Can you believe that this year is almost gone? I can’t but I am ready to start 2017 with a fresh, positive, and energized outlook. I know in my heart that this new year will be better than last year. I also know that God has some truly amazing things in store for me and my family. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for us in the upcoming months!
We have been through alot this past year. The year started off really rocky. There had been some nasty rumors and gossip that caused us to leave our church and lose contact with some people. It was also filled with some nasty messages, hateful comments, and posts from people who chose to believe the rumors.
I’ve learned to forgive even if you don’t feel that they deserve forgiveness. Forgiveness lets you move on and heal from the pain.
My oldest daughter finished up boot camp and then DD17 and DS21 took a road trip to Missouri to bring her back home. Then we had a lot planning to do for DD19’s wedding. It was really hard to stay strong for my kids and my family but I refused to let the chaos and nastiness get me down.
I filed for divorce after being separated for nearly 2 years. It was a painful and difficult decision that I prayed a lot over. It was not the outcome I wanted but it was what needed to be done at the time to protect my family and myself from his behaviors and actions. We have come a long way since then and are working to be the best parents we can be to our children.
I am learning to be content in whatever situation I am in and wherever I may be. I will change the things I can change, focus my attention on God, and let Him handle the things I have no control over.
Our family got larger with the additions of a niece and a nephew, both of which I absolutely adore. There was a camping trip where I got to go salt water fishing for the first time and I loved every minute of it. This was a welcome relief prior to the stresses of the wedding where we had last minute changes that threatened to ruin the whole thing. I am pleased to say that it was a success and it is now a beautiful memory for us to cherish.
During those stressful times I found out who my true friends were and became closer to my best friend. She really came through for me when I needed her. I had another friend who also came through and was a lifesaver, quite literally, and he was the calm in my storm on a few occasions.
There was a brief romance where my already tender heart was shredded and ripped apart. This was harder on me than my divorce as it came at me unexpectedly and then it was over without any warning or explanation. I lost someone who I considered to be one of my best friends with the end of that relationship. I know that my questions will continue to go unanswered and I know that there would never be anyway to get back what it was that we had. It still brings tears to my eyes but I do treasure the moments we had.
I am learning that it is much easier not to question God when something happens but rather to embrace it and trust that He knows best.
Then I attempted online dating which I quickly learned wasn’t for me. I did meet a couple of really nice people and I went on a couple of dates but we didn’t really click. I quickly found that dating by text is not for me either. I need to be able to see the person and hear their voice. I want to know that they are not a figment of my imagination. I did make a friend through the dating site and we still text on a semi-regular basis.
We had another camping trip where I took the five kids and myself. It was an adventure that we all enjoyed and thankfully survived. There was moment that I wasn’t sure if I would make it as I had fallen in the river. Luckily I had a life vest on and I was able to stay calm until someone was able to reach me. The crazy thing was that he was able to walk out to me but I was just a little bit too short to reach the bottom.I think I swallowed my yearly quota of river water that day.
I’ve had many more episodes of the gossip mill. There were days and weeks that I felt I should just write a soap opera about my life. I finally realized that the problem wasn’t really with me but with the ones who were starting and spreading the rumors. This was a big turning point for me and the way I handled the stress and drama from those situations. I also had some painful revelations about family and friends.
Then there was the flu bug that hit us around Thanksgiving. I was upset that we were not able to visit with family but fortunately God did give me the strength and supplies to make our own impromptu dinner. I wasn’t able to eat but I made up for that at Christmas dinner with my daughter and son-in-law. That was definitely a dinner to remember as the police showed up twice!
I have learned to be ready to receive a blessing at any moment and any time.
These are just some of the ups and downs of my past year. There have been a lot of firsts like the salt water fishing, a low country boil (I actually had twice this year), and online dating. I can say that I have lived, loved, been loved, and have been truly blessed. Life has taught me a lot about myself, relationships, and God’s will for my life. There have been many surprises, good and bad, but all in all it was a wonderful year.
I hope you can also look back on the past year and see what has happened. Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve experienced and then think about what you want to experience in the 2017. I pray that each and every one of you will be blessed abundantly in the upcoming year. I pray that God will touch your lives and supply your needs, whatever they may be.
I have posted several ideas about routines that help keep our home running smoothly. Most of those ideas were meant for me to follow but there are a few for the kids.
Below is a picture of the morning routines that are posted in each of the kids’ bedrooms. We really struggled with mornings for a while. I would have several half dressed kids stumbling to the kitchen to eat. Their hair would be a mess and so would their attitudes!
They were in public school at the time too. Every morning was a hectic rush to make sure that they had gotten dressed and fixed their hair. It also never failed that someone would need to pee when we got to the bus stop which was right out our gate. Not too mention that their rooms would be a mess when I went through to do my normal checks in the morning. Something had to change!
I had come across a post, I tried to find the original post but haven’t yet, and there was a ‘Morning 5′ routine. It was so simple and easy. I decided to give it a quick try and it worked! My first list was just hand written. I then printed out some clip art and added to it for the little boys and for my special needs son. This picture is from one that is still posted in the little boys’ closet. This was in our ‘pre-laminator ‘ days and it really needs to be redone to look a little neater.
Just a very simple checklist of things for them to do before coming to the kitchen for breakfast:
- Go potty. When you have kids who are potty training this is such an important reminder for them. My special needs son also needs reminding of this as well as food is usually his top priority in the morning!
- Make your bed. Yes, this is a must in our house. I also make sure that my bed is made in the mornings as well.
- Get dressed. I usually lay out the little boys clothes the night before so they just have to go to the closet and grab an outfit. They can also pick something out of the dresser if Momma forgot or if they don’t like the outfit I set out. DD8 & DD9 can pick out their own outfits and DS14 will pick out his outfit and show to me before getting dressed. His wardrobe has pretty much been set up so that almost everything will coordinate but sometimes he will bring out a pair of shorts when it is really cold or a long sleeve shirt when it is really hot.
- Brush your hair. For the boys this is not really a big deal as they usually have short hair cuts. For the girls though this is a must as they have long hair and it is usually a mess when they get up.
- Hug Mommy! This one is more for fun and it kinda helps set the mood for a good day. (Watch for a post about the Attitude of Gratitude.) Plus DS14 really likes hugs!
This has made the world of difference in our house. It has also helped to promote independence and responsibility in my kids. These are all simple tasks that can be done without much supervision and my kids know that they are expected to complete them each and every morning. It has also helped them to develop a sense of accountability as well.
Not too mention that it gives Momma a chance to get breakfast fixed and on the table while they are busy getting ready for the day. It takes a lot of stress out of the mornings as Momma doesn’t have to constantly remind them to do these things. I really enjoy getting those hugs first thing in the morning too!