Friday, October 16, 2020

Not-so 5-Minute Friday: Hold

 It has been 7 months since life entered a sort-of holding pattern.  Things have fallen apart... and come back together... for many of us. The challenges this year have felt like an old, warn hat after 2019 and the constant problems our family faced then. Last year, from beginning to end, there was one disaster after another around our home, interpersonal challenges and even marriage problems. As we prayed to welcome in 2020 at the stroke of midnight, December slipping into January and a whole new year, I broke into tears. I was overwhelmed with emotion but excited to behold new hope, new possibility... and to say good-bye to the hard challenges we had endured through the 12 months prior.

2020 looked bright. Brenden was to become engaged to a wonderful girl, my youngest was graduating high school and her and I were looking forward to a maiden voyage to Florida. Best of all, hubby was starting a new and lucrative position at work. For the first time in our lives we were going to have the relief of not living paycheck-to-paycheck and finally having the financial freedom to go places and do things normally off-limits in our tight financial sphere. Add to this, while I was really going to miss homeschooling, I was looking forward to new opportunities for my time opening up.

By February, though, whispers suggested we were in for another rough haul. Come spring, the stress and strain broke Brenden's engagement as lock-downs began to roll across the country and panic gripped his sweet young girl's mind, making her unable to cope or hear reason. Brooke experienced stress and anxiety as of her milestone senior year moments were canceled: prom, church lock-ins and retreats, final youth group activities and so on. I spent countless days and nights seeking to comfort her broken spirit. She felt hopeless as her present, and possibilities for the future, were stripped away. 

Just when we thought we had take the brunt of the strain, hubby's new position was tossed into the can as the company cut ALL possible employees. That brief glimmer of finally finding financial security was snuffed out. My own stress and anxiety mounted amidst protestors calling our kind "privileged" and insinuating how "easy" we had it. I've never been privileged, I grew up poorer, with less opportunity and continued challenges, than many who were shouting. I've always had an uphill battle, life has been anything but easy, and the one time we finally felt like we were on level ground... it was ripped away, leaving us to grapple with the fact that hubby is only 15 years from retirement and his position was providing security for our fast-approaching "golden years".

 It took time to process.  Time to really make amends with all the hurt and frustration and not be angry with the chaos of society around us and the leaders whose decisions were (and still are) progressively destroying lives. Yet, in the midst of the din, there was always that One Voice, pulling me back to reason and hope. 

I can't imagine this journey without Christ's arms firmly around me, God reminding me how he has always and would always hold my life and our future in the palm of His mighty hands. Jobs are nice for security, but the greatest security we can know is that He has nothing but good plans for those who believe and trust in Him. 

He showed me peace in how, even if the young girl Brenden found seemed perfect for Him, God vetted her according to His plans. My son will heal, is healing, wiser and stronger in his faith than ever. And Brooke? She has endured the hard lessons of learning how to lean not on her own understanding and relationships with others and instead lean solidly on God's and her relationship with Him. She found she was stronger than she thought she was and I watched as she discovered how to listen more closely to His perfect Voice.

Unemployment comp has helped.  Stimulus has provided adventure and opportunity. After my daughter's graduation party it was firmly decided that my mother-in-law was long overdue to sell her home and move in with us. Living in Northwestern Montana where we had drawn her in 21 years ago, her health has been declining and it was no longer wise for her to continue on alone. My brother-in-law moved away a few years ago and we have been in South-central for 7 years... this too God had worked out.

Our home was purchased with someday having her here in mind. The upside of all this year's chaos was a super quick sell of MIL's mobile home for 2x its value and a substantial investment in squaring away her living quarters here.... my art studio converted to a studio apartment! Hubby's time off allowed him to do much of the work and take multiple trips with me across state to pack and move... something which wouldn't have been possible had he been working.

It was a crazy summer with the construction work, big move, and settling in... but it was a good crazy. God used it to help me transition from feeling under a cloud of ongoing oppression to possibility and a new season of life welcoming this opportunity to care for someone we love as she struggles in aging.

I've wrestled with schedules, tried to figure out writing, attempted to understand what all is expected of me right now in life, in home and in family. Yet, somehow, it is no longer dark or daunting. I'm no longer upset or hurt. I still don't have all the answers... we still are working out the kinks in job and marriage and a "new" family member in our household.... but I feel like we are right where we should be.

