Merry Everything and Happy Always

image3Who doesn’t love a fresh start?

As the clock rolled over into another new year, we were surrounded by love, laughter and friendship, good food and champagne. I took a brief moment, almost as if I was standing outside and looking in, to take it all in. I saw a lot of happiness. I saw a lot of joy! I heard conversations. Heard screams of cheer and saw fireworks. I always seem to get nostalgic and semimetal in the New Year. I have always loved talking and thinking about the past year. It’s lessons. It’s losses. It’s new and second chances. What great things happened, how far we’ve come and what we have to look forward t0.

The hubs and I had one last official date of the year on the 30th. In a restaurant full of people, I love that somehow it can still be only us. A hundred people swirling around us and it’s simply he and I. Alone. We talked about the incredible year we had. A BIG year! A graduate. A lot of travel. The sell of a house. A move. A new career move.

Starting it off we had our last baby child gradate high school. That in itself was huge! Empty-nesters.

You know when you’re just starting out and you’re building your family…that word seems like an eternity away and then one day you wake up, and you’re there. It. Goes. By. So. Quickly.

image6Over the years of our life, he and I have had dreams and goals. We’d talked often about life after our chicks were gone and out of the nest. I am grateful and thankful that we have remained a constant with one another. Best friends who have grown up and grown closer over the years of raising a family. Always putting God first, then one another, then our family. We will no longer have carpools, school calendars, dance recitals, swim meets, football games, gymnastics meets, ski club, co-op, homeschooling, trips to craft stores for projects, teacher meetings and the mountain of other actives that accumulate while raising kids. What would life be like when it’s not full of running errands and helping with homework? We dreamed, he and I. We always have. We made goals. We looked forward to the future, all the while LOVING the time raising our kids, but looking forward to that chance to become just a couple again, someday. Isn’t it fun to dream with your spouse? To reach in and pull out one another’s heart and examine it? As we stepped into 2016, we knew that time was upon us. We did it! We celebrated our success at raising the last of our three kids to adulthood.

One of the plans was to sell our big house and downsize. After all….we would both rather collect memories, not things. Travel more and not be tied down to a house that is way too large for two. Not to mention maintenance; lawn care, snow removal. Not our thing. We’ve always thought there are better ways to spend our time. Mission accomplished. The move was tumultuous to say the least. The binging and purging was taking way longer for us than expected. We both felt as if while we were paring our house down, we were paring our life down. Letting go of “things” was so refreshing and it allowed for evaluation of every single aspect of our life.

image1After my JMT trip, I had already come back a changed person (more when I continue that post) I came back ready for change, ready to purge…everything. I had lived 3-weeks out of a tent and backpack. I had nothing but time to process unwanted garbage out of my life. When I returned I had a new focus and new zest for life, that when shared with the hubs, motivated him just the same. He didn’t need to be out in the wilderness to catch everything I was getting at. Taking 6 days to drive the coast after that trip was the best debrief I could’ve asked for. I shared my journaling with him and it came as NO SURPRISE that he and I were both on the same page. LET IT GO!! A fresh start was about to take place. The move….well, it was just the icing on the cake. It sealed the deal that everything we had talked and dreamed about all these years, was about to break free and come to fulfillment.

Our words for last year were Patience and Prepare. Every year instead of resolutions, we wait and listen for ONE WORD. Isn’t it just like our God to give us those two words? Patience and Prepare. WOW! Our ENTIRE year was lived out and based on the fulfillment of those words. I learned patience like I’ve never had before. Through all of my training and racing last year, through injury and sickness, I HAD to be patient with myself, with my body, with my health. Hiking days on end for long hours in the Sierras instills patience like I’ve never encountered. Selling a house…pushes it to the brink. But I knew that God had prepared me/us for all of it.

