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A year in review of All The Things 2018

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If I had to choose 1 word to describe this past year, it would be change.  I have been told, in the past, that I don’t handle change well.  As I have gotten older, the realization came that life is nothing but a series of changes.  Ha!  So, one can surmise that I don’t handle life well…didn’t handle life well.  You see, 2018 was not only about change, but deciding how to handle it.  The decision could have been made to stay the same.  Keep existing, sit super still, not move, and stay where I was…or to move and do, and live life, instead of just existing through it.   That is what I chose to do this past year.  I chose not only to endure change, but to generate it.

January started with beginning to blog, choosing to build a network marketing business, and create a Facebook group and Instagram.  This might not sound like much to you, but for a pencil and paper kind of gal, not tech savvy, it was a lot for me!  I had no idea what I was doing or how to go about doing it!  I just decided to jump in and do it scared.  If you are familiar with the color personalities, I am not a red, so this was not natural for me, but it was necessary.  As a mother of 3 children and 2 with special needs, many years have been spent taking care of others and helping to make ends meet.  Somewhere along the way I lost myself.  I was buried deep in a 9 to 5 job that I dreaded going to every morning.  My house was cluttered, my body was sluggish, and my heart was heavy.  I don’t regret taking care of my family.  I just didn’t remember to take care of myself, too.

Blogging has given me a way to connect with others.  When we choose to put ourselves out there, we quickly find that we aren’t the only ones that feel a certain way about a certain thing or that we like the same kinds of foods or we are in the same phase of life, stage in our marriage, or we have the same interests. We also find that people are much kinder and supportive than social media sometimes makes us think.  The love and support that I have received from all of you has been so very heart warming!

Network marketing has been a huge learning curve.  It is not something I ever thought that I would like to do, but I have found a product and a company that I absolutely believe in.  This year has been one of growth, personally and as a team.  I have an organization of people who are like minded and are finding our products to be beneficial in their lives and that makes me happy. As a result of my new business venture of learning to help others support their health and wellness, I began a Facebook group for product education and camradery.  It’s more fun doing it together.

By April of 2018, I decided to make a huge change that not only affected me, but everyone in my family.  I chose to resign from my 9 to 5 job and come home and focus on my family and Sweet Home Healthy Family, my Young Living business, full-time.  This has allowed me to go on a Disney field trip with our youngest, clean out closets, update my bathroom (still in process), and cook like crazy, to name just a few things.  I have had the time to invest in others.  For the first time, I was able to participate in our county’s annual Christmas Gift Shop, which helps provide Christmas gifts, prayer, and the presentation of the gospel.  Our family was able to take several trips for weddings, wedding receptions, Thanksgiving,  a trip to the beach, and a much-needed get-away for two.  No worries of being allowed the time off or having time to prepare Lauren’s meals, if needed.  I am home to take Michael to school and pick him up and make sure he takes the supplements needed for him to stay healthy and able to focus and finish projects.  My house is cleaner than it has been in years.  Christmas/December was not stressful for the first time in years.  I am not exhausted.

 

Finally, I have made the time to work on my marriage and on me.  I have prayed like crazy this past year and God has been faithful.  A prayer that I have been praying for 25 years was answered.  Steve now prays with me daily.  That is not something that he felt very comfortable doing in years past, but he has realized how important it is to me and for us.  We have both worked very hard these last six months on us.  I am supportive of his need for speed ie…bmx racing, and he is supportive of my need to be the hands on mom and keeper of our home.  I dole out the vitamins, supplements, and Ningxia Red to keep our immune systems humming, and he helps me carry the heavy things, works on the vehicles, (not that women can’t do that.  I have changed the brake shoes on a min-van before 😉 and he shows our children how a wife should be treated-with love.  We have, again, found what works for us and a new rhythm.

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I am happy.  I have accomplished many of the goals I had at the beginning of this year and worked through the tough things that came our way via unhappy work situations, marriage issues, the passing of dear family members and friends, a new adventure into network marketing and health and wellness.  I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future and am excited for the coming year.  I am praying that each of you has a very happy and healthy new year, as well.

 

Looking forward to 2019!

Cindy

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Marriage- In light of All the Things

I have gone back and forth in my mind about whether or not I should write this post.  It is kind of putting it all out there, but my blog is about all the things.  Life is big and creative and messy and although I want to be pleasing to the eye, like an Instagram photo, I also want to be real and relatable.  So, if I haven’t scared you off yet, continue reading.  😉

If you read my post about our beach vacation, I was open about things being a little tense between Steve and me that week.  Honestly, they have been a lot tense for a while now.  We have been married for over 25 years.  We still love each other.  Things are just hard right now.  Any marriage that is perfect or happy ALL of the time, in my opinion, just isn’t real.  Don’t get me wrong.  We are a really good team.  We work extremely well together.  We are both quick to apologize and quick to forgive.  We can work around a kitchen and whip up a week’s worth of allergen free meals and get them delivered to a university an hour away in a flash.  We can work together to get the hours of homework done with our youngest.  We can work together smoothly without argument and get our daughter moved into her first apartment.  We can handle ALL the things of family life well together.

