What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?" (Author: Susannah Conway)
I think my wisest decision this year was probably among my hardest. I read the book, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller early in the year - maybe February, or so. And it resonated deep within me. The thought that if our life is a storyline... What kind of story am I telling? What are the choices that I am making every day telling about me and what I believe about life?
Then, in August I saw that Donald Miller was organizing a conference in Portland, OR, based on this book; inviting people to come that are asking those exact questions - what is my story? And what do I want my story to be?
What an amazing opportunity! I immediately wanted to go, but I knew our finances weren't exactly open to this. I knew I could bring back a lot of what I learned and use it at work (in a church setting), but I thought the church wouldn't be interested in kicking in money toward this trip (tough finances there, too). So I figured it was a done deal. I couldn't possibly go.
But I couldn't let it go. I kept thinking about it. Then, I thought, "what if I see if anyone wants to join me and split some of the costs? That could certainly help matters." So I put it out there with several friends and family members. And one by one, they said they couldn't possibly go.
Until Jill said, "yes." Uh-oh.
Awesome. Now I have to make it happen!
I nervously approached my hubby about it (probably with tears in my eyes). He didn't seem happy - but gave in and let me go. Then I approached my paster (boss) and explained to her this amazing opportunity - basically only hoping that I didn't have to take vacation days if I promised to bring back what I learned and apply it to my job. Her words? "Well, of course you have to go!"
Whoa. She even offered to find enough money at the church to cover the registration cost (it hasn't happened yet, but she says she's working on it).
The pieces were falling into place. It just felt like this was supposed to be.
And it was.
The conference was wonderful. Traveling with a new friend was great. Seeing a city like Portland was so fun!
But the best part? That conference sticks with me. I'm teary-eyed now thinking of what a profound difference the book and conference have made in my life. I make decisions differently - looking at the long-term. I look for opportunities to be part of a larger story already in action. I take time to reflect on my own life and notice the small things that could become bigger. I look for "memorable moments" and ways to create more!
Sometimes its a lonely road. I don't feel like the people around me necessarily get why I have a need to make moments memorable, why I want to celebrate the little things, why or how the small things can make a difference... Sometimes it feels like I have a heavier load on my shoulders to live up to this goal... And sometimes, it's the greatest gift of all!
Our church has been doing an experiment (spurred by the conference). Everyone was given $5 of "God's money" to go and make a difference in the world - big or little. I've been praying and looking for something to do for over a month and a couple of days ago it finally came to me... It's small, but it will be memorable for me and the recipients. I can't wait to do it (I just have to wait for our Minnesota weather to cooperate)!
My wisest decision? To follow my heart - even against my better judgement and my fears. Going to that conference only fed into the inspiration that came from the book alone. It has already started to shape what my life looks like... and I can't wait to see where it takes me next!
Things I am thankful for today:
1. A little Christmas shopping online.
2. Harry Connick Jr's Christmas music.
3. Spending part of the day with my mom, looking at holiday decorating ideas. Here's some of our favorites:
(Trees made from books?! I love it! And irons holding stockings - so cool.)
(I love anything with berries and candles...)
(Birch logs coming out of your tree?! I think I would impale myself on them... But it looked cool.)
(Mom liked this fireplace. I prefer a fire in my fireplace... But it was pretty!)
(I loved the sparkle and whimsy of this.)
(Crafty, fun stars! Loved it!)
(Simple and cute.)
4. Running into Norma, and the nice things she said about me to my mom. Sweet.
5. The smell of evergreen.
6. Grocery shoppers helping each other find things in the busy crowds!
7. Getting more cookies made.
8. Watching "Elf" while making cookies.
9. Warm, wooly socks.
10. Yummy hawaiian pizzas made on naan... Mmmm...