Saturday, December 14, 2013
For to us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon his shoulder.
And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Dear Family and Friends,
Before I begin my annual Christmas letter, I first want to dedicate this Christmas letter to my beloved aunt, Anne Marie Delacono, who recently passed away on December 6, 2013. She truly was a special lady who lived her life solely for the joy of others and dedication to her family. She left a lasting legacy to those who knew her. She will always be a treasured part of my heart. I’m left richer having known her. Aunt Anne Marie, this one’s for you!
The year 2013 will be taking its final bow soon, and 2014 will take center stage. What a year it has been for our family! I was debating if I was going to write a Christmas letter this year but then realized that my letters each year have turned into memoirs for our family. I think there is something significant about sharing memories with our children, family and friends. It’s not until we take the time to reflect on the events, trials and victories of the past season that we can begin to see God faithfully at work in our lives and give Him the praise He deserves!
For me, Christmas is the time of year that should stir our hearts in memories, thanksgiving and love as we contemplate the true gift given to us 2000 years ago in the form of a baby swaddled in a manger. As I began to meditate on this scene and its true meaning in my own life, the Lord kept having me go back to the following words from the verse above: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. In this scripture we find the message of Christmas. Isaiah the prophet gave five awe inspiring names of God that were meant to awaken us, encourage us and challenge us with hope each year. How has the gift of Jesus changed your life this past year? I’m hoping as I share just a few highlights of how God revealed Himself to us this year, that it prompts you, too, to stir the memory of His gift of life to you!
How WONDERFUL our God is that He graced us with the safe return of our Soldier, Craig, from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. He gave our family the grace to make it a year without our hero. We are so grateful for God’s faithfulness and protection. Craig and I also just celebrated 11 years of marriage together and continue to grow strong in our marriage.
As our EVERLASTING FATHER who created all things, God allowed our first grandson, Hayden, to turn one. He is walking and running around, healthy and strong. Kayla is working full time as a bank teller in Illinois and continues to pursue her nursing degree. I’m proud of the obstacles she has been able to overcome and how God is molding her into a beautiful mother and woman.
As COUNSELOR, God has continued to lead us to homeschool Ana and Nate, who are now 5 and 6 years old. Nate played soccer for the first time this year and ruled the field with his happy go lucky self. His motivation to show up was for the ice cream after each game. Ana bikes the open roads with her dad weekly and continues to be creative in her own ways. She is a beauty and I marvel at how sweet spirited she is! She is very much a giver at heart. Justin is attending a small private Christian school and is doing well academically. He also played soccer this year and scored a number of goals. He will be headed to Africa this coming summer on a mission trip for the Watoto Orphans. We continue to enjoy his silly antics and sense of humor.
Our PRINCE OF PEACE, Jesus, was just that, as He gave us the peace and grace needed to be together with other family members throughout the year. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas in July in Savannah. Also, we headed to Ohio, Orlando and Tybee Island. There is nothing like having more than a dozen people together in one small space at any given time—that challenges the Jesus in you-lol! More so, He was our peace as we lost our sweet Aunt Anne Marie earlier this month. Our peace came from knowing that she was in the presence of her heavenly Father where there is no more pain and suffering—only perfect love! We look forward to seeing her again one day!
Since returning home, Craig, has been given the opportunity to be Executive Officer of the 2-3 General Support Aviation Battalion on Hunter Army Airfield, GA. He has also recently taken up a new hobby in biking. He likes to rock his BRIGHT yellow cycling jersey for the whole world to see (even the blind!) and wear his crazy helmet. I secretly think that he thinks he is training for the Olympics!-lol
I’m still serving at PWOC and was recently given the position of President due to our former President needing to step down. I’m trying to find balance with all of my duties in ministry and family, but God has been gracious. As far as writing goes, I was given another opportunity to have one of my stories published this year in a book called, God Meets Needs. I haven’t finished writing the bible study I’ve been desiring to write yet, but in due season! Lastly, Craig and I continue to teach bible study classes out of our home together. We just finished up a six-week study called the Art of Marriage. There is nothing more fulfilling then to see people’s lives changed through God’s Word!
As you can see, God has been MIGHTY GOD to us! He continues to lavish us with blessings, health, and favor. We gladly say goodbye to 2013 and all the old things that have passed away! We readily welcome in 2014 because we know God will be with us, faithfully revealing the depths of His love and meticulous plan for each of us.
In closing, we pray each of you will have a beautiful season ahead, filled with many reasons to rejoice and give thanks. We encourage you to forget what lies behind you and press onward towards the prize, which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus!
With all our love,
The Blow Family (Craig, Kimchi, Justin, Nate, Ana and gizmo)
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Behind my house sits a quiet lagoon that is full of wild life. I enjoy sitting on my back porch watching the Egrets fly over, frogs croaking and fish jumping. It’s become an outdoor sanctuary with God for me. I’ve missed this place since we moved and it is so good to have my tamien( Greek word meaning secret place-Matthew 6: 6) back again.
For the past couple of months, I’ve noticed a young boy who is about 12 years old fishing daily. In fact, he’s out there several times a day for long hours at a time. I’ve seen him catch a few fish and some turtles too. However, what strikes me the most about this young man is his tenacity to wait on his catch! He never seems to grow impatient or bored. He just sits day after, hour by hour and minute my minute waiting for something exciting to jump his line. Mostly, I’ve noticed he does it with such joy in his heart as if there was nothing more important to him.
I smile when I think about this because it reminds me of how I should be with God. Like this young man, I too, need to be just as tenacious in my waiting on the Lord to complete great things in my life. Just like this young man, I should know that without a shadow of a doubt something good is going to come in my waiting or if you will, jump on my line if I throw my prayer line out there!
