Good Morning! It is a grey, almost rainy morning here at Meadow Lane, and I am thinking of 2022 a little, of course. I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and I know it went by as fast as ours! We did have a nice day, and many good laughs and delicious chili... Some understand and some don't, but I really love having chili for Christmas. My parents liked to make two kinds of soup, and one of them was always Oyster Stew, which is a personal no for my son and me... so we just go with the one kind. I enjoy a day with just nothing to do in the kitchen whatsoever now and then. If we had lots of people, I would probably add in the Little Smokies and chips and dip and sliders... but we were set.
So, with a little tidge of that after-Christmas Blues, I am thinking about Friday and Saturday and the dawn of another new year. All I know is that, Lord Willing, it will be another quiet weekend in our family. Year two of "you-know-what" and really is there ever going to be an end? I don't know, but my prayers are that we will see a healing and a return to better days.
And so I come to the time of year when I choose a Word of the Year. Those of you who have read my blog a while know I always choose one, and sometimes I don't even remember it by the close of the trip around the sun. 2021 saw me choose Whimsy.... and that was just exactly what I experienced. Hmmmm.... prophecy or just coincidence? I had some wonderful experiences and some sobering and scary ones. We experienced better health... and worse health.. Old Dickens got it right when it was the best of times and the worst of times (although I can't really say we had any worst of times. Others did, though, and my empathy really was taxed.)
"Jesus turned and saw her. 'Take heart, daughter,' he said. 'Your faith has healed you.' And the woman was healed at that moment."
I just absolutely love that verse. I think it speaks directly to my heart because I so loved being a daughter. I miss that role, that relationship so much. I love being a mother so much, and I had fun being a teacher, a granddaughter, so many things. (I can't say my role as a wife brings much satisfaction because I really flubbed that up... twice) But DAUGHTER? I really thrived as a daughter to two fine parents who have never really left me... Of course, I charge forward every day in a cheerful (usually) manner, and I don't try to be melancholy because they were not like that, and they wouldn't appreciate it in me. But to hear those words from scripture and realize that I am STILL a daughter? It makes me happy.
And so that leads to my WOTY, Word of the Year for 2022:
Encourage. It just fits there so well, don't you think? I need encouragement myself, and Heaven knows most of my friends and family need it, too. If I can't be encouraged, how will I ever be able to be an encourager? And that is a role I have been nominated to do time and time again. I think I have run on empty a few years and lived off the reserves of courage and a spirit that seemed to bubble, then gurgle, then kinda trickle with encouragement. I love helping others feel better if I can. All those years as a teacher seemed one huge chain of encouragement after another... and I don't want to hang up a sign that says, "Closed for repairs." or worse yet "Gone out of Business. Supply unattainable." lol...
Think one of my first tasks is spiritual replenishment and a good self-study of the things in my life that naturally encourage and discourage me. I already started that last week, and I'm a little surprised at some of my findings. Likely I will be sharing them (aren't you all the lucky ones?). Some will seem shallow, and some may seem a bit more grounded in God and holy endeavors. I hope so anyway.
I have plenty to do to keep me busy today. I hope to see my kitchen table surface again. It has been temporarily hijacked to hold mountains of just about everything from the one batch of homemade cookies I allowed us (Hello, Dollies!) to Christmas cards to bills to snippets and junk from drawers I've started to clear out to make way for the coming onslaught of Organization that needs to accompany the kind of encouragement I seek.
Right now, I come full circle to the fact that I am discouraged when I see clutter and actual grime all around the perimeters and even in the center of my home. Oh, daughter... I was born into the center of a home of collectors, and I will probably never aspire to become anything like a minimalist. I just need some clean, and I need some order. I loved a book in the 70's or 80's by Anne Ortlund called Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman. I even bought her tapes. She talked about how to focus (which is a word chosen by one of my Zoom Sisters. Others chose Shalom, Joy, and two are still deciding.) Anne said we need to Eliminate and Concentrate in our lives. I can really see that for myself.