Happy New Year! The holiday season in the McCollum house was a quiet one this year. It was our first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years in Ohio where we were far from family. What it brought us was some great time to bond and reflect on all that we have and all that we are truly thankful for. This past year was full of change and adventure that we had not anticipated.
We started talking about possibly moving to move to Ohio in February last year then officially made the decision in March and moved the end of May. Saying goodbye to family and friends that feel like family was super difficult for all of us. The reality of the move settled in when we realized that this house is pretty quiet without all of our friends coming and going constantly, and we miss that. The girls have mastered the art of long distance friendships and still talk to their Kansas friends every day while they have also made some new ones in Ohio.
Charley and I have settled into being parents of 3 youth that are now more independent than ever before since Nikki started driving them everywhere. She has been wonderful at picking up her sisters after school and getting them to where they need to be, grocery shopping on her way home from her college classes, and even cooks dinner a lot. The real bonus was that she also took her sisters Christmas shopping without us so they were able to buy presents that we didn’t see first. It was so great to see the sweet and thoughtful things that they selected on Christmas morning. My favorite was the solid bright pink tie that Sierra bought for Charley because it is her favorite color. He wore it to church today because he is awesome at being a dad.
Over the past 2 weeks with the girls home from school and Charley and I having some extra days at home with them, we have all come to realize that while this move was incredibly hard and has changed our normal drastically, it has also been a great blessing to each of us. LaGrange, Ohio is where we are meant to be (not just because we have some pretty awesome neighbors)! The girls, having less friend distractions, have spent a lot more time together and have become better friends. They have had to step outside of their comfort zones to meet new people, but have been blessed with good friends because of it. We have all enjoyed more time together as a family, and we needed that.
New Year came and went quickly, tomorrow we settle back in to the normal work and school schedule for everyone. With all of the extra time at home, I should feel relaxed and prepared, but as of this morning I was still feeling rushed and anxious. The Christmas decorations are not put away, I start traveling again on Tuesday and I still had not taken the time to reflect on last year and mentally prepare for 2016. One of the things that I normally do is try to write some goals for the year. I really struggled with that this year since the last couple of years have not gone nearly as I planned them and I do NOT like to start something and not finish it. I couldn’t really think of anything that felt right, until today.
As the girls and I were getting ready to leave for church, I reminded them that we were not going to play on phones during church. Trying to set a good example, I put my phone away and didn’t look at it until Sunday school time. That is when I realized I had a text message from the Relief Society President saying that she was sick and not able to come and teach the lesson today. I had 45 minutes to prepare a 40 minute lesson on 30 pages of material I had not read. If I had not chosen today as the day to not use my phone I would have had another hour to prepare. Prayers are answered, we all survived my last minute lesson and I stumbled upon the perfect goal in the process. The McCollum family goals for the year will be this quote from President Howard W. Hunter:
“…Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.”
Now with the goals written, one class dropped (it was dumb to think I could do 3 at once), and family home evening plans to de-Christmas the house we are ready to make this year awesome!
Happy New Year to all our friends and family!