Some 2019 Positives

Last year wasn’t the easiest year for my family. We suffered some loss and some scares and some really hard things. The year got off to a bad start with a terrible scare and I think the anger and resentment from that started festering deep in my gut. I just shoved it down and refused to deal with it. And, as the year progressed, I found myself sinking down into a dark place. Oddly enough, as I talk with friends about 2019, many of them found themselves in a dark place by the end of the year as well.

As I was talking to one friend in particular last night, I realized that all of my negatives were clouding my view of the year though we experienced some great things. I don’t want to remember only the bad things so today I want to give space to some positives of 2019.

It was an amazing year of baseball for Kaleb! He started on a brand new journey of public school baseball in January. He was able to join the high school baseball team he has dreamed of playing for since he was little. He had to sit out the first season due to homeschool laws but he practiced with the team and got to know them and the coaches. He was able to play in a couple junior varsity games as well.

He also played his last year of Little League baseball. It was probably the best year he has ever played. He was asked to be on the Little League All Star team for his age group, and they placed 2nd in the tournament. His dream of owning a Little League ring was finally realized!

Since it was his last year of eligibility, we also allowed him to play on a travel ball team. We were CRAZY busy between February and June! Three baseball teams plus our younger ones playing soccer! We always said we would never allow it but it was his last year to play travel ball as well as his last year to play on the same team as his best friend. And it was worth all the driving and money and exhaustion. They played in the state tournament and, even though they came up short, it was such a fun season. So good to see all those boys play together one last time.

Joshua and Drake played spring soccer. I coached Joshua’s team for the second time and enjoyed it. I don’t know much about soccer but we learned together and celebrated an undefeated season. Drake enjoyed his season as well. I didn’t get to see any many of his games since I was coaching.

The summer brought many days at the water park. We had season passes so we aimed to spend as much time as possible there. We had a lot of fun with friends and consumed many snow cones.

Sometime in the middle of all the baseball and swimming, I decided to take over our homeschool group’s co-op again. I didn’t think I would ever be in charge of co-op again when I resigned many years ago but there was a need and a new leadership. I felt such a deep conviction to step up. Shortly after becoming co-op head chair, I also agreed to be on the group’s board which is another position I never thought I would have again. But I am SO grateful that I did. The new board and co-op committee had many struggles over the next several months but we would help each other through some tough personal times as the year went on. We rallied around each other on numerous occasions. I’m so thankful for their encouragement and support.

Two good friends, the hubs, and I went to see the Goo Goo Dolls and Train in concert. Soooooo good. So. So. Good.

In July, we went on a family vacation to Minnesota. We have family in both Kansas City and Minneapolis. We stopped and spent a few days with our KC family before going north. We went to Mall of America, spent a more than a few hours at Nickelodeon Universe. We visited the small town a little further north were my husband grew up. And, to Kaleb’s delight, we attended a Twins game. (It was a fun experience for us all.) In between all that, we spent many hours hanging out with family and catching up. Other highlights for the boys included Caribou Coffee, Pizza Ranch, and Yoyo Donuts. Ha! Growing boys love food!

I have to admit…I am thankful for that time of rest because things quickly went downhill after our vacation. I know good things had to have happened in August but we were hit hard with a few personal and family issues that just came one right after the other. I was in a fog of anger, confusion, fear, and despair. Those feelings carried over into the rest of the year.

But there were some good moments:

  1. Adopting Oreo for my sweet oldest grand wins the most tender moment of 2019. I will cherish that day for the rest of my life.
  2. Grand birthdays (all but one in the fall) because their happiness always sparks my happiness.
  3. A wildly successful co-op after so many struggles to pull it together.
  4. A full house at Thanksgiving with family, friends, and even people I didn’t know.
  5. The boys’ annual Christmas party that finally sparked some Christmas spirit in my heart.
  6. A much needed quick trip to KC with an old and dear friend and her daughter who is a wonderful friend to my boys.
  7. The KC family coming down for Christmas because people who get you and love you unconditionally are the best when you’re struggling.
  8. And as always watching the boys and grands open their presents from us. If anything can bring joy to my heart, it’s seeing it on their faces.
  9. And because I wanted to end the year surrounded by that joy, our NYE party with the boys and grands.
  10. And someone who doesn’t even know what she did for me this fall. The children’s pastor of our church faithfully scheduled me to serve and teach a bunch of 4-6 year olds every two weeks. Even when I just wanted to sit in darkness, I found light and joy and love in that room of kiddos. It’s always fun to teach them but it was especially needed it in this season. We talked about Jesus, had Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, learned Bible verses that I think I needed more than they did. It was a precious time that I didn’t know I needed.
  11. Lastly, the hubs who is always my encouraging rock. He’s always my biggest cheerleader and supporter. We had a year filled with many perfect moments.

