What I Learned in 2014

2014 was a year full of new challenges, grand adventures, goals met, lessons learned, and a whole host of moments where dark chocolate was desperately needed! I’m including my favorite posts from each month. But, I have to tell you – it was not easy to choose which posts to include. In fact, reading through each month sent me running for the tissue box more than a time or four (not to mention the stash of dark chocolate chips I realized I was going to need to keep on hand just to get through the month of June!)

So, grab your favorite cup of something warm (or cold) and join me as I reflect back on 2014.

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In January, I learned that I was one in a million. I also realized how very deeply I love my Dermatologist.

February reminded me that Sweetman is wicked smaht, and that I need to pay better attention during our conversations.

March was the month where I finally pursued a long-held goal of mine to enter the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. And, although the outcome wasn’t what I’d hoped, it felt good to give it a go.

And, of course, in April, Dentists became dead to me, as we learned of sweetgirl’s boo-boos on her teeth.

May was where I reflected on the BOOM created by the very different Myers-Briggs personalities in my marriage.

June brought a painful lesson in turning the other cheek, from Sweetboy, and reminded us how Autism can have painful ripple effects for a parent – but that it doesn’t win!

July reminded me that Sweetgirl is always watching, and that Autism can sweeten the interaction between siblings – especially when a yoga ball (or two) is involved.

August is when I finally realized where my mission field is. And, OH, how I yearn to work it well!

September was the month where I learned that I can both set a goal and reach it and set a goal and fail! The women’s triathlon was successful. The goal I set afterwards was not. (There is always 2015!)

In October, I proved that I can indeed get along with Commitment, after all. I accepted the Write 31 Days challenge. Because, Grace, I know Him well.

November was full of masks, casts, and WINS! (P.S. If you need me on January 1st or, LORD WILLING, January 12th, I’ll be parked in front of the television, yelling encouraging my beloved BAMA’s football players to RUN THAT BALL!)

And, December, of 2014, taught me to shop a little earlier for the “classics”, as I reflected on the beauty of the lesson in the The Little Drummer Boy.

Such grace laces my days. I was reminded of that on more than a hundred occasions over this past year. I’m encouraged to keep moving toward new goals, maybe even toward an old one, or two, that got dropped along the way.

Hope sparkles on the horizon for 2015.

I’m praying that it does for you, too.

Yes indeedy!

What were some of your favorite lessons learned in 2014? Please, share them! I’m linking up with the lovely Emily Freeman, over at Chatting At the Sky, for her “What We Learned” link up.

 

5 Lessons I Re-Learned About Parenting While Filming a Video

I made a mini-rap video for a sweet group of friends, recently. I needed tech support. And a back-up dancer. I recruited Sweetgirl for the dancing and Sweetboy as my videographer. Seemed legit.

And, it worked well enough.

Until I messed up.

By the seventh “take”, however, my filter started to slip.

Then, I remembered that I was in front of little ears. I was reminded that even the tamest of DADGUMMIT’s could be imitated in all the wrong ways.

When the “filming” wrapped up (after Take 14, by the way), I had re-learned a few precious parenting lessons.

1. Whatever dance moves you are attempting, whether poorly or worse-than-poorly, the six-year-old will emulate.  This is not the time to attempt those fly moves (do people say that anymore?) from J. Lo’s latest music video. And for goodness’ sake, it’s not all about that base!

2. Your reaction to a flub up will be on video. The person filming you will be watching intently as he films you. Therefore, he may start stomping around and screaming “DARNIT DARNIT DARNIT” the next time he makes a mistake. You will think he looks ridiculous, and start to tell him so. Until you remember where he got it.

3. The backup dancer is closest to the under-the-breath mutterings. She will hear them. She will ask questions. Questions you didn’t intend to have to answer for your six-year-old.

4. Making up your own words to a song like, say… Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” is all fun and games. Until one child, or both, asks if they can see “the real song” on The YouTube. That’s a whole lot of behinds. And bad hair. And explaining. They get enough of All The Real with media pushing pictures of champagne corks popping and backsides. You will regret choosing that song. You may also end frantically looking up pictures of puppies, instead, with promises to talk to daddy about getting one. To divert their attention, of course. Possibly.

