To be honest I was not sorry to see the end of 2014. It was harder for me than I like years to be. I felt there were too many moments of stress and sadness intermingled with the happy. Lots of those times when I just closed my bedroom door and cried and prayed. I was glad to leave that behind. I didn’t really have the energy for making resolutions as the year drew to a close, either, and was struggling with the fact that I’m not really living my life intentionally. So many days I felt like I was just struggling to get through today.
I decided at the close of last year just to choose a word to carry through this year with me, and I even struggled to come up with one word. Should my word be MORE? More joy, more laughter, more organisation, more time with family and with Jesus? Should my word be LESS? I’d like less angst, less turmoil, less tears etc, but thats so negative, and I can’t control whether those things happen…I decided I’d just leave it.
Then we had 800km to travel on New Years Day and one of the many songs that played in the car that day was Laura Story’s ‘Blessings’.
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise
As this chorus played I just felt like this is to be my word. I can also look at these lyrics and see that last year was also a year of blessings because I know that with every trial and tear God was there too, and if I’m honest it’s in those times that I have felt His presence the most. That’s when I’ve needed Him most and thats where I’ve found Him.
I have no idea what this year holds. I would love for there to be an abundance of joy and peace and sunshine, but I also know that sometimes Blessings come in disguise, and they’re an important part of life too.
It’s been way too long since I posted here, so long that it’s hard to get into blogging mode. Here’s a little list of things that get missed when people only see little snapshots of my life…in no particular order.
1. We moved churches at New Year. After three and a half years at our old church and feeling quite lonesome and disconnected for pretty much that entire time we decided, after lots of prayer and discussion, to go to a different local church, and we are really really glad we have made that move. There is a huge emphasis on community at our new church, and there are passionate people who love and live what Jesus taught. We have been welcomed with open arms and are so thankful for the fellowship and friendship that had been shown to us so far.
2. I had a near miss dog attack. That’s probably all you need to know but if you want the whole story read on, otherwise, just skip to number three. You probably know that one of my New Years resolutions for 2013 was to start jogging. Last year was not without it’s challenges. I really don’t like going out to exercise alone but I do it. It got harder when I was nipped by the same (small) dog a couple of different times and was even worse when I had an encounter with it’s owner, whom I decided I needed to avoid future meetings with…I changed my route which meant more hills for me to jog up, which meant less enthusiasm for me to go out…but still I soldiered on. Then about a month ago I had my scariest encounter yet when a massive dog came out of it’s yard, came straight across the road growling and snarling ready to attack! I had a drink bottle with me (first time this summer I’d taken it, so thankful!) and I stood stock still and waited…when it launched to bite I squirted it with the water, which was enough to startle it momentarily. Meanwhile a lady drove up in a car and slowed right down to help, and I managed to get the car in between me and the dog and made my escape! So scary. So, just another hurdle in my jogging attempts. It was a fortnight before I was able to go out again, but I did it, this time with a metal hiking pole as a “walking stick” because it’s illegal to carry weapons of any kind for self defence so I wouldn’t do that.
3. My vacuum cleaner broke on Friday, and I miss it too much already.
4. As a kid road trips were full of adventure and excitement for me. As a mum, they do not hold the same appeal.
5. I love the things my kids come out with. One of Amelia’s recent conversations cracked me up. It went something like :
Her: Dad’s not a good Dad.
Her: He’s not a great Dad, he’s a BRILLIANT Dad.
Me: Yeah, he is…what are you thinking of that makes you say that right now?
Her: He saved our tennis ball from the creek!
Me: Oh yeah, of course, that.
The boys were sitting at the breakfast table this morning, and Mitchell was stoking Daniel’s hand and telling him what various things are made from.
“Your pyjamas are made from fabric, your cup is made from plastic, and you’re made from God.”
The weeks are rushing by way to fast. It’s already October. In other words, it’s nearly the end of the year. Wow.
I was gently reminded by my favourite elder sister that it’s been eight weeks since I posted here and that I neeeed to update.
A lot has been going on here. Some things have been difficult and draining and hard to cope with, others have been lovely and joyous. As always I don’t know where to start when I’ve been absent for so long so I thought I’d make a random list of things I’m thankful for at the moment.
