...............The Hellwig Family

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Few Books for 2016

Every January, I choose an array of new books to read in the coming year.  Sometimes, I get through all of them, plus a couple dozen others.  Other years, I read only one or two from my list, plus several dozen others.  Last year, I only read one of the books on my list, but I went through so many others.  Many of these I outlined and took notes from, and several I have even used to apply to my life, to effect change.  A few were to provoke thought.  Some, were simply a good story.  There's a place for each of those.  Not every book has to be practically applicable in order to benefit.

Of course, the Book of books remains my top read every year.  And every year, it precipitates the greatest change!  Zephaniah, Matthew, Colossians, Ezekiel.... all leading me upward, to Him Who inhabits its pages.

My list for this year?

A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

Onward by Russell Moore

Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior

The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

Lit!  by Tony Reinke

Your God is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan

Heaven by Randy Alcorn

Paradise Lost by John Milton

The Pilgrims Regress by C. S. Lewis

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg


Through Many Dangers, The Story of John Newton  by Brian Edwards

A bit of this, and some of that.  I'm sure I'll be throwing in a book on the philosophy of teaching, and perhaps some historical fiction, plenty of  history and  more biography. And I still need to finish A Tale of Two Cities, which I started but didn't finish, along with a few others that suffered the same fate.

What are you reading in 2016?  What did you read in 2015?  What did you like, love, hate?  And why? What would you recommend?  What made you think?  Laugh?  Weep?
I'd love to hear from you.

An Athletic Saturday

by Lisa H.

What do a 10-mile trail race and a CrossFit Festivus Games competition have in common?

For the Hellwigs, they happened on the same day!


Elliot participated in a CrossFit Festivus Game challenge in October, spending the whole day at the gym.    He seemed to fly through Burpees... and lunges and sit-ups. 

Oliver, earlier that morning,  ran a 10-mile trail race:


Keep running!
Finished in great time!  Faster than expected!

A 10 mile race for one of us, and one who worked hard in the Festivus;
A day of athletics for two of us, with lots of cheering from the rest of us.
(Rhyme originally unintended... but I just HAD to finish it! )

Good work, Hellwig men!

To Every End There Is a Beginning

I've finally gotten used to writing '2015' on my checks and correspondences.  I'll be writing it still for a few more months, the '5' marked over hard with  a sloppy, unnatural '6.'

So I must ask this question: Does time seem to accelerate as we age, or are our thoughts and experiences so varied and full and rich that they use up more of the 24-hour day we are each allotted, so leaving us with far less empty space?

Benaiah taking his kite for a fly-by!
While this year was quite full, the next promises to continue at high speed.  And I'm not sure how to approach it in such a way that I would do better.  It is all in the approach, the mindset....
We all have giftings, talents, callings.  Do we use them for the right purpose?  Do we even know what they are?  Do we drift through days, reacting to things that present themselves to us, or do we direct ourselves to drive through the events and open doors God puts on our path?

My big brothers....
Drift or drive?  Is there a middle ground?  Is there a time to be still and simply be?  To listen and not to do?  To think and be quiet?  To marvel in the simple but profound Truth?

For me, that is the start of my day, but by the middle of the day, too often I find myself swept up in the bustle, with no time to linger, gaze and contemplate.  I do not savor as I ought.  And so, I forget or miss the sweet tidings of the fleeting minutes of the day.  I am blind to the blessings and benighted by the blur. 

more sibling fun
Words for this year include deliberation, intention, carefulness, mindfulness, savor, and wonder.

There is beauty in the dew drop as well as the thunderstorm, in the dandelion seed wafting in the breeze as well as in the hawk catching the updrafts, and in the shaft of dusty light slanting in at the window as well as  in the holiday fireworks display.

the faces!  Sheer delight!
May 2016 be a year of noticing all those little things, whose sum make up 99% of life... the big "impressive" events only a tiny fraction.

A very joy-filled New Year to you, friends and family.  Thank you for reading.  Thank you for walking with us.  Thank you for being a part of that 99%.  May we all discover the middle ground between the overwhelming drive and the uninspiring drift.  May 2016 be a year of knowing, not only our gifts and callings, but the Gift, and the One Who calls. 

May we each rest in Him, while we reflect and respond, pray and press on,  wonder and work. 

Blessed New Year from our family to you

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Deck the Halls... and the Living Room

It is hard to believe it is December already, especially as the weather outside is delightful - a lovely 70 degrees and sunny!

Liquid sunshine is pouring through our windows.... let it flow, let it flow, let it flow!
Gabrielle's matryoshka doll

Elliot's Flamingo
 A few of the ornaments on our tree.... these are mostly  personal ones belonging to particular individuals...

 But a couple were family gifts....

Some have great sentimental value as the gift-giver is no longer with us....
The Christmas Cross.... my personal favorite
Jeddie's fox
Gabrielle's rooster

Benaiah's sheep

Christianna's violin....

...and her egg

Timothy's pickle....
So many represent God's gifts to us, in both His creation and in the gifts He has given us to create as He creates.

...and his fish
Toby's owl
Arianne's gingerbread people
Can you guess whose this is?
            May your Christmas be filled with God's good gifts, especially the greatest gift of all... His salvation made possible through the substitutionary death of His Son... Jesus- God with us.