Monday, December 3, 2012

Decorations & Preparations

A few days ago Annika and Julie came by to help get the house Christmas-ready. Annika creates beautiful outdoor pots while Julie works her magic inside. It was a fun day. And the house decorations, both inside and out, look wonderful. 

Now that the decorations for Christmas are complete, it's time to start working on the preparations. And by preparations, I don't mean all the gift purchasing and wrapping nor the Christmas card writing nor the cooking. By preparations, I mean getting ready for Jesus. 

I think it's odd that it takes us a whole season to get ready for Jesus.  Why aren't we already ready? 

Why does it take stuff like lights, decorations, cards, cookies and presents to get us in the spirit? I'm not trying to sound like a bah-humbug. I really do enjoy the "stuff" of Christmas. But to be perfectly honest, I like Jesus better. 

So I've decided to give Him more than just a month. I've promised (myself) to be better at doing things that prepare me for His presence every day, not just at Christmastime. Decorations bring color and light. Preparations, on the other hand, bring hope and joy. This season, and all year, I hope you'll enjoy both. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Malawi: A defining moment

For the past ten years, my husband and I have supported a ministry that helps build water wells in third world countries. Even though our feet remain planted in the United States, our hearts and love extend across the seas to people--mostly children--we have never met. 

According to Life Today, 1.8 million children die every year from unclean contaminated water. For my husband and me, this statistic is unacceptable, because providing clean water is a solvable problem. 

A couple of weeks ago, I returned from a trip to Malawi, Africa. The journey over took ten years and two days. Ten years of praying and promoting and giving to the water effort. Two days of international travel that consisted of a sixteen-hour airplane ride to Johannesburg; another 2 1/2 hour plane ride to Lilongwe, Malawi; and a two-hour van ride to Mponela (our home for 6 days). 

Our team was wide-eyed and eager to meet our new friends in Malawi. The first place we visited was, perhaps, the most meaningful experience of my whole trip. 

When we arrived at the United Methodist Church in Madisi, I saw children playing at a water-well. This would be the first, but not the last, time I would see a water well in action. I climbed out of the van and immediately walked over to the well. Several children were congregated there. One boy was washing his clothes. Five young girls were filling their buckets and placing them on their heads for the long walk home. 

Several boys were just hanging around the well, laughing and talking. I'm not sure who was more excited--me, witnessing a water well in action, or them, wishing to have their photo taken with my camera. Whichever the case, we were all laughing and enjoying the moment. 

Job 42:5 makes a statement that became true for me, "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you." Up until this very moment, I had only seen pictures of children drinking, washing and playing at wells. But on this day, I actually met the children I had been loving and praying for the past ten years. My eyes had seen them. 

After one day, the long journey to Africa had proven to be more than worth the time and effort that it took to get there.

For me, this journey to Africa brought everything full circle. And although you may not be called to travel halfway around the world to meet children and families in need, you can contribute to the solvable problem of giving children clean water. Visit LIFE TODAY to learn how you can be a part of the clean water solution!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Join me on my journey

Malawi, Africa. Halfway across the world. I'm going. 

On October 17, I am journeying with 11 others to Malawi, Africa. Although you may not be able to go with me on the trip, I'm wondering if you would like to join me on the journey through prayer? I would love having you partner with me as I take this trek across the globe.

Here are a few facts about Malawi:
  • It is located in Southern Africa, east of Zambia, west and north of Mozambique.
  • The land area is 118,484 sq km, slightly smaller than Pennsylvania.
  • The official language is Chichewa.  (57.2% of the population speak it)
  • The total population is 16,323,044 (July 2012 est.).
  • Life expectancy at birth is 52.31 years.
  • The religions are Christian 82.7%, Muslim 13%, other 1.9%, none 2.5% (1998 census)

Why in the world am I going to Africa? The simple answer is, "God extended the invitation and I said yes."

Below is a brief description of what our team will be doing while visiting Malawi (taken from Church of the Resurrection's website):

The October team will fly to Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, where they will be briefed by a United Methodist missionary before making the two-hour drive to their lodge near Madisi. They will worship with the Madisi UMC congregation in the church built by Church of the Resurrection and share a meal with them, then return to their lodge to begin an economic empowerment training program designed to provide basic business skills to Malawian entrepreneurs.  Following the three-day training, the team will visit the other churches in the Madisi circuit and share a farewell meal with the congregation, and have an opportunity to meet with pastors’ children who are receiving private school scholarships through a partnership between Beyond Kansas City Missions and the Church of the Resurrection Foundation.  They will then visit the Malawi UMC’s farm about two hours east of Lilongwe, spending the day there.

