Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Rewind

Every year on January 1st, I make black-eyed peas.  And every single year, I'm the only one who eats them.  Some years I manage to get the family to choke down one fork full.  This year, I'm excited to try a new recipe.  

I've been rethinking our menu anyway, since our traditions need to be tweaked a tad.  Normally, on NYE we lounge around, eat appetizers, watch movies and ring in the new year.  This year, as both my men will be working, we'll have to celebrate the day after.  

So, I have decided to transform new year staples of black-eyed peas and cabbage into appetizers.  This morning, while watching GMA, Trisha Yearwood showed a yummy dip using the peas that she claims even the biggest critic will enjoy.  It's topped with cheese.  As my guys think cheese is a food group, I'm convinced it is a win.  And for the cabbage, I'm going to try my hand at homemade egg rolls.  I know they won't compare to my Aunt Sandy's, but I am up for the challenge.

While I'm already thinking of the first day of the year, I have also been reminiscing on the past twelve months.  2015 was filled with unexpected events, a year of great changes within our family.  Come along with me as I recap and look back on the past year.

January 2015 - the birthday month for both Noah and me.  This year, we surprised him and in the midst of it found a sweet hello from his big brother.  I set my word of the year as SOAR, though I'm not sure we took off as I envisioned.

February - This month would see changes in how I cared for my family's health forever, as I began using doTERRA essential oils.  Over this year, I've continually been amazed at their power and am so grateful to God for the gifts he provides to the earth - and for leading me this direction.  

March - I was especially grateful to see spring arrive, after the winter we had.  Sixteen years of being spoiled with snow days found me knee deep in reality - wet icky snow!  I had to learn to not just drive around on it but walk through it while doing home visits.  Coming home to a warm meal was a little easier though, due to a grandma contraption we purchased.  

April - We enjoyed a mini vacation in Nashville, let the kids experience the Grand Ole Opry, and Noah discovered a love for hot peppers.  Our home saw a big change as 15 year old, worn and ugly green carpet was replaced with plush and fluffy flooring.  

May - As school came to a close and summer began more changes occurred in our home.  Noah, at only 15 would secure a job.  It has become such a blessing for him, allowing him to be in the kitchen, (a passion he loves) and is shaping his character.  In the midst of turmoil within our family, God revealed an answered prayer I'd whispered for years.  

June - SOAR would come back to haunt me, as I flail off a set of steps.  Actually they disintegrated beneath me and flung me into the yard, breaking a rib.  Essential oils would once again come to the rescue, healing me in record time.  And an impromptu silly post would become a reader's favorite.  Who knew?!

July - Injuries would continue, as my hubby hurt his leg.  At first we were told he broke his fibula.  Thankfully it turned out to just be a bad tweak.  We hobbled and wobbled into our anniversary and created a staycation to celebrate at home.  Austin's 21st birthday  - a day filled with bittersweet tears and a beautiful remembrance from his brother.

August - A new roof and a prayer this one lasts longer than the one we put on just a few years prior.  God sends me just the needed message at 2 am.  And I had a goosebump hug from above from Tim's mom that was heaven-sent in timing.

September - After a stressful summer, I gladly welcomed fall with open arms, high up in the sky.  Our family participated in Operation Inasmuch with our church and I had the honor to see God's plan from start to finish.  And I learned that although I'm busy at work, with frequent up/downs, in/outs, I really don't take the necessary steps.  Something to work on for 2016!

October - Noah and I checked off a food bucket list by attending our first Nut Club Festival.  And the three of us enjoy our first vacation together in four years at a tiny schoolhouse.

November - a cloudy month for us, darkened even a bit more by watching someone we love struggle with deep depression.  But true to tradition, our acts of kindness to remember Austin would send just the needed help for our hearts.  On the cusp of Thanksgiving, I'm filled with gratitude for the blessing of two amazing sons.  

December - And here we are again.  A new job for Tim.  And a month of upside-down traditions, but a reminder that no matter how Christmas finds you, He is ever-present.

At times 2015 felt like more lows, than a year full of soaring.  Looking up the meaning of the word this morning though, I'm drawn to this one...

to fly without power

The year had dips, swings and unexpected paths, but throughout 2015 we most definitely were carried by His great power.  May I remember that wherever life's journey takes us we will always be soaring because we're beneath God's mighty wings.  

Prayers that JOY, peace and strength find you in the New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Seasonal Sentiments

If you're bone-tired from a day filled with festivities this Christmas, count your blessings, momma.  If you're home is a wreck and wrapping paper still litters your floor, look at it lovingly and smile.  And if your babies are drifting off to dreamland after a day of joy, linger a bit in their doorway tonight.  Kiss them extra tonight and tuck this memory away.

Soak it up, for it so quickly fades.

From a momma who remembers those moments misty-eyed, Christmas changes as they grow.

Our little house has felt extra big the past few days.  Just the three of us, Noah on the heels of sixteen.  Holiday plans spread out through the course of several days so no big crowds to go and see today.

The magic of the season is somewhat harder to hold, when the mystery has gone.  No more platters of cookies left for Santa.  Early morning squeals replaced with sleeping in.

Even Noah has realized this.  Our past three holidays, he's commented how different things feel.

"It just doesn't seem like"....  he will say as each one falls on the calendar.

The other night in the car he shared, "I guess it's because I'm growing up."

And this momma had to work extra hard to choke back the tears that followed.

Change is inevitable.  You can't bottle the little and push pause on life.  Babies grow.  And some leave this world too soon.  Futures envisioned don't always arrive the way you imagined.

Being a mom big on tradition, the changes have been difficult to swallow this year.  As I write, alone in this big bed, it dawns on me I've never spent a Christmas night apart from my husband.  But jobs change and duty calls.

