It's been good to have the kids back in school.
There's room in my brain now for some quiet introspection. I've needed that.
I wrote about the challenge of this past summer - how I struggled as a mom to know quite how to meet the needs of my growing kids. How they don't really need me - but need me more than ever. How confusing is that? Believe me, it's a weird place to be.
And then, since the store closed in May, I've felt a little lost - wondering how to spend my time - working through the difference in income I've been forced into - learning to manage our budget differently without the cushion of the money I used to make teaching.
I had to work through Kyler's first girlfriend - a challenge I wasn't completely ready for - and one that knocked me out for a few days as I pondered the reality of wanting to support him and validate his feelings while knowing it would only lead to heartache. How do you do that?
I didn't particularly do any of this well.
In fact, I would venture to say I failed miserably at it.
Which led to some pretty serious stress levels for me. And some unforgiveable crankiness. And a lot of tears.
But now - after some good discussions with Asia and some time talking to God and a couple of good books - I feel like I'm on the other side of this yucky phase.
And I'm starting to feel a teeny bit normal again.
And a little excited about the future.
I have direction. And focus. And hope.
I realize how good I have it. I will not complain - because I am incredibly blessed.
But I'm also pretty dark and twisty. A pessimist. Often overwhelmed by my circumstances. And prone to get caught up in my emotions.
I'm so thankful for my patient and forgiving husband. And my kids, who amazingly love me through all my crazy-bad-mommy moments.
And thankful that God really never ever leaves me.
And that his mercies are new every morning.
Hope is a good thing.
I certainly won't pretend to have anything figured out. But it's good to find myself with a fresh perspective.
So I'll erect a little monument today to hope found.
I'll place another rock on the pile of stories that make up my life.
And as I find a place for it to settle in amidst the other rocks, I'll praise God for all the struggles that each rock represents - and the peace that comes after the storm - and the faith to believe it is all working for my good.
I do believe it.
And so I have this pile of stones to remember....