What Does a New Year Mean?
New Year’s Resolutions?
What goals are you going to set?
What does the new year hold for you?
Out with the old, in with the new?
What are you leaving behind?
The list goes on of what the New Year means to each of us, but for most it means some kind of fresh start, a new look at life.
About 20 years ago I got involved with volunteering in the schools and was deeply involved. I would average about 40 hours a week between the different schools, programs, classrooms, etc. Around that time in my life I found that ringing in the new year looked very different to me. Due to school getting out in May, having the summer break and starting school in August that was really my reset. That was where we as a family would reset, review our habits and what things did we want to do better. We’d also review our schedules and what things we might want to let go and things we were adding to our schedules. With starting school we’d evaluate meals and what things we would eat. We’d all get priesthood blessings to help us with what direction the Lord wanted us to each personally take. We still do so many of these things in August, but where the boys are all at different stages, only one left in school and volunteering looks different so August isn’t the same restart, new year feel.
Due to the pattern of my life over the last 20 years New Years Eve, New Year’s hasn’t felt too big. It hasn’t felt like it was something I was really evaluating and looking at deeply for myself personally or for my family. Now, it was definitely a deep breath and review for all of the things I volunteered for on how to make things the best in the schools for the next 5 months, but not personally.
I remember distinctly 5 years ago today feeling so differently about the new year. In October I had sent Michael off on his full time mission to Washington. This was before the weekly calls with missionaries. This was when it was 30 minute calls 4 times over the two years. We had talked to him on Christmas and that was lots of fun, but honestly I felt that mom worry about him. I could tell things weren’t great with him and his companion and he was super nervous. The last Sunday of the year I was at church and I was visiting with a very good friend after Sacrament Meeting and she made the comment, “This next year will be the hardest, because it’s the one year you don’t see your missionary at all.”
With this in mind and the “mom worry” factor I was at my parent’s home on New Year’s Eve and for the first time I just felt down. I didn’t want to ring in the new year at all. I didn’t want to go into the year where I wouldn’t see my son at all. I was wondering how he was doing, was he sitting in his apartment on New Year’s Eve, how was he feeling about going into the new year, was he missing our family traditions, etc. As I write this I kindof chuckle thinking, wow, I sure was mind reading, something I’ve learned and come to understand so much better from counseling.
I remember distinctly I was sitting at my parents kitchen table, amongst all of my family having a great time, it was around 9:00 - 9:30 p.m. and I had said a silent prayer asking Heavenly Father to let me know that my son was alright, that he was happy and being taken care of. I had told Heavenly Father I didn’t need a lot, just something to help me ring in the new year. I was sitting next to my mom and my dad was standing by the fireplace and I was looking at my phone. I really didn’t know what my phone was going to do for me, but I just needed something. . .AND THEN a picture popped in my messenger of Michael. Not only a picture, but video and a message from a member in his ward letting me know that he and his companion were over having pizza, having a nerf war and doing great! OH MY GOSH!!! It was such a direct answer to my prayer. It was all I needed. I was so happy. I had so much peace. I knew Michael was being taken care of.
That was the start of a friendship that has turned into more of an eternal family relationship. I’m super grateful to be their son’s grandma and for the boys to be his uncle and for all of the love that is shared between all of us.
So, now this year - 2021??? I’ve seen soooo many jokes and memes and all kinds of things about how do we look at 2021. Wow! Not only has the world been through alot, but our country, each of us individually and it seems to have been a year that has brought much for all of us.
And then there’s this looking to 2022. . .what is in store? How much longer will Covid last? Where is our country heading? What’s in store for each one of us? What are the challenges or things that we can hold onto with hope and look forward to?
For me, well, I have to say 2021 has been HARD!!!! I don’t think I’m alone in that feeling. What has made it so that more of us are feeling the HARD vs the great variety of feelings?
As I reflect on this last year I started the year out healing from shoulder surgery. I had surgery on December 28th, my oxygen dropped and I ended up back in the hospital and the very long recovery. I went through physical therapy for my shoulder, hips and lower back. Spent a good majority of the year in physical therapy. Despite the physical therapy I faced a loss of motion with my shoulder that doesn’t allow me to do certain things by myself anymore. I’ve become more dependent. Rick and I faced some pretty hard decisions and really wondered if we’d make it married - divorce was definitely included in our conversations for awhile. We’ve worked super hard to remove that option. Went through three back procedures. Went through a handful of tests to figure out bleeding, bleeding that couldn’t be explained and shouldn’t be happening and the pain was excruciating. Not only did I face medical challenges, but Rick went through knee surgery and his own medical things. We add in Tanner and his many injuries from shoulder to ankles and the list goes on. I spent the year in counseling and most of my family in counseling - super hard, challenging, exhausting, but some great wins.
Then we add to the list Brayden’s service mission. Yes, a great blessing, but some extreme challenges. Challenges that took great faith to get through. Brayden was released from his service mission the end of March. Then the transition to work, he and Sarah and their relationship and then their wedding in November. Of course, we love Sarah and are so happy she’s a part of our family, but weddings bring a whole different adventure and challenge and it’s something that can bring about many different difficulties.