We are just in a new phase, stage, chapter – whatever you want to call it- of life.  Our oldest has started her first career job, moved into her first apartment, and is officially off the payroll now.  Our middle one, with the food allergies, is moving into an apartment for the remainder of her college life and will be able to do most of her own cooking from here on out.  She has been practicing all summer and she will have a kitchen to be able to do it.   Our youngest will be starting high-school in the fall.  He will be the only one living with us when the school year starts.  I thought that things would be easier, less hectic and that we would have more time for each other, as the focus for the last 25 years has mostly been the kids and their special needs, etc…  We DO have more time, however, we seem to be floating in different directions.  I have found myself with hurt feelings more and more often because our visions just don’t seem to line up anymore.

I have started reading a book called, The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie OMartian.  In the first chapter, she advises that love is diminished if we dwell on the negatives.  Love grows if we focus on the positive.  She encourages you to pray from the right heart and that it is impossible to truly give yourself in prayer for your husband without first examining your own heart.  I cannot expect God to answer my prayers if I harbor unforgiveness, bitterness, or resentment.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. Psalm 66:18   She states “God wants our hearts to be right so the answers to our prayers are not compromised.”

Hmm… thinking.  Mulling that over…

Sometimes, that’s hard.  What about when you feel he has been indifferent, or uncaring, or just makes you mad?  But what about me, Lord?  Don’t my feelings count?  Can’t I just pray for you to change him? If I’m honest, these were the first questions that came to my mind.  From reading just the first few chapters, I am learning that powerful and effective prayers come down to a matter of the heart.  God wants our hearts to be one with His.  He is waiting for me to lay all of my expectations and desires at the foot of the cross.  He wants to change me.  He wants to change Steve, too, but in His time and on His terms.  That’s hard because that means that I don’t have control over what happens.  I have to be patient and wait on the Lord.  I have to trust that All things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

Steve and I have talked about things, how we seem to be struggling right now and as my impatience with him has grown, his irritability with me has, as well.  Not a pretty picture, but honest.

ALL the things.

I started to say that sometimes it feels like it would just be easier to give up and start over, but that isn’t true…and I believe that is the enemy speaking lies.  I had that thought because having tough conversations is hard.  It is draining.  It isn’t happy.  You get tired of disagreeing and seeing no way over things when you just don’t see things the same way.  So, what do you do?  Well, pray. Hard!  We are both working together to get on the same page with each other.  We are each trying harder than I think either of us has been for a while.  It is easy to just put it on auto pilot and continue on with all the things of life and not address issues.  That comes back to haunt you.  We are praying together, consistently.  Praying together has never been consistent in our marriage.

Instead of just asking me out to a movie or out to eat, Steve called me up one afternoon and said he had a change of plans.  He said that there were 2 tickets left to see Beauty and the Beast at our Community Theatre, if I wanted to go.  I cried.  You see, I was a Music Education major in college, vocal major, full tuition vocal scholarship, coloratura soprano, and I love musical theatre and all things singing.  Just so you get the full picture.  My husband does not sing.  He loves all things racing.  That’s cars – full size or remote control, motocross, BMX.  As a matter of fact, I am still nursing him back to health from a BMX injury, broken rib and all.  Have you ever had to take care of someone you are mad at?  That’s a whole ‘nuther blog post.  Anyway- He is also a drummer.  He does not sing or dance or like to watch it.   He was trying.  Putting forth effort to make things better.  I have been trying harder, too, or at least I think I have.  I try to have dinner at least started if not on the table when he gets home and a pleasant look on my face, instead of a complaint about something on my lips.  I just mean that I am putting forth extra effort to show him that I love him and he is appreciated, too.  Now, I’m not saying that we can’t do things apart from each other.  That is not our problem.  Of course, I won’t go into minute details of our struggles.  As like any other couple, we just have some things we need to work on and one of those for me, is allowing God to make my heart more like His and trust that He is working on Steve’s heart, too.   As we grow closer to the Lord, I know that we will grow closer to each other.

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Romans 15:5-6 says, May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just keeping it real this post.  I am trusting that we can get back to a happier us.

Lover, giver, and endurer of All The Things,

 

Cindy

 

 

 

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An unconventional beach trip

Well, when I started this blog, I told you that it would be about ALL the things and this past week has definitely fit the description! Our summer vacation this year was a trip to the beach.  We had not been to the beach in 4 years.  That is a long time when you live in Birmingham, which is relatively close.  We, as usual, cooked meals for Lauren before hand, so she could eat safely and packed all of the essentials such as sunscreen, towels, swimsuits, and sunglasses, but included in our items to pack was also a suit with dress shoes, a tie, and plane reservations for one.  You see, we received a phone call the day before we left that Steve’s uncle had passed away.  Steve is very close to his family and loved his uncle very much, so he made arrangements to fly out of Destin to Illinois and back while the younger two kids and I stayed in Destin.  Our oldest had to stay home to work.  She is learning about the joys of the adult world, being new on the job, and all that entails.  It was very different not having her with us.  I think it was the first time vacation did not include our entire immediate family.

