The Day My Son was Married

(The wedding was almost three months ago and I’m just now beginning to record the experience of our son getting married. I have sort of held and treasured that day in my heart. The photographer’s photos recently came in and I sat looking through them for days, refreshing the joy from that day in July. Over these few months I have loved watching my son become a husband, and I love having a daughter-in-law!)

The heart feels intensely what words attempt to capture. My mind sees images of days gone by, but not forgotten. Even now my hand can still feel his once small hand in mine, and my ears, if strained enough can almost hear his little boy voice. The days with my boy were so good; well, and sometimes kinda hard. The days were sometimes  l o n g , yet also they seem swept away in a flash. The time I had to grow him up was not enough, but also, it was enough. Raising him up to let him go was a little bit of everything.

Our fist official mother-son date was when he was 3, our most special mother-son dance was when he was 23.  It’s been a wonderful life being his mom to this point, and a most amazing and beautiful transition in our journey took place 89 days ago. This  summer our boy, who is now a man, took a most lovely, beautiful woman as his wife. To have and to hold, from that day forward til the end of their time on earth. I used to take his hand and walk him around the block, but this day I took his arm and he walked me down the aisle. I took a seat while he stood tall and strong, beaming, watching and waiting for the woman of his dreams to walk down the aisle to be joined to him forever.

Look how he looks at her

It was a holy moment. Watching him watch her, knowing she was now his number one was a moment I will treasure. But it wasn’t bittersweet, it was simply sweet. I wonder if intentionally raising “future adults” was the key; my perspective was always “Don’t raise kids”. I understood there was a limit to the time I had and I worked to steward that well. I wasn’t perfect, in fact, so far from it. I didn’t handle a multitude of things very well in my season. But also I did. I got it right more often than I got it terribly wrong. There were Legos and puppies, kisses and slammed doors, football and wrestling, end of the school year parties with couches on the front lawn. We had trampolines and late homework, sibling squabbles and secrets, car accidents, Sprite-spraying-everywhere spills, and all. summer. long. basement slumber parties with the Fresh Price and Nanny. We had a little bit of everything. And now, on this most special day, the fruit of all those growing up years and experiences was standing tall and independent just a few feet away, and my body could hardly hold my heart.

Love captured here

I don’t believe I’ll ever forget our mother-son dance. I couldn’t tell you if anyone was in the barn watching or not (pictures say there were), what I can tell you is for those few minutes I held this boy once again, looked into his eyes and sang to him once more. It was another holy moment.

When God granted us this boy, it was for a time. The Lord knew Zach would leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.  I kind of believe the wedding prep and many celebrations all along the way were a part of preparing, not just for this incredible summer day where he wed the girl of his dreams, but to offer a season of transition to let him go with arms wide open.

The Happiest Couple

The words here are intended to capture the intensity of my heart in this most amazing season. Trusting that in days gone by I’ll still see images of us playing with cars, reading, walking, dancing and transitioning him from my boy to Claire’s husband at the party of the century!

Such good times

 

Click here to listen to I’ll Let You Go, by Jessica Allossery ~ our Mother-Son dance song.

The photo at the top of this post is from their private”First Look”. Look again…his eyes and heart are for her, and she can hardly hold her love for him. Releasing him to her, and this kind of love, was literally what I had prayed for since he was two years old. What a prayer answered!

He’a always been a note writer

Newspaper, Coffee, Connection

My name is Sheri and I am a hoarder.

The newspaper, the Wall Street Journal to be specific, is the thing I accumulate, stock, collect and store (my husband might say shoes, but he’ll agree to the paper as well). In another galaxy, far, far away, I had to read the Wall Street to begin my work day at the brokerage firm where I processed tenders and mergers. That was when I discovered the Wall Street had a lot of personality. Thirty years later, in the very early morning, someone still delivers it to my my porch. I’m certain I receive the digital version as well, but I’ve never once looked at it. Feeling the paper in my hands, cutting articles with scissors in place of forwarding a link, is a thing that on some level satisfies my soul. Upon receiving an article my kids have said, ‘You know there’s probably a link to this article.’ I’m sure there is and I don’t care. Sitting on the porch, with a cup of coffee, reading the paper is one of my favorite things.

