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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Seasons (12/08/03)

TITLE: Christmas Newsletter 2003
By Sandra DeHoogh
12/15/03

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For this Writing Challenge, I can cut and paste straight from our family newsletter. Isn't it ironic that the theme was also "Seasons" ...or is it bigger than irony.?!

"Considering the 2003 newsletter is finished except for a blank section on the second page, it is apparent that writing this year has been a little more difficult for both myself and Ashley. I seem to be running into brain fog and have switched to autopilot in my activity; probably pregnancy related. Skipping this year’s edition was a seriously considered option although I was encouraged, inadvertently by my neighbour, to preserver.

Getting into it, I could probably summarise this year into a few words or seasons which may make this letter a lot easier on both author and reader; author because it’s a lot less I have to ‘brain stain’ over and a mountain off my to do list; and reader (that's you) because you don’t have to read through pages of “fluff”. And what were those seasons?? morning sickness (twice), renovation, “needs crisis” and menu refining. Well that's my year in a gumnut shell. Now it’s over to the children.

Not so fast huh?? Well maybe I better at least fulfil one of our motives for producing this ‘bigger than Ben Hur” annual sojourn which is to provide some material provoking thought in reflecting on the past year, assessing it’s fruit and goal setting for the coming year.

Each of these ‘blocks of life’ have all been particularly hard in their own way and each came right on top of each other like waves in a wild surf. I surfaced after each wave only to be dunked again by a bigger one becoming more exhausted each time. But as I sit here writing this, surrounded by the sounds of waves at Dunbogan Beach, I reflect on how much fun we have had riding those very waves on boogie boards and how much I actually love the surf. Could this metaphor dare to insinuate that I enjoy refining?? But how?? Why?? Am I deranged??

Maybe it is capsulated in 1 James (the message)”consider it a sheer gift, when tests and challenges come”; why” your faith is forced in the open and shows its true colours”; for what reason “so we aren't deficient in any way”.

So if we’re been challenged, and who isn’t especially around Christmas, lets all do a happy dance; consider it a gift, one a little harder to gift wrap and definitely nothing like the new blender or chocolates you were expecting to find under the tree but that’s one of the things I really love about God. Expect the unexpected with Him. And if your spouse or children think you are a challenge in your life, tell them no thanks necessary; it’s a pleasure being able to help them in their spiritual growth.

So this Christmas, I address you a little more humbly, hopefully a little more refined, but definitely more in awe of the One with whom this particular season is about, the One this man made tradition was intended to admire and revere. And hopefully, in all our seasons, refining or not, we will reflect who He is not because of our skill or effort, (for me, that was exhausted in the refining) but because increasingly, it is more of Him through us."


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