Personal Trials

I have a friend who I hold in high esteem although we have not had the privilege of meeting in person yet.  We became phone and then online friends a few years ago when we were both in the midst of transitions and associated with the same ministry.  Now I keep up with her on social media and through her excellent blog, Everyday Derring Do.
Allie said this recently on her blogpost: “It has been a shadowy season. So many mornings the sun felt obscured and the earth surreal. I wished for an unbroken heart. And I worked for healing when breathing seemed too much to ask.”  This quote really resonated with me as we went through the ordeal of the last few months.  When trials seem to much to bear, when daily life is a struggle just to focus and keep putting one foot in front of the other, we must hang on to the One who offers hope and healing.  Even in the midst of pain and heartache, He will meet you.
I often find it easier to process my thoughts by writing.  Love your writing, Allie!  Keep it up – you have a beautiful way with words.  Like you, I find I can express myself better with pen and paper or virtual pen and paper.  Like you, I’m seeking God in the shadowy season.  I’m finding Him nearby even in the midst of one of the most difficult seasons of my life.

The Deli

The Deli

Picture this.  The main street of town ends in a “T” on the waterfront at the Bay.  This is a small town, a handful of shops and restaurants, and no chain stores (except maybe the hardware store but it retains its small town flavor).  At the bottom of the street is a small wharf where the ferry used to run across the bay until the bridge was built in 1969.  No matter, the area is still called East Ferry.

There is a small indy coffee shop with an outdoor patio overlooking the bay.  The town is, as yet, thankfully undiscovered.  My father went to the coffee shop every morning at 6:30 to meet his buddies.  They sat outside and chatted and worked crossword puzzles.  They had a community.   The friends were all in their seventies or older.  I stopped in recently on a Sunday and spoke to the baristas – they knew the schedule of this group – they would be in after church today according to the baristas.  I was hoping to say hello to the group, but I didn’t realize that, like many of their generation, they were faithful churchgoers.  I saw them in July and I’ll catch them next time.

Although my dad was an introvert, he almost never missed a day at the deli during his summers on the island.  In fact, last fall he was taken by ambulance to the hospital with a severe case of bronchitis.  He was not admitted, but the next day he stayed home.  The day after though, much to our surprise, he was at the deli – still feeling awful, but wanting that community.  In Florida, he didn’t have a group or a deli, but he started going to the clubhouse in the early morning and having coffee with the kitchen workers.  Gradually he built up a small community there as well.

I am blessed to have my own group of “dames at the deli” – once a week we meet for breakfast and fellowship.  But I think I might like to have a small town tradition of daily community at the deli.  I am coming to realize I may be missing out.

It's an honor to be there
Walking this sacred road

This morning my friend Sarah sits by the bedside of her father, one of the members of the deli group.  He is in hospice and his breathing is slowing down.  We exchanged text messages this morning encouraging one another on this difficult road as we journey alongside our loved ones as they pass from this world to the next.

We are privileged to have the time to honor the legacy of our fathers as they make the journey from this world.

Best Year Ever? Worst Year Ever?

2017 started out like many years – with me desiring to make the most of my time and energy. So I signed up for Michael Hyatt‘s course Best Year Ever.  I began the year with great goals and high productivity. I was excited about using time blocking to manage my time and increase my results. My personal and professional lives were going along swimmingly.

On April 3rd everything came to a screeching halt. Our daughter and my parents were in a horrific car accident. Thus began a four month ordeal that I will share more about in a future post. I spent weeks at a time in Florida with my family.

Is it?
Aqua Notes Inspiration

In my shower there hangs an Aqua Notes waterproof pad for jotting down great ideas that often come to me first thing in the morning. At the beginning of the year, I wrote on the top sheet “2017 BEST YEAR EVER.” Every time I came home from Florida, that paper would be staring me in the face each morning. I began to wonder if this was the Worst Year Ever.

Although I was tempted to cross out the word “Best” several times with a big X, I did not. I came to see that even in the midst of the worst ordeal of my life, there were still things to be thankful for. I tried to add to my 1000Gifts thankfulness journal. I held on to my faith and searched for moments of serenity amid the stress and exhaustion. I prayed like never before. I sought God and tried to continue to praise Him despite my circumstances.