2016: Year in Review

There have been times in my life when I’ve had an overwhelming sense to do everything I can to remember the moment. Sometimes the moments have been big, life altering events like my children’s births or the death of a loved one. Other times the moments are found among mundane everyday tasks. Moments that stand out as special, holy gifts. In good and bad moments, I have commanded myself to stop, take a good look around, listen, and pay attention to the people who are with me. Then I pray. I pray my careful observations will become a memory or a lasting impression on my heart in which I can always feel.

Over Christmas break, we traveled to my brother’s house where we gathered with my family. Our family lives in several different states making times when we are all together very rare and special. It was loud and crazy. There was food, a lot of food. There was dancing, singing, praying, and playing with the kids. And food, more food. There was a whole lot of talking and a whole lot of love.

While we were together, I couldn’t help but think about what it was like for my Grandma, Mom and Dad, to be surrounded by a family they started. A bittersweet mix of the golden memories of the past and forging new ones in the present to be remembered for a future time. Missing loved ones and celebrating life in their children and grandchildren. A job well done, children reared, overcoming hard times and celebrating the good times. All this wrapped up in this thing called life.

One night my brother-in-law called us into the living room to watch a video he put together of clips he had taken of his family throughout the year. He captured the big moments and the small ones and masterly put them together complete with touching music. With my family, I watched a year fly by in about three minutes. I was struck with how much of our daily worries and what we think is big stuff, really isn’t and how the small touches, details, and love in life are really what mean the most. All those little moments collected together to mean something very big. It is not the things or even the places, it’s the people that make life worthwhile and meaningful.

My brother-in-law’s video inspired me to reflect back on my year. I went through hundreds and hundreds of pictures and picked out the most meaningful captures. When I look at these pictures, I see a common theme. My word for 2016 was community. These pictures represent so many of the special communities I am part of. God has richly blessed me through this word and my heart is so full thinking of His kindness and His gift to me in people. I was going to add captions but then changed my mind. For those of you who were with me, I hope these pictures spark a special memory or a special moment for you. Thank you, thank you all for being a part of my life, praying for me, and inspiring me to be the best woman, mother, and leader I can be. I love you dearly!  Happy New Year! ❤

January- Subways and Skiing

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February- School, Snow, Sunsets

 

March- Family

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Road trip to my brother’s house where we met up with my sister, my parents, and Gammy. We do not get to see each other often so these trips are important and special time.

April- Wonder and Discoveries

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May- New Friends and Callings

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June- Overcoming Fears and Heights

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July- Gammy on the Go

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August- ADVENTURE

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September- New Beginnings

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October- Incredible Opportunities with Incredible Women

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November-SHINE…Together

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December- Home is Where the Heart Is

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Here’s to 2017….

2017

The Courage Key

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“MOMMMMMM!!! WE NEED YOUR COURAGE KEYYYYY!!!”

“WHAT???!!!!” I yelled from the kitchen.

“YOUR MOPS Courage Key!” The girls came bouncing into the room. “The  downstairs bedroom door got locked. We need to get in and the MOPS key is the only one that works.”

“Ummm…girls, my courage key is not a real key. It is just pretty necklace and charm. It it cannot open the door.”  I tried to say this as gently as I could so not to deflate their enthusiasm.

“Yes, it can! We have used it before and we need it again!” My girls were confident and not the least bit concerned with my disbelief. They knew how to solve the problem and I was the only one getting in the way of their solution.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go try.”

It turns out that my girls were right. My MOPS Courage Key and a lot of other real keys can open the locked bedroom door. This new bit of knowledge will save me the time and hassle of searching the house for a bobby pin or a screwdriver that it small enough to fit in the door’s tiny, awkward slot and release the lock.

I have wasted so much time looking for things that would unlock “doors.” “Doors” that I have shut and locked with anxiety, my insecurities and fear. Doors that have been held shut by the “what ifs?” and “I can’ts” or the “Is it worth the risks?” Past disappointments and present confusion add to the tangled mess of locked emotions. I have tried releasing the locks with keys that I have forged out of my own power, strength and control. Those keys have not worked. They have only left me more anxious, frustrated and tired.

There is one key that never fails. God.

Faith is the key that unlocks the door and courage is the key that helps you walk through it. Courage that is manifested through faith. Hope that is discovered through courage.

Sometimes I find myself asking God, “But it doesn’t look like the key?” or ” How is this going to work?” “Is this key the right one?”  And  I hear God whisper patiently to me, “Trust me. Have you tried it yet?”

Faith and courage doesn’t mean that you will not experience failure or pain. It is not a promise that things will be easy and every “door” you walk through will open into a  “room” that will be comfortable and warm. Courage takes strength to venture and persevere. 1  Courage in faith can help you go from confusion to clarity.  From captive to free. From stuck to unstoppable.

I am willing to guess that I am not the only one who has locked doors. Or the only one standing in the way of a solution.  Let’s stop wasting time and start unlocking doors with faith, starting with the door to our heart. Let’s allow God and the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to help us depend on His strength (not our own) and start living the bravest versions of ourselves.  Grab your keys and walk through those doors!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

 

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