Lets say our life has been “flying by” with many opportunities for travel this year. “Flying” is literal as well as metaphorical as we’ve traveled to California, Madeira, Gibraltar, Spain, Netherlands and Israel.
We’ve also been dealing with some work related injuries that have required casts as well as surgery. Life is changing and “normal” is being recreated. Maybe retirement is much closer on the horizon than we had thought.
We spent a good portion of the summer getting an airbanb functional called “Fiddle Family Farm”and “A Quiet Country Lane Cabin”. The details to attend to for those projects left me with little time or energy to write. A challenge with the septic system also prevented our attending Fiddle Camp this year but that was more than made up for from the week long visit and help of friends from Texas. (Who knew that a four inch septic pipe protruding from the cement floor in the garage would not be connected to the septic tank?!?!)
In October, Jeff and I made the drive to Oregon to attend the Oregon Christian Writers Conference. Since I like to write, play music with and for people, teach as well as other things and Jeff has been working for 32 years , we may well be ready for something new. At the conference, we met many people with stories to tell. I like to tell stories and I like to laugh. Somehow it helps get through the hard things of life.
One point of the conference that stood out was to get your writing out there. It is easy to feel like it is not good enough or that timing isn’t right. Life keeps happening! Maybe we want the story to have a neat ending that we can wrap up with a bow. Unfortunately, things like the unexpected death of a young friend or the expected death of an old and respected friend and mentor really mess up our best laid plans. Health challenges of our own or a family member sometimes make us feel inadequate and unprepared for the “job”. Another point that was put out there is, that if God gives us a story to tell and we don’t tell it, who will?
Yet God is faithful and brings encouragement from unexpected sources. This year in my Bible Study Fellowship group, we started with the book of Joshua. Joshua is told, “Only be strong and very courageous. Be careful to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded you. Don’t turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This scroll of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make you way prosperous, and then you shall have good success. Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ” Joshua 1:7-9 Coincidentally at the opening of the conference, these verses were read as part of the worship time. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
This passage encouraged me to launch our second “airbanb” cabin in the middle of September even though it didn’t have TV or wifi and it was the end of the season. Without these amenities I was told that no one would want to stay there. Bing! Someone booked it the very next day. People have booked it at least two more weekends and it has become a haven for a family dealing with a moldy house.
Change in life is inevitable. We have a lot to sort through. Our goal is to listen to God’s voice on our journey through His Word to confirm the direction we are to go.
Counting my blessings and things I am thankful for also help me on my journey. Sometimes the details are so overwhelming that there are no simple answers and it feels like there is no road map to follow. My friend, Pam Farrel, co-author of “Men Are Like Waffles and Women Are Like Spaghetti”, encourages people to “Choose Joy” when life gets overwhelming and complicated. That idea comes from Nehemiah 8:10 “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Some things I am thankful for: an unusually warm and beautiful October and November with gorgeous leaves and flowers, my family working well together through their challenges, my husbands time off from work to heal his shoulder and his broken hand, doctors who are working to help him, an excellent Bible Study with Bible Study Fellowship that welcomes people from all over the world to come and learn about God through His Word via local classes or on the internet, the hospitality of good friends who let us stay in their house even though they are out of town, unexpected visits with other friends, hummingbirds that feed among the fuchsia bushes and the juniper in the yard, conversations with my family and friends sharing ideas, stories and ideas. I must not forget the Thanksgiving conference at Cannon Beach with my family and friends.
Psalm 27:1 was also read at the conference: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of who shall I be afraid?” Overall, a very good couple of months full of unexpected blessings. Perhaps the best is yet to come!