2015 is two days away and I find myself sitting in contemplation of the year gone by. There has been a lot of happening this year, so bear with me as I suss at least some of it out.
Firstly, a huge thank you to you, my readers, for sticking with me over this year and lending me your time, hearts, and minds in your reading of these paper bullets of my brain. I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog as much as I have writing it, however scary it was at times.
One of the most notable occurrences is that I have become a contributor to The Well Written Woman, which has been an absolutely wonderful experience! I have had a fabulous time working with the talented ladies at TWWW. They have allowed me a great freedom in exploring subjects in my writing – fiction pieces, personal writings, works on faith and social matters – and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know co-founder and editor Camicia Bennett. Thanks so much, Cam!
I took college courses for the first time since graduating with my Masters in 2006 and entirely online. I was very nervous about how I would handle it and being a mom at the same time. It was hard work, completing two graduate courses simultaneously in five weeks, very stressful and tiring. But I had amazing help from my in-laws, my parents, and my husband; I found ways to enjoy it; and I succeeded, earning A’s in both classes. A personal triumph and big weight off my back as those grades allowed me to renew my teaching license for the next ten years, should I choose to return to education when Elizabeth heads off to daycare/preschool eventually.
Speaking of Elizabeth, my daughter turned two years old eleven days ago and she is an absolute force of nature. Even my mother had to admit that when she was here to visit. As such, I sometimes do not know what to do with her, but we are doing our best. Our Bizzy is smart and bright, talking more every day. But she is also clever and cunning, though thankfully I am still more so just yet. She is artistic, skilled with anything technological (similar to her mother), creative, fun-loving, energetic, and loves the outdoors. She is also sweet and loving, giving affection to those in her life, tight little hugs and sweet kisses. She loves her Marie (The Aristocats) and Katarina Kittycat (“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”) stuffies – they go to bed with her every night – and she is never as happy as she is watching “Daniel Tiger” (unless she is outside exploring). She loves to be read to but will also insist on “reading” to herself. She has started to take her own ‘me time’, climbing into her rocking chair in her room to rock by herself for a little bit with a book, her tablet, or just her stuffed buddies. She may still be little but she has gone from a baby to a little girl in the space of a year, and I am constantly amazed by her.
As I have been writing and also continuing in my position as the wife of a Quaker pastor, I have had the opportunity to sit and think seriously on what I believe and how it affects my life, or how it should affect my life. I am well aware that there are some, or many, who disagree with my faith or even what I believe in particular within that faith. And that is OK; my faith makes sense to me. Lately, I find myself drawn more and closer to its core tenet of “loving others” (Matthew 22:37-40) and “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). I want to do that: love others in whatever way is needed, whether it is a listening ear, a requested explanation of what I believe, a note to say hello, a little gift, prayer, or just my time. And maybe I can help someone find/experience a little bit of peace, even for a short amount of time. I have learned some wonderful lessons from a writer whom I discovered this year: Lysa TerKeurst. Lysa is a wonderful woman who manages to speak to my heart without ever knowing who I am. Her devotionals, books, and faith-based writings have spoken to my soul as I have worked through several issues in my life this year, and I have taken several of her teachings to heart as I work to build myself an even stronger foundation and keep my emotions from becoming “unglued”. One that has been the closest to my heart this year is a reminder that our feelings are indicators but they do not need to be dictators of our behavior or actions. I can choose to act out of high emotion or I can choose to act and speak out of love, grace, and gentleness. The latter is most definitely what I want in my life, and I have some wonderful examples of these to follow in this.
Always, but especially this past year, I have been astounded by the loving natures and kind hearts of the people in my life. My family and friends are simply amazing! My life is constantly blessed by them and their generous souls. There are days when a card in my mailbox, a text popping up on my phone, an IM chiming on my computer, or even a surprise package waiting for me has been just what I needed, just the uplift and tender touch that my heart and soul required on that day, the thought or those words just what I needed to give me the strength to take another step forward. Even those words were simply, “Hi. I was thinking about you.” So, to them I say, “Thank you!” from the fullness of my heart. You are more than I could have ever dreamt for. You hold lines to my heart and I am so grateful for how gently, honestly, and lovingly you handle them.
As this year’s curtain descends, there are indeed many things that I wish I had done and ever the more that I wish I could do. This year has been full and I am thankful for all I have been able to do, accomplish, and witness this year. I know that this next year will be full of its own miracles and hardships, triumphs and challenges. I look forward to it and am nervous for it, too. But, again, that is life and it continues on apace.