During the process of moving, we took the advice of those friends who have gone through the same thing. The ones who have dreamed big and had those dreams become reality, some selling their homes to travel and live by RV, some selling and moving different states to chase the sun and some who sold homes to live their dream of living on a boat. Talk about having to purge! We loved the encouragement. Loved the inspiration! The purging became so much more to us than getting rid of our stuff. I literally became clearing out EVERYTHING we felt was holing us back, holding us down, holding us hostage. Baggage. The trunks dragging behind that were getting too heavy to haul. Bad, unhealthy relationships, bills, toxic unauthentic people in our lives, old unforgiveness, walls that were built over time, that needed climbed over or broken down, unhealthy eating and drinking, missed workouts and missed opportunities, resentments. You name it, it was flushed out. God worked on our hearts as a couple and individually. He guided and showed us the way. And when it was done…..we felt a whole new sense of freedom. We felt …. Light. And as 2016 slipped away and 2017 came flowing in God whispered my word for the year: Intention. Be intentional.image2

image4Living with intention to me means, to live with purpose. To continue to foster the REAL in me, verses what people want of me. Live deliberately. Instead of thinking “I don’t have time” really evaluate if it is a priority, and move on from there. And if it’s not, to not allow guilt of any kind creep in. I want my actions to speak more than my voice. I want to be intentional with friends, giving them the undivided attention they deserve while we are together. I want to surround myself with people on fire for life. I want to be intentional in my food choices, my exercise, and the time spent doing the things I love: traveling with my hubs and soaking in salt water. I want things in my home to have a use and a meaning, not just “because its shiny” I want to wake up each morning with my aim focused to my Creator, to listen to what He has in store for me. I want to be a magnet for miracles and notice them everywhere, every day. I want to continue to notice the beauty and abundance that’s all around me. I want to dig deeper and deeper into the Word of God. I want to be intentional in my relationship with my hubs, honoring and respecting him everyday and being acutely aware to his needs and interests and fanning those in him. I want to believe good things are happening everyday. I want to be intentional to giving, to doing everything with a good heart and expecting nothing in return. I want to inspire others in my walk with God. I want to watch less TV and be outdoors more. I want to drink more water. I don’t want to “settle” for anything, realizing life is short and fleeting. I want to NOTICE more. I want to journal and pray more. I want to serve more and be aware of others needs. Spend time with those I adore.image5 I want to take more risks and love fiercely, even if others can’t return that love. I want to let go and let God, knowing I cannot control the uncontrollable. I want to soak in the knowledge that each day starts with new grace and fresh mercy.

This journey into a new year will be radical. Exciting and challenging! I already know it will be filled with more joy than we will know how to contain. Join me in raising a glass, to your ONE word, to your resolutions, to your new year, new you, new career, new marriage, new baby, new chapter or maybe even a whole new book. Get excited!  Flip the page.Processed with VSCOcam with p2 preset

 

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…..Tis the Season

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Tis the Season…

I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that December is upon us.  I’m working on the not so quick transition between Thanksgiving and Christmas in our home.  As I put away the Fall, and dig through the many totes of Christmas decorations, I find myself nostalgic.  It happens every year.  Looking at the ornaments from Christmas past.  Crafts our kids made while growing…..  It really gives me a sense of length and width of the life we’ve lived thus far.  Now, we have kids moved out and moving on…  Life is so good.  Time is so fast.  I love that this time of year gives me the reminder to slow down, and always enjoy the moments we have.  images-1

imagesChristmas is something I never want to rush through.  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love it, because it is a holiday that is not about ourselves, and all about The One we celebrate.  It’s about and our family and friends.  It’s a about strangers and guests, it’s about giving and celebrating.  It’s about memories and traditions.

This time of year God came to us in the form of a baby.  Helpless.  The God of the Universe wrapped in cloths and put in a manger.  Imagine.  As I set up my Nativity, I think about how that night would’ve been for passer-byers, for the inn keeper, for Joseph, for Mary…knowing that the Son would be born among the sheep and cows.  In the hay.  Thus starts the season of giving. God gave, and so we pass on the Gift.  Christmas is Love in action.Unknown

Christmas in our family has always been so much more than the parties, the songs, the stories and the commercialism, it is about a baby.

