November 17 and how is that possible?

Not only are we in the last half of the month, but there are only 45 days until the New Year. Twenty-nineteen will see me twenty years into my job, my husband completes his last year in his 50’s, and we will celebrate 25 years in our home. This time of year has my thoughts, emotions, and heart all over the dang place. I try to really really focus more on gratitude and less on perfection. More just enjoying the moment and less running all over the place. Which is why I do the bulk of my Christmas shopping online. Which I’ve hardly begun this year. I don’t even have my Christmas list up and running yet. It is what it is this year, and every year is different, but I’m feeling like I could use another month to get ready for Christmas, anyone else?

It will all work out. It always does. Russell is all about giving the kiddos hard, cold, cash at Christmas and I’m a gift girl. Not that money for Christmas isn’t a gift, but along with being a gift girl is spending time thinking about the person and what they like, what they might need, and then finding that perfect thing or things for them. Being a gift girl means I love to give gifts, not just receive them. Although I love that part too!

At the Smith’s it isn’t really Christmas until we hear this song. And it just came on as I’m working on this post. Russell just hollered out, “Okay! It’s officially Christmas!” He’s cleaning the kitchen for me because The Chef was cooking this week and only spot cleaned. Cooking is his gift, cleaning up after himself not so much.

For all that I push the envelope on when Christmas officially begins (it could easily be year-round in my book), I resist the beginning of a new year. I don’t wanna think about it until we are just upon it. Like December 31 at 11:00 pm. While September heralds a welcome new beginning in my mind, going back to a new school year I suppose, for me, January brings a ton of pressure. The ultimate do-over, start over, put the past to rest, and gotta do better starting now kind of pressure. That’s just me and what I do to myself. This year I’m trying to think of January 1 a little differently.

Because 2019 is bringing a lot of changes with it. A lot of stepping out of my comfort zone; doing some things that, while I know I am supposed to do, are going to be hard and scary. My BFF, Miss Edie’s response to that is, “GOOD.” The hard and the scary means I am looking beyond where I am now, all snuggled in a comfy, cozy blanket, running on autopilot for the most part. And to be honest, I’ve begged God to just make it all easy and the same and, well, comfortable. Or at the very least, make the path clear and easily seen and navigated.  And I keep receiving from Him a resounding, “No.” From my quiet time, bible study, random people, and even social media, to what is happening in my actual life, I’m being shaken. Sifted. Set aside. My focus is no longer on the same things. And when I do try to focus on them, I am unable to. And I’ve fought it. For months. This week has been the worst. I’ve really struggled. Tried to ease back into the mainstream that has been my life for years. And at every turn, I’ve hit a wall. Yesterday, I just felt crushed under all of it. And I raged, and I cried, and I gave in, and I fought back. And even allowed myself to embrace my old friend, the darkness of depression. And it sucked. The entire day and all of it. And I knew I was not supposed to be doing any of it.

Imagine being my husband right now. That poor man. We went out to dinner last night, to our fave local joint, where we are known by name and greeted with a hug from the owner and sat so we can be with our favorite server. She said to me at one point, “what is wrong with you today, Susan?” and so I unloaded on her a bit. And we had a little cry sesh together because she struggles too. Losing her husband last year and now having no one to do for her what my husband has to endure from me…being The Shoulder. The one that gets slammed with all of the pain and the hurt and the anger and the tears. The one who knows her the best in this world is gone. Remember those who are beyond hurting this time of year. Who have lost loved ones and are missing them every day, but even more so right now.

Anyway. I had planned this post today to be an encouraging one. Full of the joy and triumph. Not so much, eh? I’ll save it for tomorrow’s post.

See you then.

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