Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blessings and Sadness

I spent most of Sunday crying. (I swear I'll try to post some funny and not-so-weepy things here soon, sorry!) Our church has been growing and growing, which means that small groups need to grow and change, as well. I've been in the same small group for almost five years, so I've been sheltered from most of these changes, though I have been sad to see some friends move into different groups as our group became too large. BUT. Now I am the friend who is moving to a new group.

You see, mostly I haven't been moved because I've DUG MY NAILS into the sides of my small group leader's wife and refused to go anywhere else. She is AMAZING. She is humble and honest (two things I am not very good at) and has been an incredible mentor to me over the last five years. She is SO "steady", whereas I'm an emotional roller coaster. As soon as I knew that I was going to be moved, I was really sad, but also excited to get to know a new group of people. But then Sunday rolled around (our final small group meeting) and I was just sad, sad, sad. I started to realize how much I've taken for granted this wonderful mentor I've had and all that she has walked me through - difficult job situations, grieving over close friends moving away, confusing boy situations, moving to Wisconsin, tense relationships with friends....etc, etc, etc. She has wisdom and sound advice in every area and I will so miss turning to her for things like this (not that I never will, but now I have a new small group leader to turn to).

Another woman who is also moving to a different small group was also crying on Sunday and shared something along these lines: "It's really good that leaving this group is so hard. It means that we have been so blessed while we've been in this group. If it wasn't hard to leave, that would mean that we don't care." That really resonated with me. Not everyone has such great care and prayer from their church family. So even though it is very sad to leave such a wonderful group, it's only because I've been so blessed by it. AND it's not like I will never see these people again at church, it just won't be on such a consistent level.

SO. Even though I'm sad, I know it's because I've been so blessed.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Resolution-Less Year

I've never liked New Year's Eve. Not that I haven't had fun on New Year's Eve, but the older I get, the more I just want to stay tucked in on New Year's Eve (it just makes zero sense to me to get into a tiny dress in the freezing cold to go out on the roads with lots of drunks out and about - not my idea of fun). And this year, especially after surgery and being sick and generally being moody, I was especially not looking forward to the new year. I couldn't really even put my finger on it.......I just wasn't looking forward to 2012. I wasn't even in the mood to make any resolutions......which REALLY isn't like me. I typically love making plans and setting goals, but not this year. I guess I just felt a little bit like I don't have much to look forward to (which isn't actually true). I sometimes feel that nothing in my life is going to change, which feels so monotonous. Especially now that I'm settled in WI, I could very realistically not have any big changes for a LONG time. Like years. And when so many of my friends have so many changes all the time (weddings and babies, in particular) it is just....oy. Monotonous.

And then it was Sunday and it was the new year. I felt pretty indifferent about it. And then during the singing at church, one of my pastors shared something - I wish I could remember more of the specifics - but the gist of it was that he had been feeling overwhelmed and hopeless during the week. His wife had some encouragement for him that he shared (and I can't remember right now) and I just felt like everything he was saying really resonated with me. I've been feeling hopeless.......Still single and it didn't work out with a nice guy. Hopeless that I'll ever find someone. Seemingly always sick and dealing with chronic pain in my shoulder. Hopeless that I'll ever get better. Just kinda generally bored with things. And I so appreciated what he shared: that I have no reason to be hopeless because in Christ we have the greatest hope.

So I cried through the next two songs (It Is Well and Before the Throne) because I *do* have the greatest hope.

......whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, it is well with my soul.....
......Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed His own blood for my soul......
......when Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there, Who made an end to all my sin.....

I was so thankful for the reminder that I have a personal Savior who does care about every detail of my life. That there really is nothing to despair about. That being single is NOT the end of the world. Sometimes I just need a kick in the butt to remind me that I have it pretty easy.

