Sunday, May 19, 2024

Wisdom: Faye

Earlier this week, Faye and I were out for dinner, trying to remember which year it was that we met. We recall vividly the occasion, but not the actual date. Twas summer (2003? 2004?) and we were both helping out with Kids' Camp. She was the music director (naturally) and I was the craft lady (of course). Brenda Pue, a mutual friend, introduced us by saying we had something in common and we should talk. 


If Brenda tells you to do something, you do it. So we talked. Turns out we had a few things in common:

1. We lived in the same neighbourhood.

2. Our heads looked identical from the back; blonde hair foreverrr.

3. We both had three kids (hers were girls, each 4 years apart. Mine were boys, each 3.5 years apart).

4. We were each in our own ways, figuring out the new-to-us single-mom lifestyle...

5. ... and we were reluctant, certified, middle-aged members of The First Wives Club.

After that introduction, Faye and I began a deep friendship. Deep is the only way Faye knows how to do it. There is no shallowness in her. She dives right in, and is a safe person (the safest person?) to share your burdens with. She holds your stories tight and talks to God about them for you.  She is intentional in her relationships; with friends, with her girls and with her grands. She invests in them, delights in them, honors them, prays for them. 

Her daughters (in their Facebook posts) describe her as sweet, radiant, loyal to her people, caring to her family, magical to her grands ... and steadfast in her faith. They are thankful for her wisdom, selflessness, and devotion. 

A few days ago, (time is just a blurrr), Faye was celebrating her 60th birthday. Her daughters invited a few of her close friends, her sister and sister-in-law to a lovely dinner. I wrote about it here. But I want to highlight what was said during the evening:

Each of us shared, out loud, (which of course brought tears), how Faye has blessed us. We talked about special memories, we affirmed her gifts and talents, we encouraged her in her plans, we told her we loved her.

Her daughters shared too. About her sacrificial giving, her endless capacity to love, her creativity. her patience, her joy. But they also talked about their mom's friendships. And what an impact that had on them. How her friends were THERE. How, during the tough days, the friends showed up. And stayed. How those same friends were there on happy days, and filled the house with laughter. How it was the friends who supported, prayed, loved, fed, stood beside their mom ... how it was these friendships that inspired them to gather friends like that around themselves.

And that's the point of these blog posts... I want to share the wisdom and the experiences of my friends so that our girls can get a glimpse of lives well lived. So, with that introduction, meet Faye:

What would you tell younger Faye?

I would tell her not to be afraid to ask for help. (I tend to try to handle everything on my own.)

What makes your life meaningful?

FAMILY. This includes time with my kids and hearing what's on their hearts. I delight in my grandchildren and time with each of them is a treasure! I want to help my kids and their families in any way they need. 

I teach piano, and it is meaningful to see the same students each week for a few years ... I hope I am an encourager to each of them, and inspire them in their music journey. 

Who has inspired/mentored you? 

My friend, Brenda Pue (who passed away from cancer a few years ago) was steadfast, supportive, encouraging, and prayerful. She always saw the best in people. And she reminded me to bring every concern to God in prayer (and not panic during difficult situations, but to wait on Him.) (She modeled this during her final year.) 

I am in a group that prays for each other and our families, weekly. These gals have such faith and I admire their commitment to prayer.

And each of my daughters has inspired me: 
Tessa (and Jesse) said yes to being respite foster parents while she was pregnant with their third daughter. It wasn't easy and often chaotic, but her heart for these little ones and believing that putting children above her own comfort was important - it was truly inspiring. I want to be more like Tessa. 

Bailey is a parttime Peds ER nurse and has 4 busy boys but always seems to make time to bring meals to those she has heard are sick or struggling. Her and Johnny open their home with warm, easy hospitality to gatherings of family or friends. I am inspired by her and want to be more like Bailey. 

Michaela is a teacher and an artist and has a heart for those who're hurting emotionally. She is a busy gal but always makes time to meet with those who need a listening ear. She loves to travel (hasn't inherited her mom's fear of flying) and always has a concern to share her faith with those from other cultures. She inspires me and I want to be more like Michaela. 

At this stage of life, there are many friends and family (extended family too) who've faced (and are facing) incredible life challenges, that carry heavy burdens. I have seen these people not just survive but thrive and continue to embrace life and its blessings. They have all inspired me.

(Note from me ... this bit feels awkward to include: "you are amazing Jane. Your purpose, passion and gift for gathering people inspires me. You are someone who has survived, thrived and you inspire me".)

