by The Word Weaver, Deb on June 16th, 2014

I really do not want to write this post. 
I’m not ready. 

I don’t suppose I’ll ever be ready, but I can’t seem to write about anything else until I tell you what has happened.
My Dad—my funny, strong, beautiful Dad who would have been 85 today—is gone. He endured a short illness from which my sister, brothers, and I expected him to rally. One health problem set off a devastating domino effect of other problems which became insurmountable. 
Francis Edward “Andy” Anderson passed into Eternal Arms in the early morning hours on Thursday, February 13, 2014.
His death shocked all of us. His absence has altered us in profound ways. The world is a different, darker, more unsettling place without him. Even months later I’m having trouble getting my footing back.
Dad was born the year the stock market crashed and grew up during The Great Depression.  In addition to farming, his parents owned and operated a lumberjack camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Even for a small boy, chores were plentiful, and he remembered milking cows until his hands were raw. Life was hard.
And then life got harder.  His mother died from complications following surgery when he was only eleven years old.  His little sister was then sent to live with an aunt because his father couldn’t care for such a young girl on his own.  In one tragedy, my Dad lost both his mother and his sister.
Then when Dad was seventeen years old, his father died in a lumberjacking accident.  Orphaned at seventeen—I cannot even imagine.
No wonder commitment and faithfulness were woven through his character. He demonstrated it countless ways through his 20+ years of military service to our country, to his wife, and to his children and grandchildren.  In 1954, he vowed to love my Mom “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health”, and he demonstrated that he meant it for nearly fifty-seven years.
No wonder family became his priority once he and my Mom married.  He raised the four of us kids with love and discipline with an emphasis on education and hard work.  Many a report card day, we stammered answers to his stern questions, “Why wasn’t that A- an A?” or “Why wasn’t that B a B+?”  He provided educational resources and insisted that we use them. If we didn’t do our best, we knew that our “ass would be grass” and that Dad “would be the lawn mower.”    
Dad didn’t just expect us to learn, he was a life-long learner himself.  He kept busy with wood-working and whittling projects, caning chairs, trying new recipes, reading, and attending plays and concerts. 
We knew he was in our corner and believed in us.  His confidence and high expectations shored up our own confidence.  When my second grade teacher told my parents, “Your daughter is so painfully shy that she will be seriously inhibited in life,” he never believed it so I didn’t either. 
No wonder love was an action verb in our house. Verbalizing his love didn’t come naturally to Dad until I was 14 and my Mom had a paralyzing stroke; after that, Dad said it often.  Though he improved in speaking words of love, doing things for others always remained his favorite, most natural way of expressing it.  While I was at the hospital giving birth to my firstborn, Dad stopped by my house and snagged my grocery list off the refrigerator.  When I returned, my pantry was full and there were two freshly baked strawberry-rhubarb pies on the counter. He baked treats for my sister’s card club and helped paint my younger brother’s new home.  Rare were the moments he wasn’t doing something for someone.
No wonder he was intentional about “showing up” and making memories.  He kidded with and christened our friends with colorful nicknames such as: “Cabbage Head”, “Snot #2”, “Charlie Brown”.  We took incredible family vacations across the United States.  Every winter he built an ice skating rink in the backyard. We went snowmobiling and camping.  His son-in-laws were among his favorite fishing buddies. 
Dad was an awesome, fun grandparent. He encouraged their hobbies and interests.  He made special events a priority, attending weddings, graduations, games, and performances of his grandkids. Two years ago, he traveled with my younger brother and sister-in-law to meet us at Cedar Point. He even rode three of the big rides. My daughter updated her Facebook status from the park, writing: “I’m a wuss! My 83 year old Grandpa has ridden more roller coasters than me!”
Dad was one of the most generous, open-hearted people I know.  He enveloped others into his heart and life. He shared stories, jokes, advice, opinions, pies, jam, garden produce, and wood-working creations.   
I got my sense of humor from Dad.  We both learned to temper our reactions (most of the time) through the years.  He was opinionated, but he learned to listen.  He let us make mistakes.  He worried about us.  Out-going and funny, he was a master at greeting and welcoming others. “The first time you visit you’re our guest; after that, you’re a habit.”  Then he’d laugh.  Oh, how I miss his infectious laugh.  
Dad shared himself with the world, and we are richer as a result.  He left a treasure-trove of memories. 
I had a dream a few weeks ago.  In it, I was planning a big birthday party for my Dad.  I was scurrying around finalizing details and trying to type up all the reasons I was grateful for him.  As the time for the party got closer, I kept frantically saying, “I’m not ready.  I’m not ready.” 
Then I awoke and remembered that Dad was gone. 
I’m not ready for that either.
The hole and the heartache is immense. In the stormy waves of grief, I’m clinging to the One who carries me. 
Isaiah 40:11 (NIV) “He tends His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in His arms; He carries them close to His heart…”

​You may want to read another post I wrote about my Dad in 2012 called When Superman Ages.