To be clear, I don’t read every article, I’m not all up on Manafort, or why Canada and the U.S. missed a Nafta deadline last Friday, or Amazon’s plans to take over the world. But I now ponder questions to ask our financial adviser about retirement.  Among so many other things, I’ve learned about on-line tools that can help with depression, that many most harassed women stay silent, that Twitter can be mob like (shocking), the hospital of the future will look different, and that Lego is restructuring due to weaker sales and a lower profits. (Legos are the awesome, let’s all go buy some!)

When I go on vacation and friends stay here with our dog, I’m happy to share my paper with them, but also I offer a place to collect the papers so I can go through them upon return. This explains the Target bag full of newspapers. Like an episode on A&E I hear myself saying things like, “No, don’t recycle those yet, I’m going to read them.” and “What if there’s a good article in that pile?” I’m known to cut articles out and leave them around the house for our kids to read when they venture home. Ideally if everyone would initial the article after they’ve read  it and then discuss it at dinner I’d be so happy! With everyone out of the nest this doesn’t happen often, so I clip, address, find stamps and leave envelopes for the postman to pick up.

Here’s the thing, reading the newspaper slows me down, it causes me to sit, savor coffee and read at my leisure. I don’t feel rushed to read the article in a feed or save it as a link and then forget about it, I read it when I want. (How many recipes, links and articles have a saved on Facebook? 34. That’s not counting the links I’ve emailed to myself to read or reference later; which I might be hard pressed to retrieve because I don’t label them.) Reading the paper this way feels old school in this new world. I appreciate the exposure to other’s thought out opinions, the learning to be had, reviews read, and insights gained.

My quirky newspaper habits just might also be about connection; about letting my family and friends know, ‘Hey I thought of you today. I read this and I thought of YOU. I am aware of your interests, personality, life and I want you to know I think about you when you are out of my sight.’ Another category is  ‘I found this interesting and since you don’t live here anymore I can’t read it out loud to you.’ (Always a favorite – one time I read an entire Wikipedia article about Parishs to Courtney as we drove into New Orleans at 1 am. She about died.)

This week I got caught up on a whole big stack of papers, so some of you might want to watch your mail.

I’d LOVE to here from you ~ what do you collect, store, hoard? I’d love to hear why!
Also, what do you do to slow down?

A Sensitive Journey

She made more meals than could ever be calculated; prepared rooms, snacks, desserts and more desserts for visits spanning every season and most holidays. She unwrapped and then swaddled in love each of my babies upon first look. She set up fold out couches and makeshift beds as we brought home one, then two, then three and even four kids. She allowed the dog in the house when we all knew it was a big ask. She cleaned toothpaste laden bathrooms and washed so many sheets after each visit. My mother-in-law never complained. Not once. She provided, cared and loved for years on years.

Her body betrayed her some months ago when a little stroke in her brain caused some not so little problems with her memory. That short-term memory is kind of a big deal, and as Kalie (my sister-in-law), her husband, Kevin and I sort it all out (we don’t exactly know what to sort out, or even really how to sort it out), we partner as a team to help the one we love navigate the days in her own apartment 15 miles from Kalie, 600 miles from us. (Though she alternately travels with us to our home as we step into guiding her in this tricky ground.)

Sometimes she’s quite cognoscente of her lapses, sometimes she’s not. But always she’s afraid of being a burden. Daily she enjoys the company, puzzles, walks, dogs to scratch and meals to share ~ but lingering somewhere is a desire to not be in the way. It’s a difficult battle to win. I try to put myself in her shoes, how will I feel if my children one day help me navigate my days? How will I feel purpose in days like this?

Over all those years, each time I arrived at her house, I exhaled and rested while she worked and took care. I left with a soul and body that had experienced an intermission. This is what I want to give her now. It’s all rather complicated and sometimes tricky when you kind of need but don’t really want. When you believe you can because you don’t really notice the gaps and holes.