ALSO, my mom! She's 91 and has purpose at this stage in life cooking for others. (Casseroles, baked goods etc,) She has a heart for the hurting. She struggles with mobility but her determination to keep connected and help others is inspiring! I hope I can be like her in my twilight years. 

What're you looking forward to at this stage in your life? 

1. I want to find new ways to add meaning and purpose at this stage of life. I am praying about this and wondering what it would look like. 

2. Being creative, in any way. In many ways. Life was so busy for so many years... I am appreciating having time to try new things like drawing and painting and 'noodling' on the piano for fun. 

3. And of course, I am looking forward to watching my grandies grow. 

What is your greatest fear?

I struggle with lots of fears and self-doubt. But I guess I am most afraid of fear itself, that it would blind me or keep me from experiencing being fully present and full of joy. 

Can you share three major life highlights you've experienced so far?

Biggest highlight: The good Lord blessed me with three amazing, wise, witty, kind, beautiful daughters. And of course, three wonderful son-in-laws and incredible grandchildren. I have so many rich memories with each of them.

Another highlight, looking back: is the wonderful church experience (2000 - 2010?). Murrayville Community Church closed over a decade ago, but the love and care my daughters and I experienced there changed the way I see church. I hadn't experienced it before (and sadly, since), but it left a lasting impact on me. The friends that are part of my prayer group are from that church season.

And one last highlight is that I am experiencing currently is the opportunity to teach five of my grandies piano. It is so meaningful to me to be part of their musical journey, even if just for a short time. The big bonus to this is a get to have 30 minutes with each of them alone, every week! 

Have you had a life changing event? What did you learn from it?

I guess suddenly finding myself single at 42 and raising my girls on my own was the biggest event that changed my life. I can't deny it was a dark time, but I learned that God is good and there are always blessings to be found. The community of friends that rallied around in support certainly brought light, comfort and love. I learned I was stronger than I knew. 

Any thoughts on beauty?

I have no tricks up my sleeve on this topic and probably need some help at 66. I am trying not to fear the changes! The most beautiful people I know have kind eyes and gentle hearts. Be mindful to keep your inner selves soft; don't hang on to bitterness or anger... this will be reflected on the outside. 

General Wisdom on any topic you'd like to pass along to younger women?

Faith: Keep praying real prayers that are honest, even if you feel like God is far off. Bring every concern to Him. If you need to experience more of His love, ask Him to show Himself to you in new ways. Some prayers are prayed for years. That's OK.

Relationships: Forgive, be gracious, encourage. Life is short. Let those you love know it; say it, show it. Hug them.

Aging: Embrace each stage, don't compare yourself with others (re: appearance, energy, houses, income). Be happy with your own accomplishments, big or small.

Risks: Try one new thing every once in awhile. 


Book: I love all of Jane Austen books, especially Pride and Prejudice

Movie/Show: Love the movie (both versions) of Pride and Prejudice. I rewatch once a year. 

Song: This one, Bailey singing:

City: Victoria is where I was born, grew up and I love the sea air and beaches there. The ocean was a huge part of my growing up. So were ferry rides. 

Verse: Psalm 34:8  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed are those who take refuge in Him!
Proverbs 3:5,6 (and Psalm 23 is another passage I re-read regularly). 

Activity that brings joy: Watching my flowers bloom in the summer. Seeing my grandkids run around my backyard. Babysitting. Time, meals, walks with family and friends. Art. Teaching piano. My holiday week with all my family at Camano Island with all my family has been a rich highlight for many decades. 

Note from Faye: What a great question! What brings you joy? I feel the blessings overflow as I ponder this and remember ... Perhaps this exercise in thankfulness is what the Bible talks about. There are SO many reasons for joy!

Surprising moment: My trip to the UK with Michaela. I didn't know I would enjoy it so much. It was amazing to do this with her (and tackle my fear of flying). 

and travelling to Disneyland with all my family - we all had so much fun!

Flower: Roses

Snacks: Tea, chocolate, peanut butter and jam, twizzlers and apples.

Christmas memory: I don't know if this is a favorite, but my first Christmas as a single parent (my husband had left a month earlier), our cockapoo had seven puppies. Seven beautiful cuddly puppies! These puppies brought such joy and delight to me and my girls amidst the most difficult time. I felt they were our 'little angels' and certainly a wonderful gift all things considered. 


Thanks, Faye. 

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