it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Dec 30, 2010

(I am reading The Tale of Two Cities…hence my title. What can I say, I am greatly influenced by the books I read and this year has certainly felt like the best and worst.)

Twenty-ten is drawing to a close. I am a tad bit surprised that we made it through. As I think back, I realize we have only made it through because of the grace of God, his army of angels, both heavenly and earthly, and a lot of hard work.

Worst of times?

* Richard working 80-90 hours a week to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, heat the house, pay for gas, etc.

* Tracy miscarrying for the tenth time. We really don’t know if we can continue trying to have children. We feel strongly there are more babies for us out there. We can feel the presence of a wild little boy. We feel so sure that we are not out of the baby stage yet. And yet, they don’t make it here into our arms. The heartbreak of miscarriage can be overwhelming at times. I am able to talk about it. I am able to deal with it. But, late at night, laying in my husband’s arms I cry. I sob. I break. I lose trust in God. I forget the blessings. I give up hope. I feel like a failure. I give up on my body. I scream. Ten babies…am I up to trying again?

* The master bedroom being in utter chaos for pretty much the entire year and me not taking the time or having the emotional strength to face it.

* Five vehicular collisions…three with other vehicles, one with a great horned owl, and one with a large rock.

* The financial pressures we are under are almost too much to bear. I am so tired of it all. I am tired of debt and stress and the whole juggling act. I so wish we could start over. I so wish I understood then what I understand now. I so wish my bad choices weren’t the cause of this misery. I know that lots of the problems aren’t from my bad choices, but enough is that the guilt has at times felt as if it would devour me.

Best of times?

* Richard surviving his work schedule.

* Being blessed with food to eat and money to pay our bills at just the right moments. We have been immensely blessed by angels here on earth and by miracles that were worked out above by unseen hands. We have had food to eat every day, a warm home to sleep in, vehicles to drive, and money to use. It makes no sense to me how it has worked and it doesn’t add up on paper, but it has. God is real and He knows exactly what we need. He also has a whole force of people here on earth that have decided our welfare is their priority and they have literally loved us, fed us, and given us hope when we were completely out of hope. I put on a happy face for the world, but I toss and turn all night long wondering how to make it work, wondering how to solve our financial strains, wondering and praying and pleading with God. For those of you who have helped, thank you. Thank you from way down deep in our little toes, we couldn’t have made it without you.

* Being surrounded by friends who give hugs, clean out chaos, share epiphanies, give rides, bless me with their sewing, share smiles, offer encouragement, are patient with my foibles, love my children, teach me truths, laugh with me, join me in my save-the-world projects, plow out my driveway, vacuum my vehicle, listen, listen, and listen some more, take my phone calls at midnight, sneak in and clean my kitchen, and most of all, surround me with love. I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. Thank you for being my friends. I love walking this mothering journey with you.

* Attending Fiddler on the Roof!!! Our favorite play at our favorite place…once in a lifetime experience!

* Attending MAT camp this summer and seeing my children learn and grow as musicians was a huge highlight of our year.

* Green Canyon swim camp…super fun!

* Camping at Green River Lakes…favorite part of my year and one I simply cannot live without.

* Teaching 80 students gymnastics each week…what a blast it is to help children discover their amazing bodies!

* Teaching Math Alive! each week. It has been a ton of work, but so fun to see mathematical concepts come alive in these children’s minds and hearts.

* Reading books at Story Station each week. I love, love, love reading out loud to children!

* Putting on the 1st Annual Homeschool Read-A-Thon and earning thousands of dollars of books for a transitional housing unit’s library.

* Putting on Make-It-For-Maggie! What a great event. Thank you to my amazing friends for creating a miracle for Miss Maggie. You should see her now, she is preparing to start crawling!

* Completing the great-bedroom-rearrangement-project. It was long and arduous, but totally worth it!

* Helping my little sister give birth to Easton. What an honor to be part of her first birth. She was seven-years-old when she attended Blythe’s birth and now she is all grown up and having babies of her own. He is now three months old and about the cutest thing ever!

