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The Good

For the first time in a long time, the arrival of the fall season was so exciting to me. I mean, I was literally on my front door step on September 1 at 9am hanging up my new fall wreath and moving the mums to the front walkway from the back deck where they have been for the last month. My fall decor bins were pulled down from the garage storage shelves without even having to see the contents to know what was inside. Just slightly opening the lid encouraged the most delicious spicy, comforting smell to escape---ahhh...it's time! (Trick to this delightful experience: leave a seasonal candle without a top in the bin between the seasons and everything in the bin soaks up the scent.)

This changing of seasons has brought out a joy and thankfulness in me that I was not expecting at all. After the curve balls that 2019 has thrown me so far, I suppose I should not be surprised in the least to be experiencing something new. But there's a deep level of gratitude and hope of things to come that has developed within the tough moments of the last eight months. Even though I was only in the hospital for a couple nights in February, my boys will still use it to reference time: "That happened while you were sick." "We did that while you were in the hospital." And at first it took me by surprise because I thought eventually they would forget about it. But once I realized how much it truly impacted them, I noticed a deep sense of gratitude for what happened and where I am now. Let's be clear--I'm not thankful for the actual hardships. I'm not thankful that I was hospitalized. I'm not thankful for the moments/days of hopelessness and helplessness. What I am thankful for is how God used the negative to evoke positive change within myself. Have I changed this year? Absolutely. Is the core of me the same? Absolutely. The "thankfulness chatter" is usually reserved for November, which is so silly because are we expected to just plod along the rest of the year? I truly believe that if we aren't in the habit of gratefulness, if we aren't actively and intentionally looking for the good, we face the possibility of being overwhelmed by all that is less than ideal. I am not dismissing bad days and weeks or saying that we should face every moment with complete joy. Heavens, last night I felt so annoyed with my son who NEEDED one tiny sip of water at bedtime, after we had done all of this other bedtime stuff, because he was apparently dying of thirst. Was I joyful and thankful in that moment? No. Our goal should never be perfection because if that is the goal, we will always fail.

I write about these topics a lot, I know. Thankfulness. Change. Hope. But that's what life is, isn't it? Changes and how we choose to react to changes. I have especially felt it since becoming a mother because children are always changing, always transitioning, always moving from one stage to the next, often faster than we are prepared for. I am by no means an expert in this area, nor have I perfected handling change gracefully. Heck, it's just within the last couple years that I feel like I have even started learning how to navigate it in a healthy way. My writing is as much, if not more, for myself as it is for others. One of my goals for the year was to speak life-giving words to others and if these words are helpful for myself, it gives me hope that they are helpful for others, too.

One of my favorite bloggers, Kelle Hampton, always talks about September and Back To School being the "Mother's New Year"--a time to reset and develop new routines. So what does my New Year look like? Peeling off hideous wallpaper in our new house, attending Body Back & Strides 360 classes, and pursuing the good that is in the present and the good that I have hope will come.

Until next time.