Looking Back on Spring 2018

When I started blogging one of the first writing practices I took hold of was joining and linking up with author Emily P Freeman to allow for a moment of reflection at the end of the month or season.

Themes, patterns, small joys, surprises, struggles, graces and miracles are among the things I paused to pay attention to. 

It's a way that makes me feel connected to the pulse and rhythms of my own life and to God's spirit moving in midst of the minutes, the days, the weeks, the months, and the seasons. After all we are in it together, co-authors, along with the body of Christ. I am always curious what will be written on the next page. It' s exciting to watch and be apart of the unfolding story.

 

themes & patterns: begin again & the number four

I want to remember Spring of 2018 started with a book; Begin Again by Leeana Tankersley. A gracious provision of encouragement and kindness, thank you Leanna. I was given the opportunity to be on her book launch team, and it truly was a manna moment for me. 

I want to talk to you about how beginning again helps us live moment to moment, all the while nudging us, gently, on our journey of transformation. Without it, we get stuck. Beginning again invites us out of all the various corners we’d prefer to stay in; safety, swirling, shame, striving, scarcity, shoulds... to name a few.
— Begin Again, Leeana Tankersley

Also, I want to remember this season as the Spring of the number 4;

"Ask Oliver what number he wants on his t-ball uniform." My husband said over the phone. "Somebody already picked 12."  (my husband's football number in high school) 

"Oliver what number do you want to have on your t-ball uniform?"  With simple clarity and confidence he tells me "Four because I am four years old." 

It's been a season of end of the year pre-k picnics, t-ball games (Oliver's first team sport) which my mother-in-law refers to as "swarm ball", rightly so. The outfielders run in all the way past the pitcher's mound for a full on pile up to get to the ball. Repeat a zillion times. It's been a season of so much cute quirkiness that four year olds bring! 

This past weekend I asked him if he wanted to ride the bus next year. 

My mom, his Gigi, chimes in "That's a big step." And to be honest I agree too, as I hold onto my own reservations of him riding a bus!

But, oh Oliver, he says: 

"It's fine Gigi, I will be five." "There is a big step, but they have a rail."

Heart melting! Sigh they are just so sweet. 

It's also been the Spring of the number 4; because we found out that our family of 3 is becoming a family of 4. I am due in December.

And so it's been a Spring of excitement coupled with major nausea and tiredness, way more so than I experienced with Oliver. It's why the blog has been quiet and my house has been messy and I've been home resting more than normal.

But I can feel my energy returning again, and I have had a few days of relief recently.

Also, on April 4th my niece was born! Georgia Maxine. She is the first grand-daughter for the Hirshburg's (my in-laws). Linda, my mother-in-law has 3 sons and 2 grandsons, and now she finally has a grand-daughter. 

 

small joys: connections that carry us through

Morning sickness, which was actually WAY worse at night, and lots of exhaustion kept me from accomplishing that much this Spring. I did pull off two custom house portraits though- right before I really started feeling sick. 

Sometimes you are just trying to get through a season, let the time pass please. What helped me immensely was both a daily dose of kindness and something super sweet to look forward to in the beginning of May. 

First, I don't know if you've ever dealt with chronic illness, but there were several years in my life where I was more isolated and lonely than normal because of chronic neck pain. The upbeat caring assistants and secretaries at the chiropractor's office that I saw weekly became kind companions for that season of my life. Even just a little hello and small talk went a long way and brought some much needed connection to my day! So this past month, when I was at home more than normal feeling icky (before I finally broke down and asked the doctor for some nausea medicine) I would still need to pick up Oliver at school. As his teachers helped buckle him up everyday they would ask how I was feeling or we would just talk about the weather or weekend plans. It was so nice! Never underestimate the small connections we make each day with others!

Also, in May I went on a short trip to celebrate my Grandma's 90th birthday. I got to connect with family I don't see often. This included my two adorable one year old nieces Gouldie and Zealynn!

What's better medicine to the soul than two adorable curly headed toddlers? The joys of being an Aunt!

Also, it was so special to celebrate my Grandma, Faith Fouch, and tell her about her 9th great-grandchild coming in December.

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Lessons in Trust FROM MY UNCLE MIKE

It was Mother's Day brunch on Sunday. My uncles, aunts, cousin, brothers, sister-in-laws, nephews, and nieces were there to celebrate my Grandmother's 90th birthday. 

We all took turns standing up to share something special.

When it was my Uncle Mike's turn to speak, he didn't stand, but stayed seated, a reflection of his humble, quiet, reserved personality; though often accompanied with wit and humor. Mike is the one who faithfully mows Grandma's yard year after year; his quiet acts of service are a blessing and his words that day encouraged us all.

He opened up to us by sharing something more personal than usual for him. He shared how for so long he used to worry specifically about his job and finances. He works in construction, building and remodeling homes, like my Grandpa did, and my husband does now, as well as owning a few rentals homes like we also do. 

He said it was just recently he was able to finally let go of the constant worry. 

One day as he listened to my Grandma tell story after story of God's faithfulness and provision in her life, his trust began to grow. No not everything is easy or turns out just right, but God's faithfulness carried my Grandma through her 90 years in many ways. Her testimonies, specific and personal, are a priceless gift to all of our family.

This Spring we had two homes that needed renters and a baby on the way. My Uncle Mike's word of encouragement was so timely for us. And I had the chance to put into practice my faith and trust in God's provision, and in letting go of worry. 

I am thankful to say, we now have both homes rented out for the next year. 

I want to remember the way the Lord provided for us in the Spring of 2018; with words of encouragement and with renters for our homes.

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5 Questions to ask at the end of each season

If you would like to join me in this practice you don't need a blog, maybe just a journal a few moments set aside to look back.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself;

  1. Did you notice any themes to this season of your life? 
  2. What small joys helped carry you through?
  3. What struggles did you face?
  4. Where did you see God's provision or grace in this season?
  5. What lessons learned or bits of wisdom gained do you want to be intentional about remembering and carrying with you into the next season?