“Consider it pure joy, my friends, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”. James 1:2-4

I’m considering how joyful I truly feel right now. Many of you know me and many of you don’t. Let me just say that I am an enigma to my friends and family. They are truly befuddled at the fact that I have endured and maintained my nonmedicated sanity with the compounding trials that have developed in my daily life through the years and most definitely this past year.

I cannot say that these long stretches of disturbances have not taken their toll on me physically, but I continue to fight another day. I realize that I’ve gained weight and my memory is not perfect, my blood pressure is high, and I do not make it to the hairdresser’s regularly ~ heck, I consider it a great day if I shave my legs and don’t second guess myself getting out of the shower as to whether or not I’ve washed my hair. It isn’t that these things are not important to me but they are less important than the deadline of whichever disturbance (that’s what I like to call it) is occurring this week.

I do happen to believe that all of the disturbances that have occurred to me over the last 20 years are for a purpose. I may never realize what the purpose truly is/was but somewhere someone’s life will have been different because my path crossed with theirs. I don’t just mean my children, because that is inevitable.

This past year has been a very humbling year for me. We have fought very hard to work our way out of the financial problems of a failed business. The daily struggle and the stress it imposes on your family is astronomical. When you hear about all of the bailouts taking place and all the foreclosures and job losses happening we sometimes lose perspective of those that aren’t or didn’t take advantage of the system but truly tried to make it all work out. When you literally have to decide between needs (like food or gas to get to work this week) and have the collection calls and shut-off notices compound monthly, weekly, daily, hourly it takes a toll on a person and a family. The children are oblivious to the problems and you strive to keep it that way. When they cry because mommy cannot take them shopping for new summer clothes and why do they have to wear the same bathing suit as last year (even though it still fits) when everyone else has two or three suits and you go to their closet and notice that there are mostly empty hangers; your rationalizations and promises of next pay check we will get you bigger tennis shoes become unfulfilled because it just doesn’t fit into the budget. It is tough to watch your husband work 7 days a week 10-12 hour days and we continue to get 2 steps forward and 3 steps back. There is no break, no fun, no down time. Then your adjustable rate mortgage kicks into gear and you no longer can afford to live in your home. You call the mortgage company and they not so nicely tell you to “put your house up for sale then if you cannot live within your means”. You call them monthly and are repeatedly turned down for all the assistance programs out there “for the homeowners”. All this and then the decision of bankruptcy has to be made. The very thought is everything you do not believe in, but you have exhausted every single other avenue. Your house is foreclosed and then sold at sheriff sale. It's dead of winter and your trying to figure out how long you have before you need a new place to call home. Humbling I tell you.

Sit through all that and watch the effect it has on your spouse without trying to show that you see. To see the frustration and sadness overcome a very hard-working, proud man who wanted nothing more but to make his family proud of him and to be able to support them. We are proud of him and it means more to us to have him around more than for him to work so hard. We've missed him over the last 4 years.

Take all of the above and now add to it the daily doses of a child that needs extra assistance, continuity, and low stress. There are daily issues with the pre-K program. You get phone calls at work and then some days have to leave work or be late or not go in at all. Some days you dread walking into the building at the end of the day because you get to hear all the “wonderful” (and I mean that facetiously) things your son did and to whom he did it to. You have strangers telling you what you need or should be doing with your child. You try to figure out what is best for your child, or what is the lessor of two evils. You learn to hear and see with parts of your body that were just not made for that ability because you are always on the edge as to what Boy Child is doing or eating or ruining, or if he is even still in the house - you name it. Add a healthy dose of appointments for psychologists and therapists and support personnel and IEP meetings, etc. etc. etc. Yikes, you should see my calendar. Then for kicks throw into the mix that the pre-K doesn’t want your child to return after the holiday break. You try to figure out how you will return to work with no daycare because you carry the health insurance. Try to then explain all of these issues with Boy Child to a 9 year old Diva who had a totally different world before he came along and who now is trying very hard to not resent him because she actually loves him and then feels guilty because she sometimes dislikes him. Diva is a really good girl, always has been. Quite mouthy at times lately but usually feels bad about it later. Thank goodness she is so good, she helps keep me sane.

These disturbances happen, and despite your best efforts to thwart them, they are real. They are life. These issues don’t wait because you are sick, or in the hospital, or your spouse is having surgery, or you were in a car accident, or two of your family members died during this same year. Your dinner still needs cooked, the laundry still needs done, the toilets still need scrubbed and still don’t get that vacation you swore you were taking this year and your kids’ homework or project needs your help.

The moral of my story….Peace be with you. With everything that has and is going on in my life, I fell eerily calm inside. My heart is not racing, my chest is not tight and I don’t hear my heartbeat in my head. Husband and I are not arguing as much. There is a feeling of optimism in the air. The weight on our shoulders doesn’t seem to feel as heavy as before. We take one disturbance at a time. When I feel the panic set in, I call hubby and he talks me back down to inner peace.

I’m thankful for so many blessings that have come my way this year. The disturbances of life will not go away, I know that. But here’s to hoping that they lessen in severity. Some day I want to worry about whether or not the cleaning folks have done a good enough job or hey, what can I do with my kids for fun on a sunny weekend afternoon or oops we forgot the sunscreen when we packed for our vacation. So guys, take it slow, count your blessings (yes they are there) and realize the sun really will come out tomorrow. I’m living proof.

Persevere ~ Peace Out

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