So if you're interested in joining me in this incredible experience, I would covet your prayers. Will you pray for our team as we travel, learn, teach, hug, encourage, preach, and fellowship in Malawi? Feel free to post comments and prayers on this blog. 

Pitani bwino
(go well/good-bye)

Monday, September 10, 2012

A day at the beach

This was the first visit to the beach for Max. Needless to say, he loved it. It was fun watching his excitement as his feet touched the sand for the first time. It was amazing to watch his fearless entry into the ocean. It was satisfying to watch his restful sleep after the long, fun day. 

Reflecting about Max at the beach got me thinking. Every day is a first. There will never be a day again like today. Think about that--tomorrow will never be like today!

So I've decided that tomorrow I want to approach the day like it's my first day ever. I want to live the way that Max experienced the beach: excited, fearless and restful. 

And that's just tomorrow. The day after that will be a whole new day! 

I'm grateful for Max--and his wisdom.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Great memories

Laure and me
I can hardly believe that Laura--this young, beautiful bride--was sitting in my basement just four years ago, doing Bible study with me and a great group of girls. Laura, Cara, Rebecca, Stephanie, Katie and I spent the entire year studying. laughing, and sharing every Monday night. 

Laura, Cara and I had been meeting together for four years. I wasn't planning to lead a study their senior year of high school, but they ask and I reluctantly said yes. My own son had just left for college and I thought this might be the time to break from high-schoolers. 

Looking back, I am not sure how I would have managed the year without these dear gals. Every Monday night they happily showed up and almost always asked me how I was doing. Lots of times, I was sad because I missed my son. But these young friends rallied me every Monday and offered me something I didn't know I needed--girl time.
Laura, Cara & me

Now that they've graduated and moved into the next phase of their lives, I've had the chance to watch them from afar. And I love how God makes things so wonderful. He not only gave me a chance to know these amazing girls, but to also to see them become incredible women.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Everything is going to be okay!

Turn on the television, watch the evening news and you might think that the world could come to an end today. Banks are failing, the presidential race makes everyone mad, violence is on the rise -- everywhere you turn, the news seems bad. But I am writing this blog post to tell you that I, for one, feel everything is going to be okay. Let me tell you why. 

This summer, I have had the lucky privilege to spend a lot of time with young people ages 18-29. And let me be of good cheer, there are some amazing people looking to lead our future.

In June, I led a small group in Bible study in a local suburban subdivision. We encouraged the mothers attending to bring their daughters. Two moms took us up on that offer, and two lovely young women named Morgan showed up.

Morgan on the left is a sophomore in college, and Morgan on the right will be a a senior in high school. Spending Tuesday nights with these gals was one of the enjoyable surprises of the summer. They are sharp, articulate, funny and optimistic. It was a joy to get to know them!

In late May, our family spent a couple of days at the beach with my son and a few of his college friends. Two of them will be attending law school, two more will attend medical school, others have already started their new careers. These guys are smart, well-rounded, have a strong faith, and are extremely good-looking (smile).

At home in Kansas City, our family spent hours with other kids on our backyard lake. These kids are our future teachers, accountants, financial experts, construction builders and mothers. 

My niece, a twenty-something, is growing fast in her career as an event planner. She has chosen to use most of her vacation time to travel with me this fall as we will visit Africa and train women in micro-finance. People, we are in good shape!  

So far, this summer has been nothing short of amazing for me. Surrounded by the future, I have been encouraged, entertained, and, truthfully, stress-free. So, if you are wondering if our country is going to be okay, I hope you will spend some time with our young people. You will see for yourself -- our future is pretty bright. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My first 5K

Halfway there!
I really don't get the whole 5K thing, but boy, is it ever popular. So like groupies, my husband and I signed up for our first 5K run (walk). We couldn't think of a better cause than The House of Hope's Hope Challenge 5K.  

So, up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, half asleep, we journeyed down to the Plaza and picked up our packet. Pinning the numbers on our shirt made us official. We watched as the true racers warmed up. Some had jogged over for the 5K. Me? I sat on the bench with another newbie and waited for race time.

