Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

*I began writing a column for our local newspaper.  I've had a blast writing it & have heard, throughout the year, that people actually read it!
*I launched a prayer team ministry on Facebook called P4TK (Praying for the Kids) after I had yet another friend lose a child.  P4TK is reserved for praying for kids with chronic or terminal conditions.  It's been such a blessing this year!
*I enjoyed a full day of teaching by Sheila Walsh at a local church.  She is amazing!

*Sarah turned 11.

*Samuel turned 12 & got braces.

*Using leftover flagstone from my a project my parents had recently completed, Larry built "the thinking spot" next to our house---a rock "porch" sort of place where he can sit and read, think or just enjoy nature.

*Our neighbors to the west of us are renters.  The house goes through tenants regularly.  In between tenants (and sometimes even when there are tenants living there!) the yard is often overgrown and dirty.  In May, they experienced a large rat infestation.  Their little "guests" found their way into our yard and left me completely digusted and grossed out on a daily basis.  Rat poison and a vigilante 12 year old with a bow and arrow eventually took care of the problem.  But in the meantime, ewwwwwww!
*Sarah won the 5th grade spelling bee.
*Larry switched jobs.
*The kids finished 5th, 6th and 10th grades.

*I returned to the preschool (where I've worked in some manner or another since 2007) for the summer.  My summers wouldn't feel complete without a twice-weekly dose of preschooler fun!
*Samuel went to Boy Scout Camp and Youth Camp.
*The girls went on a trip to Colorado & back with my parents while Samuel was away at camp.

*The kids and I took part in a local mission trip with the youth group, a '5 Day Club' hosted by Child Evangelism Fellowship, at a local park.
*I began searching for a job with a bigger paycheck.

*Savannah began summer band practices.
*Savannah turned 16.
*Larry & I celebrated our 18th anniversary.
*I was offered a job at a local law firm & began the job at the month's end.
*Samuel began his first season of playing football.

*Savannah got her letter jacket for UIL Journalism, giving our home a 2nd generation student to receive their letter jacket from the same high school for journalism pursuits.  (I got mine for being on the yearbook staff in 1994.)
*We traveled to The Woodlands, TX and stayed in a nice resort for Larry's cousin's wedding.  It would've been a great little mini vacation, but we brought home a stomach virus that we passed around amongst the family for nearly two weeks afterward.
*Larry turned 39.
*Samuel dislocated his thumb badly enough to need a cast for a week followed by 2 weeks in a brace.

*Sarah tried out & was accepted on the UIL Dictionary Skills team at school.
*We spent our very first Halloween at home, handing out candy to trick or treaters.

*I turned 37.
*Found out mid-month that I would be laid off at the end of the year.  Stress levels hit the ceiling and the job hunt began.

*Job search continued and many hours of sleep were lost as I battled emotionally & spiritually with the fears of what lie ahead.
*Christmas came and went.  It was a smaller, quieter Christmas than in the past, but it was a good one!

As we look ahead to 2013, we pray that your family is blessed!

Friday, December 21, 2012

It Is Well With My Soul

It's been a month since I updated the blog.  I don't think I have ever gone that long between posts since I started this blog in February 2006.  I know the handful of you who read this don't sit around waiting to hear from me, but I need to write.  It's my outlet.

Fortunately there is Facebook, where I've updated daily.  There are the thousand emails, texts, phone calls & people I run into every day who check to see how things are going.  There is my column in the local newspaper where I've shared a little of what's going on.  So I'm not hiding under the covers and sucking my thumb just yet.

In the past month, I have sat at my computer reading job listings, tapping my foot, bouncing my leg 90mph with my shoulders up around my ears.  I'm fidgeting, biting my nails.  I have prayed, nearly constantly, since mid-November.  I've never been in this position before, knowing that my lay off date is looming nearer with each passing day, and not having any idea what I'll be doing afterward.

I have a few ideas of things I can do for money until one of the bazillion jobs I've applied for comes through, until one of the people I've interviewed with says "Come work for me."  There has been one job offer, but it didn't work out.  All the sudden, I understand people becoming desperate enough to do criminal things to provide for their family.  (To be clear, I'd NEVER do that, but I am beginning to understand how they get to that point.)

I have ugly, messy, scary days where I shake in my boots and beat my fists.  Days when I feel like sleeping at night is just a way to pass the time while the world spins, all while I pray for survival.  I have days when it's all I can do to breathe in and out; days when I can barely claw my fingernails through the grime on the ground of this long, dark tunnel.  Hopelessness, fear, doubt...they've become my bedmates.

But then I stand in the shower with the water running down my face and I start praying.  Or I am driving down the road and a song comes on the radio.  Or I hear someone say something that wasn't even meant for me but I grab hold of it and squeeze it until it is empty of all the hope it gave me.  I've found myself pouring over Scripture, pleading with the words to jump off the page at me and bring me relief.  I've listened to sermons about surrendering, heard lessons about relaxing & trusting God.  I've printed Scriptures & taped them on the walls to read & re-read.

I wish I was to the place in this story where I can look back at it all & say "Ohhhh....that's how God was working." But I'm not quite there yet. I know the day is coming. I know (that I know that I know that I know) He's got all the details worked out, every single little piece in place. And I trust in that.  Really, I do.

But some days are easier than others to relax & trust in that.

There are days when I want to just scream "Why can't life be easy for us?  Even for just 5 minutes?"  It feels like we've struggled in one way or another over and over and over for years now.  Isn't it time for things to fall in place and give us some peace, God?  He reminds me, when I feel that way, that I can't look at all the thousand times He's come through for us in the past and assume He is going to forget us this time.  He reminds me of the thousand times He's come through for JUST the right time.  In His time.  Usually at the very last minute.  I can not think of all those times and worry about all of this.  Too much.

My heart believes that and my head knows it to be true, but my flesh still cries out for something concrete to grasp hold of.

In the meantime, I am singing this.  Over and over.  And finding that the more I focus on HIM, the more it really IS well with my soul.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,

Let this blest assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:

If Jordan above me shall roll,

No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life

Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,

The sky, not the grave, is our goal;

Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!

Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul.