Year in Review — 2017

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before? Had lithotripsy for kidney stones.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I did not make resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Several online friends had babies this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Don and my cousin, Charlie.
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017? Energy. I am going to have to work a lot harder at being healthy from now on.
7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? April 12. The day that Katie had her second reconstructive surgery.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Recognizing that God was saying it was time to walk away and then doing it.
9. What was your biggest failure? Not realizing how sad Katie had been or how tough Katie’s surgery was going to be on Ben.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Kidney stone.
11. What was the best thing you bought? An iPad for Ben that can run the apps he uses.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? People who stand up and speak when something is wrong.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? The current White House occupant.
14. Where did most of your money go? Judy’s Dance Academy and Amazon.
15. What did you get really excited about? Essential Oils. Who would have figured that?
16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2017? “Mended” Matthew West; “Try Everything” Shakira; “World Changers” Matthew West; “Sound of Surviving” Nichole Nordeman; “Lions” Skillet; “Crazy Beautiful You” Leann Crawford; “The Beautiful Things We Miss” Matthew West
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? I think I’m mostly tired. The last month took a lot out of me.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I was more spontaneous and less driven by schedules.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Express my frustration.
20. How did you spend Christmas? Watching my kids open presents and resting.
21. Did you fall in love in 2017? With essential oils. Yes.
22. Think of something important to mention. If the door is closed, maybe it isn’t your door.
23. How many one-night stands? None.
24. What was your favorite TV program? The Crown.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t hate anyone. I dislike a number of people, but I don’t hate anyone.
26. What was the best book you read? Non-fiction: You Can Do This: Seizing the Confidence God Offers by Tricia Lott Williford. Fiction: Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Leann Crawford
28. What did you want and get? Successful surgical outcomes.
29. What did you want and not get? A puppy. Maybe 2018 will be my year.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Leap!
31. What did you do on your birthday? Sat in a dance studio.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Planning more intentional family time and organizing more family fun activities.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017? Jeans and t-shirts.
34. What kept you sane? Music.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? No one really.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Healthcare.
37. Who do you miss? Don. I really miss his voice behind me at the 8am service.
38. Who was the best new person you met? Fr. Pete
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017. You have to let go of one thing for something better to come along.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“You’ve had your share of life ain’t fair but you don’t tap out

My money says you’ll still be swinging  ’til the last round

When the odds say you should quit, well, you do the opposite, yeah

That’s what you are

You’re the fighter that doesn’t know how to back down”

Never Ever Give Up — Matthew West

 

Advertisements

Year in Review — 2015

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? Became an advancements chair in Cub Scouts.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I did not make resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a friend from church gave birth to the most precious little boy. My sister had a baby girl. My good friend also had a baby girl. It’s been a baby bonanza over here 🙂
4. Did anyone close to you die? Aunt Marilyn.
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? Serenity.
7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? December 6. When Ben finished his part of the Townes Super Nova award.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Going to AHG camp with Katie. I’m not good at camp settings and up until the time we left I was thinking of reasons not to go.
9. What was your biggest failure? Not managing to take Ben camping once before he belonged to the dance studio again.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I broke my toe when we came back from camp. It was a long recovery. Also the usual colds and asthma related issues.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A 64-gig iPad mini. Space is awesome.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I’m proud of Katie and Ben. Katie switched AHG troops and has taken to the change like a duck to water. Nothing phases her. Ben didn’t make the easy choice for Boy Scout troops and it takes tons of character to buck a trend.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Most politicians (with a few notable exception).
14. Where did most of your money go? Judy’s Dance Academy and Amazon. I think they are dead even.
15. What did you get really excited about? I’m not sure I got really excited about anything this year. It’s been a weird year.
16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2015? “Day One” — Matthew West; “He Moves, You Move” — Audio Adrenaline; “Not Right Now” — Jason Gray; “The Unmaking” — Nichole Nordemann; “Safe” — Westlife; “You Got Me” — Gavin DeGraw; “Grace Wins” — Matthew West; “Exhale” — Plumb
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? I think I’m a bit happier. We have a lot of tension and struggles right now, but hopefully we can get more sanity and grace this year.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Just be with the kids instead of trying to orchestrate our time together.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Time on Facebook.
20. How did you spend Christmas? With family. It was a crazy, fun day.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015? With my phone.
22. Think of something important to mention. It is not impossible to love more than one dog.
23. How many one-night stands? None.
24. What was your favorite TV program? CSI: Cyber; Scorpion. Netflix: Gilmore Girls (how did I not watch this show years ago????)
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t hate anyone. I dislike a number of people, but I don’t hate anyone.
26. What was the best book you read? Blueprint Homeschooling
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? I Am They.
28. What did you want and get? A new iPad with way more memory and Ticket to Ride.
29. What did you want and not get? I don’t think there’s anything I wanted that I didn’t get this year.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Inside Out
31. What did you do on your birthday? I think I was at the dance studio with the kids.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A family vision.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? Capri pants/jeans and t-shirts. I’m pretty steady that way.
34. What kept you sane? Music and Netflix.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? George Clooney (though he is no longer “available” so I may need to rethink this now).
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Tamir Rice.
37. Who do you miss? Michelle O.
38. Who was the best new person you met? Karen P.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015. Never Underestimate the power of prayer.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

