Tuesday, 4 December 2012

This Past Year

I sit back on the couch, a steaming cup of joe in hand, reflecting on the past year. I didn’t know you could grow so much in just one year. It doesn’t seem to be very long, it’s gone by so fast, but on the other hand, I packed in a lot of stuff into my year. It seems the older I get, the busier I am. Isn’t there a part of us that longs for the quiet life, in the country, away from society, waking up in the morning to the sound of birds, cows in the pasture, and a day ahead of you, stress free, doing farm chores and garden work. Sit on your front porch rocking chair, coffee in hand, and take in the beauty. Don’t we all want that at some point? Don’t we all long for the easy life, one of prosperity, relative wealth, and relaxation. But that’s not what the christian life is, necessarily. God calls us to a life of hardship, take up our cross and follow him, go through pain, suffering and trials. The Christian life is not an easy one, it is one that will involve sacrifice, suffering and loss. For through these things you will experience and grow closer to God than you could have ever done living the good life. True, some of us will get an easier life, enjoying more of God’s material blessings, while others will live and die in poverty. I am no man’s judge, I will not say that one man is better than another, who knows what calling God has called you to, it is not for me to decide. We are to enjoy God’s blessings, not cast them away, they are a taste of heaven. The quiet life I described to you? That is a taste of heaven. The wonderful material blessings you receive? Those are a taste of heaven. The sweet fellowship with the saints? That is a taste of heaven. It is hard to see God’s plan for us, this side of heaven. We don’t know exactly what He’s doing with us. But He is a good God, and a righteous God. One who will love His children, and care for them, hold our hand when we walk through storms and valleys. ‘And if our God is with us, then who can stand against us?’ to quote a song that comes to mind. So I look back over the year, and see God working in me through everything, bringing me closer to Him, showing me more of Him, and showing me more of myself.

January, twenty twelve. The most prominent thing that comes to mind when I think back on that month was Musical Theater rehearsals. We had lots of those, and I have many fond memories of it. I was a senior, and it was my last semester. 

February. Our Musical Theater production happened the second week of February, and when it was done and over, I was sad. It was my last time, and first time to do Musical Theater; although I’ve done Drama and Improv classes and such since I was 10. 

March. The weather was quite mild, as it had been all winter. I was planning for a trip to Ireland with two of my siblings, my cousin, a friend, and my Uncle. The trip began the third week of March, flying over into Dublin. I had an amazing time, getting know everyone on the trip just a little bit better, cooking, sight seeing, playing games, watching films, shopping, drinking in pubs. It was an awesome trip, the second time I’d been out of the USA. It ended the second week of April.

April came in mild, but we ended up getting a late frost, which damaged about 90% of North Carolina apple production, meaning prices were up for the year. April was a fun month, I did a small garden, and work at the Stone Table Restaurant was quite fun.

May came, a busy month for us. I was trying to finish up school, and we had our Choir Concert in May. My last concert, I was quite sad when it was over. I went to Covenant College and saw my oldest brother graduate. I had a music night at the Stone Table, raising money for our Peru Mission Trip, and coincidentally marked the last day for the Stone Table Restaurant. It was sad, not seeing Matthew Sganga (restaurant owner and chef) every day, making jokes, learning more tips in the kitchen, break dancing, you’d be hard pressed to ask for a better boss!

June. The first week of June I went to the Biblical Worldview Student Conference. My third year going. My brother Josiah came back from a year over seas studying at Lampeter in Wales, bringing a friend. It was a great reunion. The end of June was our Peru Trip. It was wonderful seeing God work through us their, not only seeing change in them, but change in us. You have to go on a Mission Trip with the mindset of you being changed as much or more than the people you’re ministering to.

July. When we weren’t playing games day and night we were enjoying the summer air. July 7 was my graduation and my going away party. It was great to have my Matthew Sganga give me a charge, and have so much fun with all my friends. A week later I drove to Maryland to begin an adventure, farm life. Life at Rocklands Farm was new, and the first week was learning how to do chores, where everything was, how to do things, all fun, not missing my family much. After one week my family picked me up and we spent a week of vacation in Maine, with my moms family, we had an amazing time with cousins! 

August. I came back and spent another three weeks working, before coming back for one more week of vacation in GA with my other cousins. By about week 5-6 I was quite homesick. Mostly it was knowing that my brother was home for the summer, and that he would leave to go back to Wales before I got back. My family is everything to me, growing up in a family of nine kids, someone is always doing something at some point. I’ve come to enjoy that, crave that. It is so much fun to be able to play almost any game almost any time because you always have someone to play it with. Cooking is fun because it is for 11 people. At the farm it was very different. I had my own room in the barn where I slept, but I don’t like being alone, not because I’m scared, I just prefer to be living with other people, so I much preferred with any time I had to hang out at the house where Joel and Megan hung out and Greg and Anna lived. I learned what it is like to live away from your family, being the first time in my life I’d been away for more than a couple weeks. I drew closer to God through my time being away. I learned a lot about myself, who I was. What I am without my family, you learn to find another side to you, or else to step forward and continue who you are. 

September. I still had 5 weeks to go, though I managed a weekend trip down to my family the weekend before my brother left for Wales. It was packed with fun and no sleep, and a memory I cherish. I came back and had renewed vigour, especially with the weather turning cooler. It’s hard to do anything outside when it’s upper 90Fs. At the end of September my cousin came up to the farm and was a great asset to the farm as well as me. I was much more motivated to work, and we had many good talks and lots of time together. 
October. I finished my time at the farm, and at the end, I was sad to leave. The farm had finally become another home to me, the garden, the animals, the daily chores of milking the goats and feeding chickens, the kitchen, the couch. But I was glad to be back as well, and managed to squeeze in some plants before too late in my own garden.

November. I spent my time at home doing a lot of cooking and cleaning, and some chaperoning of my younger siblings. I worked with my dad and got a coffee CSA going, further moving sales in my coffee business. We had an amazing Thanksgiving with family in GA. A true taste of heaven. I also got the lead male role in the Musical Theater production. The lead was taken out and I was the only choice for the director. So now I am in Little Women. I am having an absolute blast, learning lines, songs, and dancing. It still amazes me that I would get the lead male role, still hard to fathom some times. We serve an awesome God! Our production will be in February again.

December. Well, I can’t tell you what has happened, but I can tell you my plans. Josiah comes back for Christmas break on the 11th, and will be here till the 2nd of January. Seth, my cousin and maybe some of his siblings will fly here as well, on the 14th of December for a few days. It will be a blast, late nights, games, talks, we will make some great memories! Christmas will be just our family, somewhat quiet. I’ll do a turkey, one that I got from the farm I worked at, which will be fun. We will also see Les Mis, a film we are all waiting to see with great anticipation!

I’m trying not to think too far in the future, because I get sad or depressed. I’m trying to take one step at a time. I’ve grown so much closer to God in the past year, it is amazing. I’m trying to enjoy the moment you’re in, because they don’t last forever. I know I serve a God who will do exactly what is best for me, so I’m trusting Him, though, I still find it hard at time to be fully convinced of His goodness. I’m not perfect, but I try to be honest, with myself, and God. I am trying to read more books, and write more too. I’ve started my list of 1000 gifts, things I’m thankful for. I started yesterday and I’m up to 74. I started reading A Praying Life, and find it so good. I am planning to read more of C.S. Lewis and some John Piper, as well as my tradition of LotR at Christmas time. When all is said and done, it’s time to keep on keeping on, a new year comes our way.

English Vintner

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