I've been trying to see and shimmy time into place to begin regular blogging again. Like swimming, the hardest part is getting in... sometimes you just have to JUMP. No rhyme or reason or process... just get wet, head-to-toe and once you float back up to the top, you begin to stroke along! HOLD and Five-Minute-Friday seemed the big jump time!

Not for a minute, have I thought it was time to quit writing. I imagine I am a bit rusty and my words here don't flow quite how I might like (and I know for certain I am way over the 5 minutes!!). Yet, as much as I hate the latest saying, it is so true: we are all in this together. My 2019 is everyone's 2020 and, while I don't wish this on anyone, I do believe we can more candidly and wholeheartedly be there for each other. Trudging through this messy thing called "life" and reminding each other: we are Held by the steadiest most secure hands in the universe, His plans will prevail. 

So, as I still try to shimmy new-season-new-life schedules into place and juggling the complexities of changing relationships, I do hope to start kicking regular content back up. Thanks for reading to the end. Drop a note below if you find you have been struggling almost to capacity this year and share if you have witnessed God's mighty arms holding you close through it all!

Love and blessings,




*Posting today with the Five Minute Friday crew, go check out other great posts (likely shorter and written within the time allotted!!!) Also, check out my "Link-ups" tab for other great sharing parties!

Marvelous Moments since I've been away:

The youngest 3 finally got their licenses! Well, "finally" for Ashley who is now 22 and Brenden who turned 20... but Brooke is spot-on at 17.... long story as to why all at once and why it took so long!
Brooke and Brenden quickly found their first cars.... thank you Lord for stimulus + "essential worker" job savings.

Stimulus and mad-rushes on grocery supplies turned this "accidental" gardener into a full-on backyard farmer!

What's a girl to do when Senior year ends up in quarantine?

One blessing... people began to come out of the woodwork by May to try and give the seniors something more memorable than toilet paper shortages and mask mandates! 

Krispy Kreme did a FREE dozen donuts if you came in wearing grad gear (she opted for her grad mouse ears from our Disney trip in February)... 

...her youth group leaders made house-calls on graduation weekend with balloons and gourmet cookies...

...the church offered a professional photographer who donated her time and free digital photos of the grads, their families and their senior youth group friends the same Sunday they opened the stage for grads to "walk" and receive a special gift from their youth pastor. It wasn't prom or lock-ins or retreats or hang-outs... but it was special and memorable. 
Grad party was postponed a month due to lock-downs and even then, only a few showed up but we still made the best of it, especially since my oldest got the time off and made the treck from Arizona.
Shenanegans insued!!
The studio transformation....
...before her furnature was moved in. Complete with cat walks for her FIVE cats!! 
We traveled back-and-forth across Montana multiple times this summer managing MIL's big move. Above we got in on selfie mode at Flathead Lake which he hadn't seen since we left 7 years ago (yes, I'm taller than my husband!!) and on one of our return trips we had our first ever night away with NO kids in well over 20 years when we stayed in Dillon, MT and visited and old ghost town in Bannack - Montana's first state capital!


Hubby turned the big 5-0 in September so we packed my visiting nephew, mother-in-law and the youngest two "kids" in the car and celebrated at Mount Rushmore...

...a total bucket-list moment for my husband (my 3rd visit)
Brooke took a second job as a Teacher's Assistant at a Christian preschool in order to determine if this may become a degree pursuit for her next fall. She also took up bigger and more detailed projects in painting.

I guess you could say, the "sky" is the limit!!

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  1. What a testimony. It is crazy bonkers but God is holding us through this. Glad you shared. Visiting from fmf #6 X

    1. Thank you for stopping by! So grateful we have a good God to get us through.

  2. Great job. You're back! Maybe a little more weary but certainly a lot more polished. Through the fires ... Great family. Great pictures. While we may be under a cloud, we're enjoying the rain.

    1. Thank you! And, yes, dancing in the rain is more like it!! ;-)

  3. Love this post, and the pictures/updates of your family members. They're a beautiful bunch.
    (Visiting from #39)

    1. Thank you! They are a blessing to me <3 Thanks for stopping by!