Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Year in Review (July-December)

Wednesday I started a look back at the year 2010, with the idea that with the perspective of time, we can often be grateful for situations and circumstances that at the time created stress and concern. Here's a look at the final half of the year.

—God showed up in the middle. In the middle of the year, in the middle of our lives, in the middle of Texas, in the middle of the country, IN THE MIDDLE, life changed for us. After 26 years of full-time service in local church ministry, God directed us to something new. Russ resigned the pastorate and joined me at the communications firm. This necessitated a move out of the parsonage. Where does a couple live when they both work from home and can live wherever? We asked God to show us, and after looking over several options and towns, we had complete peace to move to Brenham, Texas (smack dab between Austin and Houston—another MIDDLE). That led to a whole new set of questions. Where should we rent? Where should we worship? What about recommended doctors, butcher, hair salon, restaurants, etc.? We pared down our belongings to "must haves" and let the rest go to charity. Mayflower picked up what was left and moved it for us. How fitting—we felt like pilgrims in a new land and Mayflower was our ship of choice!

—God taught us we can't provide for ourselves all on our own, we must wait for Him to provide, and in the waiting room of life, there is always room for more learning. Just a couple of weeks into the move and I landed in the ER for bronchitis/pneumonia. My lungs were officially welcomed to my new surroundings.
After about 30 phone calls with potential clients, with a proposal written for each one, we waited for God to bring in the clients. And waited. In the mean time, God showed us where to worship, and we became part of the Champion Fellowship family. We didn't know a single soul in town, but that was only a temporary problem after coming to Champion. We joined a home team and other small groups and soon learned the names, faces, and hearts of new friends. We stayed busy with projects, but certainly needed to know some extra cash would be coming in soon. One August project was writing a book proposal and sample chapters with co-author Rhonda Rhea. Now we are shopping it around to find a home with the right publishing house.

SEPTEMBER—God used reversals as a teaching tool. Before my big September event, Mom came to visit us in our new surroundings. One of the perks of living here is that Mom is only 5.5 hours away. She came for some Master Gardener training nearby, and we enjoyed a good visit. She traveled home and I traveled to Houston to fly out to Kansas City to serve as apprentice on faculty for CLASSeminars. It ended up quite different than what I expected or planned for. An hour after my arrival, having settled in to the hotel room, I twisted my ankle and did a major number on that foot. It swelled to Fred Flintstone proportions and kept me from getting to do some of what we had planned. It was quite an ordeal and I ended up in physical therapy for a while, fighting the resulting reflex sympathetic dystrophy that developed. This forced me to cancel speaking at CLASS Christian Writers Conference in November, and led to more waiting on God to provide, since I'd missed the conferences where I normally pick up clients and referrals. It's starting to sound like a theme, right?

OCTOBER—God held off just a bit more with provision, just long enough for us to be okay with whatever came our way. Okay if that meant learning to say "Welcome to Walmart." Okay if it meant a completely different way of life. Okay if it meant redefining the services we offer with KCWC. Just okay with "whatever." True contentment. And funny when that contentment surfaced, so did the provision necessary so we could continue without finding outside work!

NOVEMBER—God stretched my wings. Three big highlights this month. I recruited new friend Amy Weaver to assist with table hosting for a local fundraiser for Faith Mission—Candlelit Christmas. We designed the table and chair decor, the dessert menu for itty-bitty yummies (which also served as our 2 tiered centerpiece), and decorated for the big night. The program was a big treat for me, made extra-special shared with friend Erin Eddings. Another great experience was going through the Jonah study with the Tuesday Night Ladies Bible Study group. Thanks, Hope Batchman, for leading it! And another highlight of the month was sharing Thanksgiving with Leno and Mary Yellott, and their family. This was our first road-trip after moving to Brenham. New clients came to KCWC and we started looking forward to 2011.

DECEMBER—God blessed me with a sense of stability. He built our clientele and provided for our needs. Makes me think of the song, "In His Time." This month, often known for celebrating Christmas and family and for looking into the New Year, ended the year right on schedule, having fulfilled all its duties.
I was invited to speak at the Ladies Christmas Banquet at church, and that put me in the Christmas spirit. Mom came to spend a week with us, and just having her here also made it seem more like Christmas. Russ and I spent time evaluating the year and praying about new developments for the new year. And we received peace of mind that it was the right time to plan for a home here in Brenham. So as the year came to an end, we enjoyed the most stability of the year, looking forward with anticipation to what is to come. Sometime in June we'll have a new home built and ready to move in. And we have new clients to serve. Starting in January we'll make arrangements to get out speaking more too; Russ filling pulpit for churches and me speaking for special events. It took a while to get to this point, and we certainly haven't "arrived" by any means, but we're ending the year with a greater sense of stability. It doesn't seem like we will have to punch the panic button after all! And you know what? God knew that all the time.

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