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With all of the recent celebrity deaths, people are using social media to talk about how bad 2016 was.  In many ways, there are reasons for “do overs”.  A nasty election tops the bill, shootings, racial disharmony and again, a nasty election.  Several deaths of people that my generation and beyond grew up with…..Prince, Alan Thicke, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Florence Henderson, George Michael and more.  There was much sadness and a whole lot of anger this year.

2016 for me personally brought sadness, hurt, anger too but it also brought much joy.  It was a blended stock pot of the good and the not-so-good. And isn’t that what life is all about? Isn’t there good and bad in every season or chapter of our lives?

There’s a Right Time for Everything
There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (The Message)

As I look back on 2016, I remember my grief.  Losing a loved one to suicide is beyond comprehension.  And if I allow myself to ~go there~, well, I just can’t.  I’ve chosen to bury the process deep within.  All of us have. It’s too hard for our family.  Grief and sadness and even some anger are prevalent. And the loss still stings greatly.

Business….we are so fortunate to do what we love. They say you are only as good as the people around you and for that, we are pretty blessed. Being a small business owner isn’t easy.  Yes, we escape the games of the corporate world but we answer to many more people in our line of work than most would in an office. People with lots of opinions, good and bad. We’re grateful for both….the opportunity to be affirmed and the chance for growth and improvement.  We do, however appreciate the ones who are nice about it. ~wink~

Friendship….been a very interesting year for this.  While some friendships have ended, others have blossomed and some have been restored.   I have found great love for people whose paths I may not have otherwise crossed if not for ministry and serving together.  I’ve been hurt by people who I thought were friends but I’ve also hurt a friend I care about, too.  Good and bad. Season for everything. Right and wrong.  Black and white.  Or really a whole lot of gray.  I’ve learned that giving people opportunities can come back to bite you in the tush.  That when it comes down to it, sometimes people will take from you what they can and when they are done, they move on.  We have been givers, not takers.  And sometimes it’s hard to remember that just because you care for someone, doesn’t mean they care as much for you. That’s been a very hard lesson this year. But one that I/we have learned from and will move forward with, prayerfully with no bitterness in our hearts.

Family…..always the tricky part of life yet the one certain in life.  Family knows buttons to push but the bottomline with family is that you are blood, you will be there together, through thick and thin and even though you may want to choke the other at times, no one else better try it. Family really is a forever thing and I’m grateful for them all, immediate and extended.

Caregiving….I’ve learned that I can’t do it all.  I am so weary at times caring for my daughter, my Gran, our home, our life and working when I’m able.  So. Weary.  Realizing that there has to be time for self-care and in this next year, I need to figure that out.  I need downtime that is more than escaping to my room and closing the door.  I need a hobby.  I’ve always wanted to take a pottery class.  Lowe Mill, here I come?

Church life….I’ve taken a backseat musically and miss it. But know that I can’t sing just to sing. It has to mean more. It has to be more. I take it seriously and to heart and need more.  Maybe that desire of the heart will return soon. Maybe I will figure out where I belong.  Maybe I’ll pay attention to the signs.

Health….Every year it’s “this is the year” and every year, it’s more of the same.  This year I will try to not repeat that mantra without substance to back it.

2016 my word was present.  I tried to be more present in things, even when my body wanted to lay on the couch.  If someone suggested something, I was in.  If I was involved in something, I was all in or not at all.  I didn’t always succeed but the effort was there.

For 2017 I’ve chosen the word delight.  I want to delight more in my Father.  I want to be delighted by what is happening around me.  I want to feel delight in my husband, my children, extended family.  I will continue to delight in the best gift that 2016 brought us…our Grandson.  My delight will come from things of the Lord.

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation.  Psalm 35:9

For I delight in your commands because I love them.  Psalm 119:47

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  I Corinthians 13:6

What was your good this year? What was your not-so-good?  Would you have do overs?  And what will you take into 2017 with you?  I’m going for a clear mind and heart, an intentional selection of people to surround myself with, and opportunities to serve.

Starting tomorrow, January 1st? No. Starting right now.

Reaching. Stretching. Growing. Flying.

Denise~

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