Happy New Everything

Another year is fresh before us, full of excitement, anticipation, hope, and motivation. For what, though?

Yesterday I had to be at church early to sing. A late night in combination with a head cold and an early morning had me sounding a little like Jack Nicholson after a long drag of a cigarette. I didn’t think I could pull off a morning of singing.

I drove to church, continuously trying to clear my throat, and watching the peaceful frozen, frosty flakes of morning falling to the ground. I had arrived early, so admired the morning flurry and the strange beauty it gave the bare trees. I started praying an earnest, overflowing prayer.

I sense it, y’all. This is the year. This is the year I didn’t even know I’ve been waiting for. I have no idea what it holds, but I know I’m ready. I have to be. Happy new everything.

After rehearsal and some coffee, my voice started to turn around and I sounded like myself again. I made it through church and as Hubs took the kids home to get them fed, I detoured to the cemetery.

I wasn’t going to go. It’s a hard line to walk sometimes, wondering if I’m doing the right thing by going. If I go too long between visits, I’m pained with guilt. If I go too often, I feel like I’m a bit needy. So I try to balance my time there, to where I won’t feel anything other than like a loving mother.

I wasn’t going to start my year with the mental battle of what a visit after church would make me feel like, though. So I wasn’t going to go. But I felt this urgent need that could only be met by a cemetery visit. I made the drive down the snow-covered street, turning in through the looming iron gate, and down the path to her spot.

I sat there, silently wishing her a happy new year. “Get out of the car.” I felt my spirit nudging me. But I was wearing church shoes, and nothing at all appropriate for snow-traipsing.

“Get out of the car.”

I hesitated. Eventually, I got out of the car and walked gingerly over the snow to her spot. Her angel solar light and purple metal flower were marking her headstone beneath the snow. I stood there, unsure of why I felt such a need to go visit, then to get out of the car.

“It’s your year, Mama.”

My stomach fluttered. I know, I feel it, too. But Harlynn… We might move. Far away, even. It’s a possibility.

Tears stung my face as the wind hit them rolling down my cheeks. This was why I was supposed to come. I had to reconcile the possibilities of our future with the events of our past, and the reality of our present.

I can’t take it all with me. And that has to be okay.

I wrestled with that, standing there at her gravesite. It’s become a comfortable spot – a place where I know I’m allowed to let any overflow grief work itself out. No one can judge me if I cry while standing at her headstone.

But it’s a new season. It’s a new year. It’s a new everything.

I have to find a new way.

“Happy new year, baby girl.” I blew her a kiss before carefully making my way back to the car. I drove through the cemetery, feeling less weighty. I wished the deer a happy new year, as they bedded in the trees. I wished the turkeys a happy new year as they strutted across the lanes. I wished the squirrels a happy new year as they scampered around.

Back through the iron gates, I drove away in a state of wonder.

What does it mean? When will it happen? How will we know?

I don’t know what this year holds. I know what I want to happen. I know what could happen. I know what might not happen, or what we might have to do instead.

I don’t have a single answer, and I don’t have even the slightest semblance of a plan.

But I know the start of this year means the start of a new everything.

Whether we move away, or stay nearby… whether we pursue big dreams or baby steps… whether my business succeeds a lot or only a little… nothing this year will stay the same as it always was.

The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ~ John 10:10

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland. ~ Isaiah 43:19

I’m trusting the Lord in a way I haven’t before, and in a way I can’t rightly put words to explain. He’s going to make all things new. This year especially. I feel it.

Happy new year. Happy new everything.

Val, What Are You Doing?

It’s a question I ask myself almost every time I begin a post. “What are you doing?” Sometimes I’m asking because I’m not entirely sure what topic I’ll cover or how to get my point across. Other times I’m asking because I’ve overshared (again) and that publish button could mean more embarrassment. (Yet for some reason, that’s never usually a deterrent…) Sometimes, though, it’s a deep and reflective question. Why am I blogging?

I thought I’d make a post to answer exactly that.

Val,  What Are You Doing-

I’ve always loved writing. I used to write family members letters. Up until my great grandmother died in 2006, I tried to write her five or six times a year. English was my favorite subject in school. I love reading almost as much as I love writing. I’m a story teller. I love to recount events that happened, and I love – LOVE – making people laugh. I don’t consider myself a funny person, but sometimes I am able to make people laugh. When I hear their giggles – or especially when I hear their roars – after something I’ve shared, it fills me with butterflies of the best kind.

I also have a bit of a teacher’s heart. I love sharing lessons, points, and take-aways from my own experiences. I love to help people find their a-ha moments. Whether in grief, marriage, or something I didn’t even realize I was helping them with, I love it when I can play a part in someone pursuing the answers they’ve been seeking.

In 2008, I started a blogspot page and decided I was going to share the silly things about my life. I think my first post was about doing situps in my living room in an effort to show my sister I was tougher than her. (I’m not.) I dabbled in it here and there, but was never consistent. Once we had Little Miss (see the deets in my about page), I used the blog as an update venue, to keep friends and family in the loop and to request prayers. I didn’t really find my voice until 2013, however.

I spent a lot of time trying to be either really poignant or really funny, and I spent more time on those focuses than on actually telling my story. In 2013, the night we lost Harlynn, I blogged from the innermost depths of my soul. It was raw, it was real, and it was me. I wasn’t concerned with anything other than sharing my heart.

The loss of my daughter was a turning point for me in a lot of areas of my life. My blog was certainly one of them.

I still share silly stories, and I still get caught up in what will or won’t make people laugh (and truthfully, I never know. My husband reads most my posts totally deadpan, and the things I crack up about, he might crack a smile.). But mostly, when I ask myself “Val, what are you doing?” my answer is: sharing my heart.

I blog about marriage. I blog about parenting. I blog about family. I blog about faith. And my heart is poured into each of those posts. I blog to encourage others, no matter their circumstance. I blog, not to just to give hope, but also validation. I blog to bring authenticity back into relationships. And I blog because sometimes I’ve just gotta share a story or two.

What am I doing? I’m sharing. And I’m so very thankful you’ve decided to stick around. xo

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