Did you choose a 2016 One Word? Where did that One Word take you? Did you stick with that One Word, meditating on it throughout the year? I thought I’d do a follow-up for my One Word for 2016.
Based on my experiences in 2015, I chose “Bloom” for my 2016 One Word.
2015 was, quite miraculously, one of the most stable years for us since having our first child in 2005. My children and I were medically “stable”. My husband’s work was “stable”.
We accepted the fact that were done having babies. I was learning to better balance my roles as the “schoolmarm” who sticks to a (relaxed) routine with academics and the “fun mom” who reads to her kids and gets crafty once in a while.
For the first time in several years, I wasn’t going from giving birth to becoming pregnant again within a few months of each other. We were in a really great place in our marriage.
I was finding stability and my place in the blogging world and as a “work-from-home-mom”. Things were pretty good.
And looking forward to 2016, I had only hoped for things to get better. I wanted to “bloom in 2016″… as a child of God, wife, mother, and entrepreneur. And, I did. But, not in the ways I anticipated.
Looking back at 2016, I can definitely say I bloomed in the ways God wanted me to. I was stretched and tested and brought to my knees more than I can count. In addition to the personal challenges we faced, my social skills were challenged as a major introvert.
I stepped out of my comfort zone in 2016 more than ever before as I worked from home as a Sole Proprietor / Independent Contractor. I put a lot of time & effort into paid freelance writing work, being a Virtual Assistant, working on growing this blog (writing and sharing with you all, partnering with brands to share reviews & giveaways, and managing my affiliate marketing), being a Lilla Rose Independent Stylist, an Usborne Books & More Independent Consultant, and I worked as a social media promoter and blogger for our local homeschool conference in the summer (for the 2nd year in a row).
I learned so much, I met amazing ladies, worked with awesome brands, and made exciting connections with even more brands (and nerve-racking business phone calls, lol) over the last 12 months. It’s been a fun ride.
Through all of that crazy, busy, fun stuff I also realized that I needed to refocus and prioritize my time. I needed to give more time and priority to my husband and kids.
It was a struggle for my flesh to give up what I thought were “great opportunities”, but in the end, I was very relieved to give up my freelance writing and virtual assistant positions at the end of July. And I was/am at peace with it.
I thought I was giving up those positions to have more “free time” with my kids. And, for the month of August (our only full month of summer break from homeschool), we DID relax and enjoy our time together (so thankful!)! In fact, things were so stable medically, that we started going to church regularly for the first time in years and were able to attend 3 weeks in a row!
However, by September, we were hit with a horrible virus. That virus worked its way through all 9 of us, caused weight loss for our youngest son, and landed our medically fragile, special needs oldest daughter in the hospital with a bacterial lung infection! Sigh!
Oh yeah! THAT’S why we stopped going to church in the first place 🙁 (we do home church and online church). She spent a total of 15 days inpatient through September/October and was sent home with oxygen support, a suctioning machine, a cough assist machine, long-term antibiotics for her lung infection, several follow-up appointments with new specialists, and a whole new (busy) schedule for us to adjust to.
It has been a hard few months. Our daughter is still not well, our son never gained back the weight he lost, and things are just plain tough. Prayers for them (and us) are appreciated. Good health is not something to take for granted!
So… through all of those experiences, I did bloom and have been shaped and molded by God’s hand into the person He wants me to be *right now*.
In some areas, I am nowhere near where I thought I’d be with my business, but I have reached a few goals I set for my business. I am thankful for the gains and do not regret the lost opportunities.
My first calling is to be a homemaker: as a child of God, wife, and (homeschooling) mom. And, I am so blessed by my position! So, in the end, I did grow (bloom) in most of the areas I had hoped to in 2016! To God be the glory!