Dearest Blog,

Oh My Dear Blog,

Please accept my apologies! I could never find widgets as fair as yours elsewhere. And even if there are, I truly only have eyes for your domain. It’s so good to be typing again…so much has occurred since I last wrote. So much is on this lil’ heart and mind. Things lay ahead. And frankly, there are just some stinkin’ funny things I want to share. For instance, I took a splendid run outdoors in 10 degree weather on Saturday. My face mask on, snow ski gloves fitted, and hiking socks shoved over my cool spandex running tights, I looked like a HOT MESS. But I had to run for training purposes, and indoors was NOT an option (the whole gerbil on a wheel thing had about done me in). I headed out my front door, immediately feeling the cold seep through every layer, even on my face mask. The bitter cold stung my throat and immediately I could feel ice crystallizing as perspiration developed on the face mask. It. Was. COLD. (Thank you Chicago). As I’m running down the sidewalk, at the precise moment I am passing the front of an apartment building, a gentleman walks out. He is heading towards me, but clearly looking in the other direction. It was as though he was a car pulling-out from a side street into traffic. He certainly looked to his left as he pulled out, but didn’t look to what traffic was coming his way. By the time I saw him and he saw  me, it was too late. I tried to maneuver around him and barely made it, except for a swinging fist of his that accidentally PUNCHED me right in the stomach. I keeled over as I limped past him….still running. Yep. On my return home, I was coming across the intersection called, “Western Ave” and saw the blinking hand across the way. A few feet before the intersection I made a decision to gun-it and go-for-it. Little did I know that a car traveling in a similar direction as me thought the same thing…only he was turning on the street I would be crossing. I gunned it and as I’m now pounding the cross-walk I faintly see a car in my peripheral reeling and cutting right in front of me. I could see the passenger’s face closely and she tucked her knees to her chest, put her hands to her face and SCREAMED when she saw me…obviously, the driver didn’t. Luckily, no ice or snow were on the ground, so I was able to stop my momentum by putting out my hands on the trunk area of the car, slide around…..and kept running. Ummm, so no more running, what do you say Blog??

Besides the crazy, life has been good! Since I last wrote to you, I told you I was going home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Both were such WONDERFUL times! At Grandma’s house in New York, 12 of us packed into a tiny room with plates on our laps and a bunch of laughter filling the air. It was wonderful! Here are some photos of the fam…

Cousin Lauren and Katie; Aunt Madeline and Uncle Tony...such a blast to be with them 🙂

Great Grandma with my sweet niece, Rosemary. I adore this photo!

Papa and I

Then I met up with my friends, Jenn (no mistake, Jenn spells her name with 2 N’s, not one ; )  I just found this out a month ago and I’ve know her for about 5 years!) and PIA-PIA:

Palabra!

Jenn took me around the New York City for some great shots. This is truly one of my faves...haha!

Beautiful sunset

Crazy Cuban restaurant with Pia and Jennnn. So awesome to be with friends in other states!!

These pictures don’t do Thanksgiving justice, but wanted to share some. Now onto Christmas in the COLD Atlanta!!

We sure did have a White Christmas in Georgia! I heard it was the first one in 100 years for some parts of Ga. This is my home I grew up in 😉 I miss trees!

We went to Chris and Katie’s for Christmas Eve dinner. I introduced Rosemary to baby Jesus…I think she likes Him…

Rosemary looking upon baby Jesus…
Rosemary getting acquainted with baby Jesus…
Rosemary tasting and seeing that Jesus is good ; )
Katie helping Rosemary open her Christmas gift from Grandpa…
…her excitement when seeing the stuffed lamb…
…and giving kisses to Lamby!!

My time at home was unique and special in many ways. I had such a beautiful and restful time with my dad. We talked a lot over coffee and egg nog splurges, and it was a time I will treasure in my heart. I also took time to go through my room and dug into all my old  journals and pictures. I can’t explain it, but it was all very nostalgic and meaningful. I felt like the Lord showed me, in so many ways, how much He has done in and around me…wild and beautiful~

I was also just soooo blessed to spend time with a few friends while I was home:

My dear friend Erin West came over for dessert Christmas Day with her hubby Jack and her sweetie pie, Emery. It was SO wonderful spending time with her, laughing as usual : )

Christmas time would not be the same without my girls…

Our "Buddy Picture" pose. Love these girls, Robyn and Katie

Overall, my time during Christmas was wonderful. In between time with friends and family, there were some challenges – faith challenges, that were all together necessary and beneficial. I believe God may have had me go to Georgia just to be challenged in these certain ways. As I stepped out of my house, the one that I grew up in for 21 years of my life, and took a flight back to Chicago, I realized that at the end of the day, at the end of another year and at the end of this season we call “life”, all that really matters is Jesus. Who do I say He is each morning when I wake up? How do I see life each day through the reality of His desire for me and His passionate pursuit of His Father’s glory on earth? I came to another crossroad and realized I cannot let go of this unseen Love. I’ve honestly come too far and seen too much to let go — in the little and big. He has ravaged my heart in ways beyond what mere words could try and convey. I wish so much that I could write it, but Lord willing, I hope to live it.

SO dearest blog, I’ve been grateful for 2010 — grateful for His mercies that have broken through the clouds of my finite understanding. Thankful for change and an Unchanging God through it all. Thankful that His promises are true. Thankful that oppositions are divinely orchestrated opportunities to show us who He really is and not what we’ve necessarily falsely believed of Him. Thankful that He restores and rebuilds through the Word and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thankful for His direction regarding Tanzania and this juncture of life. Thankful that even when I don’t know and come to the end of myself, I can fully lean on my Beloved and rest.

Thanks for letting me share (and correct all the blunders already!).

Your Pal,

Shelly

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4 thoughts on “Dearest Blog,

  1. Shelley, I thought of you as I WALKED in the snow today … before even reading this…. thought how you would be running and avoiding traffic as I kept having to get off the road to avoid cars … but never dreamed your life was seriously in danger and I will be praying now a Psalm 91 prayer for you safety running, walking and every area of your life. I know God is going to make 2011 a wonderful year full of new surprises in Him! Bless you!

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