December Reflections and New Directions

As I sit back and reflect on the past year, I can’t help but be amazed at how much my life has changed, and be thankful at all the growth that has occurred. But I’m also sad. Sad that things have started to backslide, and while we (my whole family, though especially me) have grown by leaps and bounds this year, that level of intentionality that I had midyear has started to wane as the year has stretched on.

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We started the year just as any other year, but by April, things started shifting and moving. I don’t want to give too much away yet, but our marriage went from dull (at best) to barely surviving, to thriving like we’ve never seen it before. Through this one thing, which only took about 30 seconds to occur (and then has been built on since then) we gained a new found respect and love for each other which we had never known. More on this later though…

 

Then in August, my husband’s back pain, which he’d been dealing with since an old work injury years earlier, flared up, he found himself out of work for 12 weeks. That gave him A LOT of time to think and reflect on our lives, on our living situation, on family and friend relationships, on everything. And the things that had been stirred in me months earlier began to stir in him as well. This reminds me so much of a story that my mentor tells, about how she woke up one day and realized the excess in their lives and that they needed to sell it all, she went to her husband and he said, “God told me that about two weeks ago, but I told him that he’d better tell you, because I’m not fighting that battle!” I didn’t have that same conversation with God, but I do believe that He knew my husband would not be persuaded by my musings about our current lifestyle and my (maybe crazy) vision for our future. And He is so good that he gave me the wisdom to keep my mouth SHUT and wait patiently on Him. And for once, I actually heard Him and listened! But more on this later too…

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Then, my sweet boy, my amazing, headstrong, highly active, and very impulsive, five-year-old, who has always struggled with focus and impulsivity in school, had a couple of situations that escalated to the point that we felt it was necessary to see a therapist. And now that he is five, he was finally given the diagnosis that I knew since he was two that he would eventually have: ADHD. For some parents this may seem like a sentence to failure. But not for us. Maybe because we already expected it, or maybe because I’ve dealt with it my whole life, or maybe because of several different reasons, we weren’t too worried about the diagnosis at all. Now we know what’s up, officially, and now we can move forward and find the best ways to help our kid succeed without crushing his spirit. But more on this later…

And at some point in the year I decided to give myself enough grace to accept that I am not currently up for being a vegan. I went vegan back in October 2017 after finding out some pretty disturbing things about the meat and dairy industry, and for the first time associating the food on my plate with where it comes from, what it really is. And while I didn’t notice a huge difference in my weight or physical health, I definitely noticed a difference in the way I felt about the food I was putting into my body. But being vegan is hard, especially when you live in a house that isn’t vegan, and when the alternatives to cheese, especially shredded cheese, are far from stellar. At some point I started slowing sneaking cheese back into my diet, and before I knew it, I was eating cheese on a daily basis again. I struggled with that fact for quite awhile, calling myself vegan-light (denial much?), and while it is true that I don’t drink cow’s milk, eat ice cream or yogurt made from cow’s milk, or eat eggs, the fact remains that I WAS in fact eating animal products, on a regular basis. So after a lot of internal wrestling, I chose to give myself grace and accept that, for now, I am a vegetarian, not a vegan. But, you guessed it, more on that later…specifically, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) recipes.

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Which brings me to the real point of this post. After all the reflecting and growth that has happened this year, I feel like we finally have a clear direction in our lives. And with that clear direction comes the realization that this little blog has not previously had a true direction. I feel like that is part of why I have struggled to write consistently. So there will be changes, and new directions, new subjects tackled, and more truth and transparency into our crazy, flawed, sometimes very messy lives. Maybe you will stay, or maybe you will leave, but my hope is that with more authenticity and more consistency, I will be able to help at least a few people who are in the same stuck place that we were in at the beginning of this year.

 

xoxo,

Natalie

 

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