If you are wondering about the status of my 2010 Christmas letter, rest assured that you didn't miss it.
Because it doesn't exist.
I had planned on getting one out in some fashion for 2010.
But sometimes plans just don't cooperate with reality.
Somehow, that seemed to be a theme weaved throughout the year 2010 for me.
And as I look back, I'm thinking that maybe that is okay.
The kids and I started last year out in a new home.
I had spent the last half of 2009 looking to rent or buy a home in the country that was still within our current school district. Places we looked at were either not in my price range or not in our district. By November of 2009, my (step)dad had been doing some work for a lady who owns properties in Durant and she had a house coming open in December. It is not a home in the country; however, it is an old farmhouse on the edge of town.
While this wasn't what I had been planning for, it turns out to be better. We rent a house that was probably a farmhouse when it was first built. It is on a fairly quiet street on the edge of town and I have great GREAT neighbors. We fit well in this house and the kids can ride their bikes or walk over even when they are staying at their dad's house. (this has turned out to be an important plus)
I'm happy that my plans didn't work out.
I started out the year working at a local printing company.
I did a variety of jobs at Images in Ink. From basically making copies, to editing to writing ad copy. I really enjoyed some of the behind the scenes work at the printing company as well. There is an art to working at a place like this. I liked going to work.
It was sometime in early February when my work there ended. Unfortunately.
I woke up one morning in excruciating pain.
If you have never felt nerve pain, then let me just tell you that it is the worst physical pain that I have ever felt.
(Not to discount emotional pain and heartache. It's just that now I can say that I've felt the worst of both. As far as God has let me experience.)
The pain I felt was shooting down my right arm. I was weak and could not do anything with it.
My employer would not let me come to work until I had a full release.
The long-story-short is that it took me 7 weeks of jumping through medical insurance hoops to find out what I already knew: A herniated disk was causing the nerve pain in my arm.
The answer: surgery.
The last of March I underwent a spinal fusion between C6 and C7 in my neck.
For 6 weeks I wore a neck brace, didn't drive, didn't lift anything over 5 pounds and generally spent my time.....sitting around.
And not able to physically do anything.
I had a lot of time to spend with myself.
And with God.
And it wasn't the best time I have had in my life.
I had to depend on other people to help me out.
Surgery was a success.
No more pain in my arm.
I got a full release from the University of Iowa by the end of June.
I also learned that my job at the printing company no longer existed.
That didn't really fit in with my plans.
I spent the rest of the summer at all of the kids' ball games and looking for jobs.
The ball games part turned out to be great fun!
The job-hunting wasn't so much fun.
As it turned out, a lady that I had reconnected with at the Quad Cities Christian Writers' Conference had introduced me to someone she knew who did a lot of online writing. I was able to learn how to do this and make some money while writing online. From home.
Not the "writing" route I thought I would ever take. But it is turning out to be profitable.
And I did find a local job once the kids went to school working as a cook at a coffee shop in town.
It turns out that I am pretty good at cooking multiple orders and for a crowd.
Who'd a thunk it?
Job wise...I am working as a cook at lunch time and writing articles for online outlets throughout the rest of the week.
It is a good fit for me right now.
Definitely not ANYTHING I had hoped or planned for.....
I had an opportunity to become involved with a ministry for women in crisis this last year. It seemed so right. So perfect. So....exactly what I would have loved to write and speak about.
But the finances were not there. Meaning.....maybe it wasn't the right thing.
But the opportunity planted a seed.
And it is something that I may be able to do in the future.....but not exactly the way I thought it would work out this summer.
I have to sort of think that maybe this is part of a bigger plan as well????
I still continue to pursue print publication. I have had articles published in LA Family Magazine, The Virginia Child Guide and Texas Suburban Parent Magazine.
So far, this is all about me......
.....and I am just not me without my kids.
So I gotta talk about them.
This is one busy guy.
Nathan is in 8th grade.
Summer was spent mowing lawns, playing baseball and golfing.
This fall he was the quaterback of his football team.
After Christmas break, he will be starting his basketball season.
And taking his test to get his drivers' permit.
I'm not sure when or how it exactly happened....but I think it went something like this:
One day, I blinked.
And my baby boy grew up into a handsome young man.
He takes such good care of his mama and his sisters.
I do not know what I ever did to deserve such a gift.
Is in 7th grade this year.
Fully enjoying Jr. High.
She was busy playing sports this year too.
ASA softball this summer.
And her 7th grade basketball team just finished their season going undefeated.
She loves (loves loves) to read. Over the summer she would have her nose in a book every spare minute she had.
Marz helps me out a ton with the little girls.
And she is probably my best friend.
I'm not sure exactly when or how it happened....but I think I did something silly....like blink my eyes
.....and she went from being my baby girl to a beautiful young lady.
No idea what I ever did to deserve such a precious gift in Marisa.
Something about this girl makes me smile and want to pull my hair out all at the same time.
She is tough, strong willed, smart and beautiful.
She is sort of a comedian....always quick with an off-the-wall one-liner.
She always seems to know what she wants and stops at nothing to get it.
Claire-bear is in 4th grade this year.
She plays basketball and softball and loves being a part of girl scouts.
This girl likes to "hang out" with her friends.
I'm keeping a really close eye on her. Becuase I'm afraid that I am going to do that blinking thing again....
....and my little girl won't be my little girl anymore.
This kid challenges me to be a better mama and a better person.
I am not deserving of such a gift as I have in Claire.
My baby is in 3rd grade.
(I can't believe my baby is in 3rd grade!)
She's all beauty and brains....but she uses her "baby-of-the-family" status to get what she wants.
She was busy with softball this year...and is going to start her first basketball season after Christmas.
Recently she was wondering what someone who is sort of a tomboy but likes to wear earings and nail polish is called.
I don't have a name to describe this other than to say this is what I call "Danielle."
I'm just so sure that my baby girl will always be my baby girl. But just in case....I'm not gonna blink.
I'm a lucky mama to have been given this precious baby girl.
She's not a baby anymore....but I'm choosing to live a little while longer in denial about this.
Denial is a gift too.
I have some new year's resolutions.
But I am hesitant to say what they are.....as I've learned my lesson when it comes to plans.
Needless to say, my resolutions revolve around those I love.
For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord.
Plans to prosper you and not harm you
Plans to give you hope and a future.