small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day

so this is the new year

Hello lovely readers. Happy twenty sixteen.

I really enjoy the reflectiveness that a new year brings. Thinking about the past as well as looking toward the clean slate of the future. A priest in his homily on New Year’s Eve talked about the origin of the name January. It is thought to come from the Roman god Janus who was the god of beginnings and transitions. He was depicted as having two faces looking to the past and to the future. I can see how it would be a fitting reason to name our first month after him.

I think reflecting on the past and looking to the future are very important things to remember to do often. Because of our busy nature and ability to be distracted all day, being in silence with ourselves is a rare occurrence. This is unfortunate because some of the best moments for growth are when we are stuck with our own thoughts.

I’m glad there is a natural time for this at the end of a year–and I’m working to make it more of a monthly thing. My planner (PassionPlanner) has monthly reflections which have given me no excuse to look back each month on the good things that happened and the ways I can continue to improve myself for the next month. Life goes by so fast, so I’m working on making the best of it.

As for my own reflection as the new year begins, I’m mostly focused on the future. This year holds a lot of excitement for me and my family.

This will be the first year since 2010 that I will be living close to family. We moved back home to Kansas in November and will get to spend this year catching up with old friends and soaking up much needed family time. It will also prove even more helpful to be at home when we welcome a daughter in May!

I do hope this post inspires you to take some time with yourself to reflect on last year and what will happen in the coming months. Maybe even set some goals and focus on the good things from last year that can carry you into the new one.

So this is the new year…let’s make it a good one.

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twenty fourteen

twenty fourteen.

Last year on this day I was reflecting on the good that came from the worst year of my life so far. The year I lost my dad. I also wished that the new year would be filled with better days and taking steps to move forward with my life.

The most profound difficulty was losing my grandfather only five months after losing Dad.  Grieving multiple losses is a completely different monster that sneaks up on you and sometimes feels like it will never be defeated. I would feel better about Dad but then I would remember Papa was gone too and I would take steps backward.

I then began to see a grief counselor, thanks to the nudging of a concerned aunt and my own desire to feel better. Through counseling I’ve been able to better understand how grief affects all aspects of my life, and I gained many insights into coping skills, self-care, and overall better mental well-being. I also put together a new page that contains all my posts about my grief journey in hopes my writings may help others.

Things began to look up when we were able to celebrate something with family: Dr. Jonathan.

July brought another happy celebration, my cousin’s wedding. And we enjoyed a family reunion in Breckenridge. Many smiles were shared during that family time because for once we were together for something positive.

September was the start of the mom’s group I helped form at my church. This required a lot of planning as well as mental preparation. I was not ready to present myself to new people, let alone try to make new friends, but the tug from the Holy Spirit could not be ignored. We had a good number of moms at our first meeting and it is looking like St. Gianna’s Moms Group is off to a great start, and hopefully will help me continue to move forward socially and spiritually.

BLUE OCTOBER. This post and this one will explain all that went on in my mind and heart during the Royals’ quest for the crown.

George’s birthday and many visits from family kept our spirits high through most of the fall. The perpetual sadness and the cloud of grief seemed to dissipate slightly throughout the year. As I continued to think, read, cry, and pray I felt myself beginning to define my new normal. A normal where I will always miss Dad and his void will always be felt. A normal where I will cry in the doctor’s office and other strange places. A normal where I will say no to things I used to say yes to, and take better care of myself. A normal where I live in each moment and not in the past or the future I wish I could have.

We already know of many challenges we will face in the next few months, as we have some more family illnesses to conquer. I know we’ll pull through because this year is evidence that there is sunshine behind the clouds.

My hope for the new year is the same as last. May there be better days and may we all continue to move forward.

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