Anyone else reflecting on how 2018 went down? I’ve been thinking about it a lot as it comes to a close. My journaling time in the morning has been one of a lot of sitting in front of the blank page, pencil in hand, just listening for and to the quiet Voice in my heart that talks to me about the important things. The things that I need to let matter; and the things that really irritate the hell out of me that I need to let go. Twenty-eighteen has been a whole lot of irritants and in the past, I would have handled things a lot differently. But guess what? I am pushing 58 years on this Earth and I’ve learned a few things. Here are a few, in no particular, very chatty order.

I love coffee. And I’m not getting rid of it in my life. (No, God has not told me to let coffee go, by the way.) There are a lot of other things I do love, that I have and continue to clean out of my life. But coffee ain’t one that’s going anywhere. Learning to love it without sugar…that is doable. Giving up the real, dairy-laden, cream? Nope. Cutting back on it because it does tend to irritate my gut? Begrudgingly, yes.

You can’t out exercise a poor diet. As I’ve gotten back into working out (more) regularly, and I’m not seeing the results I’m working hard towards, I’ve finally had to admit this is true. And eating crappy food leads to crappy workouts and not having the mental and physical desire to work out. Having a food plan and an exercise plan is key for me. Now, if I could just stick with them. #discipline #howbaddoyouwantit

As much as I love the “ber” months, I’m looking forward to January. And I’ve come to realize I have always done so. After the hustle and bustle, over-consumption of all the food and things, I’m ready to settle in and enjoy the quiet and the coziness of winter. I’m thankful that we have a fireplace, a safe, warm place to live, family and friends to share with, and the months of January and February in a climate that encourages us to enjoy the indoors. As I was writing this post this morning, I ran across a short piece written by Venice Wyatt that I shared on my facebook page that exactly explained what I was feeling and thinking.

Having said all of that. I’m not wishing away December. I’m settling in and enjoying our oh-so-not-perfect-but-absolutely-perfect Christmas tree. I’m (trying) to let go of the OCD that keeps clawing it’s way to the surface of my brain, and letting things (and myself) just be. My house has been a constant state of cleaning out, packing up, moving stuff out, mess. Shawn and I have been going through things (he has replaced the decluttering queens in my life, Susan D. and Leeann A.) and he encourages me to just let it go. Brett and Rachel were home for Thanksgiving and we pretty much put our hands on every single thing down in the basement. There were very few things that any of the kiddos wanted, and after running everything through several tests (do I love it? is it connected with someone I love? does it hold an irreplaceable memory? can I replace it if I really wanted to? and oh yeah, do I really love it?), I let go of a lot of things. But yesterday I was wandering through (in my mind) what was in each box down there and I realized I have more to let go of.

Letting go. I feel like that has been my mantra this year. I’ve had to let go of toxic relationships, dreams that I’ve clung to that I’ve realized have been replaced by even better realities, habits that are nothing but destructive, attitudes that I thought were just who I was and couldn’t be released (but can!). Letting go always had such negative feels for me in the past but now…letting go has equaled freedom. Freedoms in ways I never, ever imagined possible. More on that as we move into the New Year, but let me just leave you with this: don’t be afraid to let go. Letting go of one thing opens up a million possibilities for good things, better things, permanent things.

See Y’all soon.

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I Let Go.

I love country music. My first memory of hearing country music is of my dad playing Johnny Cash-Live at San Quentin State Prison. In my memory, Johnny Cash played all of the time at our house. I’m sure that’s not true. My mom was known to crank some Diana Ross and also The 5th Dimension…hello, Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine in. Bad Company and the Eagles were the first two albums I ever had of my very own. Totally fit right in with my rock n’ roll/rebellion era. But country music and I go way back and, while I still love rock and most music including classical, if you ride with me in Fancy Pants *The Wild Boy’s nickname for my new car,* you’ll probably hear country music.

One of my current faves is Dierks Bentley’s I Hold On. I’m a huge fan of Dierks and this song does not disappoint. Being a bonafide control freak, I Hold On is right down my ally and could be my theme song in life. Has been, thus far. I hold on to stuff. I want to hold on to my children. I hold on to the pain. I hold on to the bad stuff that has happened, been said or I have done. I hold on…to everything. It’s all about control, baby.

That’s not God’s plan for me. For us. I shared with y’all my book ban fail last week. Turns out I was wise to fail that day. Whispers of Hope is just what I need. Today’s devotion, Day Three, was a huge ah-ha smack in the gut. It’s not about me. Yes, I knew that already. But really, it’s not about me. It’s not about what I want everyone else to be doing. It’s not about what I want to focus on. It’s not about what I want to write about. I guess it all boils down to this: why are we here? Right now. Today. In this place. To focus on ourselves? To do whatever the heck we want; when we want to? And when I’m saying we…I’m really meaning me.

I don’t believe…finally…that it is all about me. Or ever about me, except for how me relates to we. I have to be honest with y’all…being totally focused on me is exhausting and frustrating. So I’m letting go of me. I mean, it hasn’t been working for me for 53 years now so maybe it’s time to try something new? I’m thinking that focusing on God and what He wants me to be doing is going to take the pressure off. Focusing on giving and serving and just plain old loving those around me. Oh, and that doesn’t mean I get to slack *continue to slack* when it comes to loving me and taking care of me. Just the opposite, I think. I can’t do anything without taking care of me. I don’t think that is selfish. I think it is obedience.

Letting Go.

When I held him in my arms the very first time, it is true that I wasn’t exactly wondering if he would one day become a NFL player, rocket scientist, lead in a rock band or the next JFK. Mostly because his father was whooping it up with the doctor that we were all wrong and it IS A BOY and I was barely able to focus on our newborn because I was so distracted by My Man’s pure and loud joy.  Turns out, The Big Boy lives for baseball, loves history, camo and country music and is, decidedly, a conservative Republican.

But, I think it is safe to say that we all have, if not dreams, hopes for our children as they grow. We hope they will do well in school. We hope they will be good and kind. We hope they will embrace our morals, values and religion. We hope they will stay out of trouble. Nothing wrong with any of that.

Sometimes, though, our hopes become pressure; even obsession. We focus on what we want for our child. Not necessarily what they want. The pressure to make certain grades; take specific classes. Excel in everything they put their hand to.

When they fall short, and they will at some point, we might be disappointed, frustrated. Angry, even. We have lost sight of the big picture. We need to go back to our basic hopes for our child. It is often difficult to let go of our plans for our children as they mature. But, we must.

I confess that I have had to do some letting go with each of our three children. Whether by their own choices, circumstances or injury, some of my dreams and plans for my three darlings have been totally busted. This last year especially, I have forced myself to step back; see the big picture.

And you know what? I like what I see. Giving attention to the detail, the heart of each of them, they are good and kind and compassionate. They love Jesus. They love serving and helping others less fortunate than they. They have, or will be continuing their education in fields of their choosing.

The outside wrapping may not all be what I wanted or expected or, dare I say, even hoped. But I can see now that it is going to be something even better.

Love you guys.