I am very very pleased and proud to be starting this brilliant series of interviews with some inspiring women who I know, would like to know or I just straight up fan girl over. I wanted to start the series with an interview with someone who I met through my husband Michael. He lived and worked in the US at the end of the 1990s and became friends with Elizabeth. They kept in touch over the years and when Michael and I got together, I am so happy to say that Elizabeth became my friend too.
Tell everyone a bit about yourself (day job, special interests etc).
I am 40-something, single, and live in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. I am employed as a technical writer for a computer software company and have so many hobbies that I don’t have time for them all. Some of my favorites are traveling, cycling, running, playing the mandolin, baking, reading, and eating more chocolate than I should. I’m one of those people who could never possibly be bored. Additionally, I have two nieces and a nephew who I absolutely adore, and a dog, Kirby, who greets me with a smile and a tail wag when I arrive home from work each evening.
Most people, including me, would like to include exercise in their life. Could you tell us how you keep and maintain your fitness in the heat of Alabama?
Contrary to popular belief, Alabama is not hot all year ‘round. However, we do have to contend with some major heat in the summertime, which, while it doesn’t bring all outdoor activities to a halt, does force us to choose our activities and times wisely. My main fitness activities are cycling, running, and walking, and I find that the changes in seasons bring a natural change in activities. I predominately cycle in the summertime because the days are longer (cycling requires more time than some activities) and the weather warmer. During the hot months of July and August, I ride early in the morning to beat the heat. Once the weather gets cooler, I begin a more consistent running program that keeps me moving through the cold, short winter days, and also provides an efficient way to burn calories in a shorter amount of time than that required by cycling. And I walk all year ‘round simply because it’s good for my mind and body, and because I can take Kirby with me, which makes us both happy!
You have also been lucky enough to explore some of our great planet – do you wish you could travel more? Where would you go?
Traveling has been one of my greatest joys as an adult, and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to see some amazing places in the past 20 years. While some people are content to stick close to home or maybe travel every now and then, the act of traveling actually intensifies my desire to see and experience more new things. I am constantly in awe over how many different sights and cultures the world contains, and I have a natural desire to explore them and get to know the people and their daily routines.
These days, I would jump at the chance to go back to most any of the places I’ve been before and know fairly well, including Paris, Normandy, and Provence in France, Cornwall and the Cotswolds in England. At the same time, there are so many places that I’d like to get to know better, such as the Alps (both French and Swiss), the Lake District in England, the beautiful countries of Austria and Germany. The United States and Canada also hold so many destinations to which I’ve never been, such as Yellowstone National Park, Prince Edward Island, and New York City. And New Zealand and Australia are also on my list. I could go on and on . . .
As a woman of faith, how do you think this impacts your day-to-day life?
My faith impacts every minute of every day of my life. The main way is through the way I view and react to less-than-ideal situations. While there is much joy and pleasure to be found in this world, there is also much sorrow, pain, and disappointment. Because I have hope as a child of the God who promises to make all things new and perfect, my hope and joy are not circumstantial; my hope is not dependent on people or situations, which can often be disappointing. Rather, my hope is based on the fact that God is at work accomplishing something greater, and that he uses disappointments and tough situations for good in the lives of his people; these things are not wasted and are not for nothing.
This does not mean that I don’t experience disappointment when someone fails me, sadness when plans fall through, and grief when someone I love dies. It does not mean that I never get sad or mad about even the smallest things. But it does mean that I have the opportunity to remind myself daily of what really matters—eternity—which puts things into perspective and give me a hope beyond my daily experiences and feelings.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible comes from Revelation 22:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
How wonderful that God himself will one day wipe away my tears based on the fact that there will no longer be the need for tears or sadness or disappointment! What a source of hope and joy!
(There’s so much more to this story, so feel free to contact me if you want to know more.)
Do you feel any extra pressure as a woman in your personal or professional life?
Naaaah, except that I’m the one responsible for making sure my mortgage gets paid and my groceries get bought and my dog gets fed, all of which are motivating factors when it comes to showing up for work each day. 🙂
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud of the fact that this once shy, introverted girl has learned to be more bold and outgoing. I’ll always be an introvert and can still be shy at times, but I am much more confident in social situations and around people I don’t know than I was when I was younger. As a result, I’m more motivated to meet new people and try new things (even if I’m not completely sure I’ll succeed!).
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge has been maintaining contentment despite the fact that my life does not look the way I’d imagined it would at my age. I am very family oriented and have always thought I’d be married with children at this point. Instead, I’m a single pseudo-career woman who actually isn’t very interested in a career. But obviously, what I have desired for myself has not been God’s plan for my life thus far. My biggest challenge has been to stay focused on the gifts God has given me through my singleness, such as the ability to travel, pursue fun hobbies, and spend more time with others, rather than sink into sadness over what I don’t have. I certainly have much to be thankful for.
If you could spend 1 whole day with someone who inspires you, who would it be?
My mom. She has been through the wringer in her lifetime, and yet has continued to be a joyful, faithful example to me and a servant to many. She inspires me to read more, study more, serve more, and look at situations less selfishly. I am thankful for her inspiration and guidance in my life.
Thank you so much to Elizabeth for agreeing to taking part in this interview series. A really refreshing, honest and touching interview from woman who inspires me on a daily basis.
You can find Elizabeth on Twitter: @efox25