Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 in Review


Doesn't that number sit well with you? I LOVE even numbers! My friend, Bethany, teases me because she's an odd number person, but I'm even. I love that I was born on an all-even day: 10-18-66. I am not so fond of my anniversary date since it's all odd: 03-27-99. I just feel a bit off when numbers can't be divided evenly, but 2010 ... that's so nice and even! You'd think that it would have been a wonderful year.

The truth is, this has been one of the most difficult years of my life.

There was hope back in January that despite Fred's unemployment, we'd be turning corners and life would be easier. God did bless him with several months of work as the manager of a group of subcontractors and things went well job-wise for a while.

In the spring, I noticed that some of my MS-ish symptoms were popping up again - tingling on the right side of my body from the top of my head, down through my cheek, my right arm and on down to my ankles and toes. I had a scare when I was out walking one day and was afraid I might not even make it back home when my leg decided to go numb altogether on me. I was able to manage this just fine until the stress of events set me back over the edge in the summer.

Late spring, Fred's parents came back from Phoenix and his Tante Lene went back home to Germany. His mom had an undeniable cough that seemed to hang around even though she tried to hide it. After many doctor's appointments and tests and x-rays and the whole gamut of investigations, Mom Weinhardt was diagnosed with liver cancer in late summer. Mom was always the strong one, the one who pulled things back together again, the one who gave encouragement and love. This time she was the one who was hurting. As a family, we reeled in emotional pain as she dealt with her physical pain.

This all happened at the same time that Fred's subcontracting work was starting to ebb and my MS symptoms started showing up big time! Stress was working it's way into our lives.

School started. My baby began his Junior Kindergarten year and I was mourning the loss of my time with him when God decided it was time to mourn an even greater loss. Mom W. passed away in September, and although we knew it was coming, the shock of reality still hit us hard. Work slowed down to pretty much nothing for Fred and once again we were forced to crunch our finances even more. When you're down to the bare minimums, it's hard to find even more ways to economize, but God is creative. He found ways!

I started babysitting before and after school for several neighborhood children. The beauty of this is that about half of the kids are only at our house for about 10 minutes total per day, yet they still pay the full price. This has allowed our family to still have our own time together in the afternoons and evenings.

In October, when I was fully overwhelmed with the burdens of grief, lack of income and worry of the future, several of my dear friends surprised me for my birthday. I thought I was meeting only two of them for coffee one night and I walked in to a table full of my closest friends who showered me with blessings of encouragement (and socks)! Even though I told them this, I don't know if they'll ever fully understand how important all those words of kindness were to me.

November began the annual Cookie Kitchen business so baking began in earnest. So did the pressure from some of the residual ridiculousness of some legal issues that have been hanging around from the sale of our business two years ago. More pressure built as Fred had to spend hours in meetings, on the phone, typing e-mails and talking out the scenarios of this mess.

By the beginning of December, I was just in auto-pilot. I did what I had to do and did most of it without any emotion whatsoever except frustration at times from the overwhelming burdens. I was so very ready for a break, for some relief, for some hope.

Last week we were able to go to Ohio for our annual Schley Christmas celebrations and I got my Schley-fix! Being with my family always gets me back on track. We laugh. We joke. We have fun. We laugh some more. This year we also surprised Dad with an early 70th birthday party where we had CAKE and gave him a wii from all of us. What fun this past week was! I am feeling rejuvenated and revived. I'm feeling like there is light at the end of this long, long tunnel, despite the fact that there is still no constant income, nor any resolution for the legal mess that will be ongoing. Yet, I've been able to come up for air and I've gulped some deep breaths so now I can go on.

Despite the tough year, I can still say that God is good. He has been faithful. We have never been in want, even when we have wondered how we would make it. We have been blessed with so much that I can't complain. He has allowed us to go through these struggles because He knows that we need them, and that we will be able to comfort others with the comfort that we ourselves have received. God is good. He loves us and He will carry us through.

2011, even though I don't like that you are an odd number, I welcome you because I know that God will continue to be faithful as He has in the past. Despite the trials that you will bring, we will press on because we know that you will also bring joys and blessings.

Welcome, 2011. The Lord is opening the door and we'll walk right in with Him!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Purple Cauliflower

I found this purple cauliflower at the Farmer's Market and decided to try it. We LOVE cauliflower, so I didn't even have to think twice about buying it. I just had to decide on purple or orange.

I sliced it and sauted it with some sliced garlic, added a little salt to it and that's it! There were no leftovers, just people asking for more and more and more! This is our favorite way to eat cauliflower, no matter what color it is!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crazy Hat Day

Christopher's Crazy Hat
Timothy's Crazy Hat

Stephen's Crazy Hat
The Three Stooges & Their Hats

Crazy Hat Day at school sparked an afternoon of creativity in this house! The boys are finished and ready to go for school!