Copyright 2014, The Word Weaver, Deb Weaver

by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 16th, 2014

When will I learn?  Life is not about me. 
Each new year I choose one word to focus upon and to guide me. (Why One Word? Click here to find out.) 
. . . At least I used to think that I chose the word.  
In 2011, the word was RADIATE. 
It was the most difficult year of my life I found myself faced with frustrating health issues and immersed in grief. I was so deeply submerged in grief, regrets, and sadness, I barely survived, let alone emitted any light. 
That fall, I frequently sat out under the stars and sobbed.  Even through the streams of salty tears, I felt and saw the love of a majestic God.  He comforted me.  He sustained me.  He held me.  He reminded me of His Word.  His creation emanated His personal, faithful care.  What I discovered that year was that God’s love radiated to me. 

By 2012, I thought I was healed emotionally to the point of moving forward.  The new word was ADVANCE.  Sounds positive and victorious, doesn’t it?  
Instead, I experienced reoccurring, debilitating bouts of fear.  Often I ended up in a corner, cowering. 
Yet, little-by-little, day-by-day, clash-after-clash, His Truth advanced in me.  (<--Click to Tweet)
My faith muscles were strengthened.  Do I still face fear?  Yes.  But, as a result of that year, I’m better equipped to do battle with it. 
2012 came to a close amidst a month-long sinus infection.  I was too exhausted to consider a new word for 2013.  Then, without any thought or effort on my part, a word floated to the surface of my heart:  PURPOSE.  I thought, “Wow.  That’s a great word.  Yeah, I’ll choose that one.”
You’d think I’d learn, wouldn’t you? 
In the first book that I picked up in 2013, the first paragraph was about GOD’S PURPOSE.  It was at that moment, I remembered—again—that life is not all about me.  The word was not an accident.  It was not a coincidence.
God led me to the word.  He had His purpose that He wanted to reveal to me.  My job was to listen and pay attention. 

So that’s what I did last year.  I listened more than I planned.  I read a lot of inspirational books.   I journaled.  I prayed and pondered.  I even took a few risks (in writing—you may read about it here & here—& personally--here) as I watched and waited.
At an amazing blogger’s conference in October, Allume, key components clicked together.  David Walker (a worship leader) said something significant, “So much of our lives and selves goes unnamed.  We cannot confess nor own what we do not name.” 

A workshop speaker, Nasreen Fynewever, said something else that resonated with me.  She said that she’s “intensely interested in people and always asking how she can help.  In doing so she mobilizes others’ dreams.” 
Emily Freeman, spoke briefly and asked questions that she also poses in her book, A Million Little Ways*: “What makes you come alive?  What’s most alive within you that you can offer someone else?” 
I didn’t know the answers at the time.

Then on Sunday afternoon, I walked down to a local restaurant. As I approached the stoplight, there were three older women standing there.  I noticed one’s perfume and started a conversation with them.  We chatted and delighted together in the moment before the light changed.  Then I went into the restaurant and connected with the waitress. 
On my way back to the hotel, thinking about and relishing those interactions, I realized that what makes me come alive . . . is to love. 

Because that has been true of me but has been demonstrated in so many different ways, I didn’t recognize that it was a true purpose of mine.  In fact, so much of my life has seemed scattershot.  I’d see others who seemed to have a very definite, focused purpose and I’d long for it.  
I’m now fifty, and I’m finally getting this fundamental part of myself:  my life’s acts will be varied because God has called me to love everywhere—just as He does.  

As a result of this realization, I’m naming and owning it.  

My LIFE PURPOSES (what I hope to BE):
  • To be a gentle, beautiful woman of God who quietly yields my will and life to His plan and purposes.
  • To be a Spirit-filled Christian available to be used by God, for His glory in the lives of those within my personal sphere of influence.
It is my prayer that I would live out His purposes for this life because, simply put, life is not about me!
End notes: 
I’ll be writing soon about My One Word for this year and some LIFE GOALS/DREAMS (what I hope to DO).  I hope you’ll keep coming back!
*(I HIGHLY recommend and obnoxiously quote Emily Freeman’s book, A Million Little Ways.  It is a transformational way of thinking about life and our part in it.  She also wrote Grace for the Good Girl which is on my to-read stack.)
Copyright 2014, The Word Weaver, Deb Weaver

by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 13th, 2014

I journal frequently.   It's an on-going conversation between the Lord and me.  There, I write out my everything--the good, the bad, my ugly.  A couple of days ago, I poured out my fear. 

My friend, Christin Ditchfield, (author of What Women Should Know About Facing Fear and more) asked me to guest post using the words I'd written in my journal to complement her blog's theme of Fearless:  

"I live afraid.  I realized that this morning . . ."

