Goodbye to 2016

Jeremiah 29:11  Amplified Bible (AMP)

11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.

new-years-eve-2016

What a Year…

I’m supposed to be writing a research paper, or at least annotating my sources- in case you didn’t know, I started back to school and this time, I’m finishing my degree. Period.  I’m also supposed to be a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, but thanks to an “It Works!” product, well, let’s just say It Works.

Instead I’m at home watching old episodes of Law and Order (nope, still don’t have or want cable), checking Twitter for updates on today’s bowl games (better luck next time Huskies, and Go Buckeyes!!), and looking over my New Year’s post to Facebook from last year.  Here’s what I wrote 365 days ago:

I’d attempt to express my thanks to God and to those who have been instrumental in the massive changes in my life this year, but there are not enough words to do so. It’s been a year of slaying giants and making peace and my head is still spinning from it all!

I honestly have no desire to make resolutions that I have no intentions of keeping past this weekend, but I do intend to continue on this path I’m being lead up. (I’ve been down enough so yeah, I’m looking UP!) So, I will just say this:

My wishes for myself for 2016 are that I listen more, complain less, love unconditionally, set healthy boundaries, tear down more walls, speak truth in love, get back my proficiency in Spanish- maybe dust off my French books, be a source of encouragement, be a miracle instead of waiting for one, root for and/or inspire the underdog, spend more time with my kids- oh yes, you do too want me to Sam and Daniel, write more, read more, sing loud and proud while driving to and from work more, pray more- and specifically for more knowledge, clarity, strength, and willingness to listen for Him to answer- clean up my Facebook and Twitter feed, in fact, to spend less time on social media so I can get back to R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P-S with humans, and be kinder to Sgt. Pepper, even if he says he wants to cuss me at midnight…. I’m sure he meant kiss….

My wish for all of YOU for 2016 is that each of you realizes just how precious you are regardless of your economic or relationship status, your color, gender, political affiliation, college or professional athletic allegiance, size, or ability to take the best selfie in this hemisphere. YOU are the light of the world and I hope that 2016 brings that out in you.

I’m thankful I’ve got a great team (work family) to work with and family and friends who know my heart even if my feet don’t move. I’d start tagging but this is just to every friend and family member reading it- yes, I DO MEAN THAT! I’m not ashamed to say that I am thankful Clemson beat that one red team and I hope Michigan State beats the other one. I pray for peace and grace for 2016, for all of us.

Peace y’all, Go Vols, and Happy New Year everyone!

So let’s look at how it actually went:

I’m still thanking God daily for the people in my life who challenge me to grow.  The people who hold me accountable, the people who aren’t afraid to ask me if I’m ok, ask me if I know that what I’m doing isn’t good for me, and people who aren’t afraid to ask me for help- because I tend to not offer unless I know I’m needed and if I know that I won’t fail.  I’m thankful that I am aware of that and have begun working on being there for people more.

I’m still not making any resolutions- I break them within days of making them.  At least I’m honest.  Speaking of honest, I started smoking again.  No idea why.  Over two years since I smoked and I started back.  But I bought some Nicorette and will put the first patch on at midnight- or when I go to bed if my record of not being able to stay awake until the ball drops holds true.  Next few days will be messy but I know where my Help comes from.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I believe that with all my heart and I will lean on Him to get me through it and I know that not smoking will become a habit again.

I’m listening more, I’m complaining less, I’m seeing more people as fearfully and wonderfully made (a vital step towards learning to love unconditionally), I’ve set some healthy boundaries- a couple anyway.  I’m working really hard on speaking truth in love, but what I’ve learned about that is that not everyone is willing to listen.  Took me a long time to start listening, too.  So I pray more than I speak these days.

Nicaragua

yasmina-angel-lenin-and-guillermo

I went to Nicaragua on my first mission trip this year.  I fell in love with the way our translators loved on us.  Yasmina, Angel, Lenin, Guillermo, Jeyling, and Claudia made me crave a return trip.  I will go back, and soon.  My Spanish did improve drastically.  The sad part is that the lack of education there resulted in the majority of the people not knowing how rusty I was. I’m still at an elementary speaking level but my understanding and ability to read it have increased in a huge way.  My heart was broken for the people of Nicaragua and for the way I take so much for granted.

My life is much simpler these days.  My utility bills are much lower, too.  I see more clearly now that I have so much to be thankful for.  I’ve even started looking at what I have that I can donate to the families of Gatlinburg that lost everything in the fires that ravaged the Great Smoky Mountains.

My Boys

my-boys

I’ve started texting and talking to Dan and Sam more.  This may sound weird but I’m not afraid of their rejection anymore.  I know their lives with me was hard and messy and, for a very big part of it, out of control, but I can’t change that.  What I can change is how I am today.  I can change how I treat them and how I love them.  I still thank Deeper Still for helping me to bridge that gap.  Closing the door on shame and guilt that I was never meant to carry beyond the Cross opened my heart up so I can be the mother they need.

Then there’s Sgt. Pepper…

sarge

As it turns out, after 7 1/2 years, this is the year I found out that I love the cat.  His kitty playmate next door had an accidental dose of antifreeze and passed away so he started wanting more attention from me.  Since I’m away from home a minimum of 11 hours a day during the week, I decided he needed another buddy.  Enter Lucy.

lucy

Lucy is a spunky, goofy, easily amused kitten who is now 5 1/2 months old.  I had to get her spayed before Sarge had enough sympathy for her to actually start playing with her.  They are famous friends now.

the-kids

And finally, social media…

Ahhhh, Facebook.  I cleaned it up some.  Unfriended about 100 people who have never had any real connection with me or who had no intentions of ending their contributions to the life I used to live.  Thanks to Facebook and Twitter, I also ended a toxic friendship of over 8 years because I chose to believe a human eye-witness in a situation rather than what was posted on Facebook.  I saw a post earlier this year that summed up how I feel about that…

abraham-lincoln-quote-internet-hoax-fake

So here I am.  Carrying a lighter (emotional) load than I was a year ago.  More sure that the events of 2016 have nothing to do with who I am but that my reactions to them do.  I know that I love Jesus, my children, my family and friends, and yes, I still love my Tennessee Volunteers.  I love humans, I love that this world is not my home, I love that I am free to post on a blog that most of the world doesn’t know exists just so I can have a place to get it all out.  I love that God promised that He knows what He’s doing with me and with my life so I will keep trusting and asking Him to guide me.

I also love that I’m finally getting sleepy and will probably miss midnight by hours. It’s nearly 50° and just started raining so that should help send me off to dream land very soon.

So here’s to you, ol’ 2016.  The band is playing the last song and I wish you farewell…

the-end-of-the-sow

Welcome 2017, I’m ready for you.

Peace y’all, Go Vols, and Happy New Year.

 

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