‘Tis the season…

…to be crabby! This Christmas was such a pleasant gift to me. The shopping days leading up to Christmas were unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I am so used to the overly crowded shopping malls and stores in Chicagoland, that Christmas shopping in Champaign was a walk in the park! I was so filled with Christmas spirit, so happy. I was literally singing while I shopped. Store clerks were noticing the happiness, even to share “You two are having too much fun!” to my daughter and me. It sparked a conversation of how crabby everyone seems to be. One clerk even shared that a customer threatened to punch her in the face!

I know life can be hard. I am not coming from a place of perfection when I say I was joyous during this holiday season. I was thankfully blessed with an overwhelming peace and joy this holiday. A reminder that this is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ! While everyone is wrapping up Christmas in the boxes from which it came, I am remembering that it has actually just begun. I will continue to celebrate Christmas until January 6th – the Epiphany. I wish I could feel the way I did on Christmas every day, wouldn’t that be wonderful! I wish that for all of you…Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!!!

Moving to Champaign

Moving backward, I will begin with my most recent adventure…Champaign. When we returned from Europe in Early August, I returned to taking care of my brother. We are from a southwest suburb of Chicago. We had to find a new place to live by October 1st because that is when his lease was up. I began to look for homes that would have a walk-in shower that would accommodate his shower chair. We couldn’t stay in the home he was in – not enough room for all of us, and no walk-in shower.

I tried to find a place in the suburbs of Chicago. We needed a place that had a room on the first floor with a walk-in shower. We needed three other bedrooms, plus it had to take pets, and of course we had a budget. It seemed like everywhere I looked, one thing would be missing. If it had a shower, it would only have two bedrooms, and on and on. If it had everything, it was out of our price range.

Before we left for Europe I had discussed moving to Champaign. My oldest son goes to college there and I thought he might be able to help me care for my brother if needed. I checked it out and found two places that would work for us. They were put on the back burner while we went on our trip. When we returned, I continued my search, but contacted the places in Champaign. They were still available. Everyone kept asking, “Where are you going to live?” I would respond, “I’m not sure, maybe Champaign, but I’m still looking around here.” The final week of September I applied to for one of the homes in Champaign. On the Friday before we moved I received the answer that it was available and we could move in on Tuesday.

I started packing over the weekend. Let me tell you, I seriously got rid of two 20 foot box trucks full of stuff prior to leaving for Europe. I could not believe how much stuff was still left. I didn’t want to ask anyone to help because I have moved so many times, I just couldn’t ask again. Luckily, my friend and her husband knew I couldn’t do it alone. I’ve know my friend all of her life (she’s a bit younger than I). She sent her husband, Jim, over to my house on Monday to help me start packing. THANK GOD is all I can say. If it weren’t for her insistence and just sending him over and then coming herself to help, I would have never gotten everything out. What a fiasco.

It’s funny how we think we can do things on our own. If you’re like me, I don’t like asking for help because I don’t want to put anyone out. The move wasn’t over yet. There were still items in three different places being stored. I told my friend, “I can do it myself.” Again – I was wrong. Thank God Jim knew better and came to help me. I thought we were both going to melt and disappear into a puddle of water….Exhaustion isn’t even the word…

Needless to say, we finally made it here. It’s so peaceful. Our home is beautiful. No clutter – which I completely LOVE. I will try to post some photos. I wrote this in October and put it into drafts. My how time flies. It’s already Christmas! Our first in our new home! Probably our only Christmas. I’m expecting to move again. Spin the wheel to see where!!!!!

Will You Be an Inspiration?

My journey tonight brings me to reflecting on where I am in life. I  have come to the realization that I am in one of those moments where you say “I have become my mother.” It’s not a typical form though. It’s not the “Because I said so…” moment. It’s the moment that I realize that I am basically RELIVING the SAME life my mother led. Married, divorced, raising children alone, an ex who doesn’t pay his child support, same health issues, struggling to get by, taking care of my brother (who is quadriplegic – for my mother it was her son). How does this happen? Do we subconsciously do this to ourselves? My mother was a wonderful lady. There are many traits I am proud to have received from her. However, her life (in general) is not one of them. I will not go into detail about her life (nor mine at the moment). But, I do know one thing. I can sit here and let it happen to me the way that it happened to her, or I can do something about it.

Sometimes life just seems so overwhelming. I really have to say that considering what has transpired in my life, I tend to be a fairly positive person. Some people have told me that they can’t believe I can still laugh after some of the things that have occurred in my life. I, however, choose to be grateful for what I do have; even grateful for those experiences which were somewhat horrendous. I choose to realize that, even though the sun hides quite a bit from me at times, I still have it better than most of the world just for the mere fact that I live in America.

I know I am just going through a rough time. It seems like a very long rough time, but I keep my hope alive by knowing that “someday” I will have the great gifts that are talked about by many. I know if I keep believing, if I keep striving and doing my part, that my day will come. With all the things that have happened, I still feel that I am very blessed. I have many wonderful friends, family, and a beautiful peaceful place to live. This is my journey. This is what makes me stronger. I hope that my life is one of inspiration and not of pity. Only I can make that happen. The way I respond to my experiences is what makes the difference!