Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: The Most Unexpected

At the close of 2013 I wrote how it was the hardest year and yet the best year. 

When I wrote those words, I had no idea what was around the bend.  I had no idea that I would be called in for more interviews.  That I would get the job offer and that in a few short months my world would be turned upside down.

When I went back and read over my last post in 2013, I somehow get the feeling that I knew 2014 was going to be great.  Or maybe I was just hoping desperately that 2014 would be better because if it was anything like 2013 I wasn't sure if I could handle it.  

It turns out 2013 was so rough because God was pruning me for the future.  It's like that sometimes, isn't it?  We don't realize that the hard times are just God cutting things away so when we need to blossom, we can blossom to our full potential.  The hard times just feel...well...hard. 

I honestly don't know how to put it into words when I look back over 2014.  How do you appropriately write how amazing life has been and all the wonderful gifts God has given?

He provided me with an incredible job.  A job where I can grow into the person He meant for me to be.  I've only been there for 8 months, but I already have become a much, much stronger person.  I have incredible managers and leaders and am so very excited for the next year(s) to see where this path takes me!

I was able to buy a home in Ellington.  This is a miracle in itself.  After I sold my home in Ohio, I wasn't sure when I would be able to purchase a home again.  But because of some wonderful people giving me opportunities I was able to buy a house.  My brothers and sisters in Christ jumped in and remodeled the house into a gorgeous home for my children and I.  I hadn't realized my kids were desperately wanting a place that they could call their own and the stability it would bring. 

The kids have settled into life in Connecticut easily.  It wasn't without its rough times, tears, and moments where I wanted to give up.  But time has a way of working things out.  The kids have found the places where they fit in and are doing wonderfully.  Riley had the hardest time (isn't being 12 difficult in the best of circumstances?)  but recently he said "Mom, when we were in Ohio over Thanksgiving, by the end of the week, I was ready to come home." 

Another miracle is that I was able to purchase us a new to us car.  Jack the Jetta was tired from all the miles I made her go.  Two family friend mechanics told me this summer that I needed to get rid of her or at least not drive her between Ohio and Connecticut.  That was 2 trips ago.

I had been looking into types/costs of vehicles since June and I knew what I wanted.  After Jack making an awful racket and her gauges and dash board lights going crazy while driving through Pennsylvania, I decided I should do a bit more than just browse vehicles online. 

I was just going to test drive a few cars, narrow it down, and then buy something in the spring.  But God had something for me sooner.  I found a car online at a local dealership, went in to test drive it but they had already sold it.  So I drove another one. 

I loved it.

I called a few people to give me 'wise counsel' on cars and they both said "GO FOR IT!"

The next day (Saturday) I told the dealership I would be back in Monday morning to drive it again and crunch numbers.   I went back in Monday but they had sold it Saturday night...BUT the original one I wanted was back.  The person purchasing it couldn't get her financing so the car was back on the lot. 

I drove it for an hour or so and after a few hours of negotiating, we made a deal and I drove back to moms with my new to me car! 

I feel guilty for having it.  Kept thinking that I could've pushed Jack a little further, but the Jetta wasn't safe anymore and Riley had to sit sideways in the back seat to fit.  I just feel guilty having something nice when so many have nothing. 

I'm excited to have a car that is safe and  also has enough seating to take extra friends with us if we need.

2013 I was pruned...cut back.

2014 I was given much. 

Looking back over both years, I am thankful for it all.  I'm thankful for the hard times because it makes the good times that much better.  Without our valleys of life to look down on, sitting on the mountain top wouldn't be as sweet.

I'm not sure what is around the corner.  But I'm not concerned.  I've been through hard times and have learned to appreciate those times. 

Life is certainly not perfect, but it is most certainly good.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Pause That Refreshes

Tonight on the way home from Parent-Teacher Conferences I breathed a happy sigh. 

Things are good.  At this moment, things are good.

I've lived enough life and had enough experiences to know that these good moments will only be there for a moment.  So breathe them in while you can, because they won't last long.

I was a bit nervous before the conferences.  I always feel like these meetings are opportunities for teachers to tell you how you are failing as a parent.  Ridiculous, I know.  But that's how I feel. 

I had never been to a conference at this school yet and wasn't sure what to expect.  I assumed each teacher would tell me all the assignments my kids were missing, how their reading log isn't always signed, and how I needed to be more active in their education. 

See, the kids come home from school everyday and do their work.  I occasionally check it and sign the necessary reading logs, etc.  But other than that...they are on their own.  No micro-managing parenting going on here.  I simply don't have the time and I need my kids to take ownership of their work.  Its just what we do for us to survive. 

Instead of hearing that things were in a disasterous mess, I heard nothing but good.  All the kids are on target for their grade and in some instances, the kids were ahead. 

Riley's teacher said he was respected and trusted by his classmates...that they look to him as a leader.  He said that typically new kids come in nervous and scared and expected the same of Riley.  He said he was surprised that on the first day he walked in with confidence and seems content to be who he is. 

Rhianna's teacher said she was a model student, active in the classroom both socially and academically.  Truly a great kid to have in class and adjusting well.

Reagan's teacher said he was a hard worker and can focus on his work.  She said he will sometimes be the 'funny man' but while most kids are obnoxious when they do this, he isn't.  That he is polite and respectful. 

I'm not writing this to brag about them, but to show myself how well they are adjusting.  How they are finding their place in their new school and have the respect of the teachers and fellow students. 

And that felt good.

As I drove out of the school parking lot, I took a breath.  I was going to enjoy that moment in time.  I know that good things won't last forever and we will soon be faced with more challenges.  And I can accept that.  We've conquered a lot and we will be required to conquer even more. 

But for now?  For now I'm going to savor this.