Goodness, I can't believe it is 2016! This past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. Believe was my one little word for last year, and I needed a whole lot of believing to get me through at times. Funny how our one little word picks us, more than we chose it. 2015 came with a lot of changes. I spent most of the beginning in and out of the hospital with three different attempts to get rid of a pesky kidney stone, which ultimately ended in a long 4 1/2 day hospital visit. Kidney stones=no fun! The silver lining was that I did get to catch up on my favorite shows like Fixer Upper, and thank goodness for the Hallmark Channel and all their sappy movies. :) I also took a watercolor art class last winter which ended up being comical and therapeutic. I had visions of becoming an amazing watercolor artist and be able create pretty floral scenes like Anna Rifle Bond, or Katie Daisy, however, we learned how to paint some fruit, and a barn scene. We did touch on painting some red and purple tulips, I like tulips, but red and purple ones, not so much. I was really hoping for some hydrangeas or peonies. #fail I did learn some great tips, and most importantly had some great laughs with friends. Needless to say, none of my art from the class is hanging up in the house.
Right before Easter I lost my aunt Bonnie. It was unexpected, and heartbreaking. She was one of the sweetest ladies, and a hilarious jokester. Every Easter she had an Easter egg hunt for all of us, including us adult "kids." We had the best time running around her back yard looking for the high dollar eggs. Some eggs were worth $20!!! I can still hear her giggling, while we are all looking everywhere, leaving no stone, or blade of grass, unturned. Every year there was one missing egg, so someday the new home owners are going to find an awesome treat in their back yard. This is a tradition that I will be passing on to my boys, they were so lucky to have known her.
Soon after that, I lost my beloved Granny. What an amazing blessing it was to have her in my life as long as I did. She was one of the most beautiful souls I've ever known. She always made me feel so special even though she had nine children, 25 plus grandchildren, and 25 plus great-grandchildren. Every year on my birthday since I can remember she called and sang the Happy Birthday song to me. Now what makes her version so special is that she added another verse. She always sang, May God bless you, may God bless you, may God bless Gretchen, may God bless you. So that is how we have always sang the Happy Birthday song in our home. I know that her birthday tradition will continue on for many generations to come. I miss her every day, but find peace knowing that she is up in heaven with my Pa-pa.
Spring came, and after a lot of talking and praying, Jason and I decided we were going to put our house up for sale. Yep, our gorgeous dream home, that we had poured our hearts and souls into, going on the market. It was around that time, with everything that had gone on, good and bad, that we both felt the need to just simplify. And honestly, six months ago I felt quite sure that my one little word was going to be simplify, but it's not and I'll explain why later. Jason was also making big changes in his life. He had finally decided to lose weight, and I could tell he was serious this time. I am so proud of him. To date he has lost 100lbs. He also decided to start his own new construction company. He was willing to leave everything behind that he had worked so hard at for over 10 years, and start fresh. He is still building beautiful homes, just under a new name, Artisan Signature Homes. Needless to say, faith and belief got us through a lot of sleepless nights during this time.
So the house went on the market, and then Natalie and I broke ground on our new business venture. We finally took the leap of faith and decided to build our own boutique in Norton Commons. Both Jason and I were now starting new businesses. Yikes!! A little scary to say the least, but again I still had faith and believed it would all work out, and it eventually did! We got a contract in the summer on the house, and finally closed on it in the late fall! So this fall we packed the house up, with our family, and moved, yet again. It's our ninth move together. I LOVE building, the move, not so much. This Spring we will move again into the house in Norton Commons we are building. We got this! Oh and I turned the big 40 in July!! Now can you see why the word simplify almost seems ironic to use as my one little word for 2016?
Which leads me to my new word for 2016, which is BALANCE!!!! To balance means that you equally distribute. This will be my challenge this year. I want to make sure my husband and my boys get enough of my time, while managing a new boutique, giving time to devote to prayer and my bible study, finding time for dear family and friends, keeping up with social media, trying to blog a little more, find a little "me" time, and continue my Nerium and design businesses, which I am designing my cousin Abby and her hubby's Homearama house, along with the house we are building. I can make it work, I just need to figure out how all the puzzle pieces fit together, and always keep what's most important in the forefront. Despite what this world throws at you, good or bad, I think it is so important for all of us to find that balance in our lives. "Balance comes in the moments when you stand up for the life you truly want for yourself, by making choices that truly align with that." I truly believe that Jason and I both are the on the right path for building the life with our boys that we truly want, and I feel at peace and blessed to be starting off 2016 feeling that way.