* Getting to take our whole family to Lagoon! Keziah had been praying and working for a trip to Lagoon for over a year and kept insisting we were going no matter what. I kept telling her it was absolutely impossible. Her little stubborn self refused to listen and kept insisting it would happen. Well, it did! A man gave us six free passes and all the children chipped in for gas and a picnic lunch and we had a great time. It was the first time we have gone as a family and it was so much fun! Everyone loved the rides and I loved watching everyone have fun. Being together is my biggest focus right now and this day of togetherness brought joy to heart. Thank you to Heavenly Father for working out this miracle for us!

* Blythe being in a Shakespeare production and growing as a person in so many ways. I am so grateful for her mentors and the experiences she has been able to have with our homeschooling community.

* Being hit by flying or skidding objects five times this year is a lot of collisions and a whole lot of chances for serious injuries to have occurred. The miracle is, they didn’t. We are all okay and there is no doubt in my mind that we were protected by God’s hand. Richard could have been taken from us, the owl could have come through our windshield, the rock could have lodged in my head…any of those things could have happened, but they didn’t and I know why. I know that we have been preserved for a reason. I am humbled to my core when I think about all of these accidents and realize what might have been.

* My extended family has spent a whole lot of time together this year…pretty miraculous. There has been a lot of distance…both physical and emotional…between us and I never dared to hope for the miracle that has happened. We have spent time camping together, almost a week together at Thanksgiving, and lots of time at Christmas. I think my Grandma is pulling some strings up above and bringing us all back together.

* We were able to attend The Christmas Carol at Hale Centre Theatre for the first time in years. What an amazing Christmas gift! I attended this play almost every year from about 1990 to 2006. Then when we lost our business, there just wasn’t enough money to justify it. We have missed it ever since and the girls have longed to go again. This year my mom took us and we had such a marvelous day experiencing the magic of Scrooge’s transformation. Being gifted a trip to see the play that epitomizes learning to give and bring others joy was all the more special.

* On top of all these big things, there have been a gazillion little things that aren’t little at all, they just never make the front page because they are that sensational. Nevertheless, they are just as or perhaps more important than the big things. I remember times I was prompted to say something to one of my children and it has changed their heart, times they have prayed and known their prayer was answered, times when we have felt the Holy Spirit as a family, times I have been guided into a certain store to find just what we needed at a fabulous price, times when siblings have served one another, times when a phone call has come at just the right moment, times when I was prompted to read a book and it has been exactly what one of my children needed to hear, times when I was given a message in a talk or lesson that was just the principle I needed to understand, times when I have poured out my heart to the Lord and known He was listening, times when I have been able to put aside my natural ways and be a loving wife, times when I have known just how to teach something to my children and they have got it, times when I have been patient and kind, times when I have felt hopeful, times when forgiveness has been experienced. There have been times things have just worked…when they shouldn’t have. Times when it is clear God has fixed something or provided something and the only possible answer is “God did it” – it is like He is signing His hand and teaching us that He is completely aware of us, our needs AND our wants.

* The atonement is real. Absolutely, 100%, miraculously (how many times can I use that word in this post?) real. Now I just need to learn to accept this gift in my life and to really, truly give my heart and my guilt and my pain to my Savior.

* This year, more than any other, I have realized the sacred stewardship I have as a mother. I have seen where I am falling short…oh, so short…but I am learning to listen to God above to teach me how He wants me to nurture these children He has blessed me with. At times I wish I could go back in time and start all over again, but I can’t and so my children are just going to have to learn patience with me as I learn how to mother them. Maybe I will figure it out by the time I am a grandma.

* I am grateful, so grateful, that my relationship with my husband is still intact. We still love each other, we still do nice things for one another, we still love to snuggle up, and he still gives me that look that tells me he adores me. With as much as he is gone from our home, I have been deeply worried that we would grow apart. It has happened a little and at times I have completely forgotten to put him first, but we are learning to spend time together, to talk during the day when he can, and to keep giving our hearts to each other. It is hard. Marriage is hard in the best of circumstances and in our situation of seeing one another very little, it has been incredibly difficult. I am proud of us and am vowing to do even better at loving this man who means everything to me. He needs me and I need him and we must keep close for there to be peace in our hearts and in our home.

Reading over this, I must say, it is clear that God is blessing us, preserving us, and teaching us. It has been a miraculous, growth-filled year, full of blessings and full of love.

God bless us, God bless us everyone.

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1 Comment

  1. Isn’t every year about like this – lots of downs and more than enough ups and miracles to make up the difference. Over 60 years and that pattern hasn’t changed. I think it is called life! : )