Ambassador of Reconciliation
12/15/15 at 01:24 PM 13 Comments

Joy Is a Choice, Part 5

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In 2012, I posted a four-part series called “Joy Is a Choice.” Parts 1 and 2 presented biblical principles for joy from the book of Philippians. In Part 3 I spoke of the source of my greatest joy. Part 4 gave some practical principles learned by observing joyful people—Love, Move, Learn, Laugh, Dare, Share.

One of the people featured in Part 4 was Ruth Colvin, the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, now called ProLiteracy Worldwide. Ruth has been a model for me not only of joy, but of diligence, perseverance, and selfless service. Here is an update on her life, showing how she continues to exemplify these qualities.

In 2014, Ruth lost her husband, Bob—her best friend, soulmate, and lifelong ministry partner. Experiencing such a loss after being together for so long—they would have celebrated their seventy-fifth wedding anniversary this year—would send many into a spiral of depression and loss of hope. But Ruth has chosen to maintain a positive spirit and not to give up on life—even at age 99!

Her 2015 Christmas letter is full of joy and family and thankfulness and purpose:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays – 2015

To family and friends,

A full and busy year, missing Bob (this would have been our 75th anniversary), but working hard to adapt to this new life without him, and counting my blessings.

I’m 99 and thankful that I have good health and am still able to travel. Remember, age is just a number. It’s what you do with your number that counts.

Kathie and Vinnie had invited me to Jamaica in January—what a delightful time there. And to California with Lindy and Doug and our California family in February and March, with Terry and Tammy joining us at Sea Ranch—family get-togethers are SO important (two new great grandsons this year). In October, to Lake Placid with Terry, then Terry, Tammy, Lindy, Doug (bonus Miriam/Glen/baby Evren) to the Cape, followed by my going to Charleston, SC for the ProLiteracy national conference. And to DC to celebrate Christmas.

Syracuse is always delightful in the summer, and I made the most of it, playing golf at least three times a week (shorter ball and higher handicap), and going to the gym several times a week. I’m blessed with good friends at church, in my three book clubs, and those on both the LiteracyCNY and ProLiteracy boards.

Reading and writing are still a big part of my life, and I’m teaching again, one-on-one, a young Chinese mother who is a joy to work with. I’m thankful for the computer, emails, iPad and iPhone, so that I can keep in communication with family and friends wherever they are.

God is indeed great and good, and I’m thankful for all the blessings given to me—good health, my loving family, and so many supportive friends.

Blessings to all, with wishes for good health, joy, and peace.

My best to all—Ruth Colvin

May her letter be a blessing and inspiration to all of you readers. She's still loving, moving, learning, laughing, daring, and sharing!

Recently Ruth was asked to do a week-long series for the feature “Daily Inspiration” in the city newspaper of Syracuse, New York. She told me, “I hesitated to do it, but decided I’ve lived a long life and have had thoughts that might help others—so I did it. I was amazed at the response—everyone needs a helping hand.” Here is the link to Daily Inspiration, and here are her devotionals so that you too might get a helping hand from her wisdom:

Little Things Trigger Memories
November 1, 2015

Your Life Bag
November 2, 2015

Something Good Comes from Everything
November 3, 2015

Clasped Fingers
November 4, 2015

Age Is Just a Number
November 5, 2015

November 6, 2015

Look For Similarities Rather Than Differences
November 7, 2015

As long as we have breath, God has a purpose for our lives. Like Ruth, let us "rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4) and “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).

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