Not long after, the crowd lined up. The gun sounded and off we went with the rest of the mob. I remember Steve commenting, "If we are going to do this, let's get some exercise." We picked up the pace. 

Not long into the race, we saw Polly and John, cheerleaders for the race. We hugged, but there was no time for chatting; we were racing! People passed us, we passed a few, but mostly, our pace remained steady. As we approached the half-way point, we saw other familiar faces: Julie and Audrey, my niece and her friend who were also cheerleaders. Julie snapped this photo -- proof that we made it at least halfway.

As we rounded the final curve, we could see the finish line. All kinds of people were waving and cheering us across. We made it! "Get some refreshments," they told us. A Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit? Why didn't they tell me? I would have walked much faster.

After the race, we reflected...a beautiful morning, good exercise, and a great cause. Sign me up for next year!

Monday, June 25, 2012

When things don't go my way

We watched as the crowd went crazy. The Miami Heat had just defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was a phenomenal sight. Miami had played a nearly perfect game. They looked like champions, and now, they were champions. Unfortunately, my son, sister and I were cheering for the Oklahoma City Thunder. We were sad.

I've had a few days to reflect on my sadness. I wish I could honestly tell you that today I am less sad that Miami won, but I'm still not there.  

However, what I have realized is this: even though I am sad, there are a whole lot of people in Miami who are happy. And I'm genuinely glad about that. I'm satisfied in knowing that my sadness isn't universal. Someone out there is happy -- happy that their team won. 

I want to remember that just because circumstances aren't hunky-dory for me; it doesn't mean the whole world is suffering. I want to get past "me" and move on to others.

Yes, I'm sad. That darn Miami Heat team. But I can't help thinking about the 10-year-old Miami Heat fan sitting behind me during the game. Last Thursday, I saw a little boy's dream came true. His team won a NBA Final Championship. How can I be sad about that?

What happens when things don't go my way? I look around and enjoy watching things go someone else's way.

However, I must give the Heat fans a warning: Watch out, we'll be back. Thunder Up!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tending the garden

The other day, I noticed one of the apples on my apple tree turning red. I have watched this apple begin its life as a pretty bloom, grow into a baby apple and now become almost full grown. I take great pride in my little red apple. I wish I could tell you that I had something magnificent to do with making it become an apple. 

But if the truth be told, it had more to do with the Master Gardener's expertise than it did with this amateur's hand.  Sure, I planted the tree. And I have watered it, fertilized it, and even sprayed it for pests. But other than that, I really had nothing to do with it becoming an apple. Bottom line: I can't make apples. I can only  encourage them to become better and tastier apples.

Well, isn't that exactly how it is with us and our relationships? God puts people in our lives that he wants to become excellent fruit. We certainly have a stake in the nurturing, encouragement and even care. In fact, I believe that God wants us to help in the development of souls. 

But ultimately, it is God who makes people whole. I guess it's like a partnership. The Master Gardner gives us apple trees. Our job is to care for them so that His fruit will grow.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Alabama road trip

The unofficial start to summer has begun! And of course, this means a little travel. First on the list: meeting up with my son, Jack, after he completed another semester at Auburn. The itinerary went something like this:

1. Fly to Atlanta
2. Drive to Auburn
3. Move TV from fraternity to a friend's house
3. Fill the jeep with gas
4. Commence road trip

The drive begins easily enough. Jack and I turn up the radio and hop on the highway. About an hour down the road, we exit the four-lane part of our journey and begin the two-and-a-half-hour trek on two-lane Alabama back roads. 

Once on the back roads, Jack tells me that it's now time to execute the finger wave. This is when you slowly raise your index and middle fingers off the steering wheel and give a friendly wave to the locals (it is imperative that the hand never leaves the wheel--otherwise it is not a finger wave). 

Driving these country roads, we pass countless acres of timber. We see lots of houses donning national championship flags for either Alabama or Auburn (the count seemed pretty even). We even pass through Brantley, the front porch city of Alabama. And just when we think we've seen it all, we pass through Sweet Home (think Lynyrd Skynyrd). Of course, no road trip through Alabama would be complete without a stop at the Chicken Shack in Luverne, so we stop for a spell and partake of a little Alabama-style fried chicken. 