This journey through life is to be made together, in grace. We were created for relationship, sometimes that means baking bars to later pull out of the freezer and making up the couch, sometimes it means enjoying someone else’s soup and letting others swaddle you in a love that you paid forward over lots and lots of years. And sometimes it might just feel backwards and uncomfortable, but always we hope it feels like love.

on a journey with the ones I love,
sheri

A season for everything

Dear lost, found, claimed, free yet bound child of mine,

We made it ~ today you are 18 years old!

In this family that you were grafted into I believe we have ALL had periods of wondering if we would make it, and yet today is here and you are free.

There are many emotions and thoughts running through me today ~ the image of you the first time I met you, an adorable blond haired, blue eyed little boy climbing into my minivan in a parking lot. I’ll forever remember you buckling your seat belt and then immediately putting on a Batman mask and cape, quietly staring out the window all the  way to our home, a place of respite within the foster care system.

So many memories, remember the day you went and pulled up all the utility flags that had been placed that day in a yard down in the cud a sac!? Or the times you got on your hands and knees to let little Geradaldo climb on your back to get on the trampoline? How about the end of the school year parties, stromboli and that orange salad I sometimes make? I recall one evening holding you in the big brown chair (one of the few times you let me hold you) watching TV thinking my love and arms could finally protect you for good. A mother can dream, can’t she?

We’ve been through a lot over the last ten years. We’ve seen Mount Rushmore, been to an island on the ocean, a farm in Kansas, the cold and snow of Minnesota, the music in Nashville, the heat and humidity of Georgia, and probably a few trips I’m forgetting. We’ve encouraged you to run and wrestle and workout. You’ve made us proud as you worked to overcome so much.

Things have been more rough than maybe either of us expected. I’ve sometimes used tones and words in ways I’m not proud of. I’ve not always known what to do, say, or respond, so I’ve had to wing more than I expected in situations I wasn’t familiar with. You’ve sent words, attitude and items sailing across the room too many times. You’ve longed (all the time I’ve known you) for your birth mom to love, support and protect you as God intended. I get that – despite her role in your beginnings; I believe longing for the love a mom is instinctual and hard to overcome.

This day I’ve been all over the board, from seeing glimpses of your adorable towheaded dimple-faced self in my mind, to feeling bitter and resentful for all we’ve been through, especially these past few months. My heart has felt broken open with love for you today, as well as angry for the rejection you shove our way. Last night I wanted to yell at you and hug you and not let you go. But the time has come when we must, and we will, give you that for which you have been asking for for so long with your words and your actions, freedom to live your way.

This is what I know today ~ you’ve grown a lot from that scared little boy who hoped his Batman cape and mask could shield him, to a young man who knows in the deepest part of his heart that God is his rock and his shield. I know that you know to your core that God has a plan for your life – and that those plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. And I believe you understand that when you call on God and come and pray to him, that he will listen to you. That when you truly seek God with all your heart you will find him. I know that at one point – (maybe three :) ) you have given your heart to Jesus, and this is truth: He will never leave you or forsake you. Never. He loves you. Deeper and wider and more fully than you know.

Know that this family, mom, dad, two great sisters and an awesome brother, is yours. In the eyes of God we have become one. Mark 10:9 says what God has joined together let no man separate. I know that’s referring to marriage, but I believe to my core that God joined us together. “We” (the six of us) were a part of his plan in this fallen world we navigate. It’s hard, buddy…it is. I don’t want to leave a sugary or hard message here, but in an attempt to remind you of the whole picture, I record the good and the ugly…our story is both.

I pray for you as David prayed for one of his sons, that those who come upon you will be gentle with you for our sake. I pray that if you come upon hardship the Lord will be your protector, and that you remember always that you are loved, not for who you are, but that you are.

Love,
your mom

More than pictures

Fifty-nine days ago the move to Marshall was official, and for each of those days I’ve been capturing a photo of at least one moment that has made me happy. I suspected the 100HappyDaysChallenge would be a good discipline for me as I adjusted to this new season with it’s many, many changes. At this point I can report that it is valuable and centering to intentionally look for one thing, view, moment or person each day that makes me happy.

