Tag Archives: season of change

Gratitude through this Season of Change

I first started sharing about this interesting season of change back in May.  I have a feeling that someday, we will look back on this year as a milestone marker.

We will say things like:

“Remember when we sold the Chandler house in two weeks?”

“Remember when Puma went to Europe with Grandma, Grandpa, and Tia Gloria?”

“Remember when we spent the whole day on Father’s Day moving the big stuff from the Dobson house?”

“Remember that day (week, actually) that Tia Gloria and Tia Carmen came over and motivated us to get packing?”

“Remember the day we hosted the going away party even though we still had a pile of boxes in the garage?”

“Remember the time when we got up at 5:00 am to go play in the park?”

“Remember my first breakfast out on the balcony?”

“Remember the fun party lights we put up under the tiny patio?”

“Remember when Puma got her back handspring? (and maybe even her back tuck!)”

“Remember when Night Owl got his aerial?”

“Remember when Charger got his back handspring?”

“Remember when Otter needed band-aids almost every day?”

There are other things that have made this a milestone year…events that were much harder to grasp and accept for all of us at different levels.

Five funerals from April – June this year. Selling what we thought was our forever home. Moving into a smaller home in a different neighborhood. A job change for my husband. Spending the month of July away from Daddy Bruss, it’s been just the Sweet Pea Kids and I for most of the month.

We downsized 1500 square feet…that is the size of a whole house for some people…two whole houses in other parts of the world…that alone makes me grateful.  We could do it…and we did.

My mantra, the filter I worked with that motivated me: Do I want to pay to move “this” across the country?…Because, if we find that our family doesn’t like having Daddy Bruss commute, then we will probably be moving to the East Coast next year.

It made me get rid of all the clutter – literal junk – that I was hanging onto…for whatever reason…old catalogs, old letters and cards, old notebooks full of notes I haven’t looked at in years, TONS of shredding that just needed to be done, broken things that I was going to fix “some day”.

Then we had a day when we had friends come over and go through all the baby and toddler things and haul away what they wanted…because I can’t keep everything that makes me think of them as babies anymore.

Everything that was left was given to St. Vincent de Paul.  It had to go. Because I had to come to terms with the fact that it is not worth the expense of moving memories.

It really was freeing to be rid of all the dead weight that we had around the house because we used to have space for it.  We are having our own experiment in “tiny house” living, even though it’s really a joke. Our version of “tiny house” is just smaller than what we are used to…it’s still a good size in the real world.

It is a relief, and I am happy that we are in a place where my husband is free to pursue any opportunity that comes his way, because he can now without the heavy burden of keeping up a larger home and all the expense that comes with it.

It has also made me so grateful for all the physical aspects of a home that I took for granted, and even though I have said in the past that I am not interested in building a home from the ground up, I do have a better idea of what we will want from the next home we own.

And lastly, it has really brought into focus what is truly important in life – and it really is not things, even though “things” show up on my gratitude list because I had forgotten that I needed to appreciate them.

My gratitude list:

Our good health

Our happy family

Our tribe of family and friends that lift us up and remind us of the important things in life – health and happiness <3

Clarity of what is truly important in my life

Co-parenting – I have never respected single parents more than I do now…and then add on the layer of full-time, working outside of the home, and taking care of the home…I have no idea how single parents stay sane. I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread some days!!

Double-paned windows – who knew they kept out so much heat?!? I had an inkling…now I know they are an amazing luxury that I will never take for granted again!!

Well-insulated walls – I can literally feel the heat coming through the walls in the rental house :/ so much for the A/C bill I thought we were going to save on!!

24/7 internet access – since we still own our summer home, we escaped the heat for the month of July…but no internet here!! I have spent the month going here and there trying to time it just right so the Sweet Pea Kids can tolerate or sleep through my wi-fi time.  And I work madly to get as many emails answered and blog posts loaded as I can in an hour!!

Cupboards that don’t quit – now we are happy renters of storage space for all our seasonal items

High ceilings that provide space for lots of shelving – catch 22 there…some of the things I stored way up high when we moved into the Dobson house 8 years ago were still in the same place as we were moving out…you can imagine where those things went during the purge phase…

Electricity – I can’t imagine life without it.

Along with all this change, I have a renewed commitment to be Peaceful Mama.  This season has been hard for me, and I am an adult. I am in a place where I understand that lives end, and that people move, and that jobs change.

