In His Image

I came across something this past week in preparing to lead our Bible study at church. We are studying James and are moving from the end of chapter 1 into chapter 2. We’ve talked a bit the past couple weeks about how James’ writing is discussing how the way we live our lives, the way we treat people, the things we say all are a reflection of what we believe — and how there can be such a big difference between our actions and what we say we believe. One of the resources I am using to help be ready to lead this study touched on something that got me thinking. That resource mentions that, while Paul’s writings emphasized the purpose of faith (salvation), James emphasizes the results of faith: a changed life.

That led me to one of my favorite books: “God’s Blogs” by Lanny Donaho, and this is where my “Aha!” moment came from. Chapter 16 is titled “In His Image” and provides an explanation of what exactly it means that we are created “… in His image.” Donaho takes the perspective that this is not focused as much on how, but more on why. We are created to reflect Him, what He’s done for us, what He means to us into the world around us. We do that by how we live our lives, how we treat people, the decisions we make, the things we say — those are the things that show what we really believe and hold dear. Which is precisely what James is writing about…

I particularly liked the conclusion of that chapter:

BTW… reflections happen best when you are standing near to that which you want to reflect. (That which you were made to reflect.)

Looking Both Ways…

It’s the end of the year, and I’m sitting here thinking about this past year as well as looking toward the coming year and what lies ahead for us in 2008…

In retrospect, I wish I’d written more as this past year went by. (And that’s something that perhaps I can address as this next year passes.) Lots there to reflect on:

  • Work was way too busy, between new projects and what felt like a never-ceasing string of reorganizations. The most recent appears (finally) to have stuck and — as opposed to the others during the year — seems to bode well for my team, at least in terms of leadership for our organization. Time will tell.
  • On the geek front, Linux Mint 4 is now my distro of choice with Fedora 8 a close second. I’ve had some version of Mint running on my primary system at home now for almost a year and I don’t have any plans to change — which is the first time I’ve felt that way since switching to Linux. Deb is now using Linux almost exclusively, as well, so the stability of sticking with a single distro gets more important.
  • Soccer was kind of a mixed bag, based more on stuff off the field than on. Politics are never fun, and they surfaced in a most unpleasant and unexpected manner this past summer. That said, however, we had a good spring season on the competitive front, had a blast coaching the junior high team this fall, and Ian had a really good season with the IFHS JV team (and played enough with the varsity to earn his first letter).
  • We’re finally close to having the project of finishing several rooms in the basement finished, although it looks like that particular project won’t be wrapped up by the end of the year as we had hoped. But it’s close.
  • Our vacation — a week-long camping trip in central Idaho — was one of the highlights for me for this year. We spent a week there doing as close to nothing as possible. Sleeping late, hiking, mountain biking, and eating well from the Dutch oven. Deb was admittedly dubious about the idea of a whole week camping, but it was a wonderful week. I really needed the time away from pretty much everything.

Looking ahead, there are some big changes ahead…

  • The largest of the changes coming for us will be the addition of a little girl to our family. For almost three years, we’ve been in the process of adopting a girl from China. We started in February 2005, and got our paperwork into the mill just as the whole process ground to a glacial pace on the Chinese side of things. At this point, it looks like we should finally be matched with our girl in early January. That would most likely put us in China in late February or early March.
  • Spring soccer will be a little different for us (and Ian) this year, as we have primarily a new team to work with (after having basically the same core group of players together for the past five years). Our focus early will be primarily on getting the group to play together as a unit.
  • Work is likely to hold some changes and challenges for us, too. The workload and the reorganization will no doubt necessitate some tuning and reshaping of our team. We’ll end up updating our CF servers to run CF8 at some point early in the year, and jQuery is playing a bigger and bigger part in the client side of how we develop.

I’m not big on resolutions, but I am going to try to write more as we go through the year on both the geek side of life and on the personal front, too. There will be lots to share as we wrap up the adoption process and begin what will feel, at times, like a new life with a new child.