This move has gone more smoothly than I anticipated; the level of peace I continue to feel is unexpected. A friend recently told me I look “so good”, I’ve thought about that compliment a few times. ( Who wouldn’t want to replay that kind of compliment!) I believe that living apart from Kevin for two years was more stressful that I acknowledged, even to myself. We did what we knew was best for Erin and never looked back, but being together is what we were meant to be, so I think some stress lines have disappeared simply because we are reunited. (Truth be told, I’ve also discovered a really  great new make-up foundation, so there’s that!)

On a recent photo a friend remarked that our town seems perfect. When I read that I knew it was time to write a reality check post, lest the #100happydays project projects a false sense of perfection! Let me say that I am engaged in and appreciating the Happy Days challenge, but like that really good make-up foundation I recently discovered, the project may be responsible for making me look better than I really do.

it is wellThis blog is about real life. My heart is to be encouraging by writing about all of life, so let me get real with you today. First, things truly are going well. Second, there is an issue that has been hard, really hard. It’s regarding our youngest son and it’s all sort of tricky to talk about. The bigger picture of life in our new town is that he has been making some decisions and crossing some lines that have caused us to make some difficult decisions and reinforce some lines. Much of it is not pretty and there is no filter to apply that would enhance the picture. I share this because it’s more of a panoramic view, and considering I share my life with others I want to be honest, not deceptive, even unintentionally.

It’s hard to be in a town where no one knows you. Or your family. Or your history. Or your story…or your character. Walking through this would be easier in our community of sixteen years, but that is not our reality so we walk on being challenged to do the hard, right thing. To seek God and not justify, or feel the need to explain, or to be understood. To lean not on man, but on God who knows our hearts. For me, this is sometimes hard, hard stuff. I share this here not to garner words or sympathy or even prayers (though I’d never turn away a prayer!) but to show more than the scrapbook pictures of our life.

The thing about social media is that it’s part of our picture, not the whole picture. Think about our scrapbooks, we pick the best pictures to fill the pages, the things we want to document, record and remember. I never went around taking pictures of my house when it was a disaster or shot videos of my kids arguing, but those things were also a part of our lives.

For forty-one days I will continue to document one thing a day which brings me a sense of peace, joy or a happy feeling. It will remain a very good and important daily discipline, helping to remind my soul that it is well.

The Baby is at College and I’m on the Couch

Zach and Erin Aug 2015We took the baby to college.
The baby.
To college.

Curiously it was not as hard as I had expected. Maybe it was because I’ve done it twice before, or because she’s attending the university from which her sister just graduated, or because when it came down to goodbye she had a hard time, which propelled me into “strong” mode. Whatever the reason, I was caught off guard by the relative ease of the day and the absence of tears on the drive home.

Then ‘the day after’ happened and I was caught off guard again. The quiet of the house, the knowledge that she wouldn’t come bursting through the door with lots to talk about, the new reality that she wouldn’t snuggle up to me at the end of the day left me feeling empty.

Though the ‘To Do’ list is longer than ever with our move just around the corner, by mid afternoon I cleared my evening calendar and by six o’clock I was the couch with a blanket and pillow and stayed there until it was time to climb into my bed.

This sending to college causes emotional confusion. I’m over the moon to receive the texts that include “having a blast”, “happy!” & “making connections!” I’m so proud of her and confident she is ready, and believe it’s going to be a fantastic year. AND at the same time it’s difficult to take in the emptiness that weighs down my heart, the change is so abrupt. So for the second night I found myself climbing onto the couch, and sinking into the quiet and comfort it offers. My internal GPS is whispering that I’m off course and it’s trying to find it’s way. I suspect I am recalibrating to this new season, and the couch has offered a place to park and wait.

I read the article I was the sun, and the kids were my planets. Beverly Beckham described exactly what I am feeling. Exactly. If you have sent a child to college then read that article. Seriously. I felt less alone and less confused. I sent it to my husband, giving him the words I could not string together.

