November 17 rolled around again this year. I keep track of this date because on it, I become another year older. This happens every 365 days! I wonder how so many November 17th's have come and gone but I'm glad to still be here with reasons to live, to keep growing and to continue learning. I love my birthday because it is a day to remember all the good in my life, recall the many events of the year, and receive cards or calls from people who are special to me. Often I am given very kind words on my birthday. This is the best because often people are full of words that just don't get out of their mouths until this one special day, so I look forward to receiving the ways people will express themselves. I know, kind of quirky, but words are important and expressing feelings are equally significant as we try to get along and encourage one another. As a fun way to remember this November 17, 2016, I've conducted an interview with myself.
What have you been thinking about lately?
This year at church, our Women’s Ministry team is exploring the theme of REST. I find myself digging into books, sometimes only a chapter of a book, trying to comprehend what it means to be at rest, to honor Sabbath rest, to resist the urge to continue, to remember it doesn’t all depend on me. How I came to attach myself to the hard-work-ethic, I just don't quite remember, but I want to step away from it to be a more peace filled person and to acknowledge God's work. Emily Freeman wrote: "Rest is allowing the present to be imperfect" She adds: "Rest is not for later." There is so much more to experience and understand about rest and I am an eager learner. I am not a rester. I am not a slow-downer. I am not a napper. I'm really not very chill. But I am choosing to try to ease up a bit, to become a bit more unhurried to recognize that everything does not depend on me. I have a God who is happy to take that role.
Explain your chosen word for 2016.
Beloved has been my word for the past eleven months. I have chosen to live loved in 2016. (I believe that the feeling of being unloved and, therefore, unlovable, is the root of much unhappiness.) I have decided to remember that God loves me with a love that is mysterious; one that hides me, comforts me, challenges me, renews me, makes me brave, humbles me, teaches me and keeps me as a little child with a Father who knows and loves me. There is strength in knowing I am not alone to figure it all out. He is with me. More than that, He knows and loves me.
What do you like about your life right now?
I love being a grandma. It has been so delightful to see personalities emerge from these little people. To see Lucy run to me when we first meet after a few weeks with complete joy on her face, just fills me up. To walk with Charles as he calls me Manga and to watch his little eyes light up and to hear as his language develops. To start the relationship with Annie, to see her starting to know who I am, and to see her little eyes sparkle with self determination. They create such joy; it is hard to describe. I love that the whole family lives only two hours away and that I get to babysit sometimes so that Rachel can do her work without worry.
Our family gathers for holidays. Preparing for those times by creating delicious meals enables us to sit around the table several times a day where I can see them all at once and recall how blessed I am that they are all there in one place, eating, talking, laughing and being a family.
I’m also thankful that Brian is retired. I love sitting across from him at breakfast, talking about whatever is on our minds. He listens well and asks questions and we read a devotional and pray together. We are both hard workers in different ways and we each respect the other’s need to engage in meaningful work.
I love that I sometimes meet a friend for coffee, and I that I have opportunities to lead: classes at House of Hope, Women’s Ministry Team at our church, our women’s Sunday school class and that I get to mentor several lovely ladies.
I love that Hannah & Greg & Moby live so close. Hannah brings me a lot of joy just by being Hannah.
List a few memorable moments in 2016
- Sitting in the cardiologist’s office and hearing him say he can do nothing for Brian until he experiences symptoms of heart disease. ?????
- Hearing the story of Domingos told to us by Todd Bush while we were in Mozambique. Not much has moved me like that story.
- Holding out a bag of rice and setting it into the arms of a hungry Mozambican.
- Listening to my brother read a poem he wrote to his daughter during the wedding service.
- Hannah calling and asking if I was home because she had something for me. Turns out it was a pregnancy test that showed a positive result! Ahhhh
- Being able to speak to women and teen agers in Mozambique
- Experiencing several meaningful talks with women from our team in Mozambique
- Leading a writer’s circle at House of Hope. (Oh such fun!!)
- Facilitating two Phase One sessions of the Ultimate Journey at House of Hope and being a witness to the stories and bravery of many beautiful, strong women.
- Leading several women's Sunday school classes at our church.
- Speaking alongside Hannah at our Women’s Ministry Spring Brunch and realizing once again how blessed I am to have her for my daughter.
- Speaking at a women’s retreat for Good News Bible Church. What an encouraging time!
- Coming alongside Brian’s mother as she lived out the past 97 years and then being able to encourage her, remind her of our love, sing to her and to pray over her as she died.
What makes a good friend?
One who is interested in learning new things and is growing spiritually.
One who looks for me and is eager to talk even if it is just for a moment.
One who is not afraid to share her life, thoughts, feelings with me.
One who wants to do fun things together.
One who reads my blogs and lets me know. (ha…)
What has broken your heart this year?
The illnesses of some very dear people.
The fear of change.
All that is happening in the middle east.
What books have stimulated your thinking this year?
A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
Fierce on the Page by Sage Cohen
The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
Biggest challenge this year?
Brian’s health scare.
What were your favorite words said or written to you on your birthday this year?
There is no one like you.
You’ve been a wonderful mom.
I’m so grateful for you.
My true prayer is to be just like you.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.
You are one of my most favorite people in life!
I wish we could spend more time together.
You continue to be such a blessing in my life.
Thanks for being one who has a passion for following after God and desiring to come along side others in their journey.
Your life is the best gift!
I love you!
We are thankful for His light shining in and through you to all of us. Beloved child of God.
When were you brave this year?
Every day I stand in the truth about who God is and who He created me to be: a unique and precious individual. Remembering my mother's courage in her hard life fuels my desire to be brave. I will not let fear hold me hostage, control or manipulate me, although it takes much practice and determination. I find great peace in loving my family, praying for them and by trusting that God exists, sees us and bends down to hear our cries.
What are you looking forward to in 2017?
Wonderful times with Lucy, Charles and Annie Pearl.
A NEW GRAND BABY in May!!!
Growing in my ability to trust in my mighty God.
November 17th has come and gone for 2016. In the coming year every day will be bursting with glimpses of God and I am determined to keep my eyes open for them. I expect many opportunities for grace, to be given and received. I stand ready to welcome my life with a fresh and peaceful heart.