My hope is that 2020 is a year of rest and healing. I didn’t make any resolutions. I don’t even have a One Little Word really. I just want to enjoy family and friends, have new adventures, and get back to the light. I’ve had enough of the darkness. I want to find joy and contentment and space to just breath out the pain of 2019.

2020 Winter Book Stack

Happy New Year!! Hope you all had a fantastic holiday season. We are finally getting back to our normal routine here. I love the holidays but routine is always welcome after the craziness between Thanksgiving and New Years.

I have to be honest….I had no plans of ever blogging again. We just got busy last year that I decided that blogging just wasn’t going to fit into this season of our lives. I put it out of my mind and moved on. Then, oddly enough, I was on the bank app on my phone last month and noticed that I had a renewal fee from WordPress. Ha! Guess I forgot to stop it. And since I was charged the renewal fee, I feel like maybe I’ll give it a try again this year to at least get my money’s worth, right? We’ll see how it goes. Not holding my breath or anything but I do enjoy blogging when I have the time.

Anyway, as I was clearing off my desk in the dining room last week, I came across a stack of books that I slowly collected last year but never either finished or even started. My goal for this winter is to read each one before I purchase anymore books.

I’ll admit…last year got a little crazy and things did not go like I had planned. We suffered loss in several areas on top of over-committing ourselves in other areas. I plan on recapping 2019 just to get it out of my head so details on all that happened last year to follow later. Suffice to say, I found myself stuck in a low place and wallowed there for a while. It only got worse as the year went by so I didn’t get any meaningful reading done. I stuck to mostly fantasy fiction so I could lose myself in a make-believe world that always came with a happy ending.

I want to start this year off on a better foot. Take better care of my mental and emotional health. Part of that is reading books that inspire and motivate me. And sitting in a neat little pile on my desk were a few books that I know will help reset my mind.

My Winter book stack list and the plan:

  1. Daring Greatly -I started this but only got about a chapter or two in before setting it down last year. This one will probably be last on my winter reading list for no other reason than I am just slightly more excited about the other books on my list.
  2. Fervent -I’ve read this twice before but it’s a book that always encourages and inspires me. I need some of that in my life right now. I plan to read a little every morning and stretch it out over the rest of winter.
  3. The Brave Learner -started this one last year too but never finished. I want to jump back into this one after I read Of Mess and Moxie. I feel I need the encouragement (and permission to relax) in my homeschool that Julie Bogart always brings to the table. I also need to keep reading The Writer’s Jungle too.
  4. Homeschool Bravely -opened it for two seconds and then set it down. I knew when I bought it that I would want to read it but just never could get myself to start. I’m keeping this one for late February when homeschool burnout usually begins.
  5. Everybody Always -Read a few chapters before I put it down. Bob Goff is always so encouraging but I wasn’t feeling it last year. I really just wanted to sit in my misery. I’ll continue this one after I’ve read The Brave Learner.
  6. Of Mess and Moxie -I don’t even remember buying this but again Jen Hatmaker is another encourager. I know I’ll enjoy this book if I would just start it. I’m starting with this one. I feel like this one will be light-hearted and full of laughs. I definitely need some of that!

Since I’m on such a fiction kick and struggling to add any non-fiction, I’m challenging myself to alternate the above books with the fiction books I’m reading on Kindle Unlimited. I read on my phone a lot at night after the hubs has gone to sleep so obviously this will be a challenge. Too easy just to pick up my phone and open the Kindle App.

My hope is by reading these books I will feel refreshed and inspired enough to have a productive start to the new year. Winter is so hard on my mental health already. I’m such a summer girl! And with all the struggles of last year, I need the extra hand up. Looking forward to a happier, healthier 2020!