Chrissie Bader
So maybe I won't have some crazy deep reflection on the last year and what all of my intentions are for the upcoming year. It's just not in me like it usually is. I am profoundly grateful for so many blessings we received in 2015 and I feel big things on the horizon for 2016 but I just don't feel an abundance of words for all of it. It's more of a secret stirring in my spirit that I want to hang onto for a while longer.

Last year, I experienced blessing, achievement, disappointment, and failure in my business. I excelled in some areas and fell far short in others but believe I have learned necessary lessons for going forward. We took the bold step in faith to homeschool the kids and have been blessed in so many ways by that. Mike got a promotion at work right before Christmas that he worked hard for and we prayed diligently for. And our families came together to help us give the kids a super awesome swingset for Christmas, which has been a dream of mine for many years. So, you can see that 2015 was very, very good to us.

Kiki and Danny Gator going down the slide together. :)

I decided to start this year pretty much the same as last year, with the Miracle Morning (which if you haven't read yet, you absolutely must). So, yesterday and today, both, I woke up at 5:30 and came downstairs for peaceful and quiet prayer, reading, journaling, and of course, coffee. It is absolutely glorious to have that hour or two completely to myself (plus a couple snuggly kitties).

Miracle Morning Day 1

Kai and Koa love miracle mornings too. :)

This morning I was extra tired even though I got more sleep and I just didn't "feel" that same connection that I did yesterday in my devotion.

Miracle Morning Day 2

The sky was just starting to lighten when Mike left for work and I got up to make a second cup of coffee. I felt this pull to go outside. I can't really explain other than to say that I felt like God wanted me to go outside. Caleb woke up while I was waiting for my water to boil so I got him set up with some breakfast and a movie, got bundled up, grabbed my steamy cup of coffee and went outside just as the light was filling the sky; those moments of light before the sun has fully emerged from the horizon.

It was 28 degrees outside with frost everywhere but I felt absolutely amazing. The birds were chirping and a familiar smell in the air. I could see my breath and the steam floating off my coffee cup. I suddenly felt a great sense of peace that I haven't felt in a really long time. I absolutely love frosty mornings with hoodies and cups of hot coffee. I love birds and trees and campfires and sunrises.

You see, one of my big scary dreams in life for almost as long as I can remember, has been to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. It's my ongoing fantasy daydream. I read books, watch documentaries, search blogs, and basically absorb all I can about thru-hiking the AT. It was a seed planted in my spirit when I was probably 10 or 11 years old and my family had just moved to Georgia from Florida. We didn't have a lot of money growing up but gasoline back then was cheap, so on weekends Dad would take us up to the mountains in North Georgia and we would hike and explore.  One particular weekend hike, we ended up on a section of the AT and I asked my dad what it was. I was intrigued. I couldn't believe there was a footpath that went all the way to Maine! My curiosity was peaked and so my love for the trail was born.

As a teenager in our church youth group, we also took a couple camping trips up to the Nantahala River. And my love for camping, rafting, campfire coffee, and frosty mornings in the trees was birthed. Another youth group trip to the mountains of West Virginia one year enlarged my passion for the beautiful Eastern mountains and wide open spaces where your soul can meet God unhindered.

As I was remembering these things on my freezing porch this morning, just behind the trees, a soft orange glow began to rise up. It began to look like the trees were on fire. It was so beautiful that I quietly thanked God and praised him for urging me outside into the cold this morning. At that, I felt overwhelmingly loved, more so than ever before in my life. It was the most incredible feeling!

So, now that my dreams are imbued with fresh energy, I begin my day and my 2016! Happy New Year, everyone! May you find yourself loved and your dreams renewed this year!

Peace out!

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