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Rotten Excuse for a Christmas Card…

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I’m always a little bit torn about whether to send Christmas letters, or even cards. On one hand, I love to send and receive personal notes, even if I don’t manage it very often. On the other hand, my little family usually doesn’t have a lot to report. Also, while I love getting them (friends and loved ones, please don’t be offended), I’m not very sentimental about keeping cards. My best friend is a card-keeping ninja. She puts me to shame, but apparently not enough to change my ways. I hope you’ll accept our cheap, online approximation of a personal card.

This year, we shook things up a bit. We moved back home last spring, after nearly 13 years in Iowa. Shortly after we sold our home, my husband injured his shoulder, which complicated his job search. Lovely, lovely friends helped us load the moving truck and we said our goodbyes. Less than a month after our move, the husband underwent (expensive) surgery and quite a lot of physical therapy before starting at a new job in a different field. Our eight year old left good friends and started at a new school. One of our beloved dogs died, and we brought home a rambunctious, athletic, seven-month-old puppy shortly thereafter. I recently started working part-time and our three-year-old started preschool. To sum up, we made all the life changes this year.

Moving is always difficult, even if the move is a good one, and ours was no exception. That said, our families have supported us in every possible way. They graciously shouldered so much of our stress and continue to offer their help and company. Having them close is a huge source of joy for us and we hope that we can return their kindness.

Our fantastic girls are full of irritat– vibrant energy. It is never not noisy at our house. Our oldest is trying ballet, loves to read and play outside and lives in her imagination. She talks non-stop. She surprises, amuses, and terrifies us with her quick mind and tongue. It is beautiful to see her growing thoughtfulness. Her little sister is a sweet, cranky, articulate, mischievous little thing. She is methodical where her sister is creative. She also screams a lot.

Honestly, the last eight or so months have left me too tired to reflect on any insights or draw any pretty conclusions about our experiences. We’re just looking forward to continued settling. Being nearer family has triggered some nostalgia and greater desire to honor/create traditions for my own kids. We’re looking forward to a 2019 full of opportunites to do just that.

Cheers, 2019! Have a peaceful year, all!

Spirituality

1 Corinthians 15:58:

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Another new year. Like most years, scads of possibilities for personal improvement and greater good have surfaced in my brain and, like most years, I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities. This is also a time of year that typically ushers in, for me, lower mood and energy. This is not a pity party; I am not powerless to take action against this negativity, but I do feel like many people can relate to these feelings and might appreciate the acknowledgment amidst all the Facebook posts detailing the number of miles their friends have run (even though it’s eight degrees outside) and the new healthy eating plans they’ve implemented. There. Now I’ve acknowledged the crappy feelings and pray that my sympathizers and I can move on to being inspired by other people’s successes instead. 🙂

Before the new year started, my fellow-blogger and inspirational friend, Crystal, suggested that we try an adapted form of the 60/60 Experiment. We aren’t reading Soul Revolution, but we are using the idea to stop once an hour to honor, incorporate, remember God in our lives. After a rough start, I downloaded a customizable timer app that helps me remember, although I’m still not perfectly observant. I find that what happens when that timer sounds is a sort of accountability exercise. Because I get caught up in daily life and I’m not expecting to communicate with God at those moments, I wind up examining whether whatever is happening in my head or whatever action I might be taking is good and pleasing to Him. It’s been valuable and interesting. I’m planning to maintain this practice for the foreseeable future.

Now for the worst part. I decided to couple this experiment with a resolution to stop looking at my Facebook feed 1,800 times a day. I am not commenting on the evils or merits of Facebook, but for me, it was turning into a bad habit. I prayed about it and told God my intention to check it only once a day. I failed to honor my commitment. I am ashamed of my lack of discipline. This sin is not limited to this single, self-imposed thing. I struggle with laziness. While it might not appear that way to those who know me, I know myself well enough to make that assertion with no hesitation. Therefore, my “resolution” is to avoid idleness. I will continue to value R&R, but I have been lazy even in that, failing to take from it rejuvenation and joy. To my intention stated here, I add prayers for forgiveness and guidance.

Happy January, folks!