Fresh start to a new decade: reflecting back on this past decade

A decade almost over. To think that I’m decades old is definitely sobering. 🙂

My goodness, life has been an adventurous ride for our family these past 10 years. It would be nice if I had a memorable saying, insight packed message to share with you, but the mind goes haywire trying to narrow it down.

Every end of the year, I reflect on all the big highlights. So this time around I’ll try to point out some major ones that rocked my world this decade. There’s more, but for brevity sake the following is a quick snap of those experiences.

  1. Realized the academic route was not for me. Painful to realize at the time after so many years dreaming and preparing for some future unknown role in academia. Thought my degree would transform my life…graduated and discovered that nothing changed. Very anticlimactic.
  2. Wanted to pursue freelance writing, like writing essays or articles, but the path seemed laden with unknowns. Where do you even start? Too overwhelmed. And all the talk of building a social platform freaked me out. Blogging wishes stirred but it took me six years to actually embark.
  3. Became a lucky mom to my 2 amazing and loving kids. I didn’t know this kind of happy love was possible until they came into my world. On the other hand, I’m learning that being a mother means not always being liked by your kids for saying no and teaching them…looking out for their best interest makes you boring and not the most likeable person. That’s ok with me though…
  4. Chris and I have been married for over a decade and we still like each other. He’s my forever and I’ll choose him all over again. Ok, this is corny, but here it is. I mainly drink iced coffee since years back. So…he is the ice for my coffee that brings the drink to a perfect coolness. When we squabble over how to load the dishwasher or other irrelevant things that seem relevant at the time, I tell myself (as learned from our marriage bible study series) “my spouse is not the enemy.”
  5. Raising a special heart child tests my emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual life that goes beyond my strength. It affects Elliot too as a heart sibling when there’s an emergency. But I trust God will fill in the gaps. Through Ellis’ condition however, we have been blessed in tremendous ways rather than hindered by obstacles. Yes, it’s tough all around with social
  6. constraints that seem like excuses. I’m always apologizing that we can’t do this or that. But people are gracious to understand and still invite us.
  7. We begin homeschooling and are in the middle of our fourth year. It’s an exciting learning journey and kids mainly lead in what they want to learn. But I won’t lie. There are days when I feel outnumbered, out stretched, ready to call the whole thing off. Too much flexibility and freedom can paralyze decision making. I feel it a privilege to homeschool and I’m learning do much as well.
  8. I start blogging in 2017 with lots of doubts. Thankfully, I have found an amazing community of other bloggers, made new friends, and kind of badgered my old friends to follow me to pull up my follower numbers. Thankfully, they accepted and still encourage me by reading and commenting.
  9. I get help for depression and anxiety. It’s the worst kind of agony to go through when you feel that the world would be a better place without you. It’s painful and isolating but sharing this fear with loved ones makes it less daunting. This trial gives me more empathy for others going through similar emotions and teaches me that you can rarely tell what someone is going through just by their exterior.
  10. Realized the strong bond connecting family members. As with every family, issues and tensions test your patience, but at the end of the day, you love them dearly for who they are and what theymean to you. Now that I’m thinking about it, I could be that annoying person and not even know it. lol. 😉 No one is perfect.
  11. Friends and people we have met through our adventures affirm that God is always at work. God has a special plan in entrusting Ellis to our family and all four of us have grown in different ways. We have been repeatedly surprised by God’s goodness and faithfulness. We’re not exempt from the troubles, but He walks with us (or pulls/drags me gently) through the mucks of life.
  12. Growing deeper in faith and learning to be a bold follower. God is pretty awesome in that he hears me, provides for me, leads me, and teaches me (don’t like this one too much), and loves me despite my flaws. His grace is amazing.

If you’ve read this far, thank you! That became longer than I thought.

Wow, I also feel like I need to have earth-rumbling new year resolutions as 2020 will be here in 1 day. I’ve got a whole bunch brewing in the back of my head, but will I actually go through with it?? Instead of a list, I think it needs to be a shift in perspective or attitude. Need to think about this more.

“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” Psalm 138:3

And dear readers, thank you for your support, encouragement, and friendship! Incredibly blessed by this blogging community of most people I’ve never met. I didn’t know this place would be so conversational and inviting. Thank you again, and happy happy new year. Wishing you the best and good health in entering the start of a new decade!

Cee’s black & white photo challenge: Crooked & squiggly lines

Thank you Cee for hosting this challenge and for the photography tips on your blog!

Christmas lights. There’s something magical about walking under rows of lit arches! I go crazy for this stuff.
Sealife and human footprints woven into tidepool sand

A short excerpt on faith and the good of not knowing clearly…

I’ve been reading bits and pieces of Dallas Willard’s book titled Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship With God. The title caught my interest right away, and reading it has been good but slow. His writing is rich with insights and biblical references requiring more time. But here was an interesting passage that resonated with me. Isn’t it true that when I embarked on new life adventures I only had vague ideas? Thank goodness I did. If I had known the full scope of what was required or had to endure, I would’ve gracefully bowed out before I even started.

I hope his words resonate with you and give you courage!

“Did you really know what was happening when you entered the university or military training, got married or brought a child into the world? In some vague sense you did, perhaps, but you also had very little idea of what it meant in the long run. Had you appreciated all that it meant at the time, you probably would not have had the courage to proceed. Then you would have missed out on much good that has come to you through those events.” p. 113

“In faith also we come very slowly to appreciate what is happening to us.” p. 113

– Dallas Willard

I didn’t know it’d be this scary. But I am safe!

“Often God does not give us what we ask for, but I believe that he will always answer, always respond to us in some way. Some people say that God silence is an answer {when our prayer request is denied}. But I think that if we know how to listen, God will normally tell us something when he does not give us our requests. We will hear it and grow through it if we have learned to recognize and acknowledge his voice.” p. 105

Photo Challenge: Basically two colors

Here is my entry for Cee’s fun foto challenge! Thanks for hosting this interesting photo topic.

Finding pictures with just 2 colors was harder than expected. But in scrolling through and identifying those pics, I can see how vivid the content turns out when there’s less colors vying for attention. I’m definitely going to stay mindful to this when taking pictures from now on.

Merry Christmas wishes…

Hope everyone has a merry and wonderful Christmas day! It feels like the hustle and bustle of the holidays slows down after Christmas eve and the actual Christmas day.

Wishing everyone takes the time to sleep in, drink hot cocoa, love each other, and savor the last bit of Christmas lights and fun.

Also, thank you for sending me your encouraging thoughts and comments after last night’s post. Having this cold for days has put me in a funk with less patience, thinking negatively, and getting irritated too quickly. I did have that mini discussion with Elliot today: I reminded him that I don’t willfully try to make his life miserable by telling him to do things. As we were talking, I realized my word choice of “telling” and that made me realize that I need to do less telling. We need to work as a team and that I will be more mindful to have more patience and be less frustrated.

It’s hard to have these talks, but once we do it creates space for peace at home. Whew, glad we had that talk.

And of course this holiday season:

Happy birthday to Jesus!!

Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world. – C.S. Lewis

2018 outdoor Bethlehem drama at Santa Clara Baptist Church

2018 Bethlehem drama at Santa Clara First Baptist Chruch