Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mountain High, Valley Low: 2011 in Review

Part 3: Defining Moment

I attended a worship service on NYE. The subject of the pastor’s message was “Defining Moments”. His definition for a “defining moment” was as follows:

“an unexpected God arranged event that invades my life and brings me face to face with truth. The truth demands me to change.”

As I continue my review of what is now affectionately known as “last year”, I’ve come to my 2011 defining moment – the death of my father. Although daddy humbly lived with many health issues, the timing of his death could very well be classified as an “unexpected God arranged event…” Within only a couple of months prior to his death he’d celebrated his 73rd birthday, slipped by a cancer scare, and enjoyed the enhanced vision benefits of cataract surgery on one eye. He was excited about having surgery on his second eye, as well.

I had the blessed opportunity to ride in a motor vehicle (a big ol’ suburban, I might add) with daddy behind the wheel, PRE-cataracts surgery. It was father’s day weekend, and daddy wanted to go to South Carolina to buy peaches. I get so tickled when I think about how he slowed down seemingly a mile before an intersection, because depending on how the sun was shining he may or may NOT have been able to see the color of the traffic signal. LOL….OMG, and when he told me I’d have to help him read the street signs…. I was torn between falling on the floor laughing and not moving a muscle in fear!! Needless to say, I drove us back home.

All things considered, dad was doing pretty darn well. 🙂

“….an unexpected God arranged event that invades my life…”

Death of a loved one certainly does have a way of invading your life, bringing you face to face with a truth that demands you to change. At least that’s been my experience.

I can’t say I’ve been surprised by any truth about myself that’s floated to the surface since my daddy passed away. On rare occasions (when I’m strong enough to acknowledge it) I admit to myself I’m not sure where I’d be had this defining moment not occurred when it did. Now I can’t lie. I sat in church on NYE asking the Lord, “Couldn’t you have done it another way?” God’s sovereignty is most certainly the most challenging aspect of His character to grasp.

So, I’m doing my best in this season to grab hold of truth as it is uncovered and ask the Lord to help me change whatever needs to be changed. Right now my motivation, if nothing else, is simply to do so in loving memory of my dad.

Happy New Year daddy! I miss you bunches and love you even more!

 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012!

Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to the start of a brand spanking New Year. Are you excited about 2012? I hope you are.

At the end of 2010 I decided to do a few little neat things for myself to commemorate the dawning of a new year. To make things even more fun, I decided to make a bit of a tradition out of it and do some of those same things at the end of 2011. Check it out:

  1. Hair: Of course hair will always be on this list. I went to the same stylist I visited at the end of 2010. She’s turned out to be a keeper. Although EVERYONE ELSE seems to enjoy my new do, I must admit this time around I wasn’t too thrilled. I needed a major trim. You know how you need something but you may not be ready for it when you get it? Well that’s me, MOSTLY when it comes to my hair.
  2. Eyebrows/Manicure: I neglected the nails this time around, but took care of my eyebrows.  I actually endured my threading ritual BEFORE hitting up my scissor happy stylist, and boy am I glad I did! A little brow work helps, sometimes, when the hair is a little, shall I say, different from what I’m used to.
  3. Pajamas: NEW JAMMIES!!! Oh yes! The new jammies are most certainly my favorite repeat from my new New Years Eve tradition started in 2010. I plunked down my dollars for a pink and black set this year. I chose it because I’ve decided to make pink the main color for my BIG, milestone birthday year. Trust me. You’ll get to hear more about the birthday later. 😉
  4. Journal:  Last but not least is my new journal. I purchased two, actually. I found a super cute one with a butterfly hologram cover. Then, while visiting another store I ran across this one:

 The cover reads:

 

Envision Greatness.

Laugh out loud and often.

Seize every opportunity.

Don’t wait for tomorrow.

Think freely.

Be creative.

Today is the day.

Make your heart sing.

I highlighted (in pink, of course) a few of the words I like. Good stuff!

Finally, I rounded out 2011 by attending a New Years Eve worship service at the church home of a couple of my friends. The person who nudged me during service (because I was SOOOOO sleepy), held my hand during prayer at midnight, hugged me, kissed me and wished me a Happy New Year”……well he was indeed the most special blessing of 2011 and a pretty darn sweet addition to my new year’s eve tradition. 🙂 I humbly pray the Lord will continue to lead us both.

Again, happy new year everyone! I’ll continue this week with Mountain High, Valley Low: 2011 in Review. In the meantime:

Do you have any special NYE/NYD traditions you look forward to at the close of each year? How did you ring in 2012?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Mountain High, Valley Low: 2011 in Review

Part 2: She Speaks

Hey! Glad you stopped by for more of Mountain High, Valley Low: 2011 in Review.

What a year, right? This year, I finally had the opportunity to attend a conference I’d wanted to attend since 2005 – the She Speaks Conference presented by Proverbs 31 Ministries.

I don’t think I can ever again express my thoughts and feelings surrounding my attendance any better than I did in the post I wrote entitled The Epicenter of Destiny. Click here if you missed it.

The conference was transformational, to say the least. While confirming the desire I’ve had for years regarding becoming a published author, at the same time, it changed my thinking about things like what my personal path to publishing may look like and who God’s intended audience may be. Those things are still taking shape, even as this year comes to an end and the next one awaits its cue to begin.

My experience at She Speaks compelled me to ask myself probing questions like, “Do I want to be a New York Times best-selling author?” Absolutely! “Will I keep writing even if I never make it?” Yes, I will. “Will my measure of success be number of books or number of lives, understanding that lives weigh far more than books?”

Hmmm, good stuff, huh?

The prayer room was no doubt the highlight of the conference. It blessed me so much that I had to write about it over two posts. Click here and here if you missed them. Each name of the 650 attendees was individually affixed to a name of God, chosen by the She Speaks staff and lovingly prayed over by them, as well. My name was attached to Jehovah, the great I AM!

The words written below the name were:

 “I Am”: The one who is the self-existent One

God never changes. His promises never fail. When we are faithless, He is faithful. We need to obey Him.

Exodus 3:14, Exodus 6:2-4, Exodus 34:5-7, Psalm 102

About nine days after attending the conference my father died. Sometimes I still can’t believe it. Needless to say, now more than ever, I need to be reminded that God never changes, His promises never fail, He is faithful and by His grace, strength and power I will be able to keep moving.

So, will I attend She Speaks again in 2012? I’m strongly considering it (Writers conferences aren’t cheap, my friend, lol). If I do choose to go, I’ll be better prepared and more aware of what to expect. These days, I’m boiling over with ideas for program and curricula. One of my most pressing goals for 2012 is to get these ideas on paper in a Habakkuk 2:2 kind of way by July. Who knows? Maybe next year someone will read them and want to run with me to help bring them to pass.