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The smell, although pleasant, was utterly overwhelming.  As I followed my nose down the hall toward my room, I knew it would be bad.

Good overwhelming smells can be indicative of disasters too.  Especially where “the vandals” – our toddler sons – are involved.

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It was my fault.

I had basked in the silence too long. Badness is not always followed by a crash, clatter or breaking glass. And this fragrance was intoxicatingly expensive.

As I entered the bathroom, the aroma nearly knocked me over. Sam, the older of the two, pointed at a greasy Charlie and said, “Charwlie did it!”

My husband Justin was on my heels, curious to sniff out the trouble.  He gasped, “what is that?”

“It’s a $28.00 bottle of essential oil.” I stammered.

He inhaled deeply, surveying the oily mess, then half choked and coughed, “what scent is it?”

I knelt and picked up the empty bottle, “stress relief.”

Justin snorted, “it’s not working.”

 

Indeed.

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As the year draws to a close, I wonder about what other tactics, gimmicks, therapies, and Tomfoolery I will embrace in 2016.  Don’t get me wrong, I love essential oils, but I am not entirely sure they do more than indulge my senses.  And certainly, in the case above, they were more a nuisance than an escape from my stresses.

I thumbed through my journal from this time last year.  Nothing went according to plan. We sent a boy to military school.  We got a scholarly, eager to please, enjoyable young man, back from military school. We gained a boat load of debt in that venture.

It was worth it.

We were backed into a legal battle in the foster care system and will soon be adopting “Charwlie.” In that process, we gained a son… And fell in love with him and his family.

It was worth it.

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I was supposed to lose 30 pounds.  Instead, I gained 26.

Not sure a morsel was worth it. But alas here I am.

I promised to meditate.  I can’t recall a single lucid thought.  But I have my new born blog and lots of new friends and a few enemies.

Totally worth it.

I was going to do this… I was going to try that.  2015 is a blur of tears, stress, heartache, overdrawn bank accounts, near fame, hurtful words, joyful praise, triumphs, treasures, and lessons learned.

In my humanness, there is the desire for a new beginning,  a fresh start, a do-over.  But as the elliptical & stationary bike ads fall from the Sunday paper – the flyers for rubber made bins, organizational seminars, diet discounts, and workout clothes, I find myself craving more.

More than last year. More than that which can be bought at Target or in a glass vial filled with precious oils.  I can say that at the stroke of midnight 2016 I will be different, but in my heart, I know all the distractions of 2015 will still be a menace in 2016.

 

And there will be others too.  Some will be repeats.  Some will be new and improved.

And for whatever reason I am not discouraged by this. I want to strive to be different and better; I won’t be lackadaisical and ignore my desire to progress in my faith walk, physical and mental health, parenting and my marriage.

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But I won’t always succeed.

And in all my failures in 2015, I learned something. I used to believe that success breeds success.  As I have failed regularly, I have come to embrace failure breeds success too.

For when I have failed or watched my children fail, I am most aware of my God’s loving patience & guidance.

When I am at the end of my rope – He offers slack.  And the do-over isn’t once every 365 days at midnight – It is every single time I beg, “Yahweh! Help.”

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The last shall be first, blessed are the poor in spirit… And all these things will be added unto you, beauty from ashes, for a wretch like me.

What joyful noise is the toll of midnight, not as a marker of new, but a catalyst to move forward embracing old.  Continuing to bask in the wisdom of a mighty God, a God of mercy, love, joy and forgiveness. A God whose yoke is easy. His burden is light.

He doesn’t come bottled in a pretty vile.  He doesn’t cost a dime.  He needn’t be diffused or taken in particular doses. He is ever near me in each season, and He is the master of time.

I may still commit never to eat another Oreo as long as I may live – but as the bell tolls, I run eagerly to the foot of the cross where the failures of 2016 will bring me ever nearer to my Jesus.

And while I admit I crave change, and I look forward to new chapters in my family’s lives and the lives of those we adore, like and tolerate, I boldly await the failures. May 2016 be stocked full of brokenness and draw us to our knees. Show me how He who died for us, sees all of the new year, and He means only goodness.

It is well.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end… Lamentations 3:22

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Happy New Year! Jami

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