Saturday, January 7, 2012

"P" Soup: Reflecting on 2011

I am thankful and thrilled to be part of this team for Kingdom Bloggers. Just to give readers a short introduction, I live and work in Rochester, New York; we moved here in July 2010 when my husband took on his first pastorate after 20 years in business and three years of seminary studies. As for me, thirty years ago God placed a radical call on the life of an ordinary Irish girl from New England. He changed my life trajectory completely, for which I am very thankful. I love God, people and the hope we have in Jesus Christ. I have degrees in English and counseling, and enjoy reading, writing, cooking, and touching others with hints of God’s love, especially scones and tea.

This week, we are reflecting on our “Top Five Blessings for 2011.” Most of us have heard the modern exhortation, “Don’t live in the past. ” But even the Apostle Paul--who tells us in his letter to the Philippians that he leaves behind the past and presses on toward the future (Phil. 3:13)--understood the value of reflection. Just read his self-assessment a few verses earlier. So, being a cook, here is my own 2011 "P Soup" as I reflect on a difficult, but fruitful year:

5. Pressure--2011 presented pressure for many people in our sphere. For our family, we were adjusting to a new city after six years on the North Shore of Massachusetts (the longest we have lived in one place), a new church (where my husband Tim is pastor), a new high school for our youngest, being a significant distance from family and friends, and my needing employment--and that’s the short list. But the pressure presented opportunity for #4:

4. Perseverance--“Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). God has always pushed us to “new places” but he has shored us up with his grace, strength, mercy, and a sense of humor.

To help my sanity and to challenge myself, I set a goal to read 50 books in 2011 and write about it on Facebook--52 books later, with a lot less television, and a sense of accomplishment, I did it! We have had to persevere in trusting and hoping for #3:

3. Provision--Alleluia! Tim and I minister and collaborate at our church, our daughter loves her school and joined the crew team, our older daughter Maggie had a dream trip to Ireland (where my mom was born), England and Paris, and is in her freshman year at her dream school, our son Sam got engaged to his high school sweetheart and they will both graduate college this year, and our entire family participated in my sister-in-law’s wedding (including Tim performing the ceremony, his first!). God blessed us with not only one mild winter here on the “North Coast,” but two!

2. Pals--God knows how important relationships are to me, and not only did he move our family closer to longtime friends in Ithaca, but also gave me some great friends here in Pittsford I cherish. A new friend and I started a book group last year, and it is thriving. Since our older children attend college in Boston, I have opportunity to visit dear friends and family members a few times a year in CT and MA! Now, if we can only get these people to drive to Western New York more often ;).

1. Presence--2011 was a tough year, but it was also a blessed year because God’s presence was with us, encouraging, exhorting, renewing. This list of Top Five may seem a little odd because the content includes some tough categories, but it is through the challenges of life we remember to lean on the only One who can truly help us, and save us! His presence is our peace.


Andrea York said...

Kerry, welcome to the Kingdom Bloggers. I loved your post because it is full of hope, despite a difficult year.

I love your heart and your reliance on God, in good times and in bad.

AND I love alliteration, so I enjoyed your 'p' soup.

I look forward to getting to know your heart in future weeks.

It's Something Beautiful said...

OK!!! This is getting mind boggling! This is my 4th attempt to leave a comment. Is anyone else having a problem? There must be a "comment demon" lol

Kerry...welcome to the fold.

I enjoyed your post. It was informative, as well as inspiring. I loved the way you did the P format. It made me think of a few P words myself.

Praise...thanking God for how He has met you all, in this time of transition. When a woman is in labor, transition is the most intense and yet the shortest portion of labor...hang in!

Poo-poo...(hope I am not offending anyone) What I always appreciate is an honest testimony. The reality is that our Christian walk has ups and downs. When a person shares their struggles honestly, it helps me to not feel quite as alone, for the times that I may struggle. Thanks...and don't Poo-poo your honesty *smile*

Pretty Amazing...Ok that is not 1 P word but it is the way I felt, when I read that you completed your 52 weeks of reading. That's quite an accomplihment.

I thought..."I'd like to do that", but then realized what a daunting undertaking that would be for me.
Then, I was walking into our Library, the other day and had an inspiration.
I decided to read 5 children's books a week. I know it may seem small compared to your commitment, but that is a key word for me...commitment. I also have ideas and have written 2 children's books that I would like to submit for publication.
With this excercise, I will be able to glean what children's material is out there and try to get a sense of what age group, I am targeting.
Usually, an author doesn't do the illustrations for their own books. Of course, there are exceptions.
I have a dear friend, with a dughter who is an excellent artist. I am going to ask her if she would be interested in collaborating with me on this project. ( Can't you just imagine how a teenage girl would feel to be asked to do this??? I know I would have...I am not saying that in a prideful way, rather havingan adult affirm the talents and giftings for a teen)

So Kerry, all and all...I appreciate what you wrote, helping us to know what's going on with you and your thoughts as well. We are looking forward to reading your weekly perspective. We will all grow and ultimately our "audience" will expand.I know our hearts are untited to touch people with the Love of God, through the Kingdom of God Blog.
I join Tony in being excited!
Linda Maynard

Kerry Luddy said...

Thank you, Andrea and Linda, for the welcome and for the encouragement! I love your "children's book reading" idea, Linda. Reminds me when I used to take my kids to the local library in CT and they would check out a zillion books ;). I am sure the effort will bear fruit!

Tracy said...

God's so good and it's encouraging to read your words of faith and appreciation amidst challenges. I'm looking forward to reading more from you in future days.

Tony C said...

I love the book idea! My family has fallen into a TV rut, and you've given me a great goal for 2012...if you don't mind me stealing it.

Look forward to Saturday readings on KB now!

Kerry Luddy said...

Tony, steal away :). I discovered after I started my Facebook Notes, that others have attempted the same thing. Ask friends who "read well" for ideas on the kinds of books that interest you. There are just too many out there, and it can be overwhelming to just pick one.
Tracey, thank you for your encouragement.

Kerry Luddy said...

Tony, steal away :). I discovered after I started my Facebook Notes, that others have attempted the same thing. Ask friends who "read well" for ideas on the kinds of books that interest you. There are just too many out there, and it can be overwhelming to just pick one.
Tracey, thank you for your encouragement.