Monday, August 26, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

We just never know where our paths will lead.  I don't know about you, but for me it is like traveling around a constant bend.  The road curves ahead of you leaving just a small portion of your path in view.  What truly lies ahead remains unseen, a gift waiting to be discovered.  If we sincerely believe our steps guided and all experiences valuable then it is of no matter what remains unseen.  All that awaits is a gift if we keep our focus on things above.  Even the most seemingly negative of circumstances hold within them a gift if we are open and courageous enough to look past the surface.

I am forever thankful that I am not the one in charge of my life.  Messes are my expertise, and I do not need any more experience in the driver's seat to know that my hands may be on the wheel, but I am not the one doing the steering; that is if I remember to stay out of the way and keep a willing heart.  It is possible to drive all the while having our course be guided.  I am constantly reminded that every stop we've made along the way has brought us to where we are now.  If I had not made the choices and experienced the consequences, good and bad, of my decisions in days gone by I would not be the person that I am today.  It is certainly easy to think of the negative implications and focus on what may have been lost.  However, I choose to keep my vision on the positives and be thankful that things are as good as they are.  Sometimes our sight requires a little adjusting.  When we're hit with bigger than life events it can throw us off a bit, but constant conversation with the Creator will surely keep our paths straight; if only for a time.  And, if we're living in the present, really living in the here and now, that is all that truly matters.

This past year provided for us another big change.  Our family, the family that resides within the bounds of our home, has grown by three.  One left, one returned, and two were added.  Yup, that is huge adjustment all around for all involved.  As my last post indicated, our oldest son left home for the Navy.  He currently finds himself stationed in South Carolina.  His first visit home since leaving that day will not be until this coming October.  In November of last year two of our granddaughters came to live with us.  We didn't know it at the time, but it would be a permanent arrangement.  I became their court appointed guardians this past June.  Right on their heels in April of this year our youngest son returned home from Wayne State to secure employment and attend the local community college.

We have given hugs, said goodbye, made amends, severed ties, given flight, and created sanctuary.  There is a whole lot of emotion tied into all of that activity.  My newest revelation?  The only constant in life is change.  Learning that fact, and accepting it wholeheartedly, has given me such freedom within all that has transpired in the past nine months.  It's rather symbolic really.  Nine months.  The gestation time for human life.  It leads to a birth and loads of change.  What have we nurtured in the past nine months?  The melding of lives.  We have created another family within our already large family.  Rolling with the punches has become an area of expertise for the hubby and myself.

In 1997 we became a serious couple blending our two families together.  We gave up being single parents and learned how to open our hearts to the endless bounds of love overflowing.  Our families became one and we numbered nine.  The next milestone was 2005.  It was a year of tremendous emotion.  We lost my father to his battle with male breast cancer on April 1st, our first grandchild was born on July 24th, and we wed on September 17th.  Our lives were never the same, and we could have never imagined the journey before us.

The children aged and spread their wings, more grandchildren were born, and we were actively viewing the light at the end of the tunnel.  The time came when we could take off on a spontaneous road trip just the two of us, or hop on the motorcycle for an afternoon ride.  No worries.  We were enjoying an emptier nest.

Then we were presented with the opportunity to become parents again, and our journey went around the bend slowly revealing more and more with each step.  Avery was born in January of 2010.  Our family now numbered 10.  We sold our house in December of the same year and purchased our new home in August of 2011.  Through a lot of transition we found ourselves moving from a large family in the city to a soon-to-be parents of one young child in the country living arrangement.  Andrew went in the Navy, Adrian went to university, and Avery hung out at home with us.  We had effectively given flight to all seven children.  Raising a single child felt like a vacation.  It was fun while it lasted.

In November of 2012 the girls came to be with us, and life has forever changed again.  We are learning how to parent in yet another set of circumstances.  Our new family structure sets to remind us that love really does know no bounds, and anything is possible.  Families come in all shapes and sizes, and presumptions are a waste of time and energy.  If anyone has done the math you have now figured out that the full size of our family numbers 12; two parents, and 10 children.  In our home we currently have a variety of ages; 19, 8, 3, and 2.  (Six of the original seven are off living their adult lives.)  With such a vast range in ages comes a variety of personality types and emotions.  We are learning how to live together and thrive.  Once again we find ourselves a full-time home school family.  We kind of dove in head first.  The kids love it, and so do we.

It took a little more growth, but I can see the blessings more clearly and more quickly now.  The little road bumps in life have become more of a minor inconvenience instead of completely throwing us off track.  Even the big, orange barrels cannot put us off track for long.  The capacity of our heart is limitless if it remains always open.  I knew God led us here, and I remain immensely grateful.  Even with the chaos, the big emotions, the endless change, and all the growth there is not one place in my history that has ever felt more like home.

It is really the greatest gift ever to be where we are geographically speaking.  I love our home, our community, our family, and our friends.  The network we have here is incredible.  Each and every day, even the ones where the struggles seem to dominate, I am SO thankful for everything with which we are blessed.  I choose to see the forest for the trees.  The blessings abound!  Are you looking for yours?  Do you see them?  They ARE there!  Take another step.  A new one is sure to be just around the bend.


Tamera said...

Crazy how fast things change in such a short period of time.

Tina Smith said...

It really is! I never could have imagined, ever.


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