Our first night in Destin we went out to eat, and just like always, Lauren took a meal with her.  She is anaphylactic to multiple foods, so that is what has been safest for her to do.  We went to Lulu’s and received what would turn out to be the brightest spot on our trip.  The waitress came up to our table to take our order and, just like every time we go out to eat, Lauren explained that she had severe food allergies, but had everything she needed and thanked her.  Our waitress advised that they had an allergy menu and offered that to Lauren.  Now, we have had restaurants tell us that they had special items on their menus for allergies before, but it is not like Lauren has a gluten intolerance or is allergic to just one thing, but Lauren politely obliged and took the menu to glance at.  As she perused the menu the waitress stayed and began to explain that the managers there are trained to handle all food allergy orders.  She walked away for a moment and brought back a manager who knelt down and discussed Lauren’s allergies with her at length.  He took notes, made suggestions and asked questions and then advised that he is anaphylactic to fish and shellfish and has worked for this company for 9 years and never had a reaction.  He went on to explain that the allergy free food is prepared in a separate kitchen area and with separate kitchen staff and he would bring out her food to her staggered with our orders.  They are a peanut free restaurant and have tree nuts on a dessert and that is all.  We were flabbergasted and elated at the lengths this company goes to accommodate someone with food allergies, like Lauren.  Lauren is anaphylactic to wheat, dairy, eggs, and peanuts.  Due to cross contamination possibilities, she also has to avoid tree nuts.  She wound up ordering a fresh and fancy salad with grilled chicken and vinegar and oil dressing.  She couldn’t finish it and had takeout for the very first time!  To someone who has not been so extremely limited in their life, this may seem trivial, but to us, it was everything.  They are right on the beach, have live music, a laid back atmosphere, and a fantastic gift shop.  They are in Destin, Florida and Gulf Shores, Alabama and we will definitely be going back.

As I said earlier, that was the one bright spot on our trip.  Not only did we receive the phone call about Steve’s uncle the day before our trip, but Lauren’s “friend” came to visit that day, too.  She has also been in a severe eczema flare that has covered her entire body.  This is the second severe bought she has had like this.  Bless her heart!  She was miserable.  She was itchy head to toe.  I am constantly amazed at how gracefully she handles all that she deals with on a daily basis.  She has the trifecta: food allergies, asthma, and eczema.  She is almost 19 and handles life, like a pro.  I am a 47-year-old that sometimes feels grumpier and grumpier about life.

Steve left our second day on vacation and was gone for essentially 2 days.  The kids and I went out to the beach for a little while, but then just came in and watched movies together.  This is the latest in the summer we have ever gone to the beach and it was  crowded.  The public access has grown smaller and the large condos on either side of the public access is now roped off and chairs and umbrellas set up along the shore as far as the eye can see in each direction.  This creates a tense environment where people kind of have to stake their claim for a spot on the beach.  It can get tense and we were actually bullied off the beach one morning.  We evidently set our chairs too close to another family that did not appreciate it.  The passive-aggressiveness was real, y’all!  We had no tent or umbrella, just 2 small beach chairs, but we were there and I guess that was enough to just be taking up a space at all.  It was disappointing.  I was so looking forward to just relaxing and listening to the waves and looking out at the ocean.  One does not go to the beach to be stressed about being in someone’s way.  It was kind of awful.  Throw in a strong disagreement or two with your husband on your what was supposed to be a much-needed relaxing beach vacation and you decide that the saying, “A bad day at the beach is better than a good day anywhere else” just doesn’t sit very well.

I didn’t want this to be a negative Nellie post, but I did want to be honest because this blog is about ALL THE THINGS, so ALL THE THINGS is what you’re gonna get.  Sometimes life goes smoothly and sometimes it does not.  This vacation was not the easiest.  We did not get the everybody dressed in matchy clothes, beautiful sunset, hair and makeup just right and all bright smiles and no blemishes family photo this year.  It. just. did. not. happen…and I don’t think it was supposed to.  Life is messy.  Lauren is dealing with not fun health issues, family members pass away unexpectedly,  marriages go through rough spots.  The beach isn’t always sunny or uncrowded,  or a yellow flag, perfect wave day.   Sometimes it rains.  Sometimes it storms.  Sometimes it’s a double red flag day and the beach is closed.  (Yes, that happened, too.) but in the grand scheme of things we can be thankful that God is still God and His mercies are new every morning and we have a home to come home to, a job to pay the bills, and my garden is flourishing in my backyard.  Sometimes, it’s the little things.  So even though our beach trip wasn’t the most relaxing or conventional, we were able to go this year and Lauren had a reaction free meal at a restaurant on restaurant dishes and a drink in the restaurant cup with a straw.  That sounds silly, I know, but not to her.  I promise.

Praying that ALL THE THINGS of your summer are drama and stress free!

Cindy