Christmas 2023

Merry Christmas friends!

It has been a year and oh my! Compared to our past few years, this one felt refreshingly uneventful in the “major-life-change” category.

We have now celebrated every family members birthday in our new home at least once, have celebrated two thanksgivings and one of every other major holiday here. We are so grateful to be here and I think my body is finally beginning feeling settled in a new and more permanent way after years of moving and living with family.

God has been very gracious to us and I want to do a quick recap of our year.

January

We started our year with my brother’s wedding and some wonderful time with my siblings and extended family who came in for the wedding, including my cousin (pictured above). James and Peter also started swim lessons and after three weeks, James turned into a fish! He is a confident and competent swimmer now.

February

February was a sweet month of homeschool (James second grade, Peter Kindergarten, and Annie…being cute), swim lessons, children’s museum visits and normal church and life activities. We even got some snow which the kids loved!

March

March brought slightly better weather and allowed us to get out of the house a bit more! Annie really started attempting to chase her brothers down and keep up with all their antics and we were still plugging away with school and swim lessons.

April

April brought Easter and Annie discovered the joys of Easter egg hunting! It also brought more opportunities to get outside on family walks and some playgrounds as the rain was mingled with more sun.

May

In May James got glasses, Annie discovered the joys of sunglasses, and Peter just had to get in on the fun by being a cutie! While James still struggles to wear his glasses, Annie is still obsessed with wearing sunglasses whenever possible. The boys also learned chess and played constantly! James even started catching on to some strategy and is already giving mommy a run for her money.

June

June hit hard and fast with the end of school, splash pads, park play dates, air shows, family bbqs, strawberry picking, and a camping trip to Eastern Washington with the Young Adults group that Travis leads at church. It was a full and fun month for sure!

July

July continued on chock full of summer activities like parks, the children’s museum, splash pads, and even a dip into spelunking (cave hiking).

August

August made June look chill, with us cramming in as much outside fun as possible before the school year began in September. We went camping with my (Alesha’s) parents for four nights in Eastern Washington. It was so much fun! Then less than two weeks later, we vacationed at the beach with Travis’s parents, and soaked up some fantastic Washington beach and family time. The month ended with Alesha and the kids heading to Idaho for a family reunion at the lake and all three kids being introduced or reintroduced to jet skis and tubing behind a ski boat. All the sunshine and family time were a blast! In there somewhere, we celebrated both travis and James’ birthdays too!

September

We started September with back to school! We are homeschooling again, and all of us are thriving with it! James started third grade with language arts as his favorite subject. Peter started first grade, and loves math, giving his brother a run for his money in this subject. Annie is learning to color, to play with play dough, and to play by herself while brothers work on their school. We ended the month finding out that we are expecting baby number 4! Annie’s face says it all for the whole family…we are thrilled!

October

October brought its routine fall sickness, but also a mid fall break where daddy had a week of vacation time we got to spend at home as a family! Pumpkin patches, walks and games inside were a blast. We ended the month celebrating Annie’s second birthday, which was a joy! In October we also began the process of grieving my nineteen year old cousin who lost his life in a tragic car accident.

November

November brought a relief from my first trimester nausea and lots of much needed time with extended family during my cousins funeral and over thanksgiving weekend. We are so thankful for God’s many blessings in our lives, the serving opportunities He has given us, and the family we have.

December

This month has been busy for Travis at the church, as they prepare for special Christmas services and events. The kids and I plugged away with school, our science coop with another homeschool family, and slowly decorating the house. Peter wants the house to look like a winter wonderland and unfortunately we aren’t quite there yet. I am enjoying this season of reflecting on the past year, the joys and sorrows, and on the reasonable and confident hope we have in Jesus. It truly is His peace and truth that sustains us in our everyday and gives purpose and value to our lives.

While our lives steadied and grounded this year, I found great comfort in hope in the reminder that Jesus desires to and does walk with me in the most ordinary of my day to day life. We pray that your 2024 is marked by walking with Jesus in your daily life and by His peace permeating it all.