Today wasn't anything like usual.  Instead of a big country breakfast from years past, I had a donut stick from my stocking.  We visited Tim's side of the family, which was nice, but I still missed mine.  I imagined June smiling down, seeing all her boys together though.  Instead of lingering for a visit, we returned quickly home so Tim could sleep a bit before work.

It was a treat that our nephew came back with us and hung with Noah all evening.  They played pool and Xbox, as if they were little again.  He leaves for basic training Sunday, so I'm extra grateful for the time they shared.  The cousins then all went out for a movie, leaving me home alone.  I decided to clean and nap with my sleeping hubby.  We then shared leftover pizza for our Christmas dinner.

Anything but normal.  Yet, it is where we are at this time in our lives.  Life finds you at various stages.  Some you expect, some come as a surprise.  And some surprise you even though they should be expected.

But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19

Not our typical Christmas but thankful still.  We have each other, our health, a warm roof over our heads, and most importantly the joy of the Lord in our hearts!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Displaced Christmas

This has been the most disorganized-fly by the seat of my pants-wait until the last minute-procrastinating Christmas season I've ever experienced.

And that is so. not. me.

Normally, by this time I would have everything checked off, completed and under the tree.  Meals prepped, planned and done in batches.  Traditions accomplished in a beautiful timeline.  Decorations fully out in November.

Not so much this year.

It began with the decorations.  Though a nice gesture last year, my hubby surprising me one evening and letting the kids put everything away did not result in the happiest of endings.  My fears of chaos ensued when this year, even after multiple trips to the shed, there are items still missing.  When one has as many snowmen as I do (many years I don't even put them all out), you might question how I would I know that I am missing anything, but I can.  And I am.

I find myself looking to areas where said snowmen or decorations would and should be, sigh in despair, but chalk it up to the season of disarray.

My gift shopping for the past several years has been done on Cyber Monday.  Maybe I just wasn't in the mood, but nothing enticed me.  It didn't help that finances were tight, as hubby was the midst of losing/changing jobs.  So, I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Poor Noah has gifts scattered all over the house from the here and there shopping I've managed to do.  I'll be lucky if I get them wrapped in time and don't forget where I hid everything.  If I do, maybe I'll find them in time for his birthday next month!

We did a bulk grocery trip Sunday, after a long, full day of church, a farewell lunch for Tim's nephew who is joining the Air force, and a visit at the hospital to my niece (more on that below).  I went without a list and was already exhausted so you can bet I have forgotten at least one ingredient for every dish we have planned.

And traditions.  Well, this seems to be year of non-tradition so far.  Noah has a job and that has changed some of our annual outings.  Tim switched to third shift and we're still trying to teach his body bedtime is no longer dark-thirty!  Our calendar just doesn't seem to be cooperating and all the things I planned or looked forward to from years past isn't happening.

I could let it ruin my Christmas.  It would be easy to focus on all the things that haven't gone exactly as envisioned.  Or, I could sit in the messy beauty that is this year and be thankful.

The first Christmas, after all, was rather displaced and unexpected.  
But so very perfect, in every way.

In a way, it reminds me of what my niece and her husband are going through this season.  My chaotic Christmas seems a blessing in disguise.

Much like Mary and Joseph found themselves, they are expecting a child and have been sent on a journey away from home, in hopes of protecting their baby.

Haylea is only 24 weeks along but her pregnancy has been a whirlwind.  Diagnosed with hyper dynamic cervix, her body is fighting to keep sweet Isaiah in the womb and safe.  This past weekend she reached the milestone of viability and was able to get steroids for his lungs.  But the hospital she was in isn't able to care for NICU babies until week 27.  Given that she could deliver anytime, we prayed for a better option.

Thankfully, she's been sent two hours from home under the care of neonatal specialist in a hospital that provides for preemies on a daily basis.  We're still prayerful she will carry as long as possible, but we're grateful she is among seasoned professionals prepared for any outcome.

But it means she'll spend Christmas away from family.  Newly married, this most certainly isn't the Christmas I'm sure she imagined for their first year together.

Just as I'm sure Mary's journey was anything but expected and planned.

My prayer for them this season is that they are held by God's mighty power and strength, can put their trust in Him, and feel the peace which only He can provide.  For if He can bring His son into the most unlikely of circumstances, born in a manger, we are faithful and filled with hope, as little Isaiah is in the same caring hands.

If you would like to support this young family, struggling this season, and share a little hope, please consider giving at their link below.  Michael has been unable to work steadily, due to the lengthy and frequent hospital stay his wife has had - and is expected to continue.  May you be blessed for your gifts or prayers for them this Christmas.  

Help for Isaiah:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Moment with Majesty

In the hustle and bustle that can become Christmas, how many of you hope to slow things down and just soak up the goodness of the season?

I know that as my calendar begins to fill and time gets squeezed out, I begin to feel that way myself.  When we have to decline a function and feelings get hurt, it makes me question priorities and relationships.  As the date draws closer to the 25th, I'm mindful that the relationship which should be my priority is the very One whose birth we are celebrating.

Several nights ago, wise words reached into my soul and settled there.  My pastor's wife shared a from-the-heart, simple devotion that simply encouraged us that amidst the chaos of Christmas we seek a moment with Majesty.  To be still and know...  To let everything else go and just be in His very presence.

And so that is my Christmas wish...

To not compare the presents (or lack of) under my tree with those I see
and focus more on the presence of who is around it

To say no when there's no space to give and be ok in doing so

To pause whenever I feel the stress of the season and remember the reason we celebrate

To seek Him in every moment

To let it go when others hurt me and just share His love

To let His light shine through me everywhere I go

To be still...and know that He is God.
Above all else.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 photo design by_zpsv1mvteci.png