Friday, December 29, 2017
Glancing Back at 2017
Goodbye 2017 and Welcome 2018
I can't believe that 2017 will be coming to an end in a few days and a whole new year will begin. It seems like 2017 went by in a flash and every year seems to speed up the older I get. It's funny, when you are a kid, you can't wait to grow up and it seems like FOREVER before you do. Those years of raising a family have a mixture of long sleepless nights and then moments of blinking and your kid is taller than you are. Then comes the empty nest stage where you try to figure out your identity now that your children are successfully launched into the world. That took me two long years to figure out, especially since I was a homeschooling mom so my whole identity was wrapped up in that role of mom and teacher to my three sons. From there on though, the years just seemed to speed up, like a train on a track building up speed to make it up a steep hill.
This year has been one of great growth for our family and for Jeff and I personally. Some of that growth was wonderful and some was painful, but it has made us and our whole family all that much stronger.
We welcomed a new grandson, Steven David, into the world in May and watched as our oldest son became a father for the first time. Steven surprised us at Christmas by standing up and not having to hold onto anything to balance. He did this several times and was quite pleased with himself. :) It will not be long before this kid is walking. Did I mention he is just 7 months old? Bradley started walking at 10 months old, so this does not surprise us. Bradley and Isaiah, our oldest grandsons at 4 and 5 years old, are both reading and Bradley even wrote his Uncle Josh a nice Christmas note all by himself. :) They are enjoying doing cool Science experiments once a week with another homeschooling family and can't wait to share how cool it is with us. Josh was able to come home in October and we spent time with my brother Fritz and my parents at their place in Montana where my parents finally got to meet baby Steven. My hanai sister Roni came home twice and we had some much needed time together. Several of my hanai kids have come home at various times this year and it has been wonderful to visit with them and hear all that is going on in their lives. Chris and Heather sold their home and closed on some property they bought and will be building their dream home in the coming new year. Chris was able to fly to Washington DC and spend time there with Josh. We finally got to have a short but sweet visit with my baby brother Eric, sweet sister in love Christie and our nephews Cade and Eli. It had been years since we had seen them.
This year brought us a scare when we almost lost our Rachel to sepsis after the birth of baby Steven. She is a fighter though and had so many people praying for her. I could not remember being that scared in a very long time...I just couldn't stand the thought of losing her and cried out to God to save our girl. She recovered now and we are so thankful. We did lose our dear friend Mel, who is like another grandfather to our kids, in a tragic accident in October. Our family all gathered together to get through this time and make sure that his wife, kids and grandkids were taken care of and supported. Our relationship with my husband's family became even rockier and more toxic and we finally had to put an end to it due to the mind games that were being played on us. The games are ongoing, with the latest coming yesterday, but we do not respond to them anymore. My husband is still hurting though and my heart aches for him. And now, at this moment, we are waiting to hear about the passing of another loved one, Heather's grandma Ginny, whose body is shutting down and is now in the transition period between life here and waking up again in heaven. If she makes it through tonight, we will all be surprised. Our plans are on hold so that we can be here to help in any way we can.
My health has been a huge challenge this year with new problems popping up as the Fibromyalgia enters a different stage. Throughout this though, I am learning more and more to appreciate the good days and that my family and friends really do "fill up" my joy tank so that I feel less pain when I am with them. I am no longer working outside the home at all at the moment and Jeff and I made the decision this week to stop our volunteer work. We have been doing it for about 24 years now and I cannot physically manage it anymore and things there have become chaotic...something else I am not dealing with if at all possible in my life at this point. My illnesses have some silver linings though, I have made new friends, wonderful and supportive friends, by sharing my struggles both online here on my blog and in my day to day life here in my community. Another extended family member was just diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after years of testing. Her doctor was confused and I told her to ask him about Fibromyalgia and if that could be what was going on since her symptoms were so similar to some of mine also and tests had ruled out other things. It was and now she is being treated for it with medications to help with the pain. It has been nice to be able to help her finally find out what is going on and to be able to support her as she learns to cope with this too. A dear friend was recently diagnosed with it too and I have been able to help him and his family understand this crazy illness and the roller coaster it puts you on. Yet again, the areas of your greatest struggles can become your biggest ministry if you allow God to use your struggles to help others others who are also going through the same thing.
As the curtain closed on 2017 I can say that it has been one of the most difficult and yet rewarding years that we have had in a long time. We said goodbye to loved ones, learned to set healthy boundaries, had tearful prayers answered, and welcomed a new grandchild into our lives. We also added 2 new fur babies into our lives when we took in Midgey and Patches, Chris and Heather's cats and they have become very spoiled indeed. We are excited that our son Josh will be moving to Nevada in the coming year, so he will be closer to us and not all the way across the country. In 2018 we plan to spend even more time with our family and with my parents, brothers, sister in love Christie and our nephews Cade and Eli, We want to get over to the Seattle area to see Jeff's cousin and family, another one of my cousins, and also get together with our niece, her husband and our great niece. A trip is already in the plans to go down and see Josh in the Fall, so that will make at least two times we get to see him since we will also being seeing him in the Spring. While there visiting him, we are planning on getting together with some of my childhood friends who now live there also. It is looking to be a very good year indeed!