Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sibling Spotlight: Lydia Shalom

Lydia is the "true middle child" of our Lofgren family, with 1 older brother and 2 older sisters and 1 younger brother and 2 younger sisters. She has the characteristics of both a middle and an oldest child, for she was very much the leader of our growing up group of sibling playmates.

Lydia's middle name, Shalom, which is Hebrew for peace, describes her well. When we were little she was often the peacemaker, and throughout her life there's been a sense of peace that kind of radiates from her. Through all of her searchings for guidance, I've been inspired by her being at peace with whatever God would have for her life.

With 5 years between Lydia and our next oldest sister Miriam, Lydia was the oldest child at home for quite a few years. She was (and still is!) a great older sister, finding and planning fun things to do. She was always ready for a hike in the woods or to sit down and play a game. I fondly remember the special surprises she's planned for us, and how much fun it was to just play together as we grew!

Lydia is a true outdoors-woman who enjoys adventure! If you couldn't find Lydia around the house, chances are she'd be out in the woods enjoy the solitude and beauty. She was usually the instigator of the trails we made in the woods, forts or tepees we built, hikes we took down the creek, or the biking trips we'd ride on together. I didn't enjoy the hikes as much, but if Lydia was there, I always felt much safer from the snakes and other things that lurked. She'd even make things comfortable, clearing out shady spots for Jubi and me to play in as she and Elijah cut out a path through the forest. She encouraged me to try new and scary things that were out of my comfort zone. Though, I really wouldn't want to do some of the wild outdoorsy things she's done, like caving in a dark, muddy cave or jumping off of a 30-foot rock into a lake! Nor have I gone on the many backpacking trips she's experienced, though for her, things couldn't get much better then being out for days in God's creation! Even though to me, some things may not seem like fun, it's always enjoyable to hear her talk about them and see her light up with joy and enthusiasm. Yes, we are all sure that the "Outdoor Leadership and Education" major that she's studying is perfect for her!

Lydia has always been very conscientious, and, I'm sorry to say, Elijah and I used to tease her about about being "so good". Through it all, however, I truly admired her steadfastness, and now more then ever am inspired by her to not compromise and to do what you feel God is calling you to, even if others don't always see the same way. Her love for the Lord and ever-growing relationship with Him has inspired me to press further in and deepen my own walk.

Lydia has also always exhibited a lot of patience. With 3 younger siblings, she certainly had a lot of opportunities to get impatient or loose her cool. However, I recollect very few times that she actually got upset. Usually she'd take the teasing or irritation and work through it, helping us get over it as well.

As the next girl in line after Lydia, she has been a good role model to follow. When she left home, I took over planning the camping trips, but it was made easy by her detailed lists and folder of plans. Those she babysat remembered her fun and games, and I tried hard to continue on with her neat crafts and joyful play. The washing of the kitchen floor became my chore after hers, and while I did it, I'd be reminded of the many times she'd done it without complaint. Her hard work and ready helpfulness has been another thing I've tried to follow. She's a true servant, working hard on numerous tasks and being always ready to lend a hand. When she's home on breaks, she often pitches in to lighten our load, making meal preparations move along more quickly or helping with the dishes.

The name of her blog, The Life-Long Journey, is an accurate description of her life. At 23, she has already been to many different parts of the world! She's been to Peru, Canada, and different parts of West Africa, as well as many states of the US. She has a real heart for reaching the unreached overseas, and has wanted to be a missionary since she was young. After high school graduation (she was also the first sibling to be homeschooled the whole way through), she spent another year at home, continuing to learn and seeking God for what He'd have her do next. The next year she went to a year-long Bible school in snowy Colorado, where she was required to get a season pass to the nearby ski resort! She did really well in her studies, and we had a fun family vacation visiting her, playing in the snow, and trying our hand at skiing. The next fall she went even further north, going through a semester of immersion French in Quebec. The next January she went on an internship in West Africa, helping a family homeschool, and learning the language and culture in a very hot climate. She learned a lot through what was often a very lonely time in a mud hut in the desert. In Fall 2006, she began college at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia. She's learned a lot and had a great time, and it's been nice to have her a little more close by! Dad jokes that after sub-Saharan Africa, college has been a breeze - but it has challenges of its own, of course!

She's ever thoughtful and considerate, planning fun outing or get-togethers for friends and keeping in touch with us at home. I write her letters, and its always fun to get a reply, written as she takes time out from her busy schedule. Knowing all she has to do makes them even more special!

Lydia is very musical, playing Violin ever since she was 6 - it's beautiful to hear her play! She also did really well playing the trombone in homeschool band, filling in those needed bass parts. She started out as a music major, and learned beginning piano very quickly! She works well with her hands, and has been a big help to dad as they work on building the guest house. She also enjoys working with children, and her outdoor enthusiasm has been put to good use many different summers while working at camps. This summer she's working at another one, and while I'll miss her at home, I'm excited for her opportunities.

Loving, kind and full of adventure, she's been a wonderful sister!

We're 5 years apart, sisters


and now.

Lydia, thank you for the amazing example you've been to me and others, and for the many ways you think of to have fun together! I love you!


Sloan said...

It is plain to see that you love her and all your siblings VERY much. It's amazing how each sibling has a different personality. My middle sister is the peacemaker too! Good thing we have her around!

Sloan <><

PoetLady said...

Lydia IS amazing! She inspires me too.

Anna's oldest sister,

Lydia said...

Anna, thank you for the post. God has been so faithful in my life and I pray that He is praised by anything seen in me. He is truely amazing! Throughout this adventure called life, he has walked beside me.
I love you and am so grateful to have you as my sister.