As it becomes dark, we are nearing our destination--the beach! It's been a full day, but so worth it. Road trips are one of life's wild and wonderful experiences. Where are you road tripping this summer?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The amazing and incredible roly-poly story

"It was an ordinary day. Didn't seem like anything special was going to happen. We strolled outside, Mom and I. We were just walking around -- kinda exploring. 

"And then we saw him. The roly-poly. I had never seen one before. He was amazing. He curled up when I touched him. Then when he thought I was done touching him, he uncurled and started moving along the sidewalk. Cool!

"I'm excited for tomorrow to see what kind of discoveries we will make. But I can't imagine anything nearly as incredible as a roly-poly!"

(As told by Max--if he could talk in sentences!)

Today, try to see something ordinary--something you might take for granted--through new eyes. And be sure to let me know what you see!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May Day, Panera and Lorraine

May Day is one of my favorite days of the year. So, when my friend Char and I chose to have breakfast at Panera on May 1, I decided to "May Day" her -- I brought her flowers.  When I walked in the restaurant with the flowers, Char smiled and said, "It's May Day." This is one of the things I love about Char; she "gets" me. It seems like we enjoy celebrating the same things.

We placed the bouquet on the table and proceeded to enjoy our time together. That's when we met Lorraine. Lorraine works as a hostess at Panera. She greets people, takes plates away when customers are finished with their meals, and refills drinks. 

But mostly, Lorraine blesses people. When she noticed the flowers, Lorraine stopped at our table and wished us a happy May Day. We struck up a conversation and in no time at all, the three of us were friends. As we visited with Lorraine, she shared her story with us. It's amazing, and if you want to know more, you will just have to visit the Panera at College and Metcalf and ask her yourself. 

But here's what I want to share with you about Lorraine. She truly lives a wild and wonderful life. Here's how: She believes her job is a ministry to share God with others. She's not pushy, she's genuine. Here's what Lorraine told us, "Every face I meet gives me the chance to bless people." And it worked. Char and I were totally blessed by meeting Lorraine. 

Before long, it was time to go. Lorraine hugged and kissed us good bye and told us we were beautiful. Wow. 

Blessed, we reluctantly walked to our cars, and wondered--how were we so lucky to meet Lorraine at Panera on May Day?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Field trip + friend + coffee = FUN

Barista de casa in Liberty, MO
The other day, my friend Gina and I took a field trip to nearby Liberty, Missouri. We shopped around the town square. We ate lunch -- well, Gina ate lunch, I had breakfast for lunch -- at the local diner. Then we took in the sights downtown, which include some lovely historic buildings

We finished our field trip by visiting a local coffee roaster and sampling the roast of the day, "Brazilian." While at the coffee shop, we chatted with a mom who was waiting for her daughter's track meet to begin at William Jewell College. It was a wonderful day -- a day filled with lots of smiles. 

What are the things bringing a smile to your face these days?  Let me know about the "must visit" places in your town!

Friday, April 20, 2012


This is a peony from my yard. I take pictures of them every year, sometimes daily while they are in bloom. Then I usually send them to my mom or one of the girls.  Every year--the same flowers.  I never tire of them.

Yesterday after I took the pictures I even wrote a bit in a journal about it. They are just peonies, but they take my breath away! It gives me a connection with God, our awesome Creator, that's hard for me to put into words. 

All I know is that something resonates deep in my soul and usually comes to the surface in a squeal of delight!

(This post was written by guest blogger, Julia Burbridge.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making memories

Colby, Me, Carly and Max (who doesn't drink coffee yet)
I'm all about making a memory. You can ask my nieces, who will confirm. 

On this very special day, Carly, Colby and I visited a local store and purchased three coffee cups. We promised that whenever we drank from our cups, we would think of each other. So, even though they live far away, I feel close to my special girls when I have a cup of coffee.

How do you make memories with your loved ones?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Worth waiting for

We celebrated the first cherry limeade of the season last Saturday!

Our lime tree lives indoors during the winter; this year, it produced two limes while residing inside. Several weeks ago, we made guacamole with the first lime. 

But on Saturday,the second lime was used for something really special. Our friends, Joby and Bill, came over to grill burgers and watch the Final Four. Joby was given the honor of picking the ripe lime for our cherry limeades. She did it with great care. We are so thankful that the cherry-limeade season is officially here. 