To read more, please visit Christin's blog.
Copyright 2014, The Word Weaver, Deb Weaver

by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 11th, 2014

Have you ever known anyone who makes things 69.789% harder than they need to be?  No?  Well, allow me to introduce myself. 

I’m Deb, forever crowned, “Empress Unnecessarily Complicated.”  
I can twist a simple to-do list into a thick, iron-clad chain that binds itself around my mind and pins me to the ground.    It’s not intentional; I just have ridiculously sky-high expectations for myself, and I over plan.
Unfortunately, those are not the only problems.  You haven’t met my other personalities—when you do, you’ll better understand. 
"Empress Unnecessarily Complicated" shares the life stage with "Duchess Do It Later (or Never)" and "The Perfectionistic Princess" who firmly believes that if something cannot be done perfectly, it should not be done at all. 

We all wear tiaras and hold titles.  We excel in our areas and combine our efforts as often as possible.  
Here’s how it works:  I look around my house and see a multitude of tasks that need completion.  I make a list that puts bunnies to shame in its multiplication rate. 

Then I begin to fill my calendar with scheduled tasks.  I color-code them. 

I accomplish a couple of tasks, crossing them off the list (one of my favorite activities.)   I am compelled to rewrite the list because it’s now messy. 

I brainstorm more items, adding both to the calendar and master list.  
I try to follow the rigid schedule for a couple of days.  Then, more often than not, I get overwhelmed and put off doing anything.  I find it far too confining. 
The list then sits there glaring at me, accusing me, paralyzing me.  

Instead of tackling tasks a little at a time, I bury my head into the internet.  I sit there, wearing my triple crowns and feeling terrible, while next-to-nothing gets done.  
With such an overwhelming approach, you may understand why I cherish crisp beginnings and brand-new years.  The slate is clean.  Hope is refreshed.  It’s like a beautiful journal with unblemished, untouched pages.  I breathe easier with anticipation. 
Yet, even in this fresh start, I make overwhelming, well-intentioned, and equally impossible lists of resolutions and goals. 
Nothing like sullying a new opportunity, is there?  Taking a permanent marker and scribbling over every page of your new journal.  Ugh.
Perhaps I need to start small.  Simplify. 
This is why the “My One Word” approach to the new year appeals to me.  It’s an over-arching target.  A gentler goal. 

My One Word frames my prayers, priorities, and perspective.   (<--Tweet)  

Perhaps you, too, need permission to let yourself off the hook and to extend grace to yourself.  Perhaps you need to start small, too.   (<--Tweet)
Let me invite you to join me.  We could toss the tiaras of the past and try something new this year.  We could ponder and pray about one word/concept to focus upon in the coming months. 
I’ll be writing more about my experiences with My One Word in the next week or two.  Stay tuned …  In the meantime, I’d love to hear your word for the New Year.
Copyright 2014, The Word Weaver, Deb Weaver

by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 8th, 2014

In this fresh, new year, here’s what I most want to say to those I love:  We are beloved by God. 
We are beloved.  You and me.    
For some reason, I get that for you more than I get it for me.  I easily extend grace, forgiveness, and love to you.  I remind you of His love.  But when I experience a bad day or feel like a failure, I berate myself and forget that I am loved, forgiven, and even cherished.  But, regardless of my feelings, it is still the truth.  
Do you ever feel that way?  If so, let’s learn and walk through this together.  
These verses are my prayer this year:  “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”   (Ephesians 3: 17b-19, NIV)
One phrase jumped out at me—“together with all saints”.
Maybe the reason we have not truly gotten it is that we’re struggling to hold the truth by ourselves.  When life gets hard and slippery, we keep losing our grip. <--Tweet That
Perhaps this truth is so massive, so amazing, so life-rearranging that we need one another to wrap ourselves around it, to hold on tightly to it, and to remind each other not to let go.  
So, now, this year, take my hand
We’ll clasp this truth together and hold on through the moments that threaten to tear us from it.  You remind me.  And I remind you.   <--Tweet that
We’re in this together—ready to listen, affirm, and encourage.  We’ll hold onto one another with our: words, attention, time, acceptance, grace, and truth.  Let’s commit to being honest about our true selves and our experiences even when it’s scary.  In the beauty. In the mess.   Whether or not we completely understand.  Whether or not we agree.  We’ll stand together, hand in hand, grasping the truth of God’s good, unchanging, unconditional love.  <--Tweet that
We are beloved by God.  May nothing pry us from this incredible truth.  Let’s grasp it together.  What do you say? 

Holley Gerth, blogger, author, and encourager extraordinaire, invited others to join her weekly in sharing encouragement for the heart.  She offers a writing prompt to guide the conversation.  

This is the first week, and I'm happy to add my link to the others.  Click here to browse and read the varied selections.
Copyright 2014, The Word Weaver, Deb Weaver

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