a thanksgiving prayer
2013 successes

2012 in review

In a nutshell, 2012 was one of the hardest years of my life. Gone are the days of children who adore me. Gone are the days of being on the same wavelength with Gordon regarding parenting. Gone are the days of loving to be home enjoying my haven, my castle.

I write this in a brand new year and I feel great. I think 2013 is going to be an amazing year. But it's far from traditional, and that's an understatement. More of that later . . .

My first response when thinking of the past year is one of heaviness and darkness. But as I really thought about it, as I forced myself to on December 31, I recognized some bright moments and times of growth. That is my focus at this moment. 

Thinking spot
This is my "Time with God" spot.

Started consistently getting up at 5:30 for extended time with God. It's the most glorious part of my day! When I'm tired and tempted to sleep in, I realize how badly I'd miss that sweet communion if I didn't have it and pull myself to the family room to bask in His love. I'm convinced that early morning time with God got me through the year without a clinical depression. It's consistently the best couple hours of my day.

 ~ Got mostly grain free. In July I went to a workshop on eating habits. My eating habits have been a trouble spot, to say the least, for years. Since 2007 I've got better, but still there are many hungry demons in my soul's pantry. At the workshop I heard the grain-free school of thought for the first time. And it made sense. I read a couple books on the subject and decided it was worthy of pursuit. It's been a battle, but I'm getting stronger all the time. When I fall off the wagon and experience the drug-like symptoms that grain products induce, I'm amazed that I'm still tempted by them. Cheers to the new knowledge of grain being practically a poison to my body.

~ Started a Happiness Project Group. I'm a real sucker for personal development. In May during a boring layover I explored a bookstore and found Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project. I've read her blog for years and quickly got excited as I pored over my new purchase. Within a few chapters I was chomping to share the project with others. I put a poster at the library inviting anyone interested in a group to contact me. A local newspaper editor phoned for an interview and wrote an article about my desire to start a project. Over 20 women came to the first meeting (which was way too many for a successful Happiness Project group). Many recognized it wasn't for them. 10 or 12 have stayed and we are a fabulous support group as we are all working on changing different areas of my life. Once a month we get together and we are connecting well.

Updated the family room. Spiffied it up a bit and now we love hanging out there. 

Fam room
The updated family hang-out spot

~ Started attending BILY (Because I Love You), a support group, to help me parent my rebellious disrespectful teenagers. It helped. I'm no longer going, but while I attended, it was a good support.

~Read many books, 45, I think. Some of them were of genres I've never read and they stretched me intellectually. I learned a lot.

Joined a home Bible study. Sunday nights will find Gordon and me with four other couples. We appreciate their friendships and their collective wisdom.

Joined a Classical Literature Book Club. One of the things I learned from The Happiness Project is to pursue what makes me happy. I've long said that when I turn 50 I want to start courses in literature. Gretchen made me question why I needed to wait till I turned 50. I found a group and, with a work colleague who shares my love for literature, began attending. It's a fascinating group and I enjoy it immensely. 

Learned the benefits of Melatonin. Being able to easily get up at 5:30 is a by-product of Melatonin. Melatonin is a natural ingredient that balances sleep patterns. It aids my falling to sleep and it aids my waking.

I got a significant raise at work. It makes a huge difference. 

Flossing. Someone said that growing makes one happy. They said it more eloquently, but you get the idea. Flossing is an area I chose to grow. I floss everyday now.

Enrolled in university, Bachelor of Arts, History Major. I'm super excited and start my first course in February: Western Thought and Culture.

Thora mosaic
Thora, Rosalie and me

~ Held a snake. Sounds innocuous enough, if you don't have a GREAT BIG FEAR OF SNAKES. Rosalie, a young girl I work with, has a Boa, Thora the Explora. Thora had occasion to spend several days at my office (in a very big cage). I decided to "grow" and work up to holding her. I watched her through the cage, paying particular attention to her breathing. She seemed to lose some of her "badness" as I watched her breathe. The next day I asked Rosalie if she'd take Thora out and put her on the table. There a watched her creep around without my running, screaming, or fainting. The next day Rosalie took Thora out of her cage and I touched her. The day after that, with Rosalie's help, I held Thora. You cannot imagine how my heart pounded and how hard I shook. But I did it! I wrestled my hugest fear! I'll probably never own a snake {huge understatement}, but I don't think the talons of fear are nearly as deep.

 ~ Went to North Carolina to see Stacie. We had a wonderful time. I was struggling as a wife and mother and needed the respite from it all. Nearly every morning I sat in a rocking chair on Stacie's front porch admiring the beautiful Appalachian Mountains and pouring my heart out to God. It was refreshing to my soul and gave me the will to keep on keeping on.

 ~ Moved out of the family home into an apartment. On December 4th I took this huge step and I didn't take it lightly. I feel like God said, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace." And I have peace. I feel like I'm seeing in color and not various shades of gray; that I'm in the driver's seat of my life; that I'm truly alive again. My family still means the world to me. We are still a family. Gordon is still the love of my life. He and I spend lots of wonderful time together and I'm madly in love with him. 2012 was a hard year on our marriage and this space is the best thing that's happened for our relationship in at least a year. It's divine and, strangely, I think we are in the middle of God's will. On the way to church this morning, Gordon said, "Surprisingly, this set up is working great."

2012, one of the worst years of my life. Thankfully, it ended well, but in a way that is awkward to explain. God continues to be in control and we continue to be submitted to Him.

Now on to 2013. I think it's going to be my best year yet. 

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