The Year of Soul Friends

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Happy New Year!

I love the beginnings of a new year, don’t you? There’s something fresh and hopeful with a sense of a new start. The only complaint I have, is that for most of us, the weather is still bleak and bare. Now if a new year began in the spring when trees were leafing out and wildflowers blooming, the new year, new beginnings package would be complete.

After Christmas, I try to spend some time reflecting back on the previous year and setting goals for the upcoming new year. It’s been a bit more difficult accomplishing this practice this year because we’re still visiting with family. Between our two-day road trip back to Oklahoma and a few quiet moments working on my blog, I have a few thoughts to share.

Community: 2010 was our second full year in Texas. I participated in the Gillespie County Leadership program for 2009-2010. Twenty-four people from the community were selected for a two-year commitment. We were a very diverse group: a justice of the peace, leaders in business and local politics, professionals and those from the non-profit sector, educators, retirees; you get the picture. It was a great way to learn the history and workings of our town and county and develop relationships with others in our community.

I’ve developed community wherever I’ve lived and often subset-communities through a cause (e.g. a grass-roots organization in the mid-1980s to support individuals and their families with HIV/AIDS in a rural community). What I want to explore in 2011 is developing community through our business and Eternal Scheme. I am intrigued by how online communities develop and thrive. Online communities allow us to be enriched by people we would almost never have the opportunity to meet in person. I am excited to see how my own community will be enhanced in 2011.

Learning: We launched our business, Cloudtippers in 2010. (If you look for our website, you will only find a landing page. We have been so busy with everyone else’s web apps, we haven’t completed our own!) It is a tech business and about as far outside my knowledge base as I could get. My MIT husband, however, is brilliant in the field. Thankfully, we have complementary skills and I am a serial entrepreneur. Whenever you’re teaching others or developing products and services for others, you’re the one who learns the most. This has been true for me in our business. There’s something fulfilling about helping others embrace technology and develop custom applications that help their business or organization be more productive, efficient, and profitable.

I’m looking forward to continuing my technology learning curve for our business and expanding technology into my theology/psychology/sociology interests. I can’t wait to see how I will be challenged by what I’ll learn from my new community friends and clients.

Exploration: Exploration is similar to learning, but with an adventurous twist. Exploration is going where you haven’t gone before or trying something new without knowing what the outcome may be. Exploration opens up our creative side and almost always is exhilarating. Exploration almost always guarantees a new perspective and exposes us to something wondrous.

I’m not so sure how much exploration went on for me in 2010. I explored some, but I think my focus was more on learning. Our road trip re-ignited our need to explore. Getting away from the familiar encourages the exploration factor. We will definitely be setting aside exploration opportunities in 2011. I’ll keep you posted.

Health: 2010 was the year of reconstruction for meĀ  and other unexpected health challenges for my sons. After 40 years of keeping my knees functioning with endless surgeries over the years, I finally had to have the total knee replacements. I survived a total ankle replacement seven years ago, so I knew I would survive these two events. Much harder to handle, as a mother, was learning my oldest son has a chronic health condition he must learn to live with and my youngest son’s daughter had life-threatening complications at birth. The sense of powerlessness and the importance of loving presence are sometimes the only gifts you have to offer. Little reminders that the unexpected is expected and the present is our best present.

I am officially smack-dab into middle-aged purgatory. 2010 reminded me that I have to take responsibility for my own health as best I can. I will continue going to the gym at 5:00 AM, expand my gluten-free/dairy-free repertoire, and enjoy God’s wonderful creation.

Spiritual: I believe we are all spiritual beings with God-given gifts and talents and created for community. We live in a time when people are acknowledging the importance of a spiritual component in their lives. But how many are having open, honest, explorative spiritual conversations? Sadly, I find too many repeating what their hearing from others or spewing buzzwords and empty jargon like an insiders language. I know there are others out there who are struggling or questioning or wondering, but don’t know who else is struggling or questioning or wondering like they are. I know, because they are seeking me out, that there are many who are looking for soul-friends. I would love for 2011 to be the year of spiritual connection and soul-friendships cultivated! I know I’m looking for that kind of community. I am inviting you to join me and we can journey together!

Well, you now know what I’ve been reflecting on from 2010 and what I am looking forward to in 2011. I would love to hear your reflections or what what you’re looking forward to in 2011. There’s a place where you can share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of this, and every, blogpost. For thoseĀ  coming through Facebook, you know how that works. You can always email me at if you want to share a little more privately.

My prayer, for all of us, is that we have a wondrous and life-enhancing 2011!

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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