- A new oven! After having our other oven blow up on us over a month ago, we are glad to have a new (even nicer) one! We are thankful for our convection microwave which has been a life saver over the past month or so but cooking in the new oven is like a dream. It has a light that works and the fan comes on at only the requested times and it’s quiet and has a digital thermostat so is very very accurate, and it has three shelves and and and as a result we have far too many home baked goodies in our house and I can almost feel myself gaining pounds…I will have to jog consistently next week!
- Also new–a rangehood. Our range has been out of action since we moved here over three years ago, so when we went oven shopping we picked up a Robinhood. The fact that it’s a robinhood also makes me happy, as Sam’s grandparents founded the Robinhood company, and even though his grandparents have now passed away and the company is no longer in the family and Robinhood is not even Australian made anymore, I somehow feel loyal buying this brand.
- School holidays. I did not achieve many of the things on my holiday to do list, but we had a lovely break. I love to be able to go to town in the morning if we so decide, rather than waiting til school is over, then having to wait til the toddler wakes up. We can just go! I did some sewing, the children did some painting, collecting snails and arranging homes for them, as you do! We made playdough, and did more cooking together than we usually have time to do, and the children played Lego in their pyjamas til lunchtime. I do like holidays.
- A cream coloured kitchen. The cool thing about that is the fact that my kitchen is not bright green anymore…that’s one thing that occupied a few days during the holidays and it was well worth it! I love the way it feels so fresh and I probably didn’t even realise how much I disliked the green until it was gone.
- Sunshine. There are so many things that are wonderful about sunshine and some of the main ones that I appreciate are — warmth, and the end of bitter cold winter, getting the washing dry on the same day that it is washed, the children being able to enjoy the outdoors, green grass and spring blossoms.
- Good health. We had our healthiest southern winter yet (apart from Daniel’s little episode which I’m not counting in the general family sickness category) which was such a blessing but then Spring arrived and Sam and the kids came down a couple of times with colds and temps, and after a fortnight of sick family recently, I again have a strong appreciation for good health!
And because a blog post is not a blog post without a photo, here I am as I write it. :)
Hey there people! You thought I’d gone for a nice trip to the moon, didn’t you? Wrong! I’ve been here all along. I was going to give all sorts of reasons for not blogging lately, but then I thought I’ll just let you know some of what I’ve been doing instead of blogging, and then you’ll get the run down on what I’ve been up to and I’ll kind of be making my excuses at the same time. Ha!
- homeschooling — we’re loving Sonlight, reading together and seeing how much amazing progress is being made when we spend a couple of concentrated hours on learning in the mornings. We’ve just started term three, and I think we’re actually getting the hang of it now, yay! It’s gone pretty well all year, but I felt especially refreshed after our recent two weeks off, which we spent here at home, and we’ve been back at school for a fortnight now and I reckon this has been our best couple of weeks yet. I got a few activities sorted for the boys during the holidays, and it has made a massive difference making sure they are focussed in the mornings, while I’m busy helping Amelia.
- making pasta from scratch — yummy and fun, but it takes a little time! We love pasta here, but I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable about feeding the family all this white pasta from the pantry, but some of the family are reluctant to switch to wholemeal so I feel better about making my own here at home. Even though it still has way too much white flour in it, at least it has the added benefit of free range eggs too.
- knitting — I’ve made a vest for each of the boys and have loved creating and actually finishing some projects. I’m keen to knit one for Amelia now, nothing like a vest to keep the core warm on these chilly days!
- jogging — still keeping up with the plan I set at the beginning of the year. I was getting up at six and heading out but as the weather got colder I was finding it harder and harder to get out of bed and actually started to DREAD the alarm going off because I had to go out into the cold. It made so much sense when Sam said “why don’t you go at seven?” And then I wished I had thought of that. It has made all the difference. Still cold, I have come home with icicles in my hair on more than one occasion, but all in all a lot better. I felt like a local when last week our garbage man commented that I was running alone and that I didn’t have a trail of neighbourhood dogs keeping me company! (Yes, this town still has men running along behind the truck manually lifting the bins onto the back, welcome to hicksville my friends.)
- cooking and cleaning for church — after an eighteen month long maternity break we’re back on the roster at church this year. It only comes up once a month, and this is our weekend, but I find it a very busy week when we’re on, and that once per month seems to rock around very quickly! We’re glad to be doing our bit though.