Recipe for the perfect Cherry Limeade:
Sonic crushed ice 
Tervis Tumbler cup
Diet 7-Up
Cherry syrup
Splash of fresh lime juice 

Stir & enjoy. Yum!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Philippians 3: In my own words

Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.

For I am God's true circumcision,
I worship with my heart.
Nothing is as good as Jesus, so I will
follow and follow and follow.
If I were to gain any understanding,
it would be to know Jesus
more and more -- better and better,
until that day I see Him face-to-face.
I'll keep my feet on the ground as long as the Lord keeps me here,
but my gaze will always be heavenward...
for that is where my Savior awaits my glory. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bucket list

I don't really have a bucket list. If I did, one item would have been checked off last night. 

What was it? I attended the organ dedication concert at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with my aunt Betty, cousin Carol and my husband Steve. (An by organ, I mean the instrument, not a body part!) The new Casavant organ has  5548 pipes. It's beautiful. Though I never thought one way or another about attending an organ concert, I'm glad I did.  

Bucket List Item #1: Attend an organ dedication. Check. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

A wild & wonderful life in NYC

I ♥ NYC. So when my husband, who had meetings in the area, asked me if I wanted to meet him there for the weekend, I said, "Heck yes!" 

There is nothing better than spending time with my man in one of the "funnest" cities in the country.

We ate (at a restaurant famous for celebrity sighting) the best banana cream pie. The waiter told us that it was Joan Rivers' favorite. I can't speak for Joan--we did not visit with her--but the pie was fab!

We saw two great Broadway shows. One at Lincoln Center - beautiful.

We stopped by to say hello to a friend at Olde Good Things, an amazing store that uses proceeds to support an orphanage in Haiti.  

We spotted two celebrities.

We laughed, talked, slept in, walked, taxied, and read.

I hope New York never goes away. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A wild and wonderful day

Kathy & Becky
It's hard to know where to begin this post because it's a journey that began almost forty years ago. 

My wild and wonderful life with Jesus began when I was nine. Something amazing happened. Jesus's Spirit (whom we call the Holy Spirit) entered into my heart and life and I became forever changed. 

So it was pretty cool last week when Becky and I had the opportunity to talk about the Holy Spirit via six short videos we were producing for our newest Bible study, Jumpstart Your Life. These videos represent our walk with the Lord and the difference He makes through His Presence called the Holy Spirit.

Michelle L.
We asked God to show up in a big way--and He did. The day of shooting was long, grueling, fun, but mostly Spirit-filled. There were six of us involved in the production, and all the team members performed equally important roles. Amy and Kathy proved to be perfect directors; finding and creating excellent locations for the vignettes, approving wardrobe and offering suggestions without hurting anyone's feelings. Michelle F. is simply the most calm and reassuring producer who somehow makes things happen. And Michelle L. is a patient, talented videographer.

More to come about the actual shoot, but suffice it to say that last Wednesday was truly a wild and wonderful day with Jesus--and friends.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A very girl-y Valentine's Day

Katie, Julie, Audrey & Chan

Want to know a fun way to celebrate Valentine's Day? Spend it with a few girlfriends. The menu: sparkling cherry juice, pork tenderloin with cherry sauce, heart-shaped pasta, cherry sorbet, and almost-Martha Stewart chocolate chip cookies. Dinner conversation: favorite TV shows, best time to take a college class, how to cook, and facts about two-year olds. Interesting.

On the day of love, it was so great to spend a little time with some girls I love. A special day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy bIrthday, dear sister

I've known her over half of my life. She's not my birth sister, but she is my sister. Linda is married to my brother. Last weekend, I had the honor to celebrate Linda's Jubilee birthday along with seventy of her closest friends. Here's a few things about Linda:

She's fun
She's' serious
She's creative
She's a good friend
She's a great sister
She's pretty
She has three amazing daughters (than she has graciously shared with me)
She loves people
She loves Jesus

And I love her... Happy birthday, dear sister!

P.S. Do you know what the Jubilee year is? It's referenced in Leviticus 25:11

Thursday, February 2, 2012


If you were to ask me, "What's one of the best things about co-authoring a Bible study for women?," I would answer by saying, "Just look at this photo."

This is a shot of eight really cool gals who participated in the launch of our newest Jumpstart Bible study. They did the study together and then, for graduation, they celebrated by having lunch together. I love that! It represents so well what Becky (my co-author) and I feel Jumpstart is all about. 

