be blessed 2017

As 2017 draws closer, I revisit the days of 2016 with amazing gratefulness.  There are so many wonderful gifts that were given to me this year.  Some were miraculous answers to prayers. Others were the result of much hard work, and still others were completely unexpected.  All in all, 2016 was a year of life changes.

To re-cap, we have a HOME.  It wasn’t just that we were able to purchase a house again, it’s the fact that we have a home again. Because our home is located on a small few acres, and has some barns and out buildings, we are enjoying building up our little farm.  Living in the country and having a garden and animals is a childhood dream come true for me.   Our family has experienced the Lord’s goodness in this gift to us.

IMG_3475

I got bonked on the head with a heavy rock in a seriously, silly way.  I walked away with a serious concussion, and with directions to follow up with a neurologist regarding some abnormal brain scans and activity that was seen.  I continue to be seen by neurologists and continue to have some abnormal activity.  At this point, it is not life threatening, but it can be uncomfortable physically for me. It is also something that was brought to our attention only because that rock hit me in the head.  I am super talented at ignoring myself.  This situation is a catalyst for me to make some changes with controlling what I can, regarding my health and well being.  I am ready and excited to be more resourceful to natural healing.  God’s faithfulness during this period of time… and provision of answers and family support has been pure goodness to my soul.

Difficult roads

A sweet surprise for us came in the form of a furry new family member this year.  My husband and I have always wanted a Collie dog.  You know, a dog like Lassie.  Out of the blue, a childhood friend contacted us to see if we could take their Collie.  Because she was accustomed to living on a ranch and we have a farm, it was a great fit and we welcomed her home.  Her name is Glory.  She has been such a gift to our family, and in particular to our son.

Lassie, Rough Coat Collie, Collie

Along with a new dog, we now have chickens and goats. We raised some kittens, who had lost their mama this year as well.  We moved into our home with a dog and cat and two tortoises, but now our menagerie has grown to twenty animals.  It’s really a farm and it is such a blast for our family.   We named our farm – Willow Acres Farm.  We are enjoying our small production of eggs, along with the more than enough production of vegetables that sustains our family.  We are excited to grow things to actually sell this next year.

20161106_080616

Our company, Adoption Center of Hope, continues to grow. We have been blessed with the addition of some amazing women to our team.  There is such joy in witnessing adoptive couples welcome a baby into their family.  There is also incredible fulfillment in actually being given the opportunity to witness to any one of our Expectant Birth Moms and have her put her trust in the Lord.  To God be the glory always.

The first time we held her together. Adoption = It's like being part of a miracle.

The first time we held her together. Adoption = It’s like being part of a miracle.

My years of adoption work and ministry have fulfilled me like no other.  I continue to be fully committed to that work and calling.  The events of this past year have gifted me with a desire to utilize some of the other gifts that God has given me as well.  The most obvious one is my writing… which is like therapy and fun for me at the same time.  The starting of my blog – www.BacktoBasicsMom.com is so excitingly, overwhelmingly, terrifying for me that I almost can’t stand it.  It may not be anything much to anybody else, but for me, it like taking a huge step out into the unknown, with very little confidence and sharing in a very public arena. To be honest, I do not know what the heck I am doing, but I believe that it will evolve into what it is supposed to be if I just keep on going. So I am going to keep on going.  Like Dory’s famed “keep on swimming”, I will just keep on writing.  I hope you will keep on reading.

Prepare your heart, prepare your goals, prepare

Lastly, but certainly only because this event overshadowed all of the goodness of this past year – was the birth of our first grandchild, Finn.  This boy is the most adorable child and has stolen our hearts and given us joy that words cannot even begin to express.  What a blessing this baby is to our family. I was created to be a MiMi.

IMG_2833

2016 was a year of life changes and tremendous blessing.  As the end of the year sprung in front of me, I found myself in a rush to set my final goals and plans for 2017 before it got here.  This week, the last week of the year is typically a planning week for me, but I happened to be laid out flat with the worst flu I have experienced in twenty years.  It was an awesome gift.  I was reminded that it is always good to be prayerful and responsible and to utilize your God given gifts.  It is good to have dreams and it’s even okay to desire and plan and work to be the best you are being called to be – emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Here’s the good news. God has a plan for you in spite of all the plans you make.  It is clear to me that my Heavenly Father is the best surprise giver in the universe.  He does it so well.    It is good for us to plan and prepare and ready ourselves, but don’t stress if you don’t have all of your goals perfectly mapped out for the next year by midnight tonight.

Take a deep breath and be prayerful over the areas in your life that need the most attention. This coming year, my health is the priority for me.   For years though, for my husband and myself – it was our financial position.  We previously had so much and then suddenly, we lost it all. It has taken the last eight years of planning, working and praying and honestly, so many tears.  There were times when we didn’t know how we would get through, but God saw us through.  That is the key to any of life’s goals, plans or surprises… God will provide you with answers, courage, strength, peace and comfort.  We don’t know what 2017 will bring.  Certainly, we hope for good things and I absolutely believe we should plan for that.  I won’t trivialize anybody’s hardships either.  I can only encourage that there can be joyful lessons and life changing, for the better, take-aways from times of loss and even big rocks hitting you in the head.

No matter where you are, what season you are in, what you have planned or what direction you are taken, be blessed in 2017.

IMG_4074