Friday, January 3, 2014

My Year of Gratitude: A Follow Up

Dear friends,

Sometimes it's hard to find the words.

That's how I feel about this past year.  I know that each year brings its own set of blessings and trials.  And I know that its pretty much impossible to predict what will happen, how it will happen, and why.

This past year has been full of surprises.  Good and bad.  As I wander through my journal and look over my gratitude list from 2013, I am almost overwhelmed with feelings of love and thankfulness.  I am far from perfect and there are several entries where I know I'm searching for the good in a pretty much rotten day.  Sometimes rotten weeks.  But even though they were bad, there was always something to be thankful for even if it was that the day was over.

There were some days that I skipped.  There's an entire week missing in April right after my father passed away.  There was much to be thankful for that week but I just could not write it down.  It had been swallowed up in an impossible sorrow that still lingers just a bit.

Dad's passing was by far the biggest plot twist of the year and even it brought unexpected blessings.  And I'm not talking about the silver linings that happen all the time.  I'm talking about honest to goodness blessings that I'm fairly certain would not have come any other way.  Silver linings are like the chocolate coating that make the pill go down a little smoother. You can find them everywhere if you look.  But the pill is still rather bitter.

The blessing actually changes the pill.  Rather than something bitter and hard to swallow, it becomes sweet.  My father's passing has changed so much. There have been impossible and sacred blessings that have come with having Dad on the "other side".  Those who have passed on are still a part of our lives.  It is something that I did not expect.  It is something that I am eternally grateful for.

If I had to sum up this past year of gratitude it would be filled with words like: God, Friends, Laughter, Family, Ben, David, Eternity, Temples, Dad, Mom, Blessings, Service, Work, Time, Neighbors, and Love.

My life is not perfect, but sometimes... sometimes it feels like it is.

May God bless you this coming year.

~ Lora

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Lot More Hope

I love the new year. 

I love the sense of renewal that it brings.  The sense that you can start over, do things that you like again, and leave those you don't particularly care for behind.  

I feel like the chains of oppression that have dragged behind me and weighed me down have been loosened.  This is a time to start over.  A time to try again and do a little better this time.  A time to be gentler with myself and others.  A time to let go of the unnecessary so I can pick up a few more "frivolities" that make life more fun.

My word for this year is HOPE.  I wrote about it a little while ago, before I knew that this would be my word.  My focus. 

It seems almost as if I’ve come full circle on this one.  There was so much hope in my life for such a long time.  Even when I was in despair at finding, or not finding, a husband, deep down inside I still had hope.  Hope for a better future.
Well, I found my husband and my life was better than I had hoped for.  Richer, fuller, much more meaningful. Then we were put into the thick of infertility issues.  That took a great amount of my hope and stomped it into the ground.  I often laughed about a bumper sticker that said “Ever since I gave up hope I feel much better.”  Hope was something that was dangerous.  It could let you fall.  It could trip you up and throw you down.

Not anymore.  Today I choose hope.  I choose faith.  I choose to be positive and believing and hopeful for my future.

Now, keep in mind that this a goal.  Not a reality.  As with all new things there are stumbling blocks.  Things to help us stretch and grow and decide again and again who we want to be.  So if I don't quite make it at first, be patient.  I have a whole year to work on it!

Happy 2014 my friends!  May it be spectacular.