When I was first pregnant I spent incredible amounts of time on the couch, my body had a really hard time with the pregnancies, so when I read these lines — To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts. To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.

When I read those words I understood; my body, that holds my mind, my soul and my heart needs a little recovery time. This is just part of the process. And it’s all going to be OK.

I find that each phase my kids enter becomes my favorite – I’m confident that is the direction I am heading.

We’ll get there, fellow momma’s traveling this road…we’ll get there.

Moving ~ Everything’s in Motion

In January I wrote here about doing what matters in 2015. Even as I hung my empty new calendar on the wall, I knew it was swollen with big events that would transform the shape and feel of our family. As I look at the calendar today, somehow January became August and the days are swishing by as quickly as they can.

  • Our child did come home from the program. He did great for a few months, but it has been difficult for awhile nSheri 50 birthdayow and we are working towards what’s next.
  • I turned 50 and discovered it’s not that different from my 40’s! (Check with me on that at 60 :) Kevin threw an incredible party with many wonderful friends and family so it was hard to feel anything but good about this birthday!
  • Courtney graduated from Purdue with a Chemical Engineering degree and we are so, so proud of her! It was an amazing day and I haven’t found time to write about it, but I will.
  • She also has her first job! Whoop Whoop!! It’s an amazing position at a great company – and she has relocated only a few hours away! Our excitement for her and pride in her remains off the charts.
  • Erin, our baby graduated from high school – her graduation party at our house felt like a celebration of her, many friends, family and sixteen years of life in Fort Wayne. It was magical.
  • Kevin & Sheri July 2015 2Kevin and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We decided a big trip was not in the cards this year, but we got away and it was exactly what we needed. Living apart for two years has made us grateful for any extended time together without lists and projects.
  • We took an ahh-mazing family vacation with my sisters and some friends. It was an incredible cap on a crazy~full summer.

family vacation3But the day we returned home from vacation I felt as if my heart was breaking; I realized that what is left on the calendar is a lot of good-byes. And now the moving company has contacted me about scheduling the packers ~ the wheels of this move are truly in motion.

Chalkboard countdownI put this countdown on the chalkboard this week. I needed the visual of how many days we have til Erin leaves for Purdue, til Zach leaves for the University of Minnesota, til Kyler starts school in Marshall, til the movers are here packing up our life.

Oh, be still my beating heart.

It seems time is slipping through my hands like sand and I cannot stop it. There are so many people to have lunch or dinner, coffee or wine with. We have couple friends we are aching to spend time with but see limited dates remaining on the calendar. I have a moving/garage sale to organize and of course a few more kids to move to college. (I find myself grateful time and time again that we are only moving 90 miles up the road ~ it is this relatively short distance that brings me a level of peace. Friends…we will be back for those dinners – and our little town has a great brewery for those of you who like us and beer or pizza!)

This week is focused on the baby who is preparing to leave not only for college, but to move away from the home she grew up in. I’ve held her as she’s said some tearful goodbyes to friends over the last few days. She’s packed up her attic full of baby dolls and clutter, and she’s found her way into my big bed at night since her daddy is away. Last night we held hands in the dark as she talked about how hard it will be to go away to college – even though she is so excited and ready. Be still my heart.

The next week we’ll help Zach, our boy man-child, pack up and move to a house in Minnesota. He will likely be staying in Minnesota for the summer next year for an internship, meaning it’s another last with this boy who has such a big chunk of my heart. This momma stuff is not for the faint of heart.

There is much good to come from this move. Living with my husband is at the top, I’m grateful he has a job he loves and at which he is so valued. God is about to grow and stretch me ~ that can be uncomfortable, but it also leads to new places. Also, I’m not moving across the country, I’m moving a bit up the road…all good stuff.

I like to write with a purpose but as I wrap this up, I’m not sure of the purpose of the words on this page. Maybe it’s just to record what’s going on in our lives right now. Maybe it’s to preserve this snapshot of life.