This is my "lot", like It Is Well says. Though it's not the lot I would have chosen to park in, here I sit. And God ordained it. And He cares about it. I think I'm actually sitting in one of the best-lit and most well-protected lots there is, but I have dreams of a lot where every car is a Lexus and they all have cheery children being perfectly well behaved sitting in their car seats, singing the praises of their beautiful (size 6) mother. That's the lot where I want to be. But my lot is perfectly fine, and I should enjoy it. And I know that I sometimes cry when I sing It Is Well because I feel remorse that I don't always say "whatever my lot, it is well". So, those songs were a wonderful reminder and a balm to my heart on Sunday.

Then later in the day I saw another great reminder on a friend's Facebook page: he said "In Christ, a new year doesn't equal a clean slate. Our slate is already clean. No Christ, no clean slate, regardless of new year's resolutions".

So, I'm thankful for a clean slate, whether or not it's a new year. My slate is clean, even though I know that I will feel the need to "have a clean slate" more than once or twice in the coming year. But I'm starting the year resolution-less, other than feeling resolved to appreciate all that I have been given and stop dreaming of the lot with all the beautiful Lexus drivers (as much).

....and Then Two More Months Went By....

Psych! You all thought I was actually going to start blogging after my post two months ago!

Why didn't I actually start blogging when I said I was going to (and wanted to)? I seriously have no idea. Well, I have *some* idea, but no real good reason*. I've been just kinda bummed the last two months for no real good reasons* at all, so I guess I didn't really want to start blogging while I was in that mood.

*here are the "no real good reasons": I stopped going on dates with a nice guy. We had a good time on the dates we did go on, but we just didn't click. And even though the feeling was mutual, it was a bummer. Just feels like I'm going to be single forever. And then I had a cyst (chilazion) removed from my eyelid, which actually made me more sick and annoyed than I ever thought it would. Took longer to "recover" and be back to feeling normal than I thought it would. And then I got a huge cold for 2-3 weeks. Right through Christmas. And I was so on track with my half marathon training until all of that, so I was annoyed when everything went off track. So basically I'm just selfish and when my plans don't turn out I get crabby and decide not to blog about it all because I don't like to be a bummer about such trivial things when other people have actual sad things going on that are much more important than all of that. Okay.

BUT. I will do one more mass-catch-up and then I will get down to actually blogging.

NOVEMBER:...Palindrome Day!!, Breaking Free breakfast, Quilt retreat, Gopher basketball games, Alice Hanson funeral, great time in LP for Thanksgiving, Craft show, went to see a bestie in White Christmas, and stopped going on dates with a nice guy

DECEMBER:...Pat's Tap with girlfriends, Nutcracker ballet with Eva to see a girl from church (SO great), EYE SURGERY (had a cyst removed), church Christmas party, family weekend in the cities (TOO much fun - Radison downtown, Hell's Kitchen breakfast, movies in bed, mom shopping, Dad and Ang to Gopher game, surprise dinner at The Melting Pot, McDonald's breakfast in bed thanks to Dad, surprising Dad with Les Mis, dinner with the sisters), cookie exchange, BE baby shower, JC 30th bday party, small group coffee, Christmas in LP, annual family game day in Atwater (complete with YARD games, thanks to no snow yet!!), Wild game on NYE, low key NYE dinner with friends.........NEW YEAR!

SO. Here we go. For real.

2011 by the Numbers

States Visited: 8 (CA, KS, MO, TX, FL, IL, PA, IA)

Countries Visited: technically 0, but went to a few US territories on our cruise

Weddings Attended: 0 (BOO! I LOVE weddings....can't believe I didn't go to a single one this year!)

Trips to the Cabin: 5 (pretty slim number, here. Gotta change that in 2012)

Triathlons: 0

5Ks: 1

Trips to Green Bay: 2

Football Games (in person): 3 professional, 1 college

Blog Posts: 9 (lame!)

Half Marathons: 1 (Chicago)

Funerals: 2 (dear family friends lost both Grandma and Grandpa this year)

Books Read: 20 (some of them were listened to)

Times Pulled Over: 1 (boo!)

Dates: 4

Resolutions Kept: 0

.....and a lot more babies born to friends, plus one big move to WI!