2013 is coming to a close and so I'd thought I'd take a minute to reflect on my past year. To sum it up: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Okay, maybe that is a little dramatic but it does get the general point across.

Overall, I think this year had me striving for balance. And in some areas, I think I managed it. Balancing the needs of two kids, my needs as a person versus my responsibilities as a wife and mother and my ideals versus the reality of the situation are some of the biggest struggles of this year but looking back I'd say that overall, I did pretty well. In fact, I think this year was the first that I felt really "in my skin" as a mom. I was able to stop doing things because I had researched all about it and made a deliberate decision and started just being me. Not that my previous approach was necessarily wrong or that I was not being genuine in it or that I don't have more learning to do, but more so that I've kinda hit my stride - at least in this stage of parenting. I don't think I'm explaining it well but I know what I mean.

I think a big part of that has to do with some of the goals I was able to meet - mostly being back in a regular routine of bible memory and study. It's (not really at all) crazy how much of a difference that makes in my mothering. Actually, it makes a big difference in all my relationships but parenting is probably the most demanding and the one that is most prone to exposing my sins so the difference shows itself the most there. Being able to control myself really helps when I'm trying to teach a certain three year old how to control herself.

I also feel like this year was a big one in terms of our really becoming a part of the community and our church. This is now the place I've lived the longest at one time (good ol' College Station being the second and still the winner if you count up the different segments). I did find myself feeling a bit weird this summer, antsy perhaps, but traveling and planning on future travels helped that which is good because I really do like it here and want to stick around for a while. I don't regret being a brat but I also want my kids to have some of the roots I didn't.

There have also been a few missteps and mountains to climb this year. I made a few bad decisions in terms of outside commitments and the rest of my family had to pay for that in my stressful responses. Here's hoping I learn from that mistake and don't repeat it in the future - again, striving for that balance of being a part of a community and giving to it without sacrificing more than I should. This year I had to pay for my mistakes by sacrificing time for other friendships and that hurt. Luckily my friends are pretty great so I don't think they took it personally but were praying for me to get through that season so I could hang out with them again!

 We've also had some big struggles with Jonah's weight gain, my having some health issues myself and now Lucy having some trouble. None of it is too terrible but added up, it is draining and feels like it keeps coming and as soon as I get one problem even temporarily held back, another crack in our health starts up. I'm Lucy shoving chocolates in my hat and shirt but someone just turned up the conveyor belt. And whereas six months ago I probably would have said that I was doing good balancing healthful eating/nutrition with not making food more important that relationships or allowing it to be a stress inducing idol, some of these health issues now have me rethinking that. As much as I agree with the 80/20 rule of eating well, our reality may be different. I think we're about to make some dietary changes that I don't think I necessarily have the energy to make - but I might not have that energy until I make them. It's a conundrum to say the least.

But looking back on the year as a whole, the bad points were superficial and the good ones were the ones that matter - I've got good friends, a wonderful family and a God that is good enough to led me where he wants to go and give me rest in Him when I need it. So life is good.

For more reflections or to link up your own, head over to Fisher Academy International.

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