Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sorry I'm Late

Sorry for the late posting on this. I'm in beautiful sunny California. What a stark contrast. I left home in -6 degree weather and snow, and arrived to 70 degrees and sunshine. And there are oranges on the trees. No matter how many times I see them, it just looks amazing unreal to me. My friend picked me up from John Wayne Airport and as we drove down the street I spotted my first orange tree.

"Look! There are oranges on that tree!"

Having lived all of my life in Kansas or Montana (and two lost years as a child in Dallas, Texas) I just love seeing orange trees. Next to the Jacaranda trees they have (trees that are purple flowered instead of full of green leaves) I find oranges trees to be the most fascinating.

Jacaranda Tree

Add to this is the gorgeous ocean. We ate lunch at a restaurant in Laguna Beach and watched the sunset. There was gorgeous flowers, hummingbirds, folks surfing and the wonderful seafood. It was an incredible moment. So peaceful.

Again, I thought of the contrast. Winter at home. Spring/Summer here. I'm wearing flipflops here, but will don my boots tomorrow.

Such an amazing time and I wish I could share it with you all - hey, I guess I just did. I hope you feel a little warmer. :D

Now I think I'll go eat an orange.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Real Book!

Rejoice with me, I have a "real book!" Whenever I start a new project it never feels like I've got an honest-to-goodness book until I have 100 pages written. Now that I have accomplished that much, I feel definitely energized. This is the second book in what will be a three book series set in Sitka, Alaska, and I'm having such fun. The setting is one of my favorite--the characters are coming to life, and the history of the place is so vivid and full of intrigue.

It seems like other projects are this way as well. Sometimes there is just a mark--a point of accomplishment where we can look at something we're working on realize the potential. We can imagine the end result.

I look at my grandchildren and imagine the people they are to become. I look at winter around me and imagine the glory of summer. I think of the problems in this world, and know incredible hope of what is to come when Jesus returns.

There is great anticipation in the beginning of a thing, and wondrous satisfaction in the completion of the same, but sometimes we need to recognize that point of accomplishment in the middle and take joy in where it can take us.

I love being an author on this journey, and I love that I can share it with you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just A Note

The long and the short of things in my world is that I'm swamped this week and there just doesn't seem to be enough time for everything. Therefore, my blog today is just a brief note.

I want to encourage you to focus on the blessings. There are so many problems going on all around us, but just remember that none of this has taken God by surprise.

Jesus said in John 16:33 that in this world we would have trouble, but to take heart because He's overcome the world. Jesus doesn't want us to focus on the first part - the troubles. He throws that out there almost like a casual reference. The heart of this verse is the last part. We can take heart - be encouraged - dare I say, be content? He's overcome, and because we are His and He is in us - we have overcome.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that we really have that victory. But we do. We have overcome in Him. We can take heart!

Friday, January 9, 2009

A New Year Thank You

First, I wanted to let you know that Rainy (my granddaughter) is doing much better. She's going to have her 23rd brain-related surgery to reimplant a shunt in her head. Hopefully if all goes well she will go home next week. Here's a pre-sugery photo. She and I thank you for all the prayers. Keep them coming, please.

Second - this time of year always puts me in the mind of reflection. The first ten days of January not only hold New Year's, but my birthday (50 years) and my wedding anniversary (29 years). It's been the best of times--it's the worst of times. Hmmm, that would be good in a book. :)

I'm still the kind of person that wants to put the past to rest and press on towards the goal, but I always want to appreciate what I have. This year I'm reflecting on all the wonderful people in my life. My family - husband Jim, kids Jen, Julie (and Geoff her husband), and Erik, my grandchildren Rainy, Fox and Max. My mom, my mother-in-law. My aunts and uncles, cousins and so forth. Then there are my dear friends who have walked so many valleys and mountain tops with me. There are work associates who have become dear to me--almost like family and definitely friends. There's my church family, and the list goes on and on.

I'm thankful for all the people in my life. Some I barely know and only hear about from time to time, but others are like an extended part of my heart. We have loved each other--cared for one another--bore each other's burdens and cried in each other's arms. We have laughed together and lauded each other for our accomplishments, and we have hurt together--and sometimes hurt each other.

But through it all, I reflect on the purpose of each person in my life--the reason God put you here--the reason God put me here. There have been so many lessons learned and so many lessons that will no doubt come down the road. You are precious to me for so many more reasons than I can write on this blog, and I cherish that we could walk through life together.

In the words of Philippians 1:3 - I thank my God upon my every remembrance of you.

Thank you for being a part of my life.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy 2009

I'm sure by now you've all made your New Year's Resolutions to lose weight, read more, exercise more, spend less, watch less television, and read the Bible from cover to cover in a year.

By next week half that list will be forgotten or delayed and by the end of the month...well...let's just say you'll probably be in the same boat the rest of the country. New Year's Resolutions? What are those?

I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions, but the one thing I have tried to do is remind myself each year at this time to analyze the past year and put it to rest. Kind of like Paul talking about putting the past behind him and pressing on toward the goal. For me the goal is falling more passionately in love with Jesus.

When I stop and think about 2008, I try to zero in on whether I lived up to that goal of passion and love in the Lord. Did I extend encouragement to the weary and heartbroken? Did I practice tolerance and love without compromising God's Word? Did I show respect for others even when I felt they didn't deserve respect?

I usually come up short in my accounting, but then God's grace kicks in and I'm reminded that He knows our shortcomings and inabilities. He knows how helpless we are without Him. He reminds me gently that He's never called me to do anything on my own, but has always promised to be there with me--helping me--loving me--guiding me. With that in mind, I put aside 2008 and all of its woes and problems. Like a well-used blackboard, I'm washing away all the markings and problems that needed resolution in 2008, and I'm starting fresh.

2009 looks like it will be a grand and glorious time. It promises the hope of starting fresh--rebirth. I wish you the best for this new year, and I thank you for being a part of my life.

Tracie Peterson
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