A Year of New Beginnings

I am participating in this month’s synchroblog (a blog where numerous bloggers blog on the same topic) which can be found at http://synchroblog.wordpress.com. This month’s synchroblog topic is posing this: To kick off the year for the Synchroblog, let’s blog about highlights of the past year, things that stirred us, shaped us, moved us. Things we loved doing and seeing and experiencing. Things that were hard but good. Things that were fun. Things we don’t want to forget. It might be your favorite post from last year or a list of highlights or a specific event. It’s a blank slate, but let’s look back together and remember. 

2014 was a year of new beginnings for me. Actually the new journey began in 2013, but towards the end of 2013 so really looking back I feel like 2014 was a year of change for me. In November of 2013, I finished a call to a church, packed up and moved 5 hours away, closer to my momma. (What a gift that has been!)

A year ago, in January of 2014, I found myself living in my very own house. (I rent it but it is so much better than living in an apartment.) It has been such a joy to make this place my own! I slowly found myself adjusting to this new normal. I definitely felt God calling me to this place, but it was also very difficult to leave the relationships I had created over the course of seven years and to make new friendships here. That, for me, was one of the hardest and scariest things that I had to do this past year.

Luckily I had amazing people who introduced me to others. And I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly blessed I have been this past year with amazing friendships. It still has been hard to say goodbye to those friendships I made while at my last call. I met with my friend CT for the first time last February. We spent close to two hours chatting and only quit because she had to go pick up her daughter. We met again the next Monday and spent another hour plus talking. And when I was on vacation in August, they let me camp out at their house since I live so close to the church.

Along with CT, I have gotten to know KG, EG, KW and SH. These girls are in so many ways my soul sisters. I love them to pieces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I think you get the point!) I also got to know MW as well. MW and KW moved last Spring and we have missed them every day since.

Throughout 2014, I continued to find my new normal. And feel like this place is finally home for me! I love my call. And have been blessed to serve among amazing colleagues and individuals. God indeed guided me to this place. I was completely overwhelmed this last month during the holiday season by the many who blessed me with cards and so much more. It truly is hard to put into words how much this means to me.

Being closer to my mom has meant getting to spend so much more time with her. She lives less than an hour away so I can drive to her events. For the last two Christmas parties at the nursing home, I have been able to attend them with her. What a joy that has been! Mom even is able to ride the city bus to my town a few times. It’s great because the bus driver will drop her off and pick her up wherever that needs to be. My mom, sister, and I even got to spend a day together at the North Dakota State Fair this summer.

The ND State Fair was a fun time! My sister stayed with me and we had so much fun. Racing pigs, cotton candy, country music, and so much more. We even got to see some of our favorite musicians Florida Georgia Line and Brad Paisley. (One of the highlights in 2015 will be going on a sisters trip to Nashville together! My sister surprised me at Christmas!)

In October, I got to go to the Pacific Northwest for the first time for the ELCA Diaconal Ministry gathering. It was so much fun and I treasure the time I get to spend with my dear diaconal brothers and sisters. Also in October, I participated for the first time in the #write31 days challenge as well as in my first synchroblog. I chose to blog about Mental Illness and my families journey with mental illness. It was something that was extremely scary but also is something that I knew I needed to do. I am glad to say that I completed that challenge and was blessed by it in so many ways. I even had the opportunity to guest post on several new blogging friends blogs.

The end of the year brought about some vacation time which was wonderful. I even got to preach at my home congregation on Christmas Day. It was such a joy to spend time with my family. I hadn’t been home since last Christmas. And New Years was also spent with the family. My Dad, sister, and I went on a movie date and saw Unbroken. New Years Day was also spent with the family playing our favorite card game Rook.

Wow!!! What a year 2014 has been! It definitely was a year of change and new beginnings. It also was a year in which I grew into my #oneword365 for 2014 “gentle.” As I look back, I know that I am a much gentler person than I was a year ago. I also know that I was blessed in so many ways in 2014. So looking back and now looking forward, I know that God is with me every step of the way. My oneword365 for 2015 is brave (I shake in my boots every time I type that word) but I pray for God to guide and bless 2015 as I live into that word for this year.

This blog was written in conjunction with a SynchroBlog on the topic “Looking Back, Looking Forward.” Bloggers looking back and looking forward this month:

Sunday Blessings 63

(1) More road tripping with the sis

(2) Time with Gma and Gpa

(3) Spending time with my sister, aunt and uncle.

(4) Movie date to see Unbroken with my sis and Dad

(5) Receiving my replacement phone so quickly

(6) Texting a few friends at midnight

(7) Watching the Rose Bowl Parade with my sis and C

(8) New Years Day Fun with the family

(9) A mailbox overflowing with mail; Christmas cards, #fmfpartysnailmail and so much more.

(10) A good day for a road trip back home

(11) A couple of Confirmation youth coming up for the children’s sermon at the 830 am service. It was a light worship attendance; not many kids.

(12) Lots of people glad to see me back today

(13) A text from a friend letting me know I sounded mighty fine on the radio this am

(14) Christening my new waffle maker! Yum!!

