Saturday, December 31, 2016

The good, the bad and

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...but through it all I found joy.

Tonight, 2016 heads off the calendar and we turn a fresh page on a new year.  I have seen so many complaints about what a horrible year 2016 has been, people glad to see it go so they can have a much better year next year.  Let me tell you, I've learned a thing or two about anticipating the's never what you envision it to be.
In our lives it seems we are busy.  Not the "busy" that one is to keep up with the status quo but the busy that comes from being a real family, busy that comes from caring for others.  In the fall, Jessica was wanting us to do something, I can't even remember what it was and her comment was "maybe when it slows down next week..."  Next week never came.

If you think I'm going to continue down the path with what a horrible year it's been and how I'm longing for a better year ahead you are W-R-O-N-G!  Have bad things happened in 2016, yes.  Have friends and family gone on from this life, yes.  Have I had disappointment in 2016, yes.  Have I cried more tears this year than I ever imagined, yes.  Have I seen my kids hurt, yes.  There have been horrible things happen in 2016 but there have been even more joys!

I choose joy.

I choose joy.

I choose to focus on all the good in my life.  

Me-I'm a year older and a year wiser.  I have learned to trust an entire tribe of women, we share our
ups and our downs.  One of these ladies shared yesterday that "a concern or trouble shared is DIVIDED and a joy shared is MULTIPLIED."  This came about because she wanted to buy me a cuppa coffee on my birthday and I accepted.  I know it sounds crazy but it was the first time I had ever done that; I'm usually the giver.  Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia have both reared their ugly heads in my family and I often feel alone, very-very alone.  Dementia is a real disease but it's a mental disease so society deems it ugly and we're not allowed to talk about it until the person is so far gone they'll never know or they're dead.  The people caring for them are stressed out, often isolated and and losing their loved ones one puzzle piece at a time until they become unrecognizable.  Sounds horrible, doesn't it?  But you know what, I got to spend another year honoring them, loving them and walking with them as they journey toward the end.  I was given a refresher course in F-U-N this year when the above mentioned tribe of women invited me to an evening of crafting.  I wanted something outside the box, an anchor for HOPE. Rob (the husband who cut all our shapes) went above and beyond by drawing & cutting a beautiful wooden anchor for
me to paint, his wife bought some rope to use in the bow and Sis made me a lovely bow.  When I see my anchor I feel the strength and love of my tribe, they have no idea but they make my days a little easier knowing they are there.
Handsome-he is my rock.  He has more pain than any person deserves to endure with a degenerative back disease but he always puts me first and does so much without a complaint.  I have watched him take my Dad to OSU football games when he really should have been icing his back and taking it easy on his day off.  I see his gentle softness when he takes my Mom's arm and walks her down the aisle to communion on Sunday.   I watch him do things with the girls, making things for their rooms or taking them to a movie they want to see that he couldn't care less about.  Going to see Megan Trainor with them so I could stay in the hospital with my Mom. He's grown a tribe of his own, a great group of men who build one another up.  They work on their trucks, do things for others, build things and smoke some of the best meat I've ever had!  He listens to me when I'm hurting and holds me up when I'm feeling defeated.  Crazy blessed doesn't even begin to cover how he makes me feel!

The girls-or should I say ladies?  Have we had sass and attitude, yes.  Have we had arguments, disagreements and disobedience, yes.  Have they not done chores, assignments and things they were asked to do, yes!  But you know what, I've been blessed to watch them mature another year.  I've seen kindness to others-friends, family and strangers.  I've seen sweet Jessica go from no birthday party because I didn't know who to invite to having a hotel room full of little girls who have become "sisters."  I have watched Melissa have the best year in volleyball and be mature enough to decide to walk away so she could be more active in church and 4H.  I saw Anna graduate from college, get a job (actually 3) in the real world as she has blossomed into an incredible adult.

I choose joy.

I was disappointed with so many things in 2016-the election, actors and musicians who passed, violence in the world, construction on the highway.....but all of that is nothing when compared to the joy in my life.

What was your joy in 2016?  I bet you are crazy blessed, too!

PS A special shout out of thanks to my dear, dear friend Angie Klohn-Stieferman who has influenced me to choose joy this year.  We have been friends since the 7th grade at Etta Dale Junior High, like all friendships we've had ups and downs, good and bad but we choose joy, we choose to remember the good and consider the rest "lessons in growing up".  In 2016, she was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney cancer and she IS fighting the good fight.  Her attitude and faith are a shining beacon for me each and every day.  Her strength, her faith, her love and concern for others as she battles while #kickenfesterout is a prime example of exactly all that was good in 2016.

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