A Look Back At The Year (and a giveaway)

December has appeared on the calendar  this year without much pomp and circumstance. Perhaps that is a good thing as we have had enough interesting things taking place this year.

This time last year we had been in our new location for a few weeks, were working on buying a “new” car, settling in to a new school, learning new home school laws, finding a church, and trying not to get lost while out grocery shopping.

The months following included buying a house, moving again, surgery, visiting family, yet another new school (the house we bought was zoned for a different school), dealing with anxiety, loss of a job, finding a new job, joining and becoming active in our new church, learning to ask for help, finding a few homeschool groups to become a part of, and beginning to say “Yes” to things again.

I am very okay with December’s quiet arrival.

I have had a lot of time to think, reevaluate, ponder, and all those other lovely verbs which mean that I have spent time in my introverted brain working through things. What have I found?

1. Material things do not necessarily have intrinsic value, even if they are priceless in my eyes. It is okay to let them go.  I miss our old car. After driving it for 12+ years, there were a lot of memories made with that vehicle. It was within a few thousand miles of reaching 300,000 miles. It was a manual, 5-speed, 18 year old car. The air conditioning no longer worked, one door would not open from inside, the hood was peeling thanks to a hail storm, it burned through a quart of oil between each gas fill-up, it sounded rough, one rear speaker didn’t work, the rear windows started to not stay up, and the reverse lights stopped working. It was also paid for and never refused to start. In other words, a face only a mother could love.

The final straw was when I realized my brake lights were not working.

We had already bought a car to replace this old one, so there was no reason to drive an unsafe, now illegal, vehicle. Not wanting to risk someone getting hurt, we chose not to resell it to another driver.

It felt like putting down the family pet, but it was time. I may have cried once…or twice. Then I remembered, it wasn’t the thing which held the memories, those were still with me. The memories, not the thing, is what had value.

2. You can only say “No” for so long. In an effort to get a handle on the changes taking place over the past two years, I began to say “No”, especially to things which took time and a commitment.  At first this was good and I was more relaxed, and the kids had calmer weeks.

Then I realized I was beginning to say “No” to things which I needed to keep balance in my life, to things which the kids really loved doing. It took me getting cranky and my husband asking when was the last time I did X, Y, or Z for me to realize I had taken things a bit too far.

3. If you are always anticipating the bad happening, you will lose your joy. While there was a time I had to be on my toes constantly, that time is no longer now. However, it had gotten to be a habit. By worrying about all that could go wrong, assuming that is how people around me would react in various situations, dread filled my days. There was no room to see the joy.

I had noticed my anxiety concerning situations where it made no sense.  I kept doing those activities because I knew what I was feeling was irrational. It took a few conversations with key people to see the habit I had fallen into.

Once I was aware of this tendency I worked diligently to change. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to catch myself and adjust my view.

4. Rely on your friends and be someone others can rely on. Trying to fix things on my own, take care of everything on my own, not burden others…well, that is one area where Pride has a hold. Kind of ironic as my main love language is Acts of Service.

It took a family at our new church to show me how very okay it is to be honest and say, “I need help with_______.” The wife in this family was bold in asking for prayers concerning specific things, shared struggles they were facing, shared articles to help educate our congregation on particular issues their family was facing.

The response?


“Lifting you up now”

“You are not alone in this”

“When can we bring a meal”

“I am free to babysit on ____ if you need”

“Have you heard about (relevant professional)? We have had good experience with them/heard great things”

THEN someone found a way to help when they couldn’t otherwise – they made blankets to help raise funds to cover unexpected costs!

I expected the support to end after a few weeks, for people to forget, get busy with life, and move on.  I was wrong. This went on for months! 

Others had relatives pass away, broken bones, job losses, issues with kids… still the support kept coming. AND this family was there for others as well, in whatever capacity they could be at that time.

A year full of lessons, growth, new experiences, and blessings is almost to an end. While the typical month of thanksgiving has passed, I am wanting to continue to show my thanks to those around us.

Dear Readers, I appreciate you sticking with me through ups and downs, posts more about moving than gardening, months of quiet followed by a menagerie of posts (I was cleaning out my Drafts folder while trying to get back into the groove of posting), and other inconsistencies.

To show this appreciation, there will be a few giveaways in the upcoming weeks. They will include a variety of items, so keep checking back if a particular giveaway does not suite your fancy as the next one might.

First up, a coupon code to save $25 off a $100 purchase at Coldwater Creek.  This code is good through December 31, 2017.

The giveaway runs through Friday, December 8th. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries and contacted on the 29th. You will have two days to respond before I chose another entry.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

$25 savings offer valid through 12/31/2017 on any merchandise purchase of $100 or more (exclusive of sales tax and shipping fees). For online, catalog and phone orders, use the code to redeem offer.  Offer can not be combined with any other offer. Discount not valid on previous purchases. No cash value.