And…

5. Your videographer and back-up dancer will have enjoyed the experience so much, that they will ask you to show them other rap songs that they can change the words to and make videos of themselves singing. You will realize the scarcity of appropriate songs. You will rue the day.

Oh, yes indeedy.

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*A note to The Nana, Ahab, Gammy and Grampy – I did not let them actually see the “real” video. They were far more interested in the adorable French Bulldog puppy video that I was able to switch over to, oh-so-quickly. If we end up with one, I blame myself.

*Also, a note to Sweetman – we may end up with a French Bulldog. I’m sorry.

Out of the Rain

Kicking and screaming – that’s how I finally went off, this morning, to engage in the women’s ministry offerings at our “new” church. This being the official One Year mark since we first started attending regularly, you might be picking up on what a struggle it’s been for me to fully embrace this place.

I rushed into the building resentful, late, and dripping wet.

Resentful that I had to “start over”. Late because I found every possible last-minute “forgotten” chore to take care of before walking out the door. And dripping wet because, well… rain was pouring down.

To match my mood.

Scanning the room, I quickly sat down at the way way back, in the first free chair I laid eyes on.  As I scooted into the open chair, I determined to keep my heart closed.

But, I made a grave error… I breathed.

And a prayer escaped, unbidden.

Despite the feeling I’d had this past year that God forgot my need for flesh-and-blood fellowship, a fresh Hope blew in.

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Instantly, I realized that I was sitting with a small group of three women that clearly already knew each other. And, they didn’t seem to be very open, themselves.

But, because I’ve never met a stranger, thank-you-very-much, I started chatting this group up.  In my mind, I was drawing them out.

As usual, God had something altogether different, and altogether lovely, in mind.

From the moment the first one started speaking about the dark places she’s been, I realized she had a story that I wanted I needed to hear. Hers was so completely different from mine. And yet, the same in all of the important places. As the next woman spoke of past entanglements that I full understand, hers, too, became a story of redemption that my heart desperately needed to hear.

Redemption comes softly and not.  But, He always comes. And only Redemption, Himself, knows exactly when we will be ready to fall at His feet and welcome union with Him.

I’ve been giving this passage a lot of thought lately.

Exodus 13:17-18 says, “When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, ‘If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led them in a round about way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.”

Recognizing their inability to face a challenge at this early stage in their freedom journey, God routed them differently than expected.

I am no different.

God knows how susceptible I am to a setback at the beginning stages of a new adventure.

Oh God, You knew! You knew that I desperately needed to sit next to a group of women who so recognize their need of you that I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own.

And You knew, too, that had I attempted to join in last Fall, it would have been a detour that my heart wasn’t ready for.

But. For. Grace.

Thank You for opening my ears to hear Your whisper, and my eyes to see your outstretched arm through these beautiful women this morning.

Maybe, even more, for loving me enough to pull me out of the rain and into Your Holy arms, once again.

I so needed that fresh Hope.

Two-For-One Lessons

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There are moments when it seems like everything you know about faith is turned on its head.  You know those moments I’m referring to, don’t you?  A loved one reveals a character flaw that takes you by surprise; a friend lets you down so big that you’re not sure if friendship is something you ever want to pursue again; or, your child gets a diagnosis that no fever-reducing medicine can touch.  We can all probably add to this list from our many life circumstances.

While I’ve certainly encountered my share of big reveals, back-biting, and bedside vigils, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way in this faith journey, of mine.  I’d like to share them with you in the hopes that it will help bring you some comforting perspective as you travel along on your own path to deeper faith.

Join me over at Fancy Little Things today, won’t you?   I’d sure love to hear about your own lessons learned. Click the button below to head on over there and read the rest.

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I apologize for the glitch today.  It looks like all systems are a go now.  So… go.  Now.  Pretty please?