 

And all those things I didn’t say

Are wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight

can you hear my voice:

This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m all right song

My power’s turned on

Starting right now

I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes

’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

“Fight Song” Rachel Platton

For the love . . .

Of For the Love by Jen Hatmaker. I’m probably one of the last bloggers to weigh in today on this book, and I doubt I’ll write the best post, but I wanted to say that this book has irretrievably, irrevocably changed my life. I was one of the lucky five hundred chosen to be part of her launch team. I have likely not been the best launch team member, but I was gifted with the chance to know these words and to know her heart months before the launch of this book.

We all know that my everyone must read this book is Ishamel by Daniel Quinn, but if I can have a second, it’s this book. Why?

Because she tells it like it is and challenges each of us to think seriously about our perspective and whether we might have lost it along the way. She has helped me to be a more passionate member of my church community (I hope others see that), and she reminded me of the one truth I will carry with me always: “Theology is either true everywhere or it isn’t true anywhere” (p 17).

It isn’t necessary to do all the things. You *can’t* do all the things. And this book will help you remember or help you find or reinforce that God never asked us to do all the things. He asked us to do our thing. find your thing and do it well. It’s what we are meant to do, asked to do, and called to do.

Jen’s thing is to write a book that resonates across generations of women and helps build community. Read this, it will make you feel better. You can get it here: For the Love

Tale of the Missing Glasses

So, about a month ago Ben went to see Dr. W and it was determined that, in fact, the reason he has been having so much trouble with everything is because he could not see. Okay, so glasses. My son is a very particular young man, and as expected glasses selection was a grueling process for him, but he finally found a pair that he loved. Not only did he love them, but they were on clearance. My son’s frames, ladies and gentlemen, cost $5. Yes, $5. You could have knocked me over with a feather. And then we discovered that transitions lenses for kids? Not crazy expensive at all AND they work.

So, he got his new glasses, came home with them, and then struggled with wearing them, remembering to put them on, remembering to put them in his case when not on his face, and so on. He had a huge melt down at church and threw them at me. It was a pretty rough adjustment period as those things go.

And then, one day, I realized I hadn’t seen him wear them for a couple of days. He really needs them to spot his turns, and I was all over him about finding them before dance auditions last weekend, but we didn’t find them.  So he had to audition without and he’s a little concerned that it didn’t go as well as he had hoped it would.

Shortly after this, his sister mentions that the last time he had them was at a friend’s house. I called the friend’s mom and operation find Ben’s glasses was undertaken. And for several days, through cleaning his friend’s room, the play room, and so forth,the glasses were not found. Now, perhaps I should have paid closer attention to his sister, because the glasses were found this morning. In his sister’s best friend’s room.

It turns out that Katie saw Ben set his glasses down and walk away (instead of bringing them to me like he was supposed to). She took his glasses and hid them in her friend’s room (without her friend knowing, so Katie says), because she was afraid Ben would start chasing after her when he realized she had his glasses. Then she was afraid to tell us that she hid them because she thought we would be upset with her.

Likely not as much upset as I was about their friends’ house being turned upside down trying to find glasses that Katie could have taken us straight to at any time she wanted to. So, yeah. We had a conversation about the people she put out (all the folks who helped look for Ben’s glasses at the dance studio, at the church, and so forth), the people she hurt (Ben, who was treated to the same consequence Katie receives when Katie loses her glasses, except that he didn’t lose his glasses), and her poor friend who had no idea she was harboring Ben’s glasses the whole time.

She cried a lot. Agreed that a loss of device privileges was fair, plus apologizing to each person who was put out. She started this afternoon, but she will be on an apology tour for a few days. The hardest part for both of us was the fact that this isn’t who she is. Last Sunday, she very proudly read the definition of “honest” from the American Heritage Girls creed. She was so upset that she hadn’t been honest and said it made her feel bad.

Hopefully, this was a learning opportunity for her and she’ll remember the next time. But she’s six, so maybe not. Sigh.

