11 Questions: Do the people I’m surrounded by bring me life?

There is no more denying it… I am about to leave my twenties behind and journey into a land unknown, a new decade.  In 11 short days, I will be 30!  [wince… I mean smile]  Truthfully, I’m not very worried about turning 30.  I love my current life situation and when I look toward the future I am excited about all the new adventures waiting ahead.

That being said I am still a bit sad about leaving behind my twenties. I’ve loved being a 20 something.  I’ve felt more comfortable in my skin… more empowered… more inspired… more excited about the future… more in love… and mostly more me in this decade than any other. [smile]  I don’t think when I turn 30 any of these feelings will magically disappear, but I feel a little of the sadness I felt when I was leaving behind high school for college or college for the wide world.

The whole big birthday coming up has me in a mood for reflecting and a few months ago I ran across an article from Relevant online that provided the perfect inspiration.  It’s a list of “11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask.”  Follow the link for the full article.  So for the next 10 days (while I’m still a 20 something) I’ll try to answer a question a day.  The first one is easy:

“1. Do the people I’m surrounded by bring me life?… Are your friends anvils tied around your ankles or jetpacks helping you fly? Your life will resemble the lives of your closest friends—does that fact excite you or freak you out?”

The answer is a resounding “YES!”  I am incredibly blessed to have many intelligent, kind, faithful, and all around good people who are my friends.  Their drive is inspiring.  In terms of friends I’ve hit the jackpot! [smile]  And my closest friend/husband well, he’s just the bees knees.  Daily I am amazed by the blessing of living with him and learning from him.  Today is actually the second anniversary of our first date.  October 1, 2011 was just about the best day of my life because I began a conversation that has really never stopped.  [smile]

So yes my friends bring me life and that life is full of peace, hope, passion, service, joy, and love!  Friendship like that is the greatest gift.

-Margaret

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Growing in Gratitude: Commitment and Connection

Growing in Gratitude: A weekly series on “Daily Musings on Life Together”
The psalmist wrote, “Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth! Serve the Lord with a glad heart! Join hands in the great Dance of Life!” (from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying). Join me in this dance each Monday as I practice
giving thanks for things big, small, tangible, and intangible. Feel free to count your blessings in the comments.

We woke up this morning in Lake Junaluska, aka Mecca of Methodism in North Carolina. [smile] We are here to participate in our Annual Conference and to celebrate the wedding of our dear friends, Nickie and Christian. It is such a blessing to be in this thin place where the Spirit feels so near.

I love a day that starts with a wedding. [smile] I find weddings to be such a powerful sign of hope. It is a joy to share in this public affirmation of the love and commitment of two persons. Yesterday’s wedding was intimate and in the best way possible an authentic celebration of the lives of our friends. Nickie’s family heritage is Mexican American and Irish and parts of the ceremony reflected these traditions. I particularly found beautiful the tradition of “arras.” The bride and groom were given bags of coins symbolic of virtues and blessings by their mothers. They then combined their “wealth” in a bowl as a symbol of their commitment to journeying through life together.

Today I am thankful for commitment.

Yesterday evening Annual Conference began with the opening worship. I realize this will sound odd for a PK, but I feel a bit like this is my first ever experience of conferencing on the annual conference level. Whenever we joined my dad for conference in my childhood we spent most of the time in the hotel pool and missed out on the actual activity of conferencing. [smile] Given my general inexperience and being with a new conference altogether I was happily surprised to feel a strong connection already with the community gathered in worship. Their celebration was my celebration too and the visioning we were encouraged to give ourselves over to this week felt shared too. I’m probably revealing my “methodorkiness” by feeling this way but hey if you can’t beat them join them. [smile]

Today I am thankful for connection.

What are you grateful for?

– Margaret

Growing in Gratitude: Friendship

Growing in Gratitude:  A weekly series on “Daily Musings on Life Together”
The psalmist wrote, “Sing a joyful noise to the Beloved all peoples of the earth!  Serve the Lord with a glad heart!  Join hands in the great Dance of Life!” (from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying).  Join me in this dance each Monday as I practice
giving thanks for things big, small, tangible, and intangible.  Feel free to count your blessings in the comments.

I’d like to introduce you to my friends.  My precious girlfriends from whom I’ve learned so much about life and giving thanks– Amber, Blair, Courtney, Jane-Marie, Katie, Laura, Meghan, and Noelle.

8 of The 9 at our wedding in October

Eight (including me) of The Nine at our wedding

We met in college and as freshmen began a weekly bible study together.  We stuck with each other through the ups and downs of all four years of undergrad and came out on the other side of graduation closer than any group of friends I have ever had.  We call ourselves “The Nine” because well when we graduated there were 9 of us left of the original bible study.  Now after multiple weddings, a number of fiances and boyfriends, and most joyously 4 births (with 1 more on the way in September) we number much more than 9 when we get together, but who’s counting.  [smile]

Amber, who rounds out our number!

Dr. Amber who rounds out our number!

With their powerful witnesses of love and their challenges to think about things in new ways, these girls have helped shape me.  In fact the idea of this weekly series, “Growing in Gratitude,” comes in part from them.  Over the years as we’ve tried to figure out ways of staying in touch we’ve developed this ritual of naming 5 things we are thankful.  When we started out these lists were emailed weekly, but as life has gotten more complicated we scaled back to once or twice a month.  Still receiving these lists over the years has been such a blessing.  In many ways, these grateful lists carry the story of our lives.  Graduations, new jobs, engagements, and pregnancies have all been announced on these lists.  Smaller triumphs and everyday joys have also been named.  Often at the end of speaking words of gratitude, we have shared requests for prayers for peace in decisions that are being made or prayers of healing for family, friends, and ourselves.

By cultivating a ritual of naming both our joys and concerns aloud (in print), we have found a way to remain connected despite the physical distance that separates.  In exchanging these words of gratitude, our lives have been enriched by living vicariously each other’s adventures in jobs, graduate school, marriage, and motherhood.  Together we have shared in the abundance of life.

Today I am grateful for friendship.

What are you thankful for today?

-Margaret