As I think back to the original post in January I wanted to make sure I focused on what matters, whether it was packing boxes or sitting with a friend. Eight months later, in the midst of all the chaos, it’s a good reminder for me to do what matters.

Whatever season you are in, whatever you may be counting down…still your beating heart and consider what matters, then do that.

Heart1

Coming Home

It’s happening. After two and a half years, our boy is coming home.

Yes, I am excited.
Yes, I am a little anxious.
Yes, I am confident.
Yes, I am at peace.

After his being away for so long, it does suddenly feel like it’s all happening quickly as I hurry to wash sheets (we’ve been using his room as a quest room), make sure I have a jacket that will fit him in the car (the winter weather we have is quite different from the warm weather he has been living in), and plan a menu that will bring him sweet reminders of our home.

On top of all that this week, I took my youngest, Erin, on her final college visit on Monday and yesterday she has made her decision for the fall. It’s all a little emotional here for this momma this week.

Last night Erin and I went on our first weekly dinner date, just the two of us. We needed a plan to maintain our bond and dedicated time together once Kyler returns, so weekly dinner dates it is! It’s my job to balance his needs and her needs. Before he left for the program things were chaotic and there was MUCH focus on the squeaky wheel that was coming off the wagon. She needs to know that in her last few months before she leaves for college, when her emotions are also all over the board, that I’ve got her back and she has my attention. Then there is my oldest, Courtney, who is graduating in a few short months from college. She is in a phase where nothing is exactly solid, where her whole life is about to change, so yeah…I need to be there for her too. And of course, Zach, my 20 year old, going to school 10 hours away…he sometimes also needs me.

Today I am pondering and resting in the timing of the reunion of our family. Courtney and Zach, though at separate universities in different states, are on Spring Break at the same time…and they are both coming home. Courtney is traveling with me, what a great blessing this is to us. My mother-in-law is traveling home with Zach and will also be here when we arrive back home. Kevin took the week off from work and will be with us all week as we re-establish this family unit. I believe the timing is not coincidence. I believe it is a nudge from God reminding me he’s in this. And of course he would be, he is the one who grafted this broken branch into our family.

This is the life of a momma ~ my momma life, your momma life; balancing needs of others, knowing it’s all going to be OK, even when you can’t see your counter-tops. Pausing in the midst of a swirling season of motherhood and treasuring up all these many things and pondering them in your heart.

Today I’m carving out moments to do just that, because tomorrow I begin the travel to go bring our boy home.

Pulling from the Prayer Pot

The greatest infusion of passion to pray for others has come through a simple plastic blue pot (which has been traded in for an adorable winter mug). I recently wrote here about my Prayer Pot; the nutshell is I put a bunch of names in a little pot and everyday (well…most days) I draw a name and pray for that person that day. Sometimes I take a picture of the name and send it to the person for which I’m praying.

It never occurred to me I’d hear anything back ~ I just wanted friends to know they were being prayed for that day. A few texted me back with specific prayer requests, but most surprising (though I don’t know why this would surprise me), some friends let me know that the timing of receiving a text that they were being prayed for was amazing. For every one of those responses, I absolutely had no idea of the situation they were in, or a need for prayer. It is evident that God did; there are just too many stories to call this coincidence.

Today really touched me and I had to share…

I have a friend from 5th Grade (that’s 39 years ago!!), and we’ve been able to maintain a level of interest and care for each other through Facebook. When her son, Garrett, entered basic training, my youngest daughter put his name in her prayer box, because she has been praying for soldiers since she was 10 years old. (You can read about that here.) In December I found myself writing Garrett’s name and dropping it on my pot as well. This morning I pulled his name and prayed for him ~ having no idea of his whereabouts or position. This afternoon I let my friend know I had pulled his name and was praying for him. This is her response:  My eyes just filled with tears Sheri! Garrett just left this morning on a ship for several weeks of pre-deployment training! Thank you so much for your faithful prayers! To God be the glory! Hugs to you and your precious family!

There is no way I knew that. I simply had no idea.

