Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 I hate you then I love you then I love you then I hate you...then I love you

I started writing a 2013 review blog, and I have to be honest--it was terrible.  Not that I'm the most talented writer or the most enlightening communicator....but my 2013 blog was just plain depressing.  I started recounting all of the nasty things that happened and maybe a little bit of the good things here and there, and as I was editing I realized that it was very imbalanced.  How easy it is to focus on the negative!  The negative is more interesting, the negative is more entertaining, the negative is easier to remember and easier to dwell on.  Right?  So instead I decided that for the top 5 negative things that happened in 2013 I would write 3 positive things that happened or were a result of the negative thing.  Most of you know 2013 was a hard year for us in many ways.  But I want to finish 2013 not by focusing on the negative, but on our blessings.  Sometimes they were hard to see in the midst of the pain, the tears, the heartbreak, the confusion...but they were there.  As you can see right here, they were there.  Which is why I both hate and love 2013.

#5 Johnny lost his job

1. Johnny has the interview experience of a champion
2. Johnny gained the confidence to realize his potential in ministry
3. Johnny started Discover Family Church

#4 Sarah quit her job

1. Sarah's new job has less stress
2. Sarah's new job has better salary and benefits
3. Sarah's new job allows much more family and friends time

#3 Sarah and Johnny had no steady income for 3 months

1. Johnny's summer speaking engagements paid more than expected
2. Sarah, Johnny, and Arlis never went without a meal or diapers or milk
3. Sarah and Johnny's bills were paid on time every month

#2 Sarah and Johnny moved out of their house and subsequently had nowhere to live

1. Sarah, Johnny, and Arlis spent quality time with Kim and Betty
2. Sarah and Johnny have rental income from renting their home
3. Sarah and Johnny now live in the perfect little condo and are saving lots of money

#1 Sarah and Johnny lost Baby Blueberry

1. Sarah and Johnny now have valuable wisdom and experience regarding miscarriage and loss
2. Sarah and Johnny have a lot of family and friends who love them
3. Sarah and Johnny are stronger than they thought they were

I won't even pretend that these positive things were always apparent.  But what was apparent and so clear was God's grace.  We made mistakes this year...we were so disappointed in ourselves and in our circumstances, and sometimes on top of that we were criticized by others, which made that feeling even worse...but thank GOD for his grace, made perfect in our weakness as Paul so eloquently wrote in 2 Corinthians.  We most certainly were weak this year, but that weakness has positioned us for Christ to work more deeply in our family and in our ministry.  Though this year has been one of our hardest it has not left us discouraged or defeated.  Instead it has left us with confidence to walk boldly and intentionally into 2014 knowing that we can rest assuredly in God's grace.  It has left us even more determined to accomplish the goals of 2014.  I'm excited that 2013 is over, but I'm even more excited to use what we learned this year to make next year even better.  Thank you, friends, for your support and love this year.  It has meant more than you will ever know.  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Celebrating Baby Arlis

I hate to say it, but I'm one of "those" moms.  I love talking about my baby.  I love showing people pictures and videos of him.  I love posting on Facebook every last adorable thing that he says or does.  I'm sure I've been blocked by lots of my cyber-friends due to my motherhood.  I always said I wouldn't be one of "those" moms....when I was single and childless.  I think the fact that I waited so long to get married and start a family makes me even more one of "those" moms.  I'm excited to be doing this.  I'm in love with being a mom.

I am blessed with a little man, Arlis James Kelley.  He is now 2 years old.

When Arlis was first born, a week would go by and I would panic.  Newborns are newborns for just a flicker of time and between figuring out what in the world this little creature needed from me and how to feed him and dress him and keep him from harm...I felt like I was rushing all the time.  Then I would sit and cry as I realized how I rushed through the week and my newborn was a week older.  He wasn't going to make those precious, squeaky sounds forever.  He wasn't going to let me hold him while he slept for the rest of his life.  On top of it all, when you are a new parent, you get SO much unsolicited advice from SO many people....you better enjoy this and you better enjoy that because they won't be this young/cute/cuddly/sweet/small/good/nice-smelling forever....as red strobe lights and alarms explode in your head and more sand empties from the proverbial hourglass.

Finally Jonathan and I sat down and decided we would take every day and live it for what it was worth. While Arlis was a little slug, we would enjoy him being a slug.  And when he got older we wouldn't regret that he wasn't a slug, but celebrate that his personality was emerging...and then he was smiling....and then crawling, creeping, walking, talking.  On each step, instead of mourning the loss of the last step, we were joyful about his accomplishment and the new chapter.  Yes, they do grow up quickly.  But instead of regretting this fact that we can't change, we decided to embrace it....which is why I'm one of "those" moms.

And now my little spawn...Baby Arlis...isn't a baby.  I have to be honest, part of me is like, hm!  You embracing this?  How's that working for ya now?  He's a little boy and the Baby is almost gone.  I had lunch this week with a friend I hadn't seen in 10 years.  She wanted to see all the pictures of Arlis that I had.  As she scrolled through them it was kind of like a review of his little life.  I was both incredibly happy and proud of my boy but I'll admit it, I also was a bit wistful.  He's my baby.  The little human who made me a mother. It's tough to say goodbye to these precious days.  But I'm choosing to embrace it.  So here is a little review of Arlis's second year.  To CELEBRATE!

December 2012

Learned To Dance 

                   Had Too Much Christmas               

January 2013

First Football Practice

Jammed On His Keyboard

February 2013

First Solo

First Baby Powder Incident

Trip To The Florida Aquarium With Meme & Pepe

March 2013

Had Some Disney Fun

                                                         Flirted With The Ladies

First Haircut

April 2013

                   Read Some Books                   
Got Ear Tubes :(

Played In the Rain

May 2013

Danced The Polka In Germany At Epcot

Said "I Love You"

Learned What The Letter "D" Says

Enjoyed Playing His Instruments

June 2013

Counted To 6

Took Pappy's Truck For A Spin

Played Piano With Amelia

Got In touch With His Inner Cowboy

July 2013

Spent Time With Amelia

First Time On The Slip N Slide

Lived It Up In Miami

August 2013

Had A Nuclear Baby Powder Incident

First Coconut Race

Enjoyed The Sunshine...In Daddy's Glasses

Swept Up With Amelia

September 2013

Sat On Pappy's Harley

Attended Pappy's Last Kidtricity Service

Spent Lots Of Time With Pappy & YaYa

October 2013

Painted A Pumpkin

Was The Count For Halloween

                                                          Got His First Soccer Ball

November 2013

Flew Planes With Pepe

Super Baby!  Big Boy!

Used the potty! (No pic needed)

December 2013

Became a little boy.  Happy Birthday, Arlis!  We love you!