Hey there! So, I’m going to get personal today. I don’t often do that on the ol’ blog, but sometimes it’s nice to air things out and show a bit more of myself. If you’re only interested in projects and recipes, just skip on past this post and stay-tuned next week for more of what you’re used to. 😉
My sister-in-law has had a Word of the Year for the past few years. I think she was ahead of the curve, though, because I’m just now noticing posts about this popping up around the web. In any case, I really like the idea because it’s more fluid than a New Year’s Resolution and can have more of a spiritual/emotional growth aspect to it, as opposed to “floss more regularly” (which just happens to be a resolution of mine every year). Anyway, this year seemed to be an appropriate time to try out the whole Word of the Year thing seeing as how…
My husband has recently gone from full-time employment to self-employment. Oh boy. This wasn’t exactly a change we were planning on, but be that as it may, I think it will turn out for the best in the end. He has always dreamed of being a general contractor, and now he’s on track to realize that dream. I couldn’t be happier for him, and I’m excited for us as a family. However, if any of you are self-employed, then you know that the first few years are downright terrifying. We are on a steep learning curve, trying to figure out taxes, bookkeeping, marketing strategies, and best practices in general for the business, not to mention trying to keep our heads above water financially and learning the joys of exploring health care options. It’s been a journey. We are taking it one day at a time and for the most part, staying positive, but I won’t lie. A lot of days we’re basically just “white-knucklin'” it.
Because of our new, tighter budget, I have taken on some work. I’m now writing and editing on a freelance basis for some local publications, and I just got a gig as About.com’s new Home Accessories expert. I’m so excited about this opportunity. I have been hoping and praying to be able to stay home with our kids for one more year. Although these gigs don’t pay a lot of money, they should help out with health insurance and groceries enough so that I can still be home with our soon-to-be kindergartener next year. I don’t have to tell you working moms out there that this has been quite the adjustment! How do you guys do it? I’m really stretched thin, between helping out with the family business, writing, blogging, taking care of the house, and of course being a mom, I’m pretty sure I’ve dropped some balls. Here’s hoping I’ll learn how to juggle them all as time goes on.
Finally, amidst all of these changes, our family has become more heavily involved in church, and this has actually been the most profound change for us in some ways. We have needed a touchstone now more than ever, and have finally committed to finding it. With our kids getting older, both my husband and I had been giving a lot of lip service to going to church; but, up ’till now, hadn’t done anything about it. Then, we found a great fit at a church here in town. Our kids began participating in choir, and I was invited to join a Bible study. I grew up in church, but for various reasons have resisted becoming meaningfully involved in one for a long time. That’s why when I walked into the Bible study, I was very trepidatious and even a little skeptical about what I was doing there. Especially, when I was the youngest one by about 40 years. But, I chose to have an open mind and I was so rewarded. As I sat there listening to the lessons, I started to feel my mind unlock a little. For so long, I have lived in a bit of a bubble. Being a stay-at-home mom will do that, I think. It can be very isolating. More recently, I have been so focused on the new day-to-day struggles of our family. But sitting there in that church basement, I remembered what it felt like to learn something new, and I began to feel like I was a part of the world again, if that makes any sense. Honestly, I wasn’t aware that piece of my life was missing until I found it again; but, if I hadn’t tried something new, I would’ve gone a long time, I think, without realizing how closed off I had become.
Then I thought of what my Word of the Year should be. STRETCH. Yes, this year I’m going to need to stretch our finances, my patience, and my time. But I also like the idea because I’m stretching the boundaries of my comfort zone by being self-employed. (I’m the type of person who would really prefer the safety of a regular 9 to 5, but I’m learning that may not be how our dreams are reached.) And lastly, if I hadn’t stretched myself to attend that first Bible study, I wouldn’t have felt all of these opportunities opening up before me. So STRETCH it is. And reach we shall.