The Prayer Pot was “shared” a lot via Facebook the day I posted it and I saw several comments from moms inspired to start their own Prayer Pot with their kids. Each time I write my hope is that whatever I share is worth your time to read, so it was very encouraging to see others wanting to bring this idea to their own families. What if kids began to see how real, active and interested God is as they prayed for others? I know how encouraged I am in my faith by this prayer journey, so when I consider that praying for others could grow a child’s faith…well, that’s pretty exciting!

I hope there are some new Prayer Pots out there and I hope through that there are others seeing how God uses His people to take care of His people through prayer. I also hope we each realize that as we draw closer to each other through these prayers, we also grow closer to God ~ which I believe is part of the purpose of prayer.

Doing What Matters in 2015

As I consider this New Year before me, the words BIG and transitional come to mind.

In 2015:
•   Kyler will complete the program he has been in for over two years and return to our family the first part of the year. If I’m speaking honestly, for the first 18 months he was there, I was certain he would never return to our family, so his coming home is HUGE ~ and will be full of adjustments for all of us. The healing, trust and relationship he has been building with us is a blessing we did not think we would experience. This is good, good news.

•   I’m turning 50. What the heck.

•   Courtney, our first born, will graduate from college. (Whoop Whoop!)

•   A few weeks after that Erin, our baby graduates from high school.

•   There will be a graduation party in our backyard. Consider this your invitation since I’ll be so busy!  (Just kidding Erin, I’ll have time to make your graduation announcements special too…because it matters :)

•   Kevin and I will celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

•   We are selling our Fort Wayne home and moving to Marshall, Michigan. We’ve been apart for two years while Kevin started his new job and Erin finished her last two years of high school. Kevin and I will finally be living together again. Thank goodness.

•   After 16 years in Fort Wayne we will move away from our friends ~ many who are like family. We will leave our support system, our amazing community, our church. This is a BIG transition that I am not looking forward to making.

•   The baby will start college. After spending the last few nights watching old home movies, I am perplexed by how quickly these cherubs grew up and also a little sad; I miss those sweet voices and little hands; the messy house and chaos were so worth it. As we watched video after video I was surprised by how much I wish I could go back and do some things differently ~ a column for another week.

•   Sometime in all of this Courtney will begin her career as a Chemical Engineer and will likely move to a new city where we will help her get settled and ready to begin her next phase of life.

•   Zach will come home for the summer but leave again in the fall ~ continuing his education 10 hours away in Minnesota.

•   I will have to adjust to a new, small town. I trust it will be good, but I’m mindful that this has the potential to be difficult. At the same time, I’m also appreciative that this new small town offers our returning boy, who has been through much, a fresh start. This could a huge blessing being swirled into some hard stuff.

Before any of that happens, there is painting to do, a storage room to de-clutter, three attics to sort through, closets and cupboards to clean. Our Marshall home we purchased last summer is almost 100 years old (think teeny-tiny closets) and the square footage is about half the size of this home, so there is much to decide regarding what makes the move and what simply has to go. Ready or not I am going to have to attempt to live more simply. Something I will likely appreciate, but has the potential to be hard. I may write this year about having to go through the process of getting rid of things.

So the calendar feels swollen with much, the lists could fill a notebook, yet my heart is peaceful right now. I keep hearing this in my mind “Do what matters.” I hope this holds as my mantra for the year. There will be much to do in 2015 but I want to make sure I do what matters. Right now, my mother-in-law is here for the month, so what matters is coffee with her in the afternoon, yoga mats side by side as we try to make it through beginner yoga videos, conversations, lunches, puzzles, a game of bowling and tennis on the Wii, even just sitting together. I won’t get this time back so I don’t want to miss it while it’s here. So while she’s here, this is what matters.

I may have needed to write this column for me – so I have something to come back to when my mind gets cluttered, my heart begins to race and panic sets in. Sometimes the thing that will matter will be packing boxes – sometimes the thing that will matter will be sitting in the high school gym with a friend watching a basketball game. It will be clearing clutter and meeting for coffee. It will be both.

It’s going to be a big year, full of transition…may I be found doing what matters.

What’s going on for you this year that matters?