Go, Go Go!

Lottie has a new favorite thing. It's called "Baby Signing Time" and it's a collection of videos on YouTube that teach babies sign language to catchy songs. We started showing her the videos at about 7 months but she truly couldn't have cared less about them until she was about 13 months. We were hoping that on our long flight to/from Hawaii she would magically begin to be obsessed with them and want to watch them for hours, but no. She waited until about a month after we returned to decide she was obsessed with Baby Signing Time.

About 3 weeks ago, she really started picking up on some of the words and signs from the videos (much to my relief. up until that point I was concerned she was just watching them for entertainment and not learning anything!). She started saying "Baby" and going to sit in front of the TV when she wanted to watch the show, and then she started saying "GO!" and doing the sign she had learned for it. Lots of running around the living room yelling "Go! Go!" ensued (of course it stopped when I pulled out my camera, or I would show you a video. 

Funny how the Lord works. That same week, He told us to "Go!" as well.

A couple months ago, we had a family call us asking to see our house. We didn't have it listed for sale anywhere besides a "Make Me Move" on Zillow. We had assumed after the first showing that it wasn't going to happen, which we were fine with. But much to our surprise, that same family called us back and wanted to make us an offer on our house. We prayed, had an inspection, and...signed a contract to sell our house, all within about 72 hours!

We knew at that point we had to get serious about finding a new house if we didn't want to be homeless, so we spent every spare minute searching and looking at houses. We drove ourselves crazy because we are both picky about what we want in a house, and we didn't want to just settle on something because we needed to make a decision. We looked and looked and mostly crossed possibilities off our list for one reason or another. Too big, too small, not enough yard, felt like a fishbowl, too old, still under construction...you get me. 

Then we decided to go look at one that we had otherwise dismissed for various reasons, but we kept coming back to it. We went and...you know that feeling you get when it's the right thing, even though there is no way you know how it will work out? Yeah. It was that.

So we prayed some more and trusted God to work it out if it was His plan....and He did! He even so perfectly timed it so we only have to move once! So in April, the Shanks family is saying goodbye to our first house and to Pleasant Hill and hello to a new house with chickens! (Ha!) We feel truly blessed and totally confident in God's plan since He literally arranged it all for us! So wish us luck as we declutter and pack up our entire house with a toddler in tow the next month! 

Hope for 2017

I love a brand new year. I love hearing about everyone's words and goals for the year. I feel like going around high-fiving everyone I see the week between Christmas and New Years, because we all survived the holidays and now we're all filled with resolve to improve and change.

2016 was a lot of year for a year, am I right? I've gotten some good laughs at the memes being shared on Facebook about how glad everyone is to see 2016 go. It seems like everyone this year, more than ever, is ready for the fresh start of a new year. 

I've been thinking a lot about the changes I want to make for 2017. I have lots of things I want to accomplish, and I admittedly have grand visions dancing in my head of all the potential growth and awesomeness that could happen if all those things actually happen. I keep adding to my mental list of things I want to be more disciplined in doing next year - things like actually wearing my FitBit daily, journaling more often, actually writing appointments down in my planner, and giving the dog her heartworm medicine - because hey, what's one more thing to start doing consistently since I'm gonna be so awesome at it this year?

And it hit me a few minutes ago (during a very hot shower with eucalyptus oil smeared all over the shower walls - don't knock it til you've tried it) that all these grandiose ideas I have of who I am going to suddenly be on January 1, 2017 - disciplined, organized, prepared, have-my-stuff-together- are somewhat misplaced desires. I was reminded of these verses:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

The truth is that when I wake up tomorrow on January 1, 2017, I am going to wearing the same skin and have the same struggles I have today. The first day of the new year is the exact same length as every other day, and I won't suddenly have extra super powers to go and perfectly conquer everything on my goal sheet as soon as I wake up. I won't get to enjoy perfection until I go to be with Jesus and enjoy Him forever in Heaven. And I realized that while my desires to be more organized (so my home and business run better) and add more discipline to my routine (so I can fuel and care for my body better) are great - the hope of perfectly achieving those things is really just a longing to be clothed in my heavenly dwelling with Him. Perfected, without struggle or burden. 

The Scriptures in 2 Corinthians explain so well that He is preparing us for the very time when our mortal life gets to be swallowed up by our heavenly one. When we get to cast off all the burden, hardship, disappointment that happens in this life in these broken bodies and go to be made perfect in Him forever.  Until then, we walk by faith, not by sight.

Don't get me wrong - I believe we are wise to set goals and to resolve to make better choices. I certainly need to. We are all a work in progress! Each day, our highest aim is to please Him, and recognize that we are completely dependent on the help of His Spirit to guide, lead, change, direct, encourage, and teach us.

"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 1 Corinthians 15:19

That is the hope of a new year!