Just Like That

It’s over so much the same as it began – a few weeks of anticipation, leading up to the final moment. It feels just as surreal to close this chapter as it did to open it.

I’ll never forget the day I first turned the key in the lock and opened the feed store. I couldn’t believe it was mine. So many ideas had come to mind in the weeks leading up to that moment, I had started a notebook just for the ideas.

I had too many ideas to know where to start, and I started too many ideas too fast, and lacked the follow through necessary to truly know which ideas were successful and which ideas weren’t. (This tends to be a recurring problem for me. I’m working on it.)

Knowing how many ideas were left untried, and walking out that door for the proverbial last time (I mean, I’m sure I’ll be back to buy feed), was downright hard. I put so much of myself in to that store. But things don’t always go the way we think they should, or even will.

A dear friend called today in the middle of me counting failures and kindly but adamantly reminded me I was looking at it all wrong. Sure, I could count failures if I wanted to, there surely are failures to count. But she pointed out that with all our family walked through in the last several months, I chose my family. I chose to be with them, available to them, present for them.

And she helped me clear my head so much. Instead of counting failures or even feeling like this happened to me, I could see the choices I made. And as I write this, while I acknowledge disappointment and things that could have gone different or better, I don’t regret that I chose my family. I didn’t bury myself in my work and wait for the storm to pass.

In 2 months, 2 years, 2 decades, I know I will be glad for investing my time and energy in my children, regardless of leaving a business behind. I think in a few short years, had I made the store the priority, I would have realized my kids were grown and I wouldn’t be able to get that time back.

I think this is one of those times where I am learning to say no to something good, to be able to say yes to the best.

Things I Don’t Regret from 2017

I found this writing prompt, and I thought…whoa! I need to document some things I don’t regret from 2017, because our year is ended rough.

I don’t regret my word – steadfast. In fact, 2017 demanded just that from me – that I be steadfast, on a nearly daily basis. And I’m better for it today, on Dec. 31, 2017.

I don’t regret the way I can see the faithful hand of God working through my life, through the good and bad, in 2017. He revealed Himself to me profoundly, and His grace is evident. Even now, as I write this, in the midst of chaos and even fear, I can clearly see His hand at work in our lives.

My sweet husband and I are closer now than I think we’ve ever been, and I don’t regret that. I haven’t always liked the obstacles, the trials, or the hurts, but the treasure is worth it. He is my best friend, and I know him a little better on Dec. 31st than I did on Jan. 1st.

I do not regret seeing Yellowstone National Park, or making it to our family reunion (finally) this year! What a great time we had spending time with everyone. And sweet Mr. A got to spend the majority of his summer in Wyoming.

I don’t regret rerouting my trip to pick Mr. A up and going to Colorado instead of South Dakota. It was a beautiful trip and it reminded me that I work well in a pickle…and that my sister and I are a great team.

I don’t regret moving to the country. I don’t regret having my horse in my backyard, getting goats and chickens, and starting fodder. In fact, I quite love it here. This home is a haven for me, a place to weather a few storms, and I am grateful that God allowed us to move out here.

I don’t regret joining a fall bowling league with Mr. W again – even though I said I wouldn’t. Truth is, I kind of like bowling with him.

I don’t regret all of the birthdays we celebrated, or how much my kids have grown. I don’t regret the time spent together as a family, or the time spent with extended family. I don’t regret waking up the same man every morning, with the same rotten toddlers wedged between us. (Although I do regret buying a bigger bed!)

Writing this was good for my soul. I needed to be reminded of the things I don’t regret from 2017 before I start 2018.

Tell me, dear readers, what don’t you regret from 2017?

 

Family in Transition

Dear Regina,

What should I do? My husband and I were planning a visit to distant family over Thanksgiving but have recently learned that this family is going through a large transition in their lives which is not a pleasant one. Should we postpone the trip and not invade their home and lives while they are going thru this transition?

Rebecca, Colorado

 

Dear Mom,

I couldn’t decide if I was supposed to reply with or without the familiarity we share. So, if I didn’t know you, or the situation you were referencing, this is what I would say:

The burden of unpleasant transitions is often eased by the community around us loving us through the changes, and sometimes exactly what someone needs is for family (or friends) to show up, connect, and lend an ear/shoulder. Time is an invaluable gift, and your presence matters to them, I’m sure. That being said, holidays are often a stressful time for people, with increased financial expectations, and the general busyness of the season. If the transition affects the family financially, then you may reach out and discuss meal plans and let them know how you can help with the big meal, but also the smaller meals surrounding the trip. Travel makes it hard to cook and bring specific dishes, but knowing that they aren’t expected to feed everyone out of their own pocketbook may be a relief as they face the transition at hand. Offering to split the grocery bill, or letting them know that you don’t need them to provide every meal while you are visiting will be helpful to them. (If the transition is not financial in nature, and they have offered and are willing to feed you, then enjoy and go be a shoulder!) If you don’t share the closeness with this family that it takes to have a transparent financial conversation, it may be best to postpone the trip.

I have to get personal with this answer and say, please come see us. These transitions are just part of life – changes happen, and we learn and grow in the difficult seasons. I want to see your beautiful face, and Dad’s too. I want to spend time with you and watch my kids interact with you. The meal will worry about itself, but let’s not miss the opportunity to spend time together.

Happy Trails!