Blessings,

Alesha and the Sinks Family

Comfort and Joy

As the three female voices blended, sending harmonies soaring towards the rafters, I let go of some long held breath.

“Comfort and joy, oh tidings of comfort and joy”

They sang echoing the thoughts in the angels’ refrain.

“Peace on earth, goodwill toward men” the angels sang, and…

“Tidings of comfort and joy” we sing today.

The words hang in my mind, like a smoke trail that refuses to dissipate, clarity dawning in me as if for the first time.

Why did the angels proclaim peace on earth, unless the earth was in decided chaos and turmoil? Why else would we need comfort, than if life was hard and our hearts were broken with grief and longing? This is not a cozy comfort, a simple ease, or a placid, picturesque peace that Jesus came to bring. This is a medicinal comfort: a Surgeon coming to bind bleeding hearts and restore shattered lives.

He comes bearing a healing comfort and a mending peace.

”But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture.“
‭‭Malachi‬ ‭4‬:‭2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We don’t need to be anxious or frustrated if this Christmas season does not seem to hold any joy for us. Because our Savior comes first to proclaim comfort. Proclaiming into the very heart of our pain and fear and turmoil: peace.

And who but God Almighty is strong enough to bind the cruel and festering wounds the world leaves upon our souls?
Who besides the King of Glory is great enough hold the broken pieces of our lives?
Who besides the Prince of Peace can still our aching and stormy hearts?

”“Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins.”…O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!” Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.“
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭1‬-‭2‬, ‭9‬-‭11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Are you feeling crushed and broken this Christmas season? Are you overwhelmed and joyless? Are you buried under grief and longing?

Your Savior comes to comfort you.

Don’t try to push past the healing, the binding of wounds, the comfort.
Don’t search through the lights and the gifts and the festivities to find artificial joy soften called “the holiday spirit”.
Don’t rush into busy to numb the pain wrapping icy fingers around your heart.

Don’t settle for artificial peace dependent on the world around us succumbing to our desires.

Instead, bring your brokenness, your joylessness, your pain to the feet of the One who came bearing comfort. Let Him bind you, tend you, apply stinging salve your bleeding wounds, and in His hands you will find true joy.

It might be a slow and complex joy. A quiet welling from within rather than fireworks pouring from without. But it will be joy, because our Savior came to bring…

Comfort and Joy

Blessings,
Alesha

One Goal for 2023

It’s a new year this week.
Full of the sparkle and shine of possibility.
It’s an empty book just waiting to be filled and
…I love that.

Many years I’ve pondered slow and deep and filled pages and pages of my journal with reflections and intentions and plans.

the past few years my mom has given me a planner for christmas – such a great gift

This year…I’m not.
At least not yet.
I am a firm believer that the whole of January is the beginning of the new year and I have that entire month to reflect and plan. So I still have time to change my mind.

But this year, there’s just one thing that keeps resurfacing for me as I look ahead.
And behind.
A carryover, perhaps, of all I’ve pondered and prayed these last few months.

I want to ask God for wisdom.
More. More wisdom. More often.
I want to ask Him to guide my decisions.
Big and small.
I want to ask what He desires me to do. How I should be spend the precious hours He’s given me? Where should I invest energy and attention?

I don’t expect to get a message from heaven each time. Or a miraculous word of guidance.

But I do except to be guided subtly and gently.
I expect to be moved, because I move. Not God.
I expect my heart and mind to move into alignment with God. I don’t expect words from heaven, but I expect Him to change me as I seek His heart. And as He brings me closer to His heart, I expect my decisions, large and small, to shift.

And I suspect, that on occasion, a clear answer might come.

I’ve spent the tail end of this year completely overwhelmed by everything there is to do. And I can’t at all see how I will accomplish it’s scope and breadth.
I can’t figure out how to figure out what to prioritize and what to let go of.

