Wow, is time going by fast or is it just me?
So....without further ado:
Uncle Jim and Aunt Donnave
A few weeks ago ( seriously, does it seem like its been ages already?! ) I needed a serious "time out" from life...so where did I go? To visit Aunty D and Jungle Jim....that's always where I go, really. They are truly my place of rejuvination...probably because they spoil me like crazy ;-) But, besides the spoiling I've learned a lot about things from these two dear people...and it probably mostly hit me when I was in high school:
Uncle Jim is a swim coach...but I would go so far as to say he's a Life Coach...and as cheesy is that sounds...he IS! My uncle is surrounded by people who need help, I think they are some how attracted to him...and he never, ever fails to give advice and counselling when its needed. This last trip, I was once again in awe at how wide the range of people drawn to him really are...we are talking from adults with grown children....to 5 year olds. I am continually blown away by this. I am also blown away with the God given ablity to really reach so many of these people in need. I can count in my head of ten people almost immediately who's lives have been changed for the better because of Jim, because of his advice...but mostly because of his LOVE...and I know there are heaps more that I dont even know about.
But, enough about everyone else! My uncle helped me through one of the biggest impacting events of my life: swimming competitively. Its funny that there are people now that dont even know I was a swimmer ( for ten years!)...because it use to be one of those defining aspects of my life. I permenently smelled like chlorine. I am an extremly competitive person, and I also live in extreme fear of failure....imagine that...combined with a very bad coach and a bad team enviroment and you've got my high school swimming experience. In a lot of ways I really regret not pushing myself harder, quitting when I did....wishing I had pushed through my shoulder injuries...but, one thing I DO know is that my swimming wouldnt have been nearly as enjoyable without my uncle....for three summers he coached me...and during the winter I would call him up with my victories and my failures. He was ever patient, ever encouraging, and ever directing me towards the ultimate goal of just being happy with my best. In a lot of ways I feel that Jim saved me from being a really MEAN, overly FOCUSED swimmer....he added Life to my swimming career-which is ultimately greater than any victory I could have had in the water.
To this day, I always consider Uncle Jim's advice as truly helpful. I know everything that he tells me is spoken in love...and that is a wonderful gift.
Aunt Donnave is a mother....and I would go so far as to say she's a mother to MANY....and as cheesy as THAT sounds....she IS! Donnave is constantly serving those around her, she brings-the other half ( that's the only way I can think to put it...sorry) to all of those people looking for advice and help from Uncle Jim...while they are there...getting that much needed advice and attention...they are getting attention from Donnave too..... I dont even know if she realizes how important it is to people just to have someone make them dinner when they are hungry or sitting with them...doing errands for them when they are overwhelmed....but it IS important! I dont think I realized that until I've watched Donnave. I've always been one to find "answers" and "solutions"...but I've learned a lot about pure and simple LOVE from Donnave.
I think Donnave and I must be related some how...we are SO similar in SO many ways....and then, there are also things about her that I really WISH I could be more like. I am overwhelmed by her kindness and her passion.
Jim and Donnave have also been a major contribution to my biggest dream. Seriously, I only really have ONE big dream for my life...I mean, everything else, I am happy to go with the flow...but I've always always wanted to have a house where people can come and stay...where people can get fed....fed with whatever they need....I feel like so much of this world is about emptying people out, and I really want to provide a place where people can come and get filled back up.
Donnave and Jim's house is truly a house of feeding....they dont even lock their doors! I've gone over there before to find that there are no members of my family actually there...instead there will be ten or so high school kids just hanging out...kids that have no resemblence of a home life to go home to after school....
I am continually amazed at what God has done through my Aunt and Uncle, I count them as two of the most inspiring people I know. I know that all of the amazing traits about them that I've listed above have not come easily...I know they both have had struggles beyond struggles....and yet they continue to be faithful in what God has called them to do. I know that God will continue to call them outside their comfort zones, and He will continue to be faithful in that.
My life would not be the same without these two wonderful people in it, they have truly been role models, friends, and dearest family to me....
I would not be who I am today without either of them....