Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy (REALLY late) Birthday D!

I wanted to start a new tradition on my blog of posting a few pictures on the birthdays of family members; I started by telling my youngest nephew, P, happy birthday in November. However, I totally missed my niece, D's, birthday in early December. So, in an effort to follow through with this new blog-tradition, here are retroactive birthday wishes to my oldest niece, D.

D, I love your love for life. You are creative, artistic and curious. You never fail to amaze me as you create "stuff" out of nothing.

You can pout with the best of them, and despite your super sad eyes that make an occasional appearance, I love your competitive nature.

I can't wait to watch you continue growing and maturing into a beautiful, smart and talented young lady during 2010! Happy birthday, and I'm sorry the wishes are late on my blog:)

Monday, December 28, 2009

End of the Spear

I watched the movie "End of the Spear" this weekend and it was great! It's the story of American missionaries who were speared to death at the hands of Waodani tribesmen in Ecuador. I loved the story because it made me think how the message of Jesus can be shared across language and cultural barriers. It's a well-made Christian movie and it even involves some action! Here's the description from the DVD case:

Many years after his missionary father was speared to death at the hands of Waodani tribesmen, a young man returns to the Ecuadorian jungle to meet the native who murdered his father and learn the truth about his family's legacy. The result if a life-altering experience that brings him closer to the kin of his father's killer.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

A merriest Christmas to you and yours! I pray you had a blessed day celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas!

It is with great joy that I write you, and yes I mean each of you. I fondly think of each individual and family as I address envelopes (or write emails) or open the letters you already sent. God has richly blessed me with your friendship and it is with genuine love and thanksgiving for you that I send this Christmas letter.

My second year ended much better than the first; I worked really hard to establish boundaries during the year so that I could have some type of division between my professional life as an Ag teacher and my personal life. While I obviously do not have a famiy waiting on me at home, I knew it was not healthy (nor sustainable) to continue working the same number of hours as I did my first year. Hard as it was to leave a long "to do" list on my desk and papers ungraded many a night, I found myself making more time for communicating with family and friends and hobbies. I also found some time for stress relief in the way of good 'ol exercise:) My principal retired at the end of year two and with my new administration came a welcomed change of pace and management styles. My third year got off to a great start and I have thoroughly enjoyed my incoming class of freshmen Ag students, going strong at 84 students!! Teaching has gone smoother than ever but I continue to be a "student" of teaching. I have a feeling I will never stop learning about the art (and science) of teaching.

Another interesting and exciting highlight of 2009 was my younger sister's wedding in April! Anna and Bass officially became Mr. and Mrs. Aja on April 24 on the lawn at my parent's home. While I have been in wedding parties before, this one was especially fun to stand by as my sister prepared to embark on this new journey. The ceremony was beautiful, the weather was perfect and my family was so grateful for everyone who came to share in the special evening. Anna and Bass hosted the entire Groseta crew for Thanksgiving at their new home in Wellton (AZ); I was definitely impressed with our host's and look forward to our next holiday with them!

After preparing the lawn and house for the wedding, my mom and dad hosted several other events in the following weeks; they hosted a ranch tour and a group of teachers traveling around Arizona for the Summer Ag Institute. Mom continues to work hard to keep her quilt store successful; she did a long term promotion this past year giving out "quilt bucks" as a customer reward. The event ended with a live auction where they could buy all kinds of items, fabric included, using their quilt bucks and it was a huge success! Dad ended his term as president of National Cattlemen's in January but has continued his involvement on the local, state and national levels. Paul and Gretchen (my brother and sister-in-law) keep busy with their brood of my four nieces and nephews. Paul has been driving to the far reaches of Arizona completing appraisals and getting several ranch listings and in addition to the PTA, Gretchen has been working as the Executive Secretary for Yavapai CattleGrowers. As you can tell, life is never quiet around the Groseta Ranch Headquarters!

I can't end this letter without telling you about the new love of my life. No, no, no folks I do not mean a boyfriend, I mean a d-o-g! I got a little female Queensland Heeler pup the same week Anna got married. I named her Johnnie Reb and she is a perfect match for my personality...super energetic! I have had a lot of fun taking her through beginning training classes this fall and am preparing for an intermediate class this winter.

I cannot close my 2009 Christmas letter without praising God for his provision and generosity during 2009; I am continually in awe of the Lord we serve and the earth He created for us to enjoy. I pray 2010 brings continued health for your family and plenty of rain for your ranches.

Katy (and Johnnie Reb)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hot Mama!

After hiking the Elliott Ramada Trail at Papago Park in Scottsdale this past Saturday, a friend and I headed to Lulu's Cupcakes. We figured we deserved to ingest some extra calories after our grueling 2.7 mile hike on a paved walkway;) We each got a four-pack of delightfully decorated, oh-so scrumptious cupcakes. My four-packed included one lemon wedge (bought for my mom who I was going to see on Saturday night), one Eggnog cupcake with vanilla glaze, one Great Pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting and one Hot Mama. The Hot Mama cupcake, pictured below, is a chocolate cupcake made with Mexican chocolate and chili pepper. It was the perfect balance of chocolate and spiciness; the chocolate was subtle and the chili pepper just kind of warmed my mouth. Delightful. I would buy it again. Twice. In one day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Throne Room

I love watching movies that involve some type of king or queen from long ago. The gowns and jewels they wear are ornate and beautiful. Their conversation is formal, restrictive almost in its ability to help them connect with one another. And their throne rooms are exquisite. Surrounded by their court of subjects, the king and queen sit on magnificent thrones, their robes lay in expensive piles around their feet and their heads are adorned with heavy crowns.

While I love the culture depicted in scenes like the one above, I have no connection with it. The society that we live in today does not demand that I bow and kiss the ground as the President graces it. I have profound respect for our President and the position he holds, but I do not fear physical harm from him like some people did of their kings and rulers.

Cultures involving kings are different and this includes the culture of Christianity. After explaining why Christ followers should endure and not turn back, the author of Hebrews says "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16, emphasis mine) Have you ever thought about how grand a command this is?

If we think the throne rooms of medievel times are impressive, let's try describing God's throne room:
  • "Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder." Rev 4:5a
  • "And before the throne there was something like a sea of glass, like crystal..." Rev 4:6a
  • "...the voice of man angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands" (Rev 5:11)

God's throne room will forever trump any throne room that we have seen. He is the creator of the universe; his grandeur and glory are greater than we can even fathom. We will be dwarfed by the hugeness of everything contained in this throne room. He deserves this throne room as well as the adoration of men and angels.

As we think of this, again, think of how wonderful the command given in Hebrews 4:16 is. Draw near with confidence to the throne of grace. In His infinite wisdom and mercy, God gave us His son so that we might be able to draw near with CONFIDENCE to find MERCY and GRACE in our time of need. Wow. If imagining the throne room of God doesn't take your breath away, the opportunity we have in drawing near should.

I praise God for being able to approach His throne; I am thankful that Jesus has granted me this access. I ask for help in remembering the great cost of my access to God's throne room so that I might approach God with greater respect, admiration and thanksgiving. May it be the habit of my heart to come before God knowing I have been commanded to draw near with confidence in my time of need.