I think that's probably the most general title I could think of, since I don't want to commit to a certain topic. Last year was a hard one in a lot of ways. Curtis had worked for a garage door company for a few years, and he had also been doing side work when it was available to us - that's the beauty of being a sub-contractor with a skill set. It was really nice to be able to stay at home with Gage all through the first year of his life in 2010. I started working at MDO and watching the Craft kids to have extra income and get Gage socialized and get myself out of the house.
As the spring of 2011 came upon us (I can't think of any other way to say that, and it reminds me of a youth pastor who started a summer camp conversation with "summer is upon us" which we all found quite hysterical at the time - now I understand why he chose that phraseology) Curtis was getting busier with the "side work" - heck, 3 years of growing Everything Garage Doors with marketing and word of mouth referrals was starting to add up. So, we decided it was time to step out completely on our own - no more contracting for a larger company. Curtis was all of a sudden a one man show - with me handling the marketing.
I can tell you - the garage door repair business can be lucrative. But, all of a sudden, the marketing money was coming solely from our pockets. And the cost for parts was coming solely out of our profit on each call Curtis did. Business expenses easily quadrupled. Add to that, the summer was upon us and I was no longer watching kids, so my extra income disappeared. I felt really guilty that we were experiencing a financial crunch and I was still at home, when I'm quite a capable worker. I can even dress myself and use correct grammar on a regular basis.
So, I did what I prayed about and felt like was in the best interest of my family - somewhat against Curtis's initial wishes - I found a job. Well, let me rephrase that: I had help finding a job from a staffing agency and the good Lord. I was also fortunate enough to have great help watching Gage.
Taking all that into account, last year was a year of sacrifice for us. Not just financial sacrifice, but family time, mommy bonding time with Gage, sleeping in, having a clean house. We were hit with a lot of junk through out the year, and I've noticed my attitude toward "the business" as I refer to Everything Garage Doors is that I'm sick of it. I blame the business for all the things that sucked last year. The toll it took on us, on our relationship, on my shopping trips. When, really, if I get honest with myself, I should be blaming the Real Enemy.
Nothing for Believers comes easily when you're trying to be inside of God's will. Curtis felt like having our own business was a way to treat customers with honesty and integrity - not ripping them off for something that can be affordable and often is a necessary and unplanned home repair. We treat customers how we'd like to be treated if we have to call someone out to fix our home. I truly feel that Satan has attacked us all year long. (Let me insert here that I believe we've been under a little extra pressure because we live in a home owned by a family currently serving in China as missionaries - and I'm pretty sure that by indirectly supporting them being out of the country by living in their house and paying the mortgage doesn't make the Enemy very happy either.)
A slight rabbit trail - I grew up in church. It was my everything. From a rocky start in childhood to having Someone to lean on, constant friendships with precious sisters in Christ - I just always had that peace and joy that comes from a real relationship with Jesus. This relationship - the one that carried me through every other relationship no matter the type - was all of a sudden (well, it's never "all of a sudden". it's gradual, that's why you don't really notice it at first) gone. I had let the one thing that I could always count on slip away to a back burner, slip away to only a gentle nudge in my heart - slip away to where I really felt alone in a way I had never felt.
I guess that's how people who have NO relationship with their Heavenly Father feel all the time. I had let the disappointment of the struggle of 2011 turn me into a person I didn't know. Sure, I was still a good mom most of the time. Less patient, but still providing and caring. Was I being a good wife? Hardly. Feeding and washing clothes is hardly the way to convince your husband you're in love with him. All the joy I had felt in life had been tied up in the resentment that things had changed and weren't as easy anymore. And, I got really tired hearing stay at home mom friends complain about staying at home. I felt a little bitter about someone complaining about doing dishes AND cooking dinner, when I still do those things AFTER working a full day - and then I have precious little time to spend with my family if I want my house as clean as it was when I stayed home. I got spoiled staying at home and I resented that this growing time was causing my happy little world to change.
Anyway, 2011 ended, and I was incredibly happy to see it go. The stress and the tears and the struggles and the arguing and the decision making for our business...it's all settled down. Well, maybe not the emotions, but that's the pregnancy's fault. Pretty much, 2011 can suck it and I am looking forward to what the rest of 2012 has to offer.