Today's post is a gift from Colleen Mitchell. Words won't adequately capture the gift Colleen is to me and the way our lives have been inextricably intertwined. Just as I am happy to welcome her back to the blogosphere, my heartstrings are tugging as the physical distance between us increases. Please pray with me for Mitchell family as they answer God's call and once again become the Mission Family.
It's been more than a year since I stepped away from the blogging world. I can't tell you an exact reason. I had lived out some of the most joyous as well the most difficult moments of my life in the little space I called Footprints on the Fridge. And I chronicled a lot of ordinary every days there too. And it was a good thing. And then there came an extended time away with no internet access and a life that required every bit of energy and effort I had just to be lived. The path of the last year has been a rocky one with many fits and starts. It quieted me. And it was a good thing.
We have waited on the Lord to open a door and show us the way He has planned for us. We have longed for Him in our waiting. We have struggled. We have grown. We have faced great challenges and known great joys. And we have lived, as always, a lot of ordinary every days. In the last year, we formed our own foundation in the name of our little saint, the St. Bryce Foundation and begged God to use us and him to show people the way back to Christ. We have engaged in many worthwhile ministry events in our own diocese. And then, in recent months, an opportunity has arisen for us to return to service in the foreign mission field through the sponsorship of a parish in our diocese.
Grano de Oro, Costa Rica with Volcan Turrialba in the Background
In the middle of January, we will step on a plane with that merry band of brothers in tow and head to Grano de Oro, Costa Rica where we will assist the two pastors of the San Juan Diego mission in their work with the parish mission as well as 30 or more indigenous communities in the outlying mountainous region. Many of you will be excited to know that our mission is in the very diocese where the much beloved story of Juanita and the apparition of Our Lady of the Angels took place in Cartago. We will visit her shrine there to dedicate this mission to her. You can see more about the mission in the video presentation on our web site.
In addition that great news, there is the joy that I will be thirteen weeks pregnant when we depart. God has done amazing things to bring us to this place and I cannot deny His goodness or His faithfulness.
We have spent Advent preparing and packing and pondering some tough decisions regarding our departure. I have spent a good part of the Christmas season exhausted and nauseous. Needless to say, there has been very little predictable routine around here. And I long for it. I long for peaceful days and fresh air and an understanding on all our parts of how fill our days with good and holy things. As I have pondered the start of another year and the tradition widely promulgated on the 'net of picking a word for the New Year, I cannot escape the desperate longing for a rhythm that reaches for all that is good and beautiful and holy as we seek to serve Him with our whole lives. I want a way to sharpen the focus of our days and make them uniquely purposeful. And I want that focus to be so universal that it can transition from the handful of days we have left here to our mission life and home through the length of a pregnancy and birth of a new baby. I readily admit it is not easily summed up in one word.
So I set about trying to articulate what I think God is asking us to set our hearts on in this coming year so that our ordinary every days are filtered through the lens of His extraordinary presence, gratitude for His great gifts and stewardship of the call to serve His people at the ends of the earth. Rather than a schedule or school plans or chore charts (all of which will probably come), I want to endeavor to prioritize these things in our every days:
1. Adore the Lord.
2. Share the Good News.
3. Create something of beauty with your hands.
4. Read something of spiritual value and something of literary merit.
5. Breathe fresh air and move your body.
6. Work diligently at some task and complete it with excellence.
7. Exercise the logical, reasoning, calculating side of your brain.
8. Slow down to savor some special moment and thank Him for it.
9. Write something in your own handwriting. Seek to make it precise and perfect.
10. Speak to your Heavenly Mother and holy companions.
11. Challenge yourself in some way.
12. Sleep well.
An Indian Village in the Mountains Outside of Grano de Oro
In asking myself if it was possible to set upon one word that would encapsulate this list and bring it back to mind quickly when I need to refocus, I thought of our family's main missionary commitment to spend an hour every day in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. And I realized that is just what God is asking of us this year -- PRESENCE. We will sit in His presence. We will bring a missionary presence to His people in Grano de Oro. We will live present to the extraordinary moments of grace I know God has in store for us this year. We will live present to one another and to the world around us. And we will train our minds and hands to be present to all that is good and lovely in the work and learning of every day. And I will be present once more on the wide, wide web. I will blog this new endeavor and renewed life at this new space. I hope you will join me there every now and then. Your presence is welcomed and your prayers are appreciated. Please drop by and let me know your word for the new year or your prayer intentions. I will bring them all with me to Our Lady's Shrine upon our arrival in Costa Rica.