Happy 2014

Does it make me an incredibly boring person that on New Years’ Eve I look forward to as much sleep as possible (like any other night)?  Maybe so.  I’m sure that it does speak volumes about my personality and what I value these days.

It’s not that it was “just another day”.  I was nostalgic about the many ways my family was blessed in 2013…about the lessons I learned (the hard way).  When my little guy woke up around 10:15, however, I decided to stay upstairs and usher in the new year with my head on my pillow.  That worked for me.

2013 was the year I tried to figure out how to be a mom of four children.  I didn’t figure it out, but God graciously got us through, anyway.  The truth is that I don’t expect to have ever figured it out, but I do have hope of some things improving with time.

On the other hand, I know full well that as some things improve, others will deteriorate.  That is how it works in this life.

This truth is not expressed to make others despair.  It is to remind us to look towards heaven.  Heaven will be incomparable to life on earth!  Even our best moments on earth will fall short of the joy we’ll experience in heaven!

What do I look forward to in 2014?  While I have not set resolutions, I continuously have goals for myself.  Many of them remain.  I’ve failed to achieve them perfectly in the past, and remaining the sinner that I am, I know I will continue to.  I refuse to wash my hands and give up, but I temper my ideals with the realization that they are just that–ideals.

In 2013, I had the great joy to be able to give of myself to our youngest, Chad.  His first year of life was so special.  I cherished having a baby in our home (and in my arms)…most of the time.  Read back through  my blog and unfortunately you’ll be sure to find a whine here or there about how little I got done having a baby in my arms so much of the time.  Really, though, I loved it, and am having a hard time letting go of babyhood.  My head knows that as he begins to walk and becomes more independent, there will be good, too.  I in turn will be more independent and will surely enjoy getting more things done.  The sad feelings that also crop up reaffirm for me that I did what was best this past year.  I made the most of having a baby around, in the way that worked for me.  I only had one chance in his life time to do that.  I’ll have plenty more chances to “get things done,” God willing.

The past week of vacation (for the kids from school) has been good.  We had planned to not travel, and that was for the best.  Sickness crept up.  It seems like today 8-year-old Caleb is finally better.  The tonsillitis must have run its course.  I was glad to rule out mono and strep, and was so appreciative of the physician’s admittance that not putting him on an antibiotic was fine…that it would run its course.  I don’t hear the swollen sound today when he talks, and his temp was 98.5  God be praised!

The construction around here has made great progress.  The doors went up yesterday.  We are so close to the priming and painting phase.  I have struggled (again) with having construction going on, more so as the days went on.  I want to put everything in its place.  I want to clean everything.  I try to get started and realize that my goals are too lofty and that time will be wasted.  I feel useless, grouchy, and then I step back and realize that there will be a day to clean, and it’s not today.  “Today” is about keeping the kids busy and enjoying having them around.  We’ll take it easy today and continue to stick around the house, but if Caleb holds up well today, maybe we can do some of the fun ideas I’ve stored away while we waited for health.  Swimming, sledding, ice skating…

Even if we don’t get to those things, I had best not be quick to call this vacation a wash.  We’ve played games, the kids have invented their own, and we’ve had tons of family together time. This is a wonderful blessing.

Recognizing our blessings where they are is important.  Will a construction project go smoothly and turn out perfectly?  Will everything have its own place throughout it all and be tidy?  Will children be happy and busy in such a picture?  No, no, no, and no.

As I’ve said before, life is messy, but messes can be joyous.  So much of that lies in the heart. What is your attitude?  I have a hard time embracing the messes, but situations in my life continue to help me work through this issue.

At any rate, when I look ahead at 2014, the unknowns and hopes mix together with the truth that joy and sadness will be there, and that the hope of heaven will carry us through. What grace is this!

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