|Pentecost 2019, me and the retired guy :)|
New Year's Eve is a time that allows us to think back over the past year and look forward to the new one. As I reflect back on 2019, there were lots of celebrations and transitions, new beginnings and adventures.
In the beginning of 2019 I launched the FB page for Bamboo Encounter, preparing for the first service to be held in May. Bamboo Encounter meets the 4th Saturday of every month and has been a great addition to 2019.
I went to Blue Ridge in February for a girls weekend, though for me it was a one-nighter. I did my first hike since my hip replacement the previous June and that was a big accomplishment for me.
For Ash Wednesday, I participated with a colleague in doing Ashes to Go / Cenizas para el camino at a local market in Spanish. That was neat to be able to do.
In March, Riley and I went on our first cruise and celebrated 15 years together. The cruise was with a childhood friend and her husband, who were celebrating 30 years. The cruise and the trips were a fun adventure. We visited Hell in Grand Cayman, a highlight for this pastor. :)
In May, our son Charlie graduated from high school, having earned the John Philip Sousa award in band. Graduation was a special time marked with family.
During the summer we went to Sinsinawa, Wisconsin for a Wild Church Network retreat/conference. It was the first of its kind. It was wonderful for me to meet others connected to the Wild Church Network and to catch up with 2 folks I knew from FUMSDRL/HOF (Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders/Hearts on Fire).
At Annual Conference in June, I was officially appointed to my 2nd appointment, St. Elmo UMC, which I began officially on July 7th, having done a soft start a little earlier to get my feet wet.
I participated in the Honeybee Metric Ride again this past year as a honeybee at a rest stop. It was my 3rd year to be a honeybee. I enjoy getting to cheer on the riders.
I went to the Wild Goose Festival for the first time during the summer and gave out hugs as part of the Mama Bear Den and Free Mom Hugs. I attended some sessions and met lots of great people. I got fairy hair from "Spark the Fairy" booth on the last day, July 14 and I still have a few pieces of fairy hair left over. That has been a super conversation starter as folks wonder what the blue things are in my hair. :)
I attended ELMC 2019, a Hispanic training offered by the Episcopal Church at Sewanee in August. It was a great CEU opportunity, as well as getting to meet like-minded folks who were part of the program. A highlight was visited El Refugio at Stewart Detention center. I chose El Refugio as my birthday fund raiser and was able to raise over $500 for them, thanks to friends and church folks.
Charlie began his freshman year at Watkins College in August, right before I headed to Sewanee. With Charlie at college, we were now empty-nesters, though we still had Cliff.
Charlie had a super first semester at school and I made it through my first semester with him away. :) A highlight was the Friday we took Cliff to Nashville to visit Charlie and we went to a great dog park.
2019 brought other transitions for me. I had thought that transitioning from 3 churches and 3 communities to 1 church and 1 community would allow me to slow down a little. I was wrong. I haven't slowed down. I've been pretty busy. But it has been a good busy. I'm still getting to know people and the community in which I serve. I have a long way to go, but having listening sessions early on in the appointment helped.
I used to post my sermons weekly in my first appointment, but I haven't had as much writing space, though I do post the audio weekly. I haven't had much time for writing, period. It takes time and energy and much of my time for writing has been sermon writing.
Getting outdoors and into creation gives me life. We learned of a new labyrinth that is part of the Lookout Mountain Conservancy. That was a neat find.
Being at St. Elmo UMC these past 6 months has been life-giving. A few of the activities that have been meaningful to me are: getting to participate in a Blessing of the Animals, giving out hugs at the Pride Festival, hosting a UMCNext conversation space at church, serving a Thanksgiving meal and giving out clothes, participating in the Cantata as the narrator, and experiencing my first Christmas Eve Candlelight service.
In the fall I applied to a spiritual direction program and was accepted. That begins in the fall of 2020.
As I reflect, I know I am leaving some things out (there were LOTS of things that happened this past year, like getting to visit my cousins Frank and Jonathan in Blue Ridge one day in the Spring, meeting Steve Austin and his family in Birmingham and then them coming here to Chattanooga, ETC.)
Riley's first full year of retirement went by quickly. Who knew that life outside of work would be so busy?!?!
I am grateful for all the connections and support, near and far, that have been part of my 2019. From church folks, family, friends, book club, colleagues, fellow Mama Bears, etc. THANK YOU for being part of my 2019.
I look forward to new adventures in 2020 in life and ministry. I know there are more changes and transitions ahead. I don't know what all the adventures or changes will be, but I hope to continue to "roll with it" as I've learned on Sunday mornings.
My summer word was "wild" because of Wild Church Network and Wild Goose. Things have been wild in some ways, but a very good wild.
I haven't picked a word for 2020 nor do I have any set goals yet.
My plan is to live in the present, to walk with folks, to live, love, and lead like Jesus.
Peace on the adventures of 2020,