I’ve been thinking about my favourite Christmas things. Music and twinkle lights top the chart. Crafting gifts and choosing gifts probably comes next. Spending a few days in the mountains for hiking and snowshoeing makes the list. The absolute best thing this year has been the spontaneous and planned visits with my kids and grandkids. We got to spend time with them all last Saturday. Love it when they drop by and move the clip indicating the date for our advent countdown.
While I enjoy every back to school photo of my grandkids and friends’ kids, I also feel ready to begin fresh – with new pencils (used keyboard), new paper (the digital kind) and new things to learn and teach.
It’s been nine months since we sat at Heaven’s gate with Bruce’s mom (at the South Calgary Health Campus) until she finished this life on earth on Jan. 9. God granted her desires – to not experience a lengthy period of illness and pain and to not be alone at the end/beginning. It’s been nine months that a major role for me is no longer needed as her primary health advocate through the AHCS. My reflection on that is filled with gratitude for the care team and facilities she had. We reflect on both grief and freedom now.
These nine months have been very full of other things. Six weeks of teaching sessions with our Serve2Lead seminar. Agreements, writing and editing tasks associated with the 2020 publication of our book, Lead Different. Eight weeks of convalescence from foot surgery. Launching our second year of a boutique education sponsorship program for children living in Nepal. Sewing six dresses for my granddaughters. Three weeks of road tripping with Bruce for Caleb and Grace’s wedding in Severna Park, Maryland. Ten days with Emmarae touring PEI and multiple weeks of camping and fishing and enjoying the intermittent sunshine of our Alberta summer.
We’re hitched to more of the above and will share reflections of our next destinations and opportunities.
No matter where we are, we are constantly looking up. We love every perspective and when I recently reread my last “Happy ever after” post I realize how very far we have come in the last six months. God has given us a place of belonging in His family at Southview Church. He has given us meaningful connections with like minded friends. He has motivated us to pursue publishing our book “With You It Will Be Different” and connected us with people who will help us launch seminar opportunities to share the content here. He has given us comfort and filled us with himself and each day is a gift.
Many fairy tales end with the phrase “happily ever after” as a way to conclude the part of the story that is being told without saying everything is over! Since coming back from Nepal, we encountered an absolutely surprising loss that we have been trying to process. Some days are good – some days aren’t so good. We are definitely in between – the story is over and the happily ever after hasn’t arrived yet.
But like good stories there is sometimes an interlude that gives much hope in the middle of the struggle. Yesterday was that interlude – I got to hear the happily ever after of a story I participated in over 45 years ago – and that gives me hope. My life was complete without knowing the rest of this particular story and it was pure delight to hear it. So while I’m in the middle – the loss is real – and I don’t know how things will turn out, my life will be dominated by hope and I will process all the feelings as they come confident that there is a happily ever after to this story.
Our flight back to Canada was lengthy and uneventful for which we are truly grateful. Our re-entry into our life has had some surprising twists. We are grateful for a short adjustment period. We are grateful for good health. We are excited about sharing our stories. So far, we’ve been able to talk about our work in two public school classrooms and several one-to-one meetings.
We are preparing a comprehensive report of what we did during our time in Nepal specifically to distribute to donors. We are convinced that our teaming together has made a difference. In the meantime, one of our projects was to have the book published in Nepali. Some challenges with one of the translators, led to a change in the publisher and designer/layout people. We expect it to be in print by the end of April – just a few days to go to meet that deadline. While we didn’t get to see the book in print before we left, our commitment to excellence, readability, and giving our best overrides our personal disappointment with the delay. We are so pleased with the effort that is being put into getting it ready for an enthusiastic audience.
At the first seminar we gave in Kathmandu, we asked the participants for some help in selecting a cover image that would speak of the content and create a desire to read the book. Our next prayer request is that many people will want the book AND read it AND find helpful things in it that will be good to put into practice. Please join us before God to pray for His Glory in all things related to this book.
On our way to the third seminar we saw this beautiful sight of children at play before school. They are so creative and were happy to let us take a photo. I was sad to miss seeing the elephant go by the for his weekly walk to the jungle so I’m planning to rise early this Sunday. If I’m successful – I will post another photo of this amazing eye feast. The visual delights in this country are endless.
The spiritual delights are also continually feeding our souls. We are filled with gratitude that God has given us both a message and a lesson that draws us into greater understanding of Him and then we have more questions to ponder and more ideas to reconsider in light of a new perspective. We look forward to the time we can give more details of the things we have heard, seen and learned!
It’s hard to believe that almost a week has passed since we left home… special gifts we have been given is a home away from home at our Five14 B&B. Greetings from friends we made last time. A perfect pillow just like home. And a comfy queen sized bed.
We have had many experiences that we need to reflect upon – seeing Nepali people at work, seeing the love and care given faithfully, conversing in English or half-English with children and adults. Our first seminar was delayed by a day and then compressed in time by further concerns. Instead of discouragement, our students embraced taking in more – studying together more and we parted company with more friends and more invitations to visit Nepali villages.
When surrounded by such a collection of happy people, it is very easy to smile and remain happy. Thank you for your continued prayers. Two seminars are on our agenda for next week.
Enjoy these beautiful photos from our temporary home!