Watching him these past weeks has really been a joy and a great reminder that waiting on God is sometimes challenging , but that the hope of Him meeting me in that place far outweighs anything my flesh could endure.
As I close, I’m reminded of Psalm 130:
Waiting For the LORD Brings Redemption
1Out of the depths have I cried unto you, O LORD.
2Lord, hear my voice: let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.
5I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in his word do I hope.
6My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is abundant redemption.
8And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
What is it that you are waiting on God for today? Finances? A renewed marriage or relationship? Healing or a new promotion? Do you find yourself patiently and joyfully anticipating His answer to your need or are you weary in your wait? I pray that your wait is one of great anticipation as Hope does not disappoint. Wait on Him today with a newness that makes you persevere to things you never dreamed of. Hope compels us to persevere for the things of God-- He’s SO worth the wait!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Unless, you're a military wife, it's hard to explain the feelings that stir inside of you before a deployment. It doesn't matter how many deployments you've been through, it still tugs at your heart as if it was the first time! For me the hardest part of the deployment are the weeks just before my soldier leaves. There is this anxious anticipation building. I begin to ask God to prepare my heart and mind for the dreaded goodbye. Without realizing it, I begin a countdown in my head and heart to the precious days we have left together as a family. Ask any military spouse and I can guarantee you they do the same thing.
As I write this, my husband is preparing a message to the kids that he will later record for them inside their deployments bears that we bought them at Build a Bear store today. What's more comforting than hearing their father's voice to help comfort them when they need that extra love and encouragement?
The truth is, even as an adult, I'm not that much different I'm one of those military wives who sleeps with her hubby's t-shirt after he leaves just so that I can smell his scent and feel a little closer to him. Silly, huh? Judge me if you want, but until you've faced a long deployment, you don't realize the loneliness and vulnerability that you feel at times. Anything helps, even a smelly old t-shirt!-lol...However, I've learned to lean on something more secure than Hanes T-shirts these days. I have God as my husband while my soldier is away.
In the end, I'm no different than my sweet precious children. I too, need that comfort of hearing daddy's voice telling me he loves me and that everything will be okay. Thankfully, I have a supportive and loving earthly dad who does that but I'm even more grateful that my Father in heaven is the one who foresees what I need even before I ask and brings me that peace and comfort in abundance.
I may not have a bear to squeeze and listen to, but I have a God who I can call on and He will speak His truth's right into the depths of my heart that will sustain me this year! Even now, I can smile knowing full well that "Daddy" is there for me and my kiddos. After all His word promises to be close to the broken hearted and sometimes during a deployment your heart does break as you miss your loved one and your family is split apart for a time. I can honestly say that deployments are what you make of them. I won't like, they are not easy but they can be the best year if you choose to allow it to be because you and your family grow in ways you never dreamed possible because God is in the midst of it all. In a way, He truly is that squeezable teddy bear that can instantly bring us comfort!
To those of you facing a deployment or are currently in one now, know that you are not alone. You have many sisters across the globe in your position. Be strong and courageous. I pray that your Heavenly Father will speak a comforting word to you today as you serve and sacrifice your spouses for this nation's freedom. Remember that your making a difference as you spend this year raising your family alone. God sees the sacrifice and He will bless you for it!:D
Be brave fearless warriors--love you all!:D
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I just wanted to take the time to thank you all for supporting me with my writing. However, I am feeling a shift in my spirit and feel like I need to lay it down for a season...I don't know what the Lord wants to do with me, but I do know that I am to wait before Him and listen patiently..:)
Be blessed and go forth in Victory:)
Be blessed and go forth in Victory:)
Monday, April 25, 2011
Are You Dead or Alive?
This past weekend we celebrated Easter, or what I like to call Resurrection Day. For me, it is an exciting time spiritually because it is a reminder of what Jesus did for us on the cross. It also gives me an opportunity to reflect on my walk with God and what areas I still need to work on. In a way, I take the death of Jesus as a symbolic gesture of what sin, old habits,unforgiveness, thoughts or past mistakes that I too would like to put to death for the new season to come. The fact that Jesus was able to overcome physical death allows me to have hope that I too can overcome my physical challenges daily when I choose Him to help me.
In Deuteronomy 30:11 it says, “Now what I have commanded you is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” When I read this scripture it helps me to know that God never asks us to do anything we can’t do without His help. We all can use some improvement in areas of our life that may tempt us to veer away from God at times. It may not be habitual sin, but rather small choices that can hinder us from having complete victory daily. For example, maybe you spend too much time watching tv, rather than being more productive with your time. I’ve been guilty myself of watching not so life giving shows allowing it to fill my mind with junk and discouragement. Maybe food, shopping or Facebook are issues that keep hindering you in ways from doing what God needs you to do. Facebook is a huge distracter these days for a lot of people, including myself if I don’t keep myself accountable. In other words, we have to make sure we keep ourselves balanced and aligned with God’s will for our lives. Too much of anything can be harmful. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.
Romans 12:1 says” Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice-holy and pleasing to God.” What areas in your life do you need to be put to death so that God can be glorified more? What areas can you sacrifice to God so that it can become pleasing to Him this season: your marriage, finances,broken relationships, thoughts, emotions, health, job, your past, or any habitual sin? Whatever it is, remember that the Lord’s hand is never too short to reach in and help you (Numbers 11:23) When Jesus resurrected, so did we—as new creations in Him! So are you willing to out your flesh to death so you can be made alive today in Christ? Thank you, God, for your promises to help us become new daily. Give us the confidence we need to be victorious on this Monday as we begin our week in you, celebrating that our Redeemer lives!