Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 - The Year of EMBRACE

Two weeks ago I was talking with a friend about joy.  Being deep down joyful about my life.  I feel like I'm always yearning for me.  I'm always running, chasing more.  More joy, more happiness... always wanting more.  It is no lie that I have always struggled with contentment.  We live off one teacher salary, paying for two Master degrees while homeschooling 4 kiddos.  We don't own a house and my van has significant rust (ah, holes).  So sometimes I feel, "Woe to me."  And I start sinking down in the pit of discontement.  Oh, look at that nice house.  Oh, look! A new van!  Yes yes, it all runs through my mind.  If I was being honest with you, more often that I'd care to admit to you.

You know, I love friends who aren't afraid to say the stuff that needs to be said.  The stuff that you want to say but if you do, you might want to hide behind the corner after?  Those are the friends that the Bible challenges us to have!  So my friend says, "April, what if deep down joy is all around you."

Stop. Deep breath.

Joy.  All around me.

Then she says, "All you have to do is embrace it."


It's true.  God has provided me with unimaginable riches, that are so so undeserved. 

It's all right here.  Around me.  All I have to do is embrace it.  God did not waste any time helping me learn these sweet lessons over the last two weeks.  The very next day my wheezy baby ended up in the ER to get some much needed oral steroids.  And you know what I did?  I stopped, and embraced.  Because he bounced back in record time.  When we hit a cold streak that left me cold to the bone? And frozen pipes and a waterfall washer?  I stopped and embraced.  Because, again, God provided a "cold" day for Sam and he was home to deal with it.  When we discovered a hydrocele on my poor baby, I stopped and embraced.  Because we have health insurance and awesome health care.  And when I couldn't leave the sofa for a day because I was sick, I embraced.  Because it was a weekend, and my husband took care of everything.  When we trekked through lake effect snow bands to head to doctors appointments, I embraced and trusted Him. 

So rather than chasing joy, running ever after it.  I am practicing to STOP and embrace.  Embrace what God has given me.  To stop and drink deep from the joy He has so lavishly poured out on my life.

So this year, please join me.  Stop, and embrace.  Stop running.  If you are like me, you are only going to tire yourself chasing something that isn't ahead of you...because it is the here, the now...all around you. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Farewell 2013

At the end of a year I like to write down high/low moments and then a list of goals for the following year.  Not so much resolutions, but something to work towards. I've been journaling about this thought with our big boys this week also.  Writing a Christmas letter always gets the ball rolling. 

I have a strong dislike for odd numbers.  So I am quite happy to be back in even number year territory again!

Winter/Spring was probably my worst homeschooling time.  I felt like a constant failure, I was coming to grips with ADHD being very real for our family.  I was learning how to cope with outbursts and wild energy.  I was learning that me yelling was not helping the situation, ANY situation for that matter.  The winter was long with my husband coaching basketball. 

The spring brought running.  Buying running shoes for my boys so we could run together.  I had no idea how awesome this would be.  I am really bummed that we didn't keep it up.  I told Turner that this year, we are going to run a race together.  We connected out on runs in the morning.  I honestly would've stayed snuggled in my bed next to Sam if it weren't for him running it all dressed ready to go.  I was surprised that he was my natural runner, the one that battles asthma.  We held hands on our runs and talked, when we could.  I can't help but smile just thinking back to those precious moments I shared with him, while we were both learning and experiencing growing pains as God worked to mold us to be more like Him! 

I learned to let go and just roll with the punches.  I have always been so uptight and one to hold a grudge.  I really focused this last year on letting go.  Forgiving.  Saying it over and over and over again, "I forgive, I forgive, I forgive." I kept practicing until my thick noggin caught on.  Forgiveness and letting go seem to go hand in hand.  A lesson that I will continue to work on!

I felt such distance from God this year and I had a friend whip me into shape.  Thankful.  Thankful for people that I can be real with and who step up and tell me to get with the program. 

Felt the heartache of friendship lost.  I still feel the void.

I watched my oldest rely unwavering on the Lord.  It was moving to say the least.  And I still look back at the moment and praise God for the blessing that he is to our family.  I often tell Sam that I feel like the kids teach us far more than what I teach them! 

Sam and I grew so much closer over the last year.  In the midst of struggle within our family, our bond strengthened.  And I so thankful for that man! 

I love looking back on the year and rejoicing at all that God has done, because really... hindsight is 20/20 and I may not understand it all at the time but looking back, it all clicks!

Next up...some goals for this year.  :)