- reading blogs — it’s so much easier to sit down and read a post than to write one. I’ve discovered a couple of style blogs recently which have inspired me to make the most of my current wardrobe and to get more creative, and also tips on what to look for when shopping to ensure that new purchases are going to coordinate with current items. So much common sense, more ideas I wish I’d thought of, but inspiring to read! It has also come at a good time, as I have been recreating my style and trying to realise that yes my body has changed since becoming a mum, and that’s not all bad, but to dress to suit my figure as it is now, not try to squeeze into clothes that once looked good on me, and then wonder why I feel frumpy…(And while I’m here on the topic of blogs I’ll apologise to my friends for a lack of comments on your blogs recently, I got myself all muddled and confused when google reader stopped and I lost all my fave blogs for a while, but I’m hoping I’ve got it all sorted again now.)
Well, that’s a little from our life lately. What have YOU been up to?
My kids are amazing They’re so creative, funny and confident and I have no idea where they get so many of their wacky ideas, but it keeps life fun and interesting!
Mitch’s latest achievement (and big news that you’d definitely hear if you were to visit us in person) is that he can ride his bike without training wheels! Not only is he proud of that fact, but he’s also proud of the fact that grandad couldn’t ride without training wheels til he was five and Mitchell’s only four. He’s spending heaps of time outside just zooming around and we’ve also had a few trips to the bike track so that he can practise his new found skill.
His latest buddy is the postman. Mitch’s taken to racing out the front to wait at the letter box when he hears the postie heading up the other side of the street so that he doesn’t miss him on his way back down. Last week he had several meetings with the postie, who seemed happy enough to stop and hear all about riding without training wheels and the fact that he’s a year ahead of grandad. Then one day Mitch raced out and it wasn’t long before I heard a beep, then Mitch returned again, empty handed. When I asked him about the mail he said “no, there wasn’t any mail, he just stopped and let me honk his horn!”
Amelia’s loving school. I’m so happy that we went with Sonlight, we are all enjoying it and the kids are learning so much and are so enthusiastic to start everyday! After a couple of weeks of schooling I asked Amelia if it was as fun as she had thought and hoped it might be, and her response was “Funner!”
She’s a sensitive little thing, and can get worried by things pretty easily, and often has bad dreams. I spend lots of time comforting and praying for her. I was in her room, just before bed the other night and said how I was glad she’s been sleeping better and having better dreams and she said “Well, I haven’t been having any dreams. Basically all my dreams are bad, so I like it when I don’t have any and can just relax all night without seeing horrible things in my eyelids.” Poor little chick. I love the way she verbalises things
And just one more thing…I was putting her to bed another night, and we’d done the whole night routine, she was clean, her teeth had been done, hair up, she’d had a drink, we’d done the daily before bed debrief, we’d said our prayers, and I was leaving the room when she said “excuse me mum”, and I mentally started checking off the list to try to work out what I had forgotten, when she said “I love how much you take care of us.” And my heart melted.
Almost a whole month of 2013 has gone already. I think the time goes faster as I get older. But here I am, and I still (almost) remember how to blog.
This month has been a whirlwind of new schedules, ideas, renovations and preparations. We transformed our dark guest room into a light and airy school room. I’ve been prepping and organising my schedule ready to begin homeschooling in the next couple of weeks. My little girl who was a baby not so long ago has lost two teeth and is ready for kindy. Wow.
So far I’ve been successful in sticking with my New Years resolutions, although I’m not calling them resolutions, I’m scared of that term, as it sounds too committed. Mine are just ‘goals’ this year. I’m pretty sure they’re actually the same thing when it ones down to it but the word goals sounds better to me. Less of a failure if I don’t make it…
Anyway, I decided this year is going to be a more fit and healthy year for me. I’ve started a run training app and I’ve just completed my fourth week. I’m not loving the actuality of getting up early and pushing my body to it’s limit first thing in the morning but I can already see that I’ve improved and it’s exciting to be getting fitter and to be able to go further each week.
I’ve also started a bible in a year reading plan, which I’m actually loving. I chose a chronological one, and decided to do it over two years, but so far I’ve found it manageable enough to keep up with the one year plan. I’m using this app.
Apart from that I’ve been making lots of bread using this awesome recipe as well as lots of other scrummy things in the kitchen, and then, killing myself while I try not to eat them, because this is my healthy year!
Anyway, I think that’s our 2013 in a nutshell. I hope you are enjoying your new year and fresh start as I am!