I wrote this almost two months ago, on January 3, 2010. I’m not sure why I never posted it. I guess I just got really busy with work and sort of forgot about it. But I think it’s worth posting now because it is somewhat prophetic, at least the last part. We definitely need your help! We feel like we’re under heavy attack from the enemy. Please pray as Lauren does that, “Satan will be binded from this house.”

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This is the first year I can remember entering in which I’m pleased with the direction of my life.  So rather than resolving to do things differently, I am asking myself questions like, “how can I keep the momentum going?” and, “how can I actually increase that momentum?”

Don’t get me wrong. I could stand to lose about 10-15 lbs and improve my physical health. I could definitely be more patient with Lana and the girls. I could certainly be a lot more disciplined in almost every area of my life. There are actually a lot of aspects of my life that I’d like to be different. However, from a big picture perspective, I’m pretty happy with where I’m heading and where we’re heading as a family.

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About a year and a half ago, Lana and I made a 10th anniversary weekend getaway to New York City. During that trip, we talked about where we were going in life. We agreed that we weren’t really heading in the same direction as each other and that this disconnect was straining our marriage. We talked about things we could do differently, things we could do to “get on the same page.” We made two decisions that weekend. First, orphans were going to play a big part in our future. Second, we were going to pursue a shared hobby, photography and videography.

To be honest, we haven’t made a lot of tangible progress with our first decision, probably because the decision wasn’t defined with enough clarity. We sponsor a couple of children through World Vision. We bought some backpacks and gave them to Mi Refugio, which passed them along to children in Guatemala. We have talked about traveling back to Guatemala to help at Mi Refugio and hope to do that someday soon. Beyond these things, though, we haven’t moved significantly in this area.

We do think we’ve made some progress related to our second decision. Lana and I have both enjoyed learning how to use our camera. The first time we took our camera off of full-auto was extremely intimidating. Yet it was well worth it! We still have a lot to learn but we feel like we are on our way and make a good team. And we are happy that our children will have a few decent pictures and videos to document their childhood.

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There are two more concrete decisions Lana and I are making this year that will hopefully keep our momentum going.

First, we are increasing our focus and effort to get rid of stuff — physical stuff. Our mantra is if it’s not useful, it has to go! Among other things, we feel like God is giving us this time with Carmen to prepare us for a different future. In many respects, we can’t make a lot of tangible progress right now. We can’t move to Guatemala right now. It’s just not happening. We can’t even go to Guatemala as a family to help at Mi Refugio. Our circumstances with Carmen demand that we stay pretty close to home. Well, really, our circumstance demand that we stay home, period. Yet we can make tangible progress in one key area. We can get rid of physical stuff that takes up our time and energy to maintain, stuff that will hold us back one day and keep us from “getting up and going where the spirit leads.” We began getting rid of stuff last year and will continue this effort this year. We want to be free of our stuff so that we will be freed from our stuff!

Second, we have made a family commitment to read the Bible together each day this year. I know, I know. This is something that we should have been doing already. We do read the Bible and pray as a family but not as consistently as we could or should (see comment about discipline above). This year will be different. 2010 will be the year we solidify our spiritual core, if you will.

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We need your help!

Please pray for our family. It seems as though each time we make a decision to step closer to God, we get a big dose of spiritual attacks from the enemy. Stress, arguments, selfishness, pride, impatience, restlessness. These are just a few of the things that have caused us to stumble. These are the things we must overcome to be more effective for Him.

Please continue encouraging us this year. We are hopeing for a really big, positive change soon (Edit: she’s here!). Yet we know this, too, will be stressful (Edit: can I get a witness???).

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