This year seemed to fly by. I’m glad that it did but at the same time I feel uneasy about it. Even with all of the deep, heart connecting moments we have experienced as a family, I feel we could have had more.
We tried for several months to sell our home so we could purchase a larger one that would be more accommodating to our family. That didn’t happen. The market is still unstable so we decided to put it off for now and focus on paying down all debt and saving more money. During that time I had taken a hiatus from being online. That gave me ample time to consider many things and focus solely on my family. Because of that my perspective of blogging was changed drastically.
I realized that what matters most is the reason why we do things. I finally understood that my blogging had no purpose. Sure, I wanted to help people but even that was undefined. It was just a case of “whatever happens, happens.” I now know that doesn’t work.
I talked it over with Ryan and we decided it was best for the family if I began to generate an income online. That has been a tremendous blessing to us. I found my purpose for blogging and put it into a plan. When I give blog consultations people always ask what the defining moment was for me when the transition from mediocre blog to successful blog occurred. My answer is that it is when I decided to do it and set goals to accomplish it. That’s it.
This is a good looking bunch, right?
Ryan and I have grown so much closer over the last year. Challenges and triumphs will do that for a marriage. I am so thankful for him. He motivates me and encourages me to do things I wouldn’t dream possible. We have discovered so much about God’s will for our lives over the last year as well. We know the direction God wants us to go in ministry and Ryan has taken the bull by the horns and gone through all of the things he needs to so that we can make these things happen. I am so proud of him. He has become certified, licensed, graduated from courses and taken other steps to walk in the way God wants him to. I love that man so much!
Carsten turned 15 this year. Wow. I can hardly believe it. I have a 15 year old. He is eligible to get a driver’s permit too. Be still my heart. He is still building and constructing things of all sizes and shapes. He likes to spend his time thinking up new video games and wants to take some classes to learn how to design them. He is more responsible than ever. He helps with his brothers and looks out for mom. I don’t want to let him grow up. It is taking everything in me to let it happen. He is my little rock. I giggle inside quite often because God has done such amazing things with him. God has given him such an amazing mixture of traits from both of his dads. His expressions, mannerisms, and features are so much like his daddy Mark yet, his behaviors and thought patterns are so much like his Daddy Ryan. It’s unbelievable at times.
Maxon just turned 13. He is officially a teenager now. Where did the time go? I’m sure it was just yesterday that he was riding on my hip and singing Blue’s Clues, wasn’t it? Geesh. He is such a gifted artist and musician. He got his first guitar over the summer and was able to pick it up and play it without any training. He can sing too. He wants to go to our church’s bible college and work there afterwards. He has come a long way in the last year. I admire him so much for overcoming the things he has. I’ve watched as he matured from a little boy to a young man almost overnight. Max has a new found love for playing football too and the boy has quite the arm on him. He can throw pretty far with great accuracy. I’m anxious to see where he goes from here.
Andrew is a little firecracker. At 10 he is reaching the age where he is testy and irritable. He is also searching for his identity and what it is that he likes to do. He is still doing excellent academically but he still isn’t being challenged enough. We’ve discovered his secret formula for having a great day is getting at least 9 hours sleep, cutting back on sugar, no caffeine, limited TV, and lots of words of affirmation. These things have changed his behavior dramatically. Doctors were ready to give him a diagnosis we weren’t crazy about until we voluntarily participated in the study that simply prescribed a change in diet, environment and sleeping habits. It is working. He still fights with his little brother more than I care to endure but he does better with almost everything else. He is such a sweetie and I enjoy watching him grow into a little man.
And this one…. oh boy. Where do I even start? My sweet, cuddly, blonde-haired baby boy Matthias is a hand full. That boy does not stop. He is now 22 months old and as smart as he can be. His vocabulary is vast and he is talking in sentences already. His favorites are “bwudda bite me” and “Bwudda get door.” He uses his hands to talk too. It is so funny because if he gets frustrated he will yell and throw his hands up. We have also discovered that he recognizes things that even his older brothers overlook. He went to throw his diaper away the other day (yes, he brings me wipes and a diaper too when he needs to be changed) and noticed that there was no bag in the can. Someone had taken out the trash but didn’t replace the bag so he walked right over to the cabinet that we keep the garbage bags in, took one out, shook it to open it up, and then put it in the trashcan. I recorded it on my phone when I realized what he was doing because I knew no one would believe me. It was wild. He also picks up his own clothes and puts away his brothers things. He stays in time out too we put him there. Now if we could just potty train him.
They are all growing up so fast.
Pretty soon they’ll just want the keys to the car so they can go. Goodness, Matthias already tries to leave in the car.
As this year comes to a close I can’t help but thank God for bringing us through so much. He is so faithful and He heals broken hearts. We know. He has given us great joy, purpose, motivation and strength. It has been a great year.
How was your year?
All photography by Tracy Jackson from Shots from the Heart Photography.