needed to do...and provides me with the odd leaf here and there for drinks, salads and mint sauce.  So the thyme and the basil have gone - and will be purchased by the bunch as needed - and the mint grows alongside the pink flowering plant and another interesting, multicoloured thing.  And that is enough on the kitchen windowsill.

Pray for my friends...Done.  Well, still going really.  What a joy to have a specific prayer project, praying for friends all year. In God's grace they did famously on Kiribati and within their sphere, made a real difference there.  And they managed to get back home just in time for Christmas, despite Hurricane Evan's attempts to keep in them in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for a bit longer.


Reading has been a highlight of year. Especially after getting my new reading glasses. Reading has given me rest, joy, things to think about and good things to share.

Favourite book?  That is hard call. I look at my reading list for 2012 and they were all good.  But if I had to narrow it down, Knowing God was an important book to read and wonderful. I will be reading it again - along with 18 Words. And Moby Duck was sensational and life changing.   Where other campaigns have failed, this book has single handedly made me take a serious look at my use of plastics, take my own shopping bags to the grocery store every sing time, tell those kind folks at Subway that I don't need my wrapped roll in a plastic bag that will be dispensed with 10 seconds later, reduced my usage of clingwrap and so on. 

The blog...

Most read post this year - was Infusing Christmas with Christ for Kids - the Jesus Storybook Bible, a post about how the Jesus Storybook Bible could be used as a series of Advent readings that I wrote in November 2009, thanks to some generous linkage by a couple of bloggers whose reach is vast. 

Most read post that I wrote this year - Making the Transition from Children's Ministry to Church.  It's an issue that will never go away, and ultimately it is in God's hands, thankfully.  But good to think about these things. 

My favourite post for the year - One to One Bible Reading - I love this little book that describes the very thing that makes my heart beat...getting people reading their Bibles and furthermore, getting them to love reading their Bibles.

Remember this quote?

Imagine if all Christians, as a normal part of their discipleship, were caught up in a web of regular Bible reading - not only digging into the Word privately, but reading it with their children before bed, with their spouse over breakfast, with a non-Christian colleague at work once a week over lunch, with a new Christian for follow-up once a fortnight for mutual encouragement, and with a mature Christian friend once a month for mutual encouragement.
It would be a chaotic web of personal relationships, prayer and Bible reading - more of a movement than a program - but at another level it would be profoundly simple and within reach of all.

It's an exciting thought!

(It's from from The Trellis and the Vine (page 57) by Tony Payne and Colin Marshall (Matthias Media) and quoted in One to One Bible Reading (page 12) by David Helm.)

New visitors at the blog - I don't really know how many people read this blog but there has been an interesting development in the stats that Blogger provides. It turns out that most of the Key to the Door readers are from Australia, which makes perfect sense. Second in line is the U.S. and I can account for that. Fourth is Chile and surprisingly, I can account for the Chileans too. (Hi guys!!) And fifth is the U.K. But in third place - and only since this year and it happened all of a sudden - is Russia. I'm not sure how you found me, but to those of you in Russia, a warm HELLO and WELCOME.

And life itself...

And of course there many other good and noteworthy things, some of which made it to the blog and others that didn't... seeing Stuart Townend perform and also singing lots of his songs in church, taking in three symphony performances, a holiday housesitting for friends who live much closer to the beach than we do while they went elsewhere on holiday, friends moving near us and then delivering meals to us at times when they knew we were stretched, agapanthus and rose success in the garden (although I understand now why you prune your roses in July and not in September if you want to enjoy your blooms for longer than two weeks before the hot weather sets in) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel...  All of which makes me wonder about reprising the status reports to catch glimpses of the small but special stuff along the way.  What do you think?  (And if I do, any fellow bloggers out there want to come along for the ride and make it a feature of our blogs month by month?)

And there were the struggles that come with any year too.  The nights of little sleep and much prayer.  The days of being stretched.   The sorrows, irritations and struggles.  Interestingly, instead of tacking "Happy New Year" onto the end of the "Merry Christmas" bit as I wrote my Christmas cards this year, I found myself saying, "And may you know all the through the year ahead how much God has already blessed us through His Son Jesus Christ."  We always hope the year ahead will be happy - but we know that that every year will have its ups and its downs.   But we have been blessed right out of our socks already before we even start because of Jesus.  No matter what happened, 2012 was a year of great blessing.   And happily, 2013 will be the same.


Sarah said...

I love reading those 'summary of the year gone by' posts, too! Looking forward reading The Key to the Door again in 2013. :)

Meredith said...

Thanks Sarah. Looking forward to watching your big year unfold at your blog too. You're in my prayers.

Deb said...

Hey, Meredith! You mentioned the Smooth Chopper. I was wondering, do you think it's the sort of thing primary-aged kids (younger end of the scale) could use to chop things with? Or would it (a) be too tricky for them to assemble without cutting themselves or (b) require too much strength for them to pull? Just looking for a way to get the kids more involved in cooking and wondering if this would work or whether it would be madness.

Meredith said...

I did mention the Smooth Chopper once or twice didn't I. My best friend in the kitchen. The bottom line with the Smooth Chopper is that the blades are EXTREMELY sharp. I let my ten-next-week year old assemble, load, use, unload and clean it under pretty close supervision and he is fine. I do everything except pull the chord for our seven year old. Both are able to get it going without needing me to get it started. So it is just how careful you think your kids are are with sharp blades.