Monday, November 30, 2020

One Word for 2021

At the beginning of a year, I often make goals or settle on a word to focus on in the coming months. In 2019, I felt God leading me to focus on the word "ASK." I wrote a post all about this word and what it meant to me. Essentially, I focused on "ask" because I had come to realize that my prayers weren't very deep. I had stopped asking God for things that actually required some faith. 

In 2019, I started asking God for more and stretching my faith. It had an amazing result and was the perfect word for me. 

This year, I really didn't have a word to focus on. I had some things I wanted to pray about and goals to achieve. Some of these included: keeping my weight off, praying for Jaycee to stay healthy, embracing turning 40 this year, and taking a family vacation. Thankfully, our family vacation was in February so we got to enjoy it! Keeping my weight off proved difficult in quarantine, but I kept the majority of my weight off. 

I don't have to begin to explain 2020 to any of you. It was challenging for a dozen reasons. I think "survival" was my word looking back- just kidding. I did learn much about myself in the chaos of 2020, and hopefully I will grow from it. I feel more prepared for challenges that I foresee coming in 2021. 

In 2021, I have one word that I will be using to guide me through the year. When Sandra Peoples, an author, speaker, and leader in the special-needs/Christian world, asked if anyone wanted to participate in an online conference and share their one word for 2021, I knew I had something to share. 

I will be one of 21 different people sharing their one word for the upcoming year. The conference is geared towards moms of children with special needs. However, many more people would benefit from the wisdom and truths that will be shared. 

The cost for the conference is $15, and you will have access to all the videos during the conference December 28- January1st. You can save $3 by entering my name in the promo code box! 

I hope you consider "attending" the online conference, setting yourself in a position to receive from God, and be encouraged to start 2021 off right! 

To sign up for the conference, CLICK HERE! Remember to use the promo code: Evana

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

Being Thankful, Even in All of This

This year, right?

I mean, this year has been a humdinger! Who would have predicted any of the craziness happening in the world right now? Eight months into this pandemic, I still cannot believe I am wearing a mask into a store to go grocery shopping. 

Nothing could have prepared me for the major changes in life this year. Change-there's a word I despise. I do not like change. I love routines and schedules, and I passed this trait down to my children. I remember when Elijah was in preschool and he asked me why I had called him to the dinner table at 4:58 and not 5:00. 

As a person who loves routine, 2020 has been challenging. My job suddenly shut down in March, which was a major change for me. Not to mention too that my income was less than I anticipated for months. Then, I was thrown into providing speech therapy via telehealth, something I never envisioned myself doing. Learning the rules and tricks to do telehealth was a huge change for me. On the other hand, going back to seeing children face-to-face for my sessions was a change I wholeheartedly welcomed. 

My husband faced changes too. He was expecting to spend most of the year working in Louisiana full time. He was sent home in April and never returned to the jobsite. He found other short term jobs to carry us through, but his work has not rebounded yet. Fortunately, he accepts change better than I. 

Of course, we have the other issues commonly faced this year. There have been mundane ones like finding toilet paper, figuring out what to do with our spare time at home, and completing school assignments with the children. Bigger problems have been figuring out health insurance options, budgeting with changing incomes, and extended family members testing positive for the virus. 

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, I can't help but reflect back on the things we have overcome this year, both big and small. In spite of everything, I have much to be thankful for. 

First and foremost, I am grateful for my daughter's good health. Jaycee is weeks away from an 18 month hospital-free streak. That's 18 months she hasn't been admitted to the hospital, fighting for breath, and giving us all a scare. Her treatment that Mayo Clinic started in May 2019 is still working wonders. In this time when there's much concern about germs, I am thankful for her health. 

My daughter has made other great achievements this year. Her writing has made vast improvements. She can write all of our names and other short words legibly- sometimes from memory! A few years ago, I decided that Jaycee may never write, and that was fine. I hadn't given up but just accepted the fact that it may not happen. Her progress in writing was a surprise. Her speech has made improvements as well. She is talking more and more. One day this week, she didn't want to go to school. She clearly said, "I don't want to," as my husband literally lifted her from the passenger seat. My son and I chuckled in disbelief over what she said. Progress is wonderful, and I'm thankful for every new skill!

When I did return to work (under a much different set of rules and circumstances) for a few months, I was grateful. When my job was pulled from my routine, I missed it. I find much satisfaction in helping families and their children. Seeing a child take their first steps or hearing a child's first words is really something magical. I never tire of these milestone achievements and cheer along side of the parents. My work is important, and I have never been so grateful to do something as simple as get up and go to my job. I won't be taking that for granted any time soon. 

There are other things I won't take for granted in the near future. Sending my children off to attend school in person is such a blessing these days. I'm grateful for the teachers, therapists, and staff working together to pull off school. I'm thankful when I can go inside a store and find everything on my grocery list. There were many shopping trips this year when it was hard to find everything. 

These and 100 other things are reasons I will be joyful on Thanksgiving. There are many adjectives that can be used to describe this year. For me, this year has given me the gift of perspective. The changes that happened during this year taught me much about myself. Some things were good, and some revelations were not. I am far from perfect; this year has taught me that like no other. I haven't liked everything that has happened in 2020. However, I can choose to be thankful this Thanksgiving. (Did I mention that my job is shut down suddenly again?) Even in all the changes, I can be thankful. 

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