A notable change

Since the beginning of the year, I have been doing two things consistently every morning. I read the daily office and the Forward Movement’s Forward Day by Day meditation (they have an app for that so I’m not constantly hunting for the little book) and I read the Bible in one year reading plan at She Reads Truth. During Lent, I’ve added a couple of different devotionals: Lent is Not Rocket Science; Holy Habits: For the Holy Season of Lent, and 40 Things to Give up for Lent and Beyond. I mostly manage to read these all before or during breakfast and it works for me. I didn’t realize the total change it was making in me, though, until today.

You see, today was hectic. We had our bi-weekly service project that we do with the Men’s Ministry at our church. Last spring, I asked if there were jobs that the kids could do and I was told that they could try, now they are a significant part of the team. But to do this, we have to leave the house rather early and given certain people’s ability to sleep in (mine), especially when I spent a good portion of the night with Katie sleeping on me, it wasn’t possible to read before we left. When we got there, we realized that the job we were doing was going to be quite a bit larger than usual and we were there for a lot longer than planned.

When we got home, after a stop at Steak and Shake because the kids worked super hard and because the thought of trying to make lunch actually terrified me in that moment, we were in a whirlwind of homeschool stuff and then blessed quiet time. Except that during quiet time I was trying to deal with things that need to be dealt with before we go on a field trip tomorrow followed by me teaching a children’s lesson during our Wednesday night program at church. So, no the reading didn’t get done then either.

After P came home, it was dinner: biscuits, brisket, and broccoli — one of Ben’s favorite meals (partially the alliteration, partially all his favorite foods on one plate). And then it was on to working on a paper for my paying job. It took longer than planned (they always do) and then it was bedtime and story time.

Once my little people were tucked into bed, then it was time to crank out the stuff for the church newsletter. This involves editing, hunting down photos and other such fun tasks, so I can hand it all off to the person who doesn’t use a Mac and who does all this spiffy stuff in Microsoft Publisher. So, again, no reading for me.

Once I finished all of that I realized that my edges seemed sharper today. I was more emotional and more easily upset. I sat down a bit ago and did the reading that I hadn’t done this morning and I noted a significant change in attitude just from reading. I feel calmer. I feel more at peace and more connected with the world and more forgiving.

I hesitate to call it intentional time with the Lord because, well, I feel like I’m making more of what I do than it is, but on the other hand, that’s my time to seek to understand and to pray and to make requests. I pray at other times, too, but I think the daily action has spawned something I didn’t anticipate.

Evolving Theory of Homeschooling

I’ve been homeschooling since Ben was 4 years old. We started out doing what we can generously call school at home. Ben did worksheets, lots of worksheets. But as we’ve progressed in homeschooling, I’m finding that I’m not satisfied with school at home and I’m not comfortable working on the “conveyer belt.” I’ve been doing a lot of reading in Charlotte Mason and Thomas Jefferson Education. Both of these are gentler forms of education and put less pressure on the kids and allow them to develop a more natural love of learning.

Of course, Ben is suspicious of anything new or that even smells like pushing himself. It takes time and patience to get him to try new things. What I’m learning from all of my reading is that he needs to see me doing things, hard things, and pushing myself to encourage him to push himself. I also know that I need to work along side him and help him learn how to do things himself.

I think about this stuff in terms of Ben because Katie’s love of learning is natural whereas Ben’s has been a struggle to bring to life. He did love learning when he was little, but I think I pushed to hard on the wrong things and didn’t give him a good chance to get a foundation underneath him.

He’s having successes in classes and that is huge for him and I’m seeing him express more interest in learning than he ever has before, but I know I can’ t push and that I have to take my time in order to get him where he needs to go. Fortunately, time is something that we have.

The Shrinking of Time

I realized earlier this week that I am possibly going to collapse from the sheer amount of “stuff” that we’re doing this month. I always say that I get sick in March, but it never really occurred to me until today that I get sick because February somehow always ends up super-stacked and I have so much going on that I can’t stop and rest. I’m not complaining. My kids are healthy, active kids involved in a few activities, but not, I don’t think overscheduled, but somehow February seems to be the confluence point of all the activities into one haze of busy stuff.

Part of it is my seeming inability to say no. What I find fascinating about it is that people have started volunteering me for things I neither offered nor was asked to do. I want to figure out how to not promise things I may not be able to deliver. I’m just so tired.

My goal this year is to use the word “inspire” as my focus. As I look back on January, I don’t know if I can honestly say that I have inspired anyone at anything. I love the activities I do and the things I’m involved in and I don’t want to give any of them up, but I also don’t want to drown or develop yet another upper respiratory infection. I can do with out that. So, I am thinking about how to protect my health this month and still accomplish the list of things that I have to do.

Basically, it’s about eating well, drinking tons of water, and resting where I can. I may not be the first person to come up with that; won’t be the last, but I also know that I need to reevaluate the way I schedule activities and my time so that I don’t end up with these sorts of energy crises on a regular basis.