And just like that 2017 is coming to an end. So many wonderful memories were made this year. It’s amazing how much everyone has changed in one year, just look at our 2016 pictures.
Every year, my husband goes on a mission trip around the holidays. He usually leaves right before Christmas or right after and doesn’t come home until the second week of January. We have not celebrated the New Years together for about 8 years now. That’s hard on our children and me. I am super excited though, this year we are going on a mission trip together! We will be going with our youth group to Mexico. What a blessing! I am really looking forward to seeing what God is going to teach each and every one of us on a personal level (and cannot wait to share with the rest of you). However, I have so many mixed emotions. One part of me is super nervous because we are leaving our kiddos behind. The other part, so excited that we will be serving together. Our kiddos will be staying with my family and they are all really looking forward to all the fun things their aunt and cousins have planned for them to do together. Say a prayer for us if we come to mind – we’d really appreciate it!
Each year I try to do something out of my comfort zone for spiritual growth. Sometimes it’s focused more on prayer/fasting. Other times, I’ve done really intensive Bible studies. I’ve done Bible in a year in English (It was so so hard, I’ve read the Russian Bible all my life. I wanted to give up like 10 times and go back to Russian. I got through and am so happy I did. Now I have transitioned to English Bible completely so I can be relatable to those around me.). I’ve also done Bible memorization, I would write out Bible verses and tape them all over my house so I can memorize Scripture. You get the point.
I really love journaling when I am reading my Bible and I got inspired for a new challenge this year as I was taking notes. A PRAYER journal. A serious prayer journal where you write out your prayer requests so you don’t forget them. Where you go out of your way to think of prayer requests to add to the prayers build over the year. Where you make time each week for quiet time with God and bring these prayer requests to Him. I am so excited for this new challenge. I purchased a cute journal (purchasing journals is a hobby of mine – yes, that is such a thing). I divided my journal into four sections.
- SELF- things I need the Holy Spirit to help me overcome. A place where I am raw and expose my shortcoming and seek God in helping me change. Change is scary and sometimes so hard. Continued prayer and me admitting I need help are so beneficial. Slowly but surely.
- FAMILY- This will be the most important my husband and children. I printed out my list for my children and added it there (see this POST). Under family, I’d do my immediate family, and their loved ones and the different situations they are going through.
- CHURCH- Our local church. The different members that the Holy Spirit puts on our heart to pray for and bless. And the church worldwide. Prayer for the persecuted churches around the world. For the families torn apart because a member would not deny Christ and was persecuted for their faith.
- OTHER- Everything else in between.
I am challenging and encouraging you to join me. To share in our comments that you will do this as well and for us to come back to this post and share in our journey throughout the year. (Thinking of making a closed FB group so we can share things, what do you say?)
Lastly, in the summer of 2018, Lord willing, we hope to take an RV with our children on a trip to visit the West Coast (we live in Ohio). If you have any suggestions of neat places for us to visit along the way, I’d SOOO appreciate the feedback. We love to travel, so while the kiddos are still at the age where mom and dad are cool to travel with, we want to use this opportunity, haha! We hope to visit some of our sister churches along the way and meet some of you! It’s going to be a great trip.
Enjoy some of these pictures from our end of year photo shoot. Thanks to my sisters Alla and Jess and my niece, Victoria for the beautiful pictures.
Finally, just wanted to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts (all seven of us). I am so blessed to do what I do. It’s a dream job for me. Thank you for sharing our videos on Facebooks, for Pinning our recipes and my favorite for commenting. I LOVE comments. Your comments and feedback inspired me to continue doing what I do. I feel like I connect with so many of you and it’s like this online family and I’m not just talking to a wall, ha!
Wishing you and your loved ones MANY blessings in the Upcoming 2018 YEAR!
Timur, Valentina, Benjamin, Joseph, Elizabeth, Nathaniel and Abigail