Number 10 of 2015

For number 10, it’s my worst-best moment that comes to mind.

The “worst day” because I felt like my heart was breaking. I almost got divorced. We had even said the words and started talking logistics. It was that serious.

The “best day” because it marked the turning point-you know the one, where it can’t get any worse and must get better from there.

I spent a night alone in the local motel. It was by choice. I had had enough of the fighting. I needed to remove myself from the situation.

IMG_5314

Having teenagers is tough. But when you are fighting with your spouse over parenting these difficult, and selfish, adolescent-beings and then those kids are fighting you over everything and harmony in your house is out of whack…well, what do you do?

My solution was to say “I’m out!” And after a quick stop at the grocery store to grab a toothbrush, magazine, bubble bath, a chocolate bar, a bottle of wine, and a pad of paper I checked in at the motel where I found peace in the solitude and tried to figure out what to do next.

While sitting in a warm bubble bath reading my magazine and sipping some wine (a literal “Calogon, take me away” moment), I felt all the knots and stress leave my body. It had been a hard few months of teen drama coupled with marital strife. I was done.

I love my family, don’t get me wrong. It was out of love that I left the house. If I had stayed, the fighting and negativity would have continued.

While lying in my motel bed, I wrote down all my feelings. I wrote a pro’s and con’s list for everything I considered a solution. I put down my needs and wants. I prayed before falling asleep at 7:30pm.

What I came to realize is that I need put my foot down with how the kids treat me. I am not only responsible for how I treat others, but I am responsible for teaching people how to treat me. If I let people act rude to me or neglect my feelings and I don’t speak up and say “that’s not okay” then I’m partly at fault for how people treat me. I own that. No one reads minds and many can’t read social queues, so I know I have to speak up and tell it to them straight.

I also realized I needed to speak my truth to my husband, again-not a mind reader or even a hint taker. So I spoke my truth to him, which was that I needed more fun times with him and less bickering and I needed better communication.

I won’t lie, it was the hardest week of my life with many tears and heartache, but I don’t regret it. It helped to bring about balance and harmony again in my household. We all have things to work on, like speaking kindly to one another and making time for each other. Sometimes in this fast-moving, busy life of ours we lose sight of the important things. We take for granted the people we love most.

But sometimes, just sometimes, it takes a radical step like removing yourself from the fight and regrouping. It takes putting yourself on the top of your list and tending to your needs for once. It takes courage to admit that you can’t continue down the same path and that things have got to change. It’s hard, because that change could mean so many different outcomes and none of which are known. But you know what? Change is the only thing that will create a new outcome, a better one.

My advice to anyone who is in a relationship that started out wonderful but has grown stale or difficult is to do something different! Because that shit ain’t working and life is too short not to try to have your best life. It’s completely possible.

My kids have gotten so much better at showing me respect, and my husband and I are in such a better place. We are going to renew our vows on our 20th anniversary, in two years, and we are making date-night a priority.

IMG_5408

No one’s perfect and life will never be, but when you have honesty and love in your heart then you are pretty darn close!

Well, that wraps up the top 10 moments of my 2015. It’s been a full year of personal growth and crafty goodness. I look forward to taking what I’ve learned into 2016. I know there will be new challenges and many changes (our oldest goes to college next year and our second oldest will be doing running start), but I know I can handle what comes my way.

I wish you the best New Year! I’ll see you in 2016! ~Tillie

 

 

Numero 5 of 2015

This one is a case of something not-so-good happening, but something pretty-awesome coming of it.

At the end of 2014 my husband’s wages were garnished for unpaid medical bills that we incurred when our youngest was admitted to the hospital for three days when we discovered she had Type 1 Diabetes and we learned how to care for her insulin needs while we were there getting her back to good health.

So these medical bills came in and we paid a few, but fell behind, and well…they got their money. They took $700 from each paycheck during November and December 2014, leaving us behind on other bills.

I have not worked outside of home since I had my first child and I was scared I wasn’t going to be able to get a job, but I dearly wanted to help improve our situation. An amazing stroke of luck and good fortune came my way of a job opening at the local newspaper in my hometown! The same paper that I had been writing freelance for. The position was for selling advertising. Miraculously, I got the job! (Looking back, it’s most likely that I was the only one to apply so that’s how I got it, but I ain’t complaining.)

My paychecks were only a few dollars more than the bills we had to pay, so it was perfect. But during this time, I was also going to college (one class and online but still a time commitment) and heading up the Booster Club at my kids’ elementary school, not to mention still trying to do the “wife/mom” duties of grocery shopping & dentist/doctor appointments & keeping up on laundry for a family of seven.

Once the bills were caught up, I had a choice to make. Continue working and make money that I *could* use for myself (like hair and wardrobe spending or save for my Mini Cooper) or quit working to focus on school and home. I knew one thing had to go and to be honest, my time working outside of home made me realize that I enjoy writing and being my own boss of how I use my time.

That’s what I did. I quit the advertising position at the Dispatch, finished out a fun year on the Booster Club board, and now I’m focused, like a hawk, on the things I love most: my family, writing for publications, sewing & knitting & crocheting for my Etsy shop, and starting my Flower Bouquet CSA.

I’m no smarter than anyone, or braver, but I will say that this period of my life, this time in 2015, tested what I am made of. I can now, with all confidence, say that I will survive and thrive no matter what comes my way. I have faith and the ability to do what needs to be done.

995.JPG

Have you been tested and triumphed this year? What’s your top 10 of 2015 look like?