Hi to all my readers :-)
I know it has been a very long time since I last blogged, and it wasn't the intention to leave it so long, but things have been a real struggle for me in the last couple of months, and I'm only starting to feel like myself again with the arrival of the festivities!
We have been through the hardest few months we've ever experienced, and when I thought it was all calming down, everything went up a gear and unfortunately this blog had to come last on my to do list. Not because I wanted it to, I have so desperately wanted to share what is going on but not been able to find the words. The longer I left it, the harder it has been to know what to say - that's ridiculous I know!
So here I am, having written so many posts in my head but not actually written them on here - I have a lot of catching up to do. There are so many things I've done with the intention of having tutorials, fun Christmas projects etc, but I've just not had the time to write it all down. I will do, and it may be too late for this year but they'll be here for next.
I have only just kept my head above the water with everything at home recently, and as much as I hate to admit it, have had a number of emotional breakdowns when it's all gotten too much. Thank you to our friends who are walking with us through everything.
It's amazing how a longer day for Mr Strong, challenging behaviour from one child, teething from another and frustration on my part for not feeling like I'm doing what I should be or want to for our family, can have such an impact on things. I hold my hand up and say my natural reaction is to pull back, re group (I have learned recently how to pray very hard for things, seemingly constantly as there's nothing else I can do) and re assess everything.
For those of you who know me well, know that I love being with people, but that actually being in my own company re fuels me, and I get myself into a bit of a state if I don't have adequate time to just be me.
A number of times I've wanted to pack our bags and leave Norfolk. Not that it would have solved anything but that's how I felt. What I have learned most, which I thought I already had (obviously not!!) is how to wholly rely on God. And I mean WHOLLY, not leave things, try and cope, try and change them, and THEN pray. No, I mean pray, pray, pray and then let's just pray some more - because I have NO idea what is happening, what the plan is, how this is all going to work out, but by praying I know that there is at least the smallest amount of hope left in me somewhere that God has it all in hand.
Someone asked me this week if it was hard having three children. I don't think anyone has ever asked me that. I've had the unending comments from passers by, "You've got your hands full", "Are they all yours!?" and similar attempts at polite humour. Every time I've heard it, it's ground me down just that little bit more - not because I don't love my children abundantly, not because I regret having our family, but just because like many parents, life just sucks sometimes and is just a little more than one person can handle. So my answer to the question was "Yes, it is really hard, but it's ok". It's ok because I am no different to any other parent, whether they have one, two, three or more children. I am tired. I would like to go to the bathroom without an audience. I would like to stop having to tell my children to not jump of the sofa's. I would like to go and buy a new pair of shoes because shoes don't make you feel overweight!lol! I would LOVE to go and sit on the beach and just listen to the waves crashing on the sand, in peace and quiet......
But right now I can't do that, and I am learning that God's plan is so much better, even when it feels like you just want to double check He's not got distracted and left you to make a cup of tea!
Life right now is hard. I am not saying that to receive sympathy, this is just me being honest!
So, as the next few weeks come around, I will be turning 30, Erin will be turning 4 (where did that go!?) and we have the MOST wonderful time of the year approaching! Oh how I am thankful for so many things this year!
Throughout December we'll be having a visit from our Kindness Elves, each day we'll post what we've done. At the end there will be a printable for you to use or adapt if you want to have a go next year. We have made some home made Christmas Tree decorations, I've made my first ever home made chutney and there'll be some biscuits too - all home made gifts with recipes and tutorials.
Christmas is my favourite time of the year - it represents family, spending time together, being thankful and giving generously to others. Most of all, it signifies the birth of Jesus, who has given us life, eternal life for anyone who comes knocking. He never said it would be easy, but it's all worth it to be shaped and refined to become more like Him.
Looking forward to being back!