We crossed the finish line…

What an interesting year 2020 was. For all of us. I don’t think there’s ever been such a collective sigh of relief coming into a new year — except perhaps after Y2K — when the lights didn’t all go out at one time and the computers didn’t all shut down!

There were pockets of 2020 that were rough for me, for sure. It started out great. Then came the pandemic in March, which was the start of cancelled trips and cancelled expectations.

I learned I am no doubt an extreme extrovert. I thrive and recharge with people. Until the pandemic I truly believed I was a ambivert — one who recharged equally well with, or without, people around me. Because there are times I like my quiet, like now, this morning, I wake early and write before anyone in my household is stirring. But the truth is, when I need to recharge, I look to find a group of people to feed off of energy-wise. And mid-March through May I was pretty much isolated like the rest of the world. And towards the end my mental health struggled.

Here in the South restrictions began to let up in June. Stores began staying open later, some of the restaurant restrictions began to lift. I began to feel like I could take a breath. I don’t mind the masks — I do mind not seeing people.

In July our churches were able to open – cautiously and with precautions in place – but we were able to attend in person the Sunday after the 4th and I can’t believe what a difference that made. Though we were able to attend Church at home, online, there is definitely something to be said for the way the Spirit covers me when I am in a room of others worshiping along side me.

July also marked a vacation to Breckenridge — this was supposed to be a group vacation with ladies from a bible study I am connected to — there would have been nine of us but in light of the world events, it wound up just being Brooke and I. We mourned our friends not being there with us, but boy we had a great time. We were super active every day and I felt great. It’s the first time I continuously took this “newer” body out for a spin and I loved every minute of it. And we shared so many things together; meals, prayers, stories, and dreams. I was fully recharged when it was over.

One thing I did miss last year was the ability to attend retreats. I had four retreats on my calendar. Two spiritual-based gatherings, a work conference, and one writing conference. All cancelled. I did a lot of pouting over the loss of them. I decided I was not going to take that approach for 2021 — because let’s face it — it will probably be another year where those gatherings won’t happen, so what would I do instead? Make a way or find a way – and I found a way.

I caught an ad for an online Christian women’s retreat about two weeks ago.

It was created by an author and speaker, Becky Kiser, and she’s darling gal from Texas. The sessions are all prerecorded. There are five main sessions and about 30 recorded break-out sessions. Once “in” you keep access to all of it for a year — and until January 9th it’s only $49. That barely covered gas, lunch and dinner for my typical retreat – let alone the price of admission. So, I figured, what harm could it be to see what this was like? If I didn’t get a ton out of it, what would I have really lost, a little time and a little money.

I invited my two close friends, Beth and Emily, over to join me and we spent Saturday watching all five main sessions. And you know what?

It was really good.

Becky Kiser, turns out, is also a Christian life coach. So, the sessions were interactive in that she had tasks for us to complete and time within each session to complete it. We gathered, we mourned what we lost or didn’t transpire in 2020, we celebrated what was good about 2020, and we set out to goal set for 2021 knowing in the end we can make our plans but God may have other ideas. So, we worked on being faithful and Provers 3: 5-6 (lean not on your own understanding) as a way to set our plans in place but not hold too tightly to our ideals less they need to pivot now and again.

Session four was the goal setting session and there was a short workbook we used to work through what we wanted to dedicate ourselves to in 2021. And an opportunity to record our word and verse for the year. My church also encourages we pick a fruit of the spirit. For 2021 here are mine:

Word: Stewardship / Fruit: Peace / Scripture: Hebrews 12:11

I am excited as we enter this new year. Excited to try new things, and return to some old things – like writing. Last year my focus fell away from writing. I did manage to publish two articles (one just launched in the Divine Purpose online magazine. If you follow the link, you’ll find my article on page 25). I didn’t write here on the blog very much, and I have some regrets about that, but I am trying to live out some grace — last year wasn’t really what anyone bargained for and I was just trying to do my best like everyone else.

So here’s to 2021 — whatever that looks like. I am ready for new adventures and to see what is in store for the next half of my life! 51 here I come!

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