Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 - a messy but blessed year

2013 is coming to an end.  It's been a year of change in our home.  A year of celebration.  A year of emotions.

At the start of the year we were trying to get our oldest daughter through her last semester of homeschool, trying to get her caught up with her math and chemistry, eagerly awaiting the birth of our 9th baby.  We were trying to stay focused on all the things we needed to do, even though my energy was waning.  Thankfully, I wasn't too achy for the third trimester yet.

Then February rolled in and life got a bit more messy.  Valentine's Day brought a noticeable hike in my blood pressure, a trip to the ER, a doctor visit the next day, a hospitalization for observation, bed rest, blood pressure medications.  Baby B was due in March, but we ended up inducing him a bit over 2 weeks early, after 10 days on bedrest.  He was born on February 26, but that didn't cure my blood pressure issues. Almost a year later, I'm still on medication and probably always will be.

Just as we came out of our 6 week postpartum fog, in April, it was time to focus on winding up our school year and preparing for A's graduation. I really don't remember much of that except the final two weeks in May when we pushed through with creating decorations, cleaning, baking.  I'm not sure if we met all of A's hopes and expectations of the day, but we did our best to give her a meaningful graduation ceremony.

Summer was hectic.  Summer reading programs, baseball for our oldest two boys, 4-H projects, the fair, forever behind with laundry.  Just trying to balance everyone's needs. We also had more issues arise with Steve's Mom and her Alzheimer's.  Her medication needed adjusted, and she grew very unhappy with being in the nursing home, calling to tell us she couldn't take it anymore, constantly carrying armloads of clothes to the exit door, uncooperative with the care they needed to give her.  Thankfully it only took an adjustment of one med to stabilize her.  Through all of that, Steve was working a second job since he was affected by the government furloughs.  We were surprised how much not having him home on Saturdays affected the family dynamics and our usual summer plans.  And I turned 40.  Somehow just turning 40 seems to explain the ways my body betrayed me this year.

Way too quickly, summer was over.  It was time to start the new school year, time to take our oldest daughter to college, time to hide in the closet eating chocolate in the middle of a school day. And in the midst of trying to juggle schoolwork, chores, kids, life ... I found myself battling anxiety.  I started having physical symptoms that I thought were related to my blood pressure, but were actually my body just not handling the stress of our every day life anymore.  Normal situations like trying to find shoes and get kids out the door for church, getting everyone fed their lunch, keeping kids on task ... were causing anxiety attacks.  I didn't recognize it as that at first, and thankfully, they weren't full-blown panic attacks where I thought I was dying.  So now I take two medications, one for my blood pressure and one for the anxiety.  I've struggled with that over the past two months.  Is it just me not trusting God enough, not being Christian enough?  Except the physical symptoms remind me it's my body that's messed up, not necessarily my faith. In order to be a good Mom and meet my family's needs, I need to take care of my physical health, including the anxiety.

And now, here we are at the end of the year.  Life is still messy, but joyful.  I try to focus on all the things I'm thankful for each day.  Homeschooling is taken one day at a time ... some days good, some days really rough and less productive ... but we're making progress and we still have half a year to catch up. My daughter is home from college again, and my parents are here to spend time with us.  We have a queen size bed in our living room to host the extra family, the house is full of the clutter that always comes after Christmas with presents that haven't found homes yet, Christmas tree decorations kicked under furniture, and ribbons popping up in odd places. Board games are scattered over the dining room table, and we're just enjoying spending time together as a family.  Yes, there is arguing going on.  Yes, the house is very noisy.  But we're still enjoying being together.

We've had a year of change, a year of blessings, a year of struggles.  Life is a journey, and sometimes it's a messy journey.  But even in all the mess, I know that we're blessed.  God sees our efforts, God loves us, and I believe that He smiles despite our messiness. I'm so thankful He doesn't expect perfection.

Please take the time to visit my friends' blogs as they each Remember the Real 2013.

2013: A Look Back by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

Five Revelations From 2013 by Clara @ A Slice Of Homeschool Pie

2013 is Almost Gone by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

2013- A Reflection on our Year by Jennifer @ Conversaving

Where Did 2013 Go? by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Embracing the Bright, Shining Moments and Growing in Our Struggles by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Saying Goodbye to 2013 by Tess @ Circling Through This Life

I'm the Mom of three teen boys, and other highlights of 2013 by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Looking Back Over 2013 Adventures In Homesteading & Homeschooling by Kim @Homestead Acres

2013 ~ The Good, The Bad, And The Beautiful by Audra Silva @ Simply Audra Marie

Real Moments of 2013 by Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm

It's a Beautiful Life--2013 Edition by April B. @ Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum

April E.