I woke up this morning with a lot on my mind. Yesterday was the national holiday of thankfulness. It lead me to think about how different my Thanksgiving 2012 was from my Thanksgiving 2011. A whole year has passed between the two, and it feels like I live almost in a different world. So much has quietly, suddenly, slowly and steadily changed. I am thankful for it; its just amazing how long the list is when I take mental review.
There are some obvious things, some trivial things that are different. I'm now homeschooling two at once instead of one. Last Thanksgiving, I was still daring to open my mind and thinking "maybe I can do this homeschool thing after all, but its still up in the air"... this year I am thinking "Well, I could stick to the safe curriculum or I could branch out and create my own thing"...Whether or not I "can do this" is not part of the equation anymore. I am, I can, and we do. :)
Pink Elephant went from being a long haired 3.5 year old to a short-haired 4.5 sassy year old. She has blossomed and developed so much this past year...just a beautiful, emotional little elephant. I am enjoying teaching her new things. The humbling part of being her Mama Elephant these days is her mimicking and scripting of life "When I grow up, I am going to do dishes for my family....have two kids....bake things....homeschool...use lipstick....be a mama....watch grown up shows....cook dinner..." Its pretty obvious who her role model is these days. Wonderfully terrifying and a huge challenge for me to remain at the feet of Jesus so what she sees modeled is His love in action.
Beautiful Blue Elephant.....ahh. We have gone from frustration to heart break back to frustration over and over concerning him. We went from "he is amazing but WHY is he acting like this?" to understanding the root of so much is the dx of HFASD with likely SPD. If you understand those initials, you understand what a ride we've been on. If not, God's blessing on you and yours that you don't have to research it and shape your life around it. And I say that with only a few months of comprehension....
See, now we are getting into life-changing things! We've gone from no job to full-time job. (About to enter into a 60hr work week.) I couldn't be more proud of the way Daddy Elephant has gone to the ends of the earth this year to provide for our herd. He has been my hiding place in the stress of this year. he has done so much; truly whatever it takes to keep us afloat. He is my hero.
On that note, we have gone from extremely low-budget high carb diets out of monetary necessity to a GFCFSF diet...again, out of necessity. It does wonders for both BE and myself on the health and wellness front. PE and DE are along for the ride, since I am the chief cook and bottle washer around here. On the whole, though I freely admit I have a LOT of weight to lose because of this past year, we are all feeling and eating much more healthy! Even something like a spaghetti dinner (which I didn't know was so bad for me and BE) has a new twist these days. Please don't ask for my soapbox opinion about the gluten consumption of America and its effects. Trust me, you don't want to hear about it.
I have gone from being an emotional wreck (uh-oh, super honesty time. The non-sharing folk are squirming, now.) due to heaps and heaps of stress and my mysteriously over-the-top reactions to situations, to an emotional being who has had her eyes opened to so much. We all have a history; its just some of us have a darker, more difficult past than others. Like it or not, the past has a lasting affect on your present. Its up to each of us to decide if we are going to let it affect our future or not. I've made the steps of deciding that it won't define our herd any longer; its an eye-opening, heart changing, tear gushing, extremely painful, but on the whole very necessary journey. And I am thankful for it!!
We've gone from strain to peace in many of our relationships. There is a lot to be said for honesty, speaking from your heart, and being willing to open yourself up and say what needs to be said before the years pass to the people around you in life. What a relaxing day yesterday was for our herd; there was true peace without a hint of unease. For that journey of growth, I am deeply thankful.
We have gone from comfort zones of "same as it always has been" at a church to a brand new environment with blessed people we are still beginning to meet and understand. It is a change that has touched every member of our family, as we all went through it together in our own ways. The little elephants are loving thier environment. The blessed thing is that nearly everyone who interacts with BE has a background of some form of education that allows them to understand where his motives and behaviors are coming from. Makes for a peaceful day at worship! PE is adoring her teachers and comes home bubbling about the lesson and singing that day's worship songs. Myself and Daddy Elephant; its been interesting, challenging, and different! There is much in the way of preaching that strikes you straight to the heart and causes you to be humble before God. There is also much in the way of me growing theologically, since I was afraid to before. I knew I didn't want God defined as my parents had presented Him. (He has to be more loving than that!) But I wasn't gonna fall for just any old thing, either. I have to really KNOW who He is. And I am beginning to understand what that looks like. What an eye-opening, healing experience!
The truth is, my list could go on and on.....so many things and circumstances have changed from one Thanksgiving to the next. It has been, as I commented to my husband this past week, the most challenging year of our marriage so far. Difficult, but good for us all. Change is hard; change is messy. Knowing where your center lies is key. If we didn't have Christ in the mix, this would all have turned out a LOT differently; of that I am completely certain. He remains what I am most thankful for. Not because I am holier-than-thou....if you know me in person, you know thats a laugh. I am most thankful for Jesus because I've been through enough storms in my life to know that He is the only thing that has kept me afloat. I'd have drowned in these floods long ago if it weren't for Him.
What a year....what a difference. What a long, long list to be thankful for! Remember, as you watch the news tonight and see the videos of the people running the Black Friday Kentucky Derby down the electronics isles....there is much, so much, to be thankful for in our lives. And it has nothing to do with our wallets, and everything to do with our hearts. Official Merry Christmas from our herd to yours, as the season has begun!