Jumpstart is a short study that can be done as a group, or with just one girlfriend. But however you choose to do it, it's a relational approach to how God wants us to interact with others in His world. 

If you participated in the study but didn't have the chance to go to lunch with someone afterward, let me challenge you. Take another study of some kind! Then--invite someone to lunch with you. Celebrating is half the fun!

If you're interested in doing Jumpstart with a friend, go to our website and click on Jumpstart. There, you will find our first study: Jumpstart your Heart. Soon, our new study--Jumpstart Your Relationship with God and Others--will also be available online.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a friend (or two!), set aside some time, and jump into Jumpstart!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Water tower & waffles

What a wonderful way to spend 24 hours...with my son, Jack!

Jack attends Auburn University, a mere 14-hour drive from our home. Because of the distance, he doesn't come home much during the school I go visit him. I fly to Atlanta, rent a car and drive one and a half hours to Auburn. As soon as I see the water tower with the Auburn logo, I know I'm close.

My recent visit included breakfast at the brand new waffle house. Judy, the waitress, was as pleasant as she could be. I learned new hash brown terms: smothered, covered, chunked, diced, peppered, capped, topped and country. (You'll have to visit a waffle house to understand.)
During this visit, the weather was glorious. Auburn had been stuck in a rain pattern and most days were rainy or cloudy for two weeks. This day, however, the sun appeared. One person tweeted "Hey Auburn people, look outside and notice the bright ball in the sky." My son and I enjoyed walking, talking, eating and shopping--all things a mom loves.

With my love tank full, I depart the town of Auburn, leaving behind the water tower and the waffle house. But I'm not leaving my son behind, for he remains in my heart. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

A good story deserves to be told

I love a good story.! Always have loved hearing them and telling them. 

My friend Stacie (pictured above) also loves a good story. In fact, listening and recording people's stories is what she does for a living. I think this is brilliant because listening to someone's life, firsthand, is way better than being told it secondhand. 

What's really cool about Stacie's job is that she loves doing it! She loves to share in people's memories. I can't think of a better way for a parent, grandparent, or friend to pass on important, serious, fun and personal recollections than to have them recorded. 

Or, how cool would this be--to have your entire family share how they came to know Jesus!

Wouldn't it be neat for each family member to recall and re-tell their story of firsthand encounters with Jesus? You don't have to do it in a recording (although that would be really special). Why not have a special dinner together where everyone shares? How about doing it tonight?

P.S. Let me know if you do this...I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creating the new normal (part 2)

Freedom of the Seas. What a perfect name for a boat when you are trying to create the "new normal."

Freedom. Walking from dry land onto a gigantic cruiser was a little like "crossing over" into freedom. Here are a few reasons why a cruise at Christmas and Freedom of the Seas made me feel that way:
  • Freedom to put away all the busyness and yes, crazy customs of Christmas and simply focus on the main Person of Christmas
  • Freedom to spend less money and more time on the people in my life
  • Freedom from worrying if I will have enough food for all the meals (the cruise ship had plenty!)
  • Freedom to risk changing traditions, and then to discover that Christmas still came
  • Freedom to know that God loved me no less and no more because of my "new normal"

Thank you, Lord, for letting me take a cruise that reminds me of You.

"Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Creating the new normal

2012. I like it! The number 2012 is a lot easier to write then 2011. And this is going to be an unusual, but very hopeful year for me.  

One year ago, on January 1, 2011,  I was dreading the New Year. Both of my parents were very ill and I knew that 2011 wasn't going to be fun for them or me or my siblings. I was right. It was a very difficult year. Both parents passed away -- three weeks apart in January and February. 

The rest of the year was an attempt to recover from sadness. The holidays were going to prove to be a challenge. Until this year, I had spent every Christmas day with my parents. And so my brother, sister and I decided to do something very un-ordinary for Christmas because we knew it was time to create our new normal. My entire family took a Caribbean cruise. It was crazy fun -- our parents would have loved it (they loved fun and travel). It was different -- we decided to draw names and bring only one gift aboard. But mostly, it was memorable. 

We will always miss our mom and dad, but doing something they loved helped us bring them along while experiencing the new normal. For you who read this, Happy New Year! To my brother, sister and the rest of the family, Happy New Normal. We survived one year.