a recap/2016

We rang in 2016 on a sandy beach, blowing off firecrackers, watching candled lanterns floating out over the ocean, and of course burning our Christmas tree. I was pregnant with our third baby and we were just gearing up for the busiest part of the season at our little, coastal cafe. For the first time in 5 seasons we were able to breathe during the height of the busyness and in the evenings we moseyed into town to catch live blues, soft rock, or reggae bands which munching on fiery peanuts and sipping cold beers. We made it to pool volleyball and out to the beach during the week. We began to dream about what next year would be like when our staff would be trained to roast coffee and we had even more free time.

But first we were headed stateside for a break from the extreme heat of summer and to welcome our new baby. It was still dropping below freezing when we arrived and we quickly learned to bundle up and sit in the sun when possible. Soon the temperatures warmed and the best of spring arrived, and with it’s full moon Liam arrived as well. We were now a family of five living with friends, Papa working a job, and kiddos playing hard and naked all day in the summer sun. As we made plans to return to our beach town in the fall something unexpected happened. We were offered a new life. In one quiet sentence: “Why don’t you stay?” we were given a choice, an opportunity. In retrospect, I see how over the years Ben and I have mostly taken the opportunity, said “yes”. ¬†And still it has never been an easy decision to make. This one was no exception.

The fall found us house hunting, house finding, house decorating, and home making. We settled in at the end of October and spent a somewhat tumultuous holiday season shuttling back and forth from our new home to visit family and Ben made a trip to Mexico to set up a managing staff for our cafe. And all of a sudden it was New Year’s Eve again.

We had a bonfire, shot off bottle rockets, and burned our Christmas tree. Then we put the kids to bed and things got quiet. What a year… a new baby, a new home, a new job, new friends, new food, a new president, a new culture. It was exhausting and we drank bubbly, kissed, and fell into bed. 2017 had arrived.

Advertisements

Reflections

I’ve been reflecting on this past year, waiting for some illumination that will allow me to see what it all meant and how to take the next step into 2016 gracefully. As of yet, I have not been given that gift.

It was the most difficult year of my life. That much I can say. It was a “run of bad luck,” a “difficult season.” But what was it all for? Someone asked me recently if I feel that I’ve totally recovered from the stress and I felt the tears sting my eyes. I still ask “why” and wait in the silence. I know that I am recovering and that I am still living with doubts.

There are other things that I know.

I know that the songs that I clung to through the months still sing out truth: You are a good, good Father. I know that I came to know Jesus in a way I didn’t before. His silence slowly became a presence instead of an absence; one that held me. I know that the prayer I prayed in June, when I was calling it a year of blessing – before the miscarriage, before the loss of the roaster, before the anxiety, depression, loneliness, despair – is still true.

Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is. ~ Elizabeth Elliot

I don’t have any new year’s resolutions to write out tomorrow. I learned this year that all my carefully laid plans, all my best intentions, my hopes, desires, dreams are not in my hands at all. That trusting is way more than I ever imagined. I know now that walking in grace is not always a comfortable thing. Sometimes it’s like giving birth: painful and joyful and a hell of a lot of work.

It’s not that I am not dreaming anymore. In fact, I know no other way of living but with dreams and plenty of them. It’s just that my heart got wrung out this year and I feel more like slipping into 2016 through the back door, quietly.

When I float my paper lantern out over the ocean tonight it will be with a quiet soul. I am not celebrating the end of this year, even if it was a difficult one. I feel I am moving away from something that is a big part of me without really realizing what that something is; maybe that’s why I’m hesitant to just move on, look to the year ahead.

When I light the candle in my paper lantern and the breeze carries it over the wide ocean I will remember all that this year brought and all that I tried to push away from me with my puny strength. I will remember that it takes constant attention to keep my hands outstretched for whatever God gives. I will remember that I have no idea what 2016 will bring and I will trust that there will be a Presence with me all the way.

 

new year

2012 went by so fast and so full! A new baby, a new brother-in-law, a new house, a new roaster… So much to be thankful for. I can only imagine what 2013 might hold!

I am in the process of charting out this new year. I like to have a vision, a list of goals, a verse or passage to focus on. I don’t always meet my goals and I often lose sight of my vision but I find it helpful to organize myself just a little bit before starting something new.

Since we opened the cafe I have been sorely missing my quiet times. It is definitely a goal to find a time of solace, a time of quiet. A place where I can put away the day’s thoughts and troubles and bring out the creative thoughts, the prayers, the listening. Ah, the listening. I have been trying to listen in the midst of all the daily activity but, man, it’s not easy.

I think I’ve finally decided that my word for 2013 is purpose.

  • I need to purpose in my heart to prioritize things that are getting away from me. Or rather, those things I am letting slip by.
  • I want to purpose to be the woman that I want to be, the woman I have been created to be. Wife, Mama, Friend. Jesus follower.
  • I must purpose to keep the star shining brightly before me, keep my eyes on that star that announced the most amazing, glorious thing in history. Emmanuel, God with us.

winter 006

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. On the day I called, you answered me, my strength of soul you increased. . . The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. ~ Psalm 138, ESV

This lady over here is helping me tremendously and she can probably encourage your heart as well.

This is the meal we’ve been enjoying repeatedly!

This is the song that has been playing everyday and now even into the new year.

I am building my reading list for 2013. Any suggestions?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

~