Friday, January 2, 2015

Changing Years

I know there's nothing magical about a new year.  Yet somehow it feels important.

Christmas is like an overwhelming project that trickles into my October, puts pressure on my November, and stares down every moment of every day in December.  I understand Christmas and I love it.  I enjoy so much about it.  This year was probably my most meaningful Christmas yet because my relationship with God has grown so much deeper this year.  But now that Christmas is over, I feel like a monumental event is behind me and I can look forward to new things.

I am quite relieved to close up 2014.  There's no delicate way to say it was a difficult year for me.  There were things I never discussed on my blog and things I never discussed at all.  And then of course there's all the stuff I rambled about.

Our year was filled with difficult days struggling with Nolan's health.  Doctor's appointments and medical tests filled our schedule, but the battle just to get through every single day was the hardest part.  My sister and her husband left the church in our hometown where they have pastored for 14 (I think) years, and they moved with their two children to Orlando, Florida, to teach at an amazing Christian school.  I am incredibly proud and thankful for how my sister and I have adjusted to this major change and made our relationship flexible in order to become stronger through the newness.

Jared's job has been difficult and uncertain.  Many of my friendships have been strained due to new jobs, new babies, and just the scheduling difficulties that naturally come as families grow and get busier.  My own stomach issues flared up, most likely triggered by all the stress of caring for Nolan.

It hasn't all been bad.  I lost a little more weight.  The kids have been doing very well in school.  Nolan branched out and auditioned for solo parts in his school and church Christmas plays--and he got them!  Griffin cooperated for all of his Christmas plays without crumpling due to stage fright.  Just seeing him stand on stage and sing the songs was a huge victory.  We had our best yet family vacation in the summer of 2014 when we went to Michigan.  Jared and I fulfilled our dream of going on a getaway for our anniversary, and it was indescribably amazing.

Jared traveled a lot for work, which is always hard but we've also learned how to deal with it.  He went to Africa this year, which means Antarctica is the only continent he has not visited.  I'm not sure if that goes in the good or bad column. 

My faith was really tested this year.  I feel like my understanding of God deepened more than ever, but I also had to learn some painful lessons about trusting Him when I don't at all understand.  I met with Him in new places and in new ways.  I experienced His Word like never before.  I saw the fulfillment of some of His promises in my life as He brought me into some new friendships and met my personal needs in unexpected ways.

I have no idea what to expect for 2015.  I just know I'm glad to be done with 2014.  The hard parts were necessary to make me who God wants me to be, but I wouldn't repeat them for any amount of money.  A new year fills me with hope.  There's nothing magical about flipping the calendar, but I at least feel the lightness of expecting that anything can happen.

I don't necessarily set New Year's resolutions.  I simply take time to reflect on the year past and consider what I'd like to see happen in the year that's beginning.

I obviously hope for relief for Nolan and all of his stomach issues.  That would change so much in our lives.  I am faithfully waiting for God to complete that work.  While I have no evidence that this new year will look different than the one past, I am still holding onto hope.

I want to start leaving my mark on this house.  We have lived here for a year and five months, and we have done nothing to this house other than decorate for Christmas.  I want to paint walls, add color, hang pictures, infuse something that shows my own style.  I would love to finish a room.  Any room.

I want to organize things.  This house offers endless opportunities for organizing.  We basically moved in and just put stuff wherever we could and have been living that way since.  It's time to start making spaces more efficient as well as more appealing.  Maybe I could at least start by cleaning out my purse.  That alone could be a comical blog post.

For the VERY FIRST TIME in the history of my 32-year life (or least since I was a teenager), I don't need to make major weight loss a resolution.  This is truly the first time I could ever say that.  However, I do need to work on my fitness.  I've focused on losing weight for the last few years, and now I need to work on my cardiovascular health, weight training for bone density, and overall wellness.  Instead of counting every calorie, I need to see what new healthy foods my tricky tummy can tolerate.

Meals have become a filthy word to me.  Food is something to measure and count so I don't gain weight.  Food causes pain and discomfort.  Food is something about which each of my children has opposing opinions.  Food is a tricky battleground riddled with landmines just begging to be detonated.  Food costs money and requires time.  Note to self:  add "work on relationship with food" to list of resolutions.  Since those pesky meals just keep coming around and my children keep demanding to be fed, I would like to work on meal planning this year.  I used to enjoy cooking, even if I've never been great at planning meals ahead of time.  Nowadays I resent the very fact that we need to eat.  So I'd like to charge the challenge of feeding my family head on.  I want to try new recipes and find ways to meet everyone's nutritional needs.  I want to remember what it feels like to feed my family and enjoy mealtime again.

So join me as we take a breath, close our eyes, and imagine that we can do all the things we want to do.  Even if all I end up doing is halfheartedly cleaning out my purse and trying one new meal that ends up being disgusting, I'm gonna enjoy the hope that comes with January.

Happy New Year!

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