It’s that time of year again! Time to get out all the winter clothing and go through everything piece by piece. What needs mending? Is it too big or too small? Is it missing a button, or does it need polishing? Every year I go through not only MY stuff, but my kids’ stuff as well. It’s gotten a lot easier as they’ve gotten older and can help me now.
As my kids are all getting bigger – I’ve been shrinking! LOL Both height (aging stinks!) and I’ve successfully dropped 20 lbs in the last two years. One puny pound at a time – but I stuck with it and it feels great to have clothes fit better or be too big – my pile of clothes to garage sale is pretty big! The pile of kids’ clothes to sell is ridiculously large! My kids are all teens now and growing like weeds.
One thing I hear often from people is how THEY’D never have as many kids as I do because it’s soooo expensive to clothe, feed, etc, etc. them. I have to say we’ve been blessed (and I hear we’re not alone in this!) to have clothes shared with us, or amazing finds in the clearance that I know are truly God’s way of blessing our faith that HE will provide for these children HE has blessed us with aisles (I once bought a full suit at JC Penny for one of my grade school aged boys for $2.97!). Sure, money’s tight a lot. We don’t get to do a ton of expensive vacations – but we’ve done a lot over the years. We pass down clothes and don’t care about name brands but rather quality – gasp! My kids have learned to appreciate what they have and take care of it. They are old enough now that they have jobs babysitting, doing yard work, or working at a grocery store, and they buy things they want themselves and extra clothing items as well. They’re happy to – not because I ask them (which I don’t) but because they feel pride in being able to provide for themselves, too.
People tell me all the time what great kids we have – so happy, hardworking, caring… I enjoy hearing it and agree, but I never take credit for that. My kids have learned great skills from a lot of people –including my husband and I. But their personalities – that’s all God. I’m blessed to watch them learn and grow on a daily basis since we homeschool and I get to watch how God fixes and mends my kids and myself through life’s different seasons.
This past summer has been a really hard one for me, personally, and my family as well. It all started out amazingly well – I turned 40 this last May and my husband and I were able to escape for a few days to Disneyland/California Adventure, just the two of us. We had a GREAT time and the kids had a great time back here as well with friends and family that so blessed us by helping in their care while we were away. Then, in July I got in a pretty serious car accident. Two days later I was told I have diabetes and had to begin meds that make me feel AWFUL. All my hard work eating healthy and losing all that weight was not enough to keep it at bay. So disappointing! I’d worked so hard and it felt like it was all for nothing. (I had gestational diabetes with all four of my pregnancies so my risks were very high on top of all the family history of it.) Then, I had an inconclusive mammogram, followed up by another inconclusive one and an ultrasound –again…. inconclusive. So while that’s hanging over my head for the next six months when I go in to have another test… we find out our car I was rear-ended in the accident in, is now totaled and they will be keeping it. Effective immediately. (We were “reimbursed the loss” but it didn’t begin to cover the cost of replacing it.) Wham! Bam! Pow! Hit after hit. Talk about a hard season. We only had one vehicle and were now essentially carless with a family of 7. Thankfully friends pitched in and loaned us vehicles – a total of 7 loaners and rentals over two months of constant car shopping. We finally ended up with a vehicle that is not nearly as nice as the one we had and cost us almost twice as much as what we owed. I am thankful in this season that God is mending my body (I am currently dealing with neck and back issues since the accident) and He’s restoring my families’ schedule and life. It’s all looking quite different than before – but it’s also much better in a lot of ways. Because of everything, we’ve had to scale back on what I do for schooling and found other avenues to cover the things that took me the most time. Less stress makes a difference in my diabetes. My kids have had to step up their independent work times – and that’s a good skill for them to be utilizing. The family has all been able to focus on prayer and thanksgiving. We are a closer knit family.
As I pull out my winter clothes and put away the summer ones, I realize I’m ready for a new season. I’m looking forward to watching God continue to work in our lives and teach us what HE wants us to see. I’m thankful my kids are growing in more ways than just up and enjoying the ride. I’m choosing to see His grace in my circumstances – because I know He has my best in mind!