Zachary graduated from high school and that brings life changes. Friends going off to college, Zach sorting through what he wants to do and finding his individuality and his future and plans. Love it, love that he’s progressing and sorting through what he wants to do, but another big change in life for all of us.
On July 1st Rick lost his job of 8 years. It was very unexpected and a huge surprise. We felt peaceful, but now it was time to look for another job. What was next? It’s a big stress for a family, for a marriage, for life. We were blessed with Rick finding a new job by the end of July and starting a few weeks later, that brought much relief.
What we didn’t know was what was in store next. . .the worst thing that could happen in my life. My dad, mom and sister got covid the end of July. My dad ended up in the hospital, then back home and we thought of course he would get better, but nope, that wasn’t in the plans. He died!!!! My dad died! I can’t even put into words how painful this was for me, for my boys, for Rick, for all of us. I felt like a mudslide had come over me and I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want to go on. I was numb. In pain. Angry. Doubting what I felt and believed. How could this happen? This wasn’t on the calendar. This wasn’t a part of the plan. Hadn’t 2021 been hard enough? Hadn’t the trials been heaped upon us heavy enough? How in the hell could I lose my dad?
My dad lost consciousness on Saturday, August 14th and Rick was to start his new job on the 16th and Tanner was to start school on the 17th. Then we lived the worst hell that week, hoping and praying and fasting and priesthood blessings and trying everything possible the doctors and anyone suggested to try with my dad to save him, but no, it wasn’t meant to be. He died on August 22nd.
Then a funeral, my parent’s 50th a couple of weeks later that my dad had been so excited about and now wasn’t alive for and planning a wedding. All of this while Rick was starting a new job. It was too much! Between a tough situation at work, emotionally driven boss with a temper and shame based words on a frequent basis it was too much. In December we were unemployed again.
Not only did I face the loss of my dad, but there were other losses. First, was my mind. I did, I lost my mind. I also had an abundance of abandonment tenderness flooding me and I was scared to death of more losses.
I keep thinking, should I delete some of this, should I end this blog while it was happy and all good, I don’t want this to feel like a downer post, should I be this real, but you know what, this is real life. This is what my life has looked like this year. The challenges and hardships and heartbreak have been almost enough to break me, in fact, I would dare say, in a way they have broke me. I’m broken. I’m broken and you know what, I’m beautiful.
I’ve faced a very hard Gethsemane this year. I’ve shed tears, so many tears that honestly I didn’t know if I would stop crying. I’ve wondered if I could possibly survive another minute. I’ve literally had to get to the point at times that I did live from minute to minute. I thought about the next breath I would be taking. I would have to think to myself, live just right in this moment with those that are right in front of you. Who’s right here? Alright, can you trust them, do they love you? And sometimes I couldn’t even think about those questions, I just lived, took the next breath and knew that the Lord would surround me with love, with those who really loved me and even if he didn’t I was alright, I would be alright, I somehow could be strong.
Through these very difficult things this year, there’s something that’s happened that’s much greater than any of these challenges. I’ve come to understand, love and have confidence in MYSELF! I know me and love me! My heart has been unlocked. In fact, it’s out of its cage and its feeling love deeper than it’s ever felt before - I’m feeling love deeper and greater than ever before. With that love I’ve come to understand and feel and have the love of my Heavenly Father and Savior become much more a part of my life, in the very small details of the details of the details of my life. I’ve come to understand trust - real, sincere and a faith promoting trust. I’ve felt a greater discernment of people who are good for me in my life. I understand boundaries, healthy, happy, safe, good boundaries. Those who are in my life and have chosen to be in my life - the value of real friendships and family, not just by blood. I’ve come to understand and value and appreciate different levels of friendships, space and what’s best and healthy.
Not only all of these things, but I’ve been able to share my journey. I’ve been able to share my story. The Lord has prompted me for over 25 years to do certain things and this year and even more recently in December I’ve been given opportunities that were promised to me years ago that when I was ready the opportunities would come and they are coming. Many opportunities are coming and I’m living life with excitement. A new light. A new love.
This doesn’t mean bad days, bad moments, bad experiences, trials and challenges don’t come, in fact, this week has been one for the books! You know why, because Satan doesn’t want all of these great things for me. I have setbacks, I fall down to my knees, I sob, I get scared, but I’ve got the tools, I’ve got the strength, the belief in myself, a greater testimony that gives me power to move forward, to do the good that I know is in me, to bless others lives and to open other opportunities that will lead me to others that I can bless and will bless my life. Satan has held me back long enough, he’s held me captive to the abuse and the awful abusive belief’s that have caused me pain, so much pain. It’s time to use that abuse, the experiences, the strength I’ve had to move forward and build on it! Bless others’ lives!
So, I’m moving forward. I’m excited for 2022 and I’m super grateful for 2021. I’m excited to build on all that has happened and use those experiences to grow and progress in this life, to become better and love me! Love with all of my heart! In a way I’m sad to leave behind 2021, the last time I saw my dad alive, but I have his memories, his pictures, videos and his life example that will always live on in me. Here’s to 2022. . .and whatever is to come, with the Lord’s help, I can do it!
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A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity