Happy New Year! Time to Just JUMP!

January 3, 2018

Happy New Year! It’s so good to be back! I love spending time with my family during Christmas, but I missed this space. I was thinking about all of you a lot, wondering how you were managing the holidays, if your joys were greater than your sorrows, if church felt good or made you cry, or both, etc. I hope you know even when I’m not writing; I’m thinking and praying for you all. You’ve become like friends to me and you’re all really special to my heart.

Our Christmas was nice. There were a few grief hiccups, but all in all it was good. We brought lots of happiness into our lives just before Christmas. It was an unexpected joy, and one I don’t regret. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, be sure to like my Extra Grace Required Facebook page or follow me on Instagram – sometimes the first scoop happens there. Oh, I can’t stop myself – here it is – the new guy who loves us unconditionally. Meet Charlie! I’m just a tiny bit obsessed with him.

I warned you I was obsessed with this cute little guy!

But despite a great Christmas, filled with puppy kisses and lots of laughter, the New Year brings a little sadness for me. I thought it was just year one, but it happened again this year. I think it’s the brand new number that serves as a giant reminder that I’m one year farther away from the life I shared with my husband. He died in 2016. When the calendar flipped to 2017 I remember feeling very sad – a new number. And now 2018 – TWO numbers away. I know it may seem silly, or a depressing way to look at it, but we feel what we feel, right? It isn’t anything I get hung up on; just something that I notice hits me harder than some of the other “holidays.”

So, anyway, it’s a new year before us and I’m not going to sit in sadness about it. It’s certainly full of possibilities and new experiences, but it’s also full of UNKNOWNS. No matter how many years I practice being faithful; I’m still not a fan of unknowns. I know I’m absolutely not in control, and yet I still want to be. I have a hard time balancing trust in God with whatever my role is supposed to be. I mean, I have an important responsibility in this life I’ve been given. I have to be smart, cautious and hard working in addition to being faithful. But how much is too much of me? And how much is not enough of God/faith?

It’s especially something I wrestle with when making great big decisions. Maybe it’s fear that tells me it’s not really God’s intent for me. Maybe it’s doubt that causes a lack of confidence that says God doesn’t want you to do this, this is just YOUR crazy idea and it’s dumb and you’ll fail. Is this just me? Or does this happen to you too?

Yet I can’t help but feel the time has come to stop being afraid and just jump. 2018 is the year I jump. It’s the year I find the bravery to chase my dreams. Am I scared? TOTALLY! But as a dear friend once said, “What would you attempt to do if you KNEW you could not fail?”

I have lots of work to do to get ready to launch this new business idea. I can’t wait to tell you all about it, as it is an extension of Extra Grace Required. I’ll need your help spreading the word when the time comes. I hope you’ll be as excited about it as I am. And I hope you’ll pray for me as I prepare to jump. Pray that I find peace and balance in the how much faith versus how much free will and hard work dilemma. You know, as much as I now know, how short life is. It’s too short to not chase our dreams! Sure, I may fail…but MAYBE I won’t.

I challenge you to reflect on your 2017 for a minute. Maybe it was the worst year of your life. Maybe it was the year you just survived. Celebrate that. You SURVIVED! Think about what you’ve overcome in 2017. Reflect on the hard decisions you made last year or the other moments you braved. What did you accomplish that you never thought possible?

And now let’s look ahead to 2018 with evidence from 2017 that we CAN do hard things! That we CAN survive! That we CAN DO THIS! I want to hear your goals for the New Year. I’m on your side, rooting for you. I’m way better at believing in YOU than I am at believing in ME. But one thing is certain – our God believes in US. He’s with us, for us, and has a great big awesome plan for us. So strap in! It’s going to be one heck of a year! Bring it on, 2018! We aren’t afraid of you.

Extra grace,


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  • Reply Machell January 3, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Holidays are bitter sweet. I am so glad they are over. My husband of 22 years passed away in October 2016. I thought I would feel better after all the first’s without him but I don’t.

    • Reply Cathy January 3, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Me too, I had a really hard time Christmas eve, I thought it would be easier this year.

  • Reply Marcy Abbale January 3, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    It will be 3 months on January 13th since my hubby went to be with Jesus. Last year I had a word for the year “faith” and it proved necessary for me to use that word time after time. This year’s word is joy. I am looking for the joy in each day and writing it down so I don’t forget the whys and wherefores. Your blog encourages me to fight the good faith. I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for all of us. With His love and mine…

  • Reply Joy Brumback January 3, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Christmas #2 was easier. My adult children handled it better. I am raising my teenage granddaughter and she has finally quit saying “I miss my Papa” at every meal and every event in life. As we loaded the car with Christmas foods and all the presents to take to my daughter’s house, I had my most intense moment of grief. Christmas has almost always taken place at our house, with the best china and magazine-worthy table decor and my husband lovingly watching over all the work that went into dinner. He impatiently waited for the grandboys to arrive. He led the family in the reading of the Christmas story from the Bible before we opened the gifts. I miss him terribly.

  • Reply Shelly oliver January 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    I am 7 months in today. Just found y’all . Hope you will be an encouragement to me as I go on through this. I still feel complete despair at times each day

  • Reply Shelly oliver January 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    I am 7 months in today. Just found y’all . Hope you will be an encouragement to me as I go on through this. I still feel complete despair at times each day

  • Reply Antonieta Castellanos January 3, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Yes, I survived. But it was sad and lonely. Every morning I wake up and say “Another day without you”. Now I say “Another year without you”.

  • Reply Caroline Sellers January 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I also lost my husband in 2016 just short of our 52 Anniversary. The way I see time passing is not how far away I am from
    my husband but only that everyday I am one day closer than seeing him again.
    God Blessings to you and your family. Your new dog is cute. Nothing like little puppy kisses to take your mind off your grief!

  • Reply Gayle Enouen January 3, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    After being a full time caregiver for 4 1/2 years to my husband before he passed, I had a hard time finding my place in the world again. So I have found myself being sucked into situations bordering caregiving again. My goal for 2018 is to show compassion and empathy without overly committing myself. (Is there such a thing? Guess I’ll find out)

  • Reply Vicki L Grechus January 4, 2018 at 10:04 am

    My husband of 44 years passed away after 10 months of chemotherapy for Bile Duct Cancer on August 16, 2017. We thought we had longer to fight, but it was not meant to be. We had excellent oncologists in a highly-rated facilty near our home. I will follow this site as I work thru this unexpected turn of events in my life.! As we took one day at a time as a couple I will continue to do this now as a person struggling to continue my life. in a productive way. This support in unconditional and is appreciated.

  • Reply Martha January 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    I have also just found your blog. You verbalize so many of my feelings and emotions that I have not been able to find words for. This is the hardest thing i have ever done… to live alone without my eternal companion for a season. I miss him so very much .. to say I miss him doesn’t even cover it. Of course all of you know that too. Now I am trying to find new purpose and direction in my life without him. Part of me doesn’t even want to. I have come a long way since his death in July 2016. But it is true, the second year is proving to be harder.. the numbness of the dirt yer is gone and the reality is here….. He really isn’t coming back and I have to go it alone. Climbing mountains is one step at a time…

  • Reply Lucille January 6, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you for this blog. I just found this as well. I lost my husband to a sudden heart attack three months ago. He was 46. We reconnected two years ago after being married to each other once before. I am taking it minute by minute but it is a constant struggle everday. Some days are good…some days are not. I am trying to have faith and not question God but I am so sad without him. Thank you for your words of inspiration. It gives me strength and hope.

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