My people, the four pieces of my heart that walk around outside of my body…they are still little. Even though they are capable of speech, they are not always capable of articulating all the emotions that are swirling through their bodies as they adjust to the huge shifts that have been happening to us and to our friends that have lost loved ones. They can’t figure out why they feel “off”, they just know that they are, and express it in ways that make me want to tear my hair out.  Which is the worst example ever!!! My inner 4-year old acting out is not going to do them any good right now, that is for sure!

I have found myself taking four deep breaths before I speak. I literally cover my mouth before I speak. I am forcing myself to use Spanish even more of the time, especially now that their Dad isn’t around and I don’t need to translate for him to keep up with what I am saying.  Speaking in another language makes me slow down, and I don’t know a lot of angry Spanish words…so my words are kinder than if I revert back to English.

I have to remember that I am their North Star. I have to be the best me, I want them to feel safe when they are with me, and now that I am pretty much it for the parent, it is such a clear, clear mirror…they do what they see…am I providing them the best example I possibly can??

I hope so. I am trying…and I am doing ok most of the day.

Moving forward, I want to shine brightly for all of us to navigate through these choppy waters that are our reality right now. I have absolute faith that all these lessons are going to serve us and bless us in the future. I trust that there is another season of smooth sailing ahead of us. Whenever that day comes, however long it will last, I know it’s ahead. That is making me steady on so that I show up as Peaceful Mama now, and our children see her whether the water is choppy or calm: we can all count on Peaceful Mama to be a haven of rest.

All I can say these days, “May God’s will be done.” I have faith, and many prayers of gratitude every single day.





Blessed Receiving

As I seek to find the lessons through this season of grief, I am learning two more things… the true meaning of the word, incredible; and that there is also a blessing in receiving.

Let’s talk about incredible first: the Google definition says 1. impossible to believe; 2. difficult to believe, extraordinary.

It is incredible that since March 23 of this year, four people in or near our family circle have passed from this earth. As I write this, Daddy Bruss is on his way to see his mother, who may also be reaching the point where she needs end of life care. Incredible.

Also incredible is this calling I am answering from God to provide support to one of these families through their time of grief. I am not at liberty to share the details. What I can tell you: we serve a LIVING GOD. The pain they feel: Incredible. The little miracles that are happening, the daily answers to prayer – there is no other explanation other than the supernatural is in play here. Incredible.

The other lesson that I am learning is that although the Bible tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), it is also a blessing to receive with grace.

So much in our U.S. culture is rooted in independent, do-it-yourself resourcefulness. We pride ourselves on being “self-made”, on “pulling ourselves up from our bootstraps”, “dusting ourselves off”, and “starting all over again”.

When we teach classes on postpartum, we talk about the importance of accepting help after the baby is born. It requires us, as adults, to do what we have been indoctrinated against in our churches and in our culture…actually say YES and RECEIVE when someone offers to help us.

As we have experienced incredible grief, and watch others around us experience grief, it becomes apparent that postpartum is not the only time that we need to say YES to help that is offered. If people are blessed by giving to us, then we are acting in grace to receive the gifts with an open and humble heart. Although maybe we are more comfortable giving, grief is another season that grows us in the art of receiving.

As we are in our season of change, I need to be gracious and accept the offers of help from all the students that we have had the honor of helping through the years. As hard as it is for me to accept help, I am saying YES.

The image that rested on my heart as we entered this season was a story about Moses. One of the Old Testament stories relates a time when his father-in-law tells him that the job of shepherding the tribes of Israel is more than one person can handle alone. He proposes a system of governance so that Moses can find helpers and also remain in his role of service to the people. I am so grateful that these words are in my heart, and for these stories that serve as an example.

Those that know me well know how much I love to give, and how much joy, I receive from being a “giver”. Beyond that, I wonder if even some of my self-worth is tied up in being in a position of giving.  I can see now that this lesson is timely and that it is one I needed to learn.  Mark off another notch on the growth chart…I am growing again.

As I apply this lesson to the season of change we are in, I can see that grief is big. Changing homes and saying goodbye to what we thought was our forever home is big. And handling these things at the same time – even bigger. So I am learning to say YES. I am not in a season of blessed giving…I am in a season of graceful receiving.

Tell me your story – how have you been blessed by receiving?