Unknown-1One of our favorite traditions is putting our Baby into the manger on Eve.  Each year, as our children grew up, they took turns, as the Hubs read Luke 2:1-20, at putting Jesus into His place in the trough.  The story never changed and even though they knew it by heart, they vied for their place next to Dad and to know who would place Jesus in his baby manger.  Eagerly, each trying to remember who had the honor the year before, and who it passed to the current year.  It was always interesting to me, that even as older teens, they sat, with anticipation, listening to the Story.  Quiet, filled with expectancy.. as if it were the first time, hearing it…..and somehow, it always seemed that it was…..The story was always fresh, unique and awe-inspiring….just the way it should be.  It’s a fun story to share when people come into our home around the holiday, and ask, “where is your Jesus?” as they look at the bare manger.  I hope it’s these traditions that will continue to be passed on as our kids have their own families, but more-so I pray that they always pass on the Reason that is Christmas.  The Truth of that Baby.  The certainty of that night.  The perfection that was born in a manger as a gift from the Most High.  Emmanuel.  Nativity-Wallpaper-05

~The spirit of Christmas needs to superseded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine person. That makes all the difference in the world. -Stuart Briscoe

Day 26- Thankful For Home

Unknown-2We have moved a lot!  Since my hubs and I have been together, we have moved from California, to Idaho, to Minnesota and back to Idaho.  Whilst living in these various states, we have moved to different cities, and different homes.  Every one felt like home to us and our children.  It’s interesting to me when I run across people who for some reason are somewhat displaced.  Maybe waiting for a house to be built, and are in a “temp home”  maybe in between moving to a new city…and they say they cannot stand it, because it’s not home.

Greg and I have always had the feeling that Home is Where You Make It.  In all of our moving, every place felt like home…because, it was.  It was never the “dwelling” in which we were living.  It was the people, the family, the friends, the LOVE that made it our home.  I have told hubs that I could live in the plushest of mansions or the minimalist of huts, and it would be home as long as were were there together.  It’s true.  jolby-home-is-where-you-make-it-print-lg

Unknown-1You see, we learned years ago that our “things” are really only things.  Things on loan to us only for a short time.  Nothing we “own” is truly ours.  We know the Source for whom these things belong.  So for us, home is much more than our address and couches.

This week, we learned that our oldest is moving out of the state.  It was only a matter of time before this happened and we knew it.  Our middle is also moving out of the state.  In a few short weeks/months, we will have two children living in two different states.  We are so happy for them.  We knew to grow and to build careers that they wouldn’t stay here long.  So that leaves hubs and I wondering what to do?  Where to go?  We do not need this big house we are living in.  Our cub will graduate in 2.5 years…and then what?  Lot’s of praying is happening in the Nilges house right now.  Transitions will be happening.

UnknownIn talking to our older pups, they were astonished at the fact that we will be considering selling our house….we were met with “NO!” and “We want to bring our families here, eventually!”  “You cannot sell our home.”  Well, dear children, we are not selling our home.  I explained to them, that our house, this dwelling, is not what they think it is.  Coming home to anywhere that our family is, the love we share, the bond that is the NilgeFam5 is what true home is.  I had a friend say yesterday that “we have such a warm and loving home.”  I tend to think that has nothing to do with our address.

So today I am thankful for home.  A home full of love, affection, appreciation, family laughter, friendship, tenderness, messiness, affection, sensitivity, kindness, warmth, hospitality, favor, passion, snuggles, relationships, and appreciation.  I am thankful that we have been blessed with this house for now and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this home will be full of joy forever, wherever we are…even if it’s a tent, because the builder of this home is who makes it what is is.  A house of love, no matter demographics.  There is a difference between a house and home!

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~Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need. -Sarah Ban Breathnach