Thursday, December 20, 2012

Not Good-bye, But....

Change.  Why do I always resist change, even when I know something good is up ahead?  I think my dh is right when he accuses me of thinking too much.

2012 was a year of changes.  Most recently we changed mission organizations.  After twenty years with the same group, we have joined another one that more closely fits who we are and what we do.  It is a good change, and God has confirmed that we have made the right decision.  Now we ask ourselves why we resisted this change for so long.

Our recording studio is now in the process of getting a face-lift after almost nineteen years of neglect.  This is not a change I resisted, but one I have delayed due to lack of time, energy, finances, and vision.  Now the time has come, and it’s been a welcome change for all who work there.

Another change is in our Christmas traditions.  With only two of the seven children home with us for the holidays, we are free to think outside the box and do things differently.  In some ways we might look back on this as one of our best Christmases ever.  I hope so. 

After way too many years of hosting a caroling party that had gotten way too big for comfort or even fun for me, I have given it up, at least for now.  Someone else is hosting the big event, and I plan to go as a guest.  Tradition is broken, and truthfully it hurts a little if I start thinking too much again, but overall, it’s a relief. 

Instead of feeding a huge family this season, I can extend hospitality and invite friends over for meals.  The holidays are the perfect time for this.  I’m not exhausted from throwing a massive party, and I’m not battling with selfishness in trying to get enough time with each of my adult children like I usually do.

I could go on and on about the areas of my life undergoing changes.  It’s a whole season, really, not just a year.  I’m letting go of things I was always afraid to release, and finding richer, more rewarding things that take their places.

On a related note, maybe some of you have struggled with the changes that Women of the Harvest is undergoing.  I know I was saddened by the loss of Cindy as our editor, and I really miss the WOTH Writer’s blog and the old online magazine as it was.  However, there are exciting changes in the works that we should all enjoy. 

Before long, WOTH will cease to be Women of the Harvest as we’ve known it, and they will be disclosing their new name and new branding.  With it will come a new interactive web site and all sorts of goodies that will make us forget anything we might have lost in the process.  I can’t wait to see what all they are developing for our benefit!

Sadly, now I must confess one more change.  At least for now, I am going to cut way back on my blogging here.  I need to spend more time focusing on my REAL LIFE and some other writing that has been pushed too low on my priority list these past three years.

This is not good-bye.  Lord willing, I'll still pop in every month or so.  Maybe you will see me as an occasional guest writer for the new Women of the Harvest with its new name.  I will be looking to stay connected one way or another.  You've become a vital part of my life, and I don't want to lose you!

IRL* This is not a good-bye, but it is a change, and I would by lying if I didn't admit that it hurts a bit to not keep my weekly habit of meeting you here.

The best way to keep in touch with me for now is through my personal blog, Memories and Musings from Mexico.  You can always write to me at, and I will try to reply and also read your blogs when I can, too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Is anyone else struggling with the reality of another Christmas that doesn't feel so jolly and ho-ho-ho like you might prefer? Believe me, I tried hard to find something uplifting to write about this week.  The songs keep telling me this is the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"  It's tempting to be shallow and cheerful, offering pithy advice for celebrating the season far from family and friends.  I just can't.
Lacking any eloquence at all, I will just acknowledge that Christmas is hard.  Whether you are brand new to the field or like me, having spent more than half of your Christmases outside the U.S., it's not easy.  We can beat ourselves up for not being spiritual enough, for not focusing on the real reason for the season, but maybe it's okay to simply acknowledge that for us, this is a time when we feel the pain of the sacrifice we have made.
If you haven't discovered "A Life Overseas Mission Discussion" blog, I highly recommend it.  A recent post talks about this very idea of sacrifice.  It's called "Why I Will Not Say I Never Made a Sacrifice" and the author ends on a positive note that our sacrifices are never made in vain.  I liked the way she said it.  It validated the ache in my heart, but helped me to focus on the reward that lies ahead.
It's not like I don't have anything to be grateful for. Last week I had the blessing of visiting my son and his family, including my little granddaughter.  My husband booked our flights using frequent flyer miles, and we even got to be there for Aria's first birthday party.  Every bit of the weekend was fun.  Well, truthfully it was a bit of a struggle to reconcile the reality of being the second favorite grandma in the room, but even that went okay.
After that, dh flew to Ohio to visit his mom, while I flew to Texas to visit my mom.  I had a wonderful time playing Christmas duets on the piano with Mom, and later both my sisters came, and we all celebrated just being together.  No conflicts, no complaints.  Oh, and between trips, dh and I went to dinner with a childhood friend of mine and her husband.  That, too, was pure pleasure.  It's like I've already had my Christmas!
Leaving my son and daughter-in-law with their precious little toddler was sheer anguish.  At least I had a trip to Dallas to look forward to.  Then I had to say goodbye again to my mom and sisters.  That, too, was tough.  Life is uncertain, and I have no guarantee of seeing any of them again this side of heaven.  Nevertheless, it's always good to be home.
Now I am enjoying the quiet reality of home life with our annual viewing of different Christmas movies, baking lots of treats, and planning a party (maybe).  Like my "Mixed Bag" post a few weeks ago, I am accepting the good with the bad, and trying to focus on the good.   Still, you won't ever hear me say to you that it's easy to find joy this time of year.

IRL*  Faithful friends who are dear to us may not be near to us like the song says, but I AM thankful to have so many dear people to call my friends.



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