And yet, this stubborn heart is learning slowly. The only way to truly grow is to ask for help. And who better to ask than the God who created the universe, and me?

So that’s it. That’s my one goal.
…for now.
To ask God for wisdom, for guidance, for help more often. For the small things, not just the big. And to ask that He bring my heart closer to His in the process.

~ Alesha

Christmas Card 2022

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

A year is so short and so long all at the same time. Looking back at the past year, I feel that strange dichotomy that many of you probably feel as well: amazed at how quickly the year sped past and in awe of how much life and change was packed into twelve short months.

At the beginning of 2022 we were coming off a week of snow and family fun since most everything was closed due to weather. Thankfully, the roof had gone on our home just a couple of weeks before, so we managed to capture this pretty view!

As we headed into the new year, we really began to settle into life as a family of five. Annie began to sleep pretty well and the boys were thriving in their school. We soaked up lots of time with both sets of grandparents, enjoying living close with a baby for the first time.

In April, we dedicated Annie to Jesus, a simple ceremony where our pastor prays for us and her in front of our church body as we declare our desire to raise her in a way that obeys the teachings of Jesus and to teach her the love and power of God.

About this time it became apparent we would not be moving into our home in the spring, and we began spending long hours caulking, painting and working around the property. My dad and Travis put in countless hours painting both the inside and the outside.

On June 25th, we invited all those who had walked alongside us in this process to dedicate and pray over our new home and write scriptures on the subfloor. Here are a few of the many, many scriptures covering the subfloor of our home.

Over the summer we had an abundance of generous family members and church family members dedicate numerous hours to helping us paint, clean, caulk, install appliances, spread dirt, and more, including while our family was gone at summer camp with the High School Youth Group.

The summer was long, with progress on our home creeping along and so many hours spent working on it, as well as Travis carrying some additional, temporary responsibilities for his job at our church. It was exhausting, but so very worth it.

Finally, on August 31st, my parents packed up our boys and took them on a little vacation in Idaho. Meanwhile,Travis and I began packing in earnest. On September 2nd, a giant crew of people from our church helped us finish packing and taking everything out of my parents bonus room and over to our new home.

My parents had generously allowed us to live with them for two and a half years. We were so excited to be in our long awaited home, and so very thankful for the gift of so much time with them and of a way to afford to build a home for our family.

The next day, my parents brought the boys home from vacation and we were together as a family in our new home at last!

Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for this home or for the people who helped make this home a reality for our family. So much prayer, advice, encouragement and hard work went into this home from so many. As we have said from the beginning, it is God’s house that we get to steward. And in the just over three short months we have lived here, we have been able to fill our home full and experience so much blessing in it already!

As an added bonus, Travis’ parents get to be our first renters in our attached 1 bedroom apartment. We are enjoying being next door neighbors with them and getting some extra time together!

By early October, the church was able to bring on another staff member and Travis’ role transitioned from High School youth pastor to Assistant Pastor, Worship Leader, and Young Adults Ministry. While we deeply miss the High School Youth Group, we trust this change was the right one for us and the church and are thoroughly enjoying serving in these new ways.

In mid October, Travis was able to take two weeks of vacation time where we settled in to enjoy our new home and some much needed family time. We rested and refreshed together as a family. It was such a gift and a much needed reset for our family after the busy year.

Shortly after, we got to celebrate Annie’s first birthday with both sides of our family in our new home, and what a joyous occasion that was! Our sweet Annie is spunky and silly and the center of attention, and she knows it! She loves music and food and her Grandpas. Just before Thanksgiving she started walking and is getting into all sorts of trouble on the regular. We adore her!

James is now 7 and a voracious reader! He is currently obsessed with science and plans to travel to the far reaches of the globe to work with endangered species when he grows up. He is also obsessed with Lego, as any 7 year old should be, and is a very proficient builder. He is even starting to experiment with his own designs. He sets the tone in our family in so many ways, and we are so thankful for him!

