First, an update. Brad’s back is much better! After spending nearly two weeks on his back (almost our entire Christmas Break!) he received a helpful nerve-block injection that made it possible for him to stand, to walk, and basically to do normal life again without severe pain. In some ways, we are still reveling in his ability to resume regular activity.

Back in early December, I made dinner reservations for New Year’s Eve at The Frisky Oyster, a restaurant owned by the parents of one of my former students. As the days crept closer, my hope that we would be able to go grew smaller and smaller. There was no way Brad could sit in the car for any length of time, let alone for an entire meal. So, it felt particularly celebratory for our family to close out 2019 with a special dinner together. We had a wonderful night! 

Brad continues to recover with physical therapy and will start pilates soon. His pain doctor told him that doing pilates for the rest of his life will be crucial to keep his back and core strong. Feel free to share any good video recommendations!

And that brings us to 2020.

I’m not sure having a word for the year is an in-vogue as it once was, but I have one this year. 

In some respects, my word—or maybe it should be called an expression?—comes out of my recent experiences with Brad’s back situation. Some of these thoughts I shared in my previous post, such as seeing God’s presence in the moment and letting go of expectations.

At different points during the break, usually when I was feeling most discouraged or disappointed, I felt a nudge to pay attention. These words kept popping back into my consciousness. So much so that I wrote in all caps in my journal : PAY ATTENTION.

Specifically, I’m sensing the need for more quiet in my life—not necessarily literal quiet, but a quieting in my spirit, my soul. I’m rereading Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. (An excellent book, by the way, if you’re looking for thoughtful reflections about living life with God in the ordinary.) Her description about waking up slowly and enjoying a cup of coffee in a quiet house, yet feeling like her soul is already racing full steam ahead describes me well. I love my quiet mornings, but too often I’m distracted on the inside, thinking about all the tasks in front of me. And so, I want to pay attention to the noise on the inside and find ways to be quieter.

A bit more personal, I also want to pay attention to my fears and anxieties. Not in a way that glorifies them or causes me to naval gaze, but to examine and to question their root causes—as best as I can. What am I afraid of? Why do I feel anxious? Where do I need to confess my lack of trust in God? What do I need to pay attention to?

On a number of my walks over the break, I listened to Bridgetown Church’s sermon podcasts. I started with the message “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” and have listened to several more since. Each sermon has given me much to think about. And, each time I listened to a message, the nudge to pay attention impressed itself on my mind and heart. I can’t do this if I’m in a hurry. I recommend this podcast to you as well.

______________________

Lastly, I can hardly believe that I’ve been writing in this space for almost 10 years! Yes, June of 2020 marks ten years since I first started this blog. Every once in a while, I will reread old posts. It’s like a trip down memory lane. Sometimes, I’m even slightly impressed with my writing. I think, Wow, I wrote that? Other times, I groan and consider deleting the post. In spite of my mixed reactions, this space reflects me—imperfect, yet growing, and a belief that the good, true, and beautiful last forever. 

Wishing you joy, peace, hope, and love in the coming year. 

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