My One Little Word: LIFT

One PhotoI love our New Year’s Eve tradition…we play games, eat yummy treats, watch movies and relax in our pajamas. We’ve done this for as long as I can remember, and it is a wonderful way bid farewell to one year while ringing in the next.

The most meaningful  part of the night? Setting goals.

We’ve done this in lots of different ways…we’ve chosen family goals, set individual goals, adopted healthy habits. For a while, we used Luke 2:52 as a theme, and we set goals to enhance our minds, bodies, relationships, and faith. And, for the last several years, we’ve each chosen “one little word” as our “theme” for the year.

My word for this year?

LIFT.

When I told my mom, she said, “What are you going to do with THAT word?”

Hopefully, a lot.

There are several spaces in my house that really need a lift…the garage, the basement, my office…they need to be tidied up and set to rights so they can be useful and functional.

My blog needs a lift, too…some re-designing and some fresh content. Maybe some new pictures…

I have some folks in my life who could use a lift. Folks who are dealing with illness, transition, and brokenness. Friends who are facing new challenges. I want to be sure that I’m in-tune with their needs so I can give them a lift with my words and actions, and my prayers.

I plan to lift myself as well…off the couch! Much of the last year has been spent on projects that keep my mind engaged, and my body still. Time to balance that out and breathe in some fresh air.

Finally, I need to lift up more of my concerns in prayer. I am a champion, world-class, varsity-level worrier. But I don’t HAVE to be…

I love the possibility of my word…the action of elevating that which is important and special and sacred so that my tiny light might shine a little brighter to others in the house. Some of this will be a joy, and sometimes it will require some “heavy lifting…” but I’m up for the challenge. After all, I’ll have help…

I will LIFT up my eyes to the mountains;

From where shall my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
He is always watching, never sleeping
God Himself is caring for you.
~Ps. 121:1-4

Hello, 2014. So glad to meet you.
Can I give you a lift?

_____________________
What’s YOUR theme for the year? Tell me!
~Katie

Photo cred: Andre Chinn (Creative Commons)

 

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Stepping off the Sandbar: Sending our kids to college {with courage}

It has been 77 days since the band played “Pomp and Circumstance” and we watched our daughter march triumphantly across the field to receive her high school diploma.

Since then, we’ve been seemingly stuck in a pre-college no-man’s land…rather like running aground on a sandbar, and the tide just isn’t right for moving any of us.

And being stuck gives us time.

Time for preparations, like orientation, choosing a bedspread, and meeting a new roommate.

Time for “lasts:”  the last dinner with high school friends, the last day of church together, the last family vacation.

And time for new thoughts and plans and questions as she embraces the about-to-be freshman experience. She’s curious and excited and nervous.

Me too.

College conjures a new list of worries in my maternal mind:

Campus safety
Noisy dorms
Academic stress

West Nile Virus
I get a little carried away sometimes.

And yet, history tells me that all of these worries will likely be unfounded. We’ve endured many “firsts” with our children, and we’ve all emerged victorious…

However, these “firsts” require courage.

I remember our daughter’s first steps, her chubby legs lurching forward in syncopated rhythm (looking to us, like graceful ballet…) Similarly, I can see, in my mind’s eye, that terrifying, exhilarating moment when Tom let go of her bicycle seat, and she peddled that two-wheeler down the street and out of sight. And, in the blink of an eye, she was in the driver’s seat, possessing a shiny new laminated license, and driving right out of the neighborhood.

I have admired her mettle and determination at each of these rites of passage, and I know that these qualities will serve her well as she begins college next week.  All of these “firsts” that are prologue to the greater challenges that she will face in the grown-up world. This is another “first” in her journey, and it will take a great lot of courage for my daughter to step off the sandbar and swim toward the life God has planned for her.

And it will take a great lot of courage for me to let her go.

 

To the Graduates: Don’t Forget Your Markers

Today, I wandered around the high school gym, watching the seniors give presentations about their two-week internships. This tiny taste of professional life has really whet their appetites for the real deal; the eagerness and enthusiasm was palpable.

So many of these beaming faces are familiar to me…I’ve seen them at my dinner table and on the swing set. They’re the faces from preschool playdates, kickball and Girl Scout camp. The boys now have sideburns and strong jaw lines where chubby cheeks used to be; mascara and lip gloss adorn girls’ faces that once wore chocolate frosting during cooking projects. They’re so grown up. So ready!

They’re graduating on Sunday, and yet I feel just like the mom of a kindergartener who is bounding up the steps of the bus.  I want to call, “Have fun! Do your best job! I’ll be right here when you get home…”

But that isn’t enough. I want to tell them just a few more things as they turn their tassels…

Dear Graduates,

From the time you were in preschool until now, you have been steeped in small-town security.  We live in a community that celebrates sameness. The seasons are punctuated by the very traditions that make our town unique…the Pumpkin Roll, the Lighting of the Green and Santa at Holly Hall, the Blossom Parade, Summer Concerts in Triangle Park.   When you return to Chagrin Falls for Thanksgiving break, you will find it vastly unchanged.

And, when it comes to home, “unchanged” can be a very, very good thing. Home should provide consistency and comfort…a slower, predictable pace,  with familiar faces and shared stories.

However, I don’t want YOU to be unchanged.

You’re going into new territory, with new people whose ideas and beliefs will be radically different from your own. You’ll be challenged to think about the world, and about your place in it. You’ll discover that finishing high school is, in fact, a profound starting point.

We’ve taught you well here in our little school district so that you’ll have the basic, essential skills you need as you move forward. You have worked so hard, and done well!You’ve learned how to read, add and subtract. You know about atoms and molecules and gravity. You can count money and make change. You discovered that pencil can be erased, but not markers.

I hope you will apply these skills at every opportunity…

Read…read people. Study them. Be interested and strive to understand them. Remember that the person next to you is more important than any text or tweet. And, best of all, learn to serve, because the best leaders serve humbly.

Add…Add friends. Add knowledge. Add a sense of humor.

Subtract… Subtract gossip and small-mindedness.  Subtract busy-ness that creates stress. Learn to balance your life well.

Apply what you have learned about atoms and molecules and gravity. You can’t see these things, but you know they exist…”Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” You were created by a loving God for a purpose. Cultivate your faith. Rest in the knowledge that God knows every hair on your head and understands the desires of your heart.

Make change…not with money, but with your life. Endeavor to make a difference with your work, your relationships and your community.

Don’t forget your markers. Consider, as you embark on this next adventure, how you want to be remembered. Choose your words and actions carefully; they can’t be erased. With this in mind, use your talents wisely, and with kindness. Make your mark.

And finally…Do your best job. Have fun.

We’ll be right here when you get home.

Love,

Mrs. Wetherbee