College continued (thanks, Master Teacher): I learned first nations lament from Mark Charles; we learned neighborliness from the new folks next door— Alex, Brianne and Dmitri. Lutheran Social Services was a good lab, linking refugees and volunteers. Servant Leader, thanks for courage and joy to lead the Writers’ Festival Circle. Marriage enrichment courses included two weddings, getaways with Joyce and Dave and Jim’s 50th Houghton Reunion. Music and nature appreciation amplified Red Rocks Hunt Family vibes.
God, You let us know we mattered with kids and grandkids in Denver, Ashland, Odenton, Columbia, even Greenbelt. Lifegiver, Family Blesser, we praise You for the birth of Jordan Noelle Gray. Ageless Spirit, thanks for the snowy weekend with church book group friends, the Little Free Library Ministry and for DCCRC’s second New Jersey service week. Jesus, thanks for energy to host David O. here and care for the Renkema boys in College Park. Purveyor of Pure Joy, thank You for each day on our cross-country trip from Christina’s graduation in Virginia to Judah’s in Oregon and back via Denver.
Praise You, Soul/Mind Love, in Pastor Meg’s Psalm Sermon Series and Poet Rod Jellema’s Psalm-writing Class. Thank You, Heart/Soul Love, for Meditation Group with Greenbelt friends, for Climate Action Peer Support Group and for Vespers at St. John’s Episcopal. Bless You, Whole Person Love, through DCCRC’s Strength Finder Retreat. Yay, Heart/Strength Love, for grandsons Thomas Christopher Roorda and Ernest Mavyn DeFauw!
Love gave us new people to nurture: we were Heeyun Lee’s host parents, glad to meet his friends and have him meet ours; my childcare grandma times brought smiles with the Ausema girls and McClellan boys. DCCRC grew in faith and outreach as Pastor Meg Jenista joined Minister of Worship and Music Katie Roelofs. Jim retired in December and we spent a week with Dave, Charissa and newborn Tyler Nicole Gray in Boulder. In March we met Jean and sons at DeFauw’s in Ohio; brought Judah to Greenbelt and DC one last time. Nigerian Stephen Enada was our guest in July for the first of many advocacy meetings. Creator called me to Stephanie Miracle’s dance class, to Greenbelt Climate Action Peer Support Group and on 13 miles of the Walk for our Grandchildren. Joy drew us to Loft Cottage at Castleman River for our 15th anniversary in August, and back to Ashland and Boulder for family fun in September.
Alive at 65 in Seasonal Renewal Fall: Two-church women’s retreat Thanksgiving in Blacksburg Eleven Advent days in Ashland Winter: Interplay at Seekers Church Calvin Worship Symposium Birth of granddaughter, Lily Grace Roorda Spring: Easter Sunrise Service at Greenbelt Lake Festival of Faith and Writing Scripture Poet Circle Elder-Deacon visits and prayers with women friends Summer: Church Block Party with DJ Duff Mom’s 90th Birthday Party in Blacksburg Jim’s 50th High School Reunion in Newfane NY Grateful for all season nowness of centering prayer and sleep, fully present to You then newness of waking—resurrected, restored
Hand on heart in silence with soul friend Patience I prayed to love without judgment. Life with Jean, Michael, Judah and friends plus Seren care provided great love practice on my two visits there and theirs here between for Christopher and Mary Susan’s wedding. Three weeks later we rejoiced with Rhonda, Karen, two Betsys and all at Dave and Charissa’s wedding. In Group Spiritual Direction at the Bellfry Retreat and a season of weekly Shalem sessions I discovered loving listening, heart-based responding. With Christians Practicing Yoga my whole body breath prayer became “Jesus, teach me Love” Our paths crossed: Where you headed? asked Harriet. To my childcare job with Lukas Vega, I smiled. It’s Love, it’s all Love! she replied. YES. Falling asleep I pictured dear ones representing each Mulled Word— friends, family members, authors. Beside the weddings Jim and I grew in love on four 10K walks and another Chincoteague trip. For love of Mother Earth I joined pipeline protesters, sang We Shall Overcome in the paddy wagon and paid bail.
Treasured words from 2 y.o. Lena — I love you, you’re like Oma; question from 3 y.o. Felicity — Are you Mary Poppins; advice from 75 y.o. widow at the pool — I’ll soon be out and your fearless leader can join you, enjoy him while you can; Facebook post from 32 y.o. Jean — Goin to Hawaii and we’re gonna get ma-ar-ied; from 12 y.o. Judah — I love my life and my family; farewell from 68 y.o. friend Mary VanderHart — See you Marj; Barbara Simon’s Rite of Passage Library Story I portrayed in Transition Theater’s Greenbelt Voices; and the Mullstream question— How Can I Keep from Writing.
Stayed sane writing then revising Psalm poems. Savored serene moments in each season: solitude one Ashland Autumn Morning, Jean, Michael and Judah gone overnight; solace one Greenbelt Winter Afternoon opening boxes of Mulled Words, my first book; tearshine in Spring Prayers—indoors, out, alone, at home, away, with Jim, Mom and others; Summer Shalom with Judah in six states, then holding and rocking baby Seren.
“So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart” 152 days featured time with 3 to 4 year old Lily Ung-Weaver. Grandma Gifter, thanks for 53 days with 10 year old Judah. All-Loving One, how You grew my love with Mom here 25 nights total, Joyce 28; on trips with family 17, with Jim 24 nights! All-Wise One, what did I learn in 88 Bible Studies, book discussions or Sunday School classes that year of three all-too-soon funerals, of Clara and Stephen’s wonderful wedding and of Jim’s and my tenth anniversary?
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to hire, revive church community in worship, music, Bible study and visits; my time to retire, give more volunteer time, let the Senior Center Rest In Peace. Tearful times in our kids’ absence, smiles when Dave’s job brought him back monthly to Maryland, more smiles on spring break in Oregon and another great summer parenting Judah. In writing, times to search for words, themes, stories, then to give up searching; times to keep revising and submitting, also some times to discard, abandon, delete. Times to speak, to embrace after walks, swims, Penn State Intervarsity Reunion, the cabin at Martinek; times to be silent, refrain from embracing, still communing with God and each other.