Monday, December 31, 2018

Joys, Challenges and Changes



Dear Friends,

This year I made a Funfetti Christmas Cake Roll. It had colorful sprinkles on the inside and cream cheese icing inside and out. It reminds me of life this past year. Lots of different ingredients went into it. So I’m reflecting on 2018 and looking forward to a new year (wondering what sweetness and spice it holds for us):

Joys:

Last January Friends of the Heart celebrated 20 years of meeting as a small group (12 years of ministering to women). This past year we spoke about 20 times, including several weekend retreats. A busy year, for sure, as we’ve made new friends and revisited old ones.

Bill and I celebrated our 57th wedding anniversary with two couples who married the same year. We’ve been celebrating together for more years than we can remember. We’ve all survived physical challenges this last year, so it was a special time just appreciating being together.

And then, of course, there are the ongoing joys of celebrating life with our family, which now includes grownup grandchildren—one working, two in college and two in high school. All a huge blessing to our lives!

I meet so many wonderful people as I write their stories for our local newspaper, The Upper Dauphin Sentinel.

Sorrows:

My brother Russell passed on to heaven last spring after suffering from Parkinson’s and other health issues. I miss him. He was the last of my four siblings and so good to his little sister.

Challenges:

Bill is undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma. I have had two ER visits with atrial fibrillation. But God’s grace has seen us through, and we’re trusting Him for His best for us in 2019.

Books:

I read 40-plus books this year. Some of my favorites:

The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister
Biblical Grandparenting by Josh Malvihill
Waiting on God: What To Do When God Does Nothing by Wayne Stiles
Intros Muros
Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Bachman
The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers
The Bible
Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference – by me!

Now why, you may wonder, would I read a book that I myself wrote? Sisterhood was published several years ago, so it was like reading a new book. The women’s stories are so refreshing and inspirational. How God uses us in a myriad of ways just fascinates me! I am so happy Simon and Schuster still sells the book.

I also discovered Sheryl Pellatiro’s Bible studies and worked through Philippians as part of an online study group. We start Ruth on January 14. You can find her at www.solidtruthministries.com.

Each year I read through a different Bible translation. This coming year I’m going to use the Contemporary English Challenge Bible (with notes by Don Wilkerson). Can’t wait to start!

My Verse for the Upcoming Year:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

Changes:

Instead of posting this newsletter at the beginning of each month as I’ve been doing, I’m going to start posting every three weeks. The post will also be available on Facebook on our Friends of the Heart page where Kim, Janine and I take turns posting each Saturday morning. So “like” us on Facebook if you’d like to receive notifications when we post.

As the song goes, “Thank you for being my friend.” I look forward to what God has in store for us in the months ahead. Always feel free to express your feelings and reactions to my posts.

Happy New Year!

Shirley




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