(15) Texting with my dear friend MW

(16) Talking to my momma on the phone

(17) An unexpected call from a Dilworth parishioner. So fun to hear from her!

(18) My sister texting me to let me know that the kitties like their Christmas present. In fact Tigger likes it so much. She didn’t want to share!

The Cowardly Lion and Being Brave (My One Word 365 for 2015)

My friend Ben aka “the little brother I always wanted” has always been a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz. I don’t know what it is about the movie; the fantasy, the imagination, the good guys winning, etc that is his favorite. Whatever the reason, I have come to really enjoy this movie as well. Yes, there are many scary aspects to the movie but the scary stuff is outweighed by the good stuff! 🙂

I love all the characters in the movie, but my fave is the cowardly lion; this one who is in need of courage. Yet when they come to the wizard, the wizard tells him that he has always had “courage.”

As a reminder, this is what the Wizard said to the cowardly lion, “As for you, my fine friend — you’re a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You’re confusing courage with wisdom! Back where I come from though we have men who are called heroes. Once a year, they take their fortitude out of mothballs and parade it down the main street of the city. And they have no more courage than you have. But — They have one thing that you haven’t got! A medal! Therefore, for meritorious conduct, extraordinary valor, conspicuous bravery against Wicked Witches, I award you the Triple Cross. You are now a member of the Legion of Courage!” (Wizard of Oz; imdb.com)

The lion stands his ground many times throughout the movie. I want to be more like the cowardly lion! So my friends, with that in mind, my oneword 365 for 2015 is “brave.” According to Mirriam Webster’s dictionary, the word brave as an adjective is defined as: “having or showing courage,” or “making a fine show.” And then as a verb, it means “to face or endure with courage” or “obsolete; to make showy.” The word brave also is a noun “one who is brave.” Each of these definitions hit me in the gut. Last year my one word 365 was gentle and I was definitely shaped by that word. However there were a few times last year when I thought my one word should have been “courage.”

And this year, I feel like my word “brave” chose me. It is one of those words that just kept coming back to me and I knew it was meant to be my word this year. It is a word that was a huge part of my write 31 days journey. I think often being brave also means being vulnerable! I am excited (and perhaps even a little scared) to see where brave will lead me in 2015.

I don’t need a medal. However I’ll admit that it would be pretty cool to own my very own medal! I need to show courage. I am not sure what that might look like. But I do hope that I am able to parade with courage; with bravery. As a single 36 year old female, I am tired of waiting for my Mr. Right. I am weary. I yearn so deeply to be a momma. Perhaps being brave for me will mean looking at other options; adoption, etc. I have no idea where this word will lead me in 2015 but I do know that it will shape me and who I am. And I will continue to pray for the ways that God might shape me as I live into this word this year.

And I think this song by  Sara Barielles will be my oneword theme song for this year! It’s such a catchy video and song…and I indeed want to be brave!

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2014

Hi Friends! Glad to be back here blogging again. Had a great time with my family over Christmas! Looking back over the past year…these are the top ten blog posts here at Praying on the Prairie. Enjoy!

(10) A Broken Heart—“For I am sure that neither death nor life…nor anything else…will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” I read these words and I know that they are true. Yet at times like this when we hear of another school shooting, I find myself having a hard time trusting in them….

(9) Being Brave—What am I doing? Yep that is the thought that is swirling in my head today as I begin day one of the #write31days challenge. I have blogged for a month on my blog before but never on one single topic. And the topic that I am choosing to write on for my first time is not an easy topic to talk about either….

(8)Still Waiting For My Happily Ever After—“Happily ever after”. As a little girl, that is how all those fairytales I watched seemed to end. The princess always seemed to find her Prince Charming. The bad guy always seemed to be defeated and the good guy always seemed to come out on top…

(7) Dear Grief—Dear grief, You find a way into my head and my heart especially during this holiday season…

(6) A Season of Singleness—This is not at all how I imagined my life! Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be a mom. My sister and I would play with our Cabbage Patch dolls. We would spend hours playing with our dolls and caring for them like a mother cares for her child/children…

(5) Breaking the Silence—“I think I am going to have a nervous breakdown. I 
cannot begin to tell you how these ten words grate on my nerves. For me it is 
like fingernails on a chalkboard. I want to turn to the person who ignorantly has 
said them and reply with “No, you don’t want to. I can tell you all about what it is like”…..

(4) My First Ever Guest Post—Hi friends! I am participating in my first ever 
guest post today…

(3) 31 Days On—My friend Anna who blogs at Girl with Blog introduced me to the 
31 Days challenge which was started at the Nesting Place. The idea is to blog for 31 
days straight on one topic. Wooo….31 days on one single topic. That’s a lot of writing…
but for some reason, I was feeling especially compelled to try it this year….

(2) Out of the Pit—“Keep in touch with it because it is at those moments of pain where
you are most open to the pain of other people – most open to your own deep places. Keep in touch with those sad times because…..

(1) Sunday Blessings #18—Talking to a dear friend on messenger from my previous congregation; That same friend telling me how hard it is to fill my shoes. (Made me feel good)….