Peter is 5 and is learning how to read this year! He is a whiz in math and could easily fly through several lessons of first grade math every day if I let him. He is also obsessed with building things and plans to travel and work with his brother when he grows up. He is also becoming quite the Lego builder as well and loves soccer. You can regularly find him kicking a soccer ball around our driveway. We love our sweet and joyful boy!

We were blessed to host thanksgiving this year, and are moving into this holiday season feeling grateful. God has blessed us richly this past year and we pray that we will move forward into 2023 as joyful recipients and faithful stewards of those blessings.

No matter what comes, we rejoice in the beautiful hope and deep peace of Jesus, and pray that you might as well.

Love,
The Sinks

The Ending We Didn’t Get

A twelve days ago we were supposed to move into an adorable little two bedroom, two bath condo we were buying. And fifteen days ago, I was standing in line at Marshall’s when Travis called to tell me that the sale had fallen through.

I had planned to drive home and pack more boxes, then pick James up from his first day of preschool all smiles and energy.

Instead, I cried my way home and off and on through the rest of that day, and canceled the order for our new mattress that we scheduled to be delivered the day after closing.

I planned on anxiously waiting for the school day to be over so I could run and hold my preschooler and then sit enraptured hearing all about his day.

Instead, I washed my face, put on mascara and as much a smile as I could manage, and braved my way through his first preschool pick up, trying to be fully present and joyful in this moment with him, while at the same battling back the overwhelm now plaguing me.

I had plans, and they were suddenly, unexpectedly, gone. I had built dreams for our family in that place, all in my head, and those too, were now gone. I had expectations for what the next days would be like, and those were gone. I had thought I’d known where God was taking us, and that also, was now gone.

I felt unmoored and untethered. Adrift.

In the days that have followed, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve clung to God in some moments and run from Him others. I’ve been angry sometimes and peaceful others. I’ve run a million scenarios in my head and made plans a dozen different ways, grasping for what is right. Searching in darkness for a spark of Light to guide us.

And into the chaos of my heart and mind, a friend spoke these words.
“We were shouting for joy just a few weeks ago…focus on those miracles. Those miracles didn’t come for no reason, and you guys didn’t get excited for no reason…continue to believe that the Lord is going to move.”
Her words stopped me.

“We were shouting for joy just a few weeks ago…”
“Those miracles didn’t come for no reason…”

I thought I had figured out how God was writing this story. I thought the miraculous way He was letting things fall into place, was all leading up to one certain ending. And when it all fell apart, I began to think maybe I had just heard wrong. Maybe we weren’t following God after all. Maybe God had spoken and I’d just missed it. Or maybe I’d been too stubborn to hear. Or maybe I just had no idea what was going on. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

And then God used the words of this friend to draw near and whisper in my ear…

“This closing falling through does not negate the things I did to get you this far.”

I can praise God for the way He worked and also mourn the ending that I didn’t get.I can trust the God I love to be near even when I don’t understand how He is working.I can worship the God who guides us, even when it feels like we’ve been led to a dead end.

I don’t have an ending to this story yet. Well…not quite.

I can say that we haven’t curled up in a ball and given up, as much as we’ve been tempted to.

God has also provided for us to extend the lease with our current rental until the end of September with no extra fees, so we won’t be homeless at the end of next week.

And today we signed a contract with a new seller, for us to buy a different condo in the same community, although based on the events of the past few weeks, this too, feels far from an ending.

I can say that I’ve had days of intense anxiety, days of overwhelming desire to give up, and days of overwhelming peace from God, in the midst of it all.

I can say that there is a tiny seed of excitement over this new place beginning to form.

We are working hard and the emotional roller coaster, is far from over.

But the fact remains true, God did some wonderful things that I will continue to praise Him for, and the ending we didn’t get, the ending we still might not get, doesn’t negate that.

Be blessed

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