Ah, 2017. It’s been real. Real hard. Real good.
I was going to type a beautiful Christmas letter all about our year, but well, it will have to be a New Year letter now.
As for me, I started 2017 with the word “Climb” in mind. 2016 had been challenging and I knew things needed to change, so I geared up for a year of hard work. Looking back at 2017, my initial reaction, as always, is to be hard on myself for not having climbed even higher this year. But since that is not healthy, I don’t dwell there. Instead, taking stock of many blessings and the ways I have grown, I will give thanks for 2017.
I began the year working midnights on a post-partum unit. Utterly exhausted. In March, I began working at a pediatric office, and in May became the nurse manager there. Wow, I had no idea how much of a climb that would be! Learning to manage women has not been easy. Let’s see, other fun things for me this year… I had my eyebrows microbladed! Such an adventure! A painful adventure. And… I became my own boss (in addition to my nursing career) selling skin care and cosmetics with Senegence International, which has been a welcome distraction from stress for me many a day. I am ending the year with something I have been putting off for a long time: finally starting Accutane to treat acne I have had since I was 12. I would love to be acne free before 40! The treatment is not without temporary side effects, such as dryness, depression, and joint pain – which is why I have put it off so long. But my skin issues have given me such grief over the years, and after trying everything else on God’s green earth, (from diets, to creams, to antibiotics. 20+ years of trying EVERYTHING) this is my last option. Here’s hoping!
Andrew has been busy this year too. It was just about a year ago that he hired my brother Ben to work part time with him. This has been a growing and learning experience and I think he has genuinely enjoyed having someone to work with. His business is steady and I love that he has found a career that fits his needs so well. Andrew also kept busy with other homeowner duties like refinancing our house, getting a new roof, organizing the garage with Blake, and getting rid of a big boulder in our back yard! He rocked that honey-do list! Andrew took the kids to Cedar Point in June – and I stayed home with my feet happily on the ground. Andrew and Blake also spent four days backpacking on North Manitou Island. What an amazing father-son experience. (Yes I was jealous.) Andrew’s hardest moments were probably this spring, right after the shingles in our roof blew off in a wind storm, when he came down with an actual case of the Shingles. Booooo. That was awful, but he was a trooper! I hope those shingles never return.
Blake turned 17 in September. This was his last year in the marching band, although he has been saving money and practicing for a drum corps called the Blue Coats that he hopes to join next year. Blake took the summer off from work, and is now detailing cars as well as working as a valet at Somerset Mall (thoroughly enjoying driving all the fancy cars!) He is still dual enrolled – taking two classes in high school this year, and three classes per semester at OCC. He has one year after this at OCC and then hopes to transfer somewhere else for an engineering degree of some sort. So many details to figure out, but we have time. His top school choices as of today, in no particular order, are: Michigan Tech, U of M, Wayne State and Grand Valley. Hmm… what else? Blake is a responsible guy, and I think his room has been clean every single day this year. He didn’t get that from me. Blake also finally got an answer on his seizure like episodes – it isn’t epilepsy, but it is a severe form of vaso-vagal fainting. We are pretty happy that his prescription is to eat salty foods and drink more water.
Grace turned 14 in November, and is such a little lady. Seriously, at 5’2” and holding she is so cute and little. Bedtime snuggles with her are a highlight of my days, and she is the friend of a daughter that God knew I needed. Grace started dance this year – joining a hip hip class last spring, and a jazz group this fall. She is a natural and enjoys it very much. She is in 8th grade now, and decided that she wanted to play the trumpet this year. She’s joing band a couple years later than most kids, so she has some catching up to do, but she is working hard and enjoys it. She especially loves learning to read music and is about to challenge the boy who sits a chair ahead of her. Grace made some new friends this year who have been a good influence – they are all so sweet. We end this year with her in a little bit of limbo. After years of questions about several health issues Grace has had, we have had some suspect blood test results and will be taking her to see a rheumatologist early in 2018 to talk about autoimmune issues. She, also, is a trooper, and we are praying for her continued strength and health. We are very much looking at changing the way we eat and live to promote health for us all.
Mojo’s one-year adoption anniversary was this past November! We still can’t believe we have a dog. We like him. A lot. Maybe my favorite thing about having this dog, is watching my husband interact with him. Andrew loves that dog, and I love watching them together. It brings out a side of Andrew I haven’t seen before, and I like it. After 19 years together, you think you know a guy, and then you get a dog. 🙂 Also, Andrew may or may not have recently suggested we get ANOTHER dog so Mojo can have a buddy. I am definitely not on board for that right now. The food, vet bills, and poop from one beast is enough for me. Mojo turned 4 years old in September and after several round of treatments is finally hook-worm free!!! Woohoo!
In March, my brother and his amazing family (who live near D.C.,) came to stay with us for about a week. It was wonderful, and we miss them so much. Then in August, we all took a real family vacation to New York City and did all the best touristy things! We had a blast, and made some great memories.
In 2017 we:
- Worked through some big issues.
- Messed up some things.
- Neglected important relationships. Again.
- Saved our marriage. Again.
- Rediscovered things that were lost.
- Finally played that family board game we bought LAST Christmas….
I’m still thinking about what I want for 2018. Hoping to be back soon with thoughts on next year.
My eyes are very much open to the ugly but honest truths about my life at the moment. It’s the only way I know how to live.
And my heart is very much open to the ways in which God’s love covers me in my every shortcoming. It’s the only way I can survive.