The Ups and Downs of Life

As I sit down to write this post, my heart is heavy and my feet are a little cold. It’s a chilly -6 F in Chicago tonight, and I can hear the wind whipping around outside.

This has been an unusually busy and stressful few months for me and my family. In November, my mom’s father passed away at the age of 90, and then my sister had a baby just a week later.

This past week, my dad’s father passed away at the age of 106. Two grandfathers in two months…that’s a little much for all of us. I was going to go to Canada for my grandfather’s funeral tomorrow, but my passport has expired and it’s now a requirement for coming back to the US (in the past you only needed your birth certificate). I am sitting here right now wishing I was on the plane with my parents, on the way to see my extended family.

My 106-year-old grandfather had an amazing life (not just a long one); he was born in Ukraine, survived being a refugee during World War I, came to Canada in the 1920s and made a life as a farmer. He was a kind and gentle man and I miss him.

My new store design, which I adore, took much longer than we originally anticipated. It was a complicated re-design, moving hundreds of products and hundreds of blog posts; tweaking, changing, and testing to make sure everything worked correctly. I couldn’t have guessed that it wouldn’t debut until December, during the week of my daughter’s birthday.

I have been trying to manage everything, including the day-to-day responsibilities of being a wife and mom, homeschooling, running my business, chronic migraines, and being there for my family during these life events. I have seen my own weaknesses in the way I respond to these challenges, sometimes with anger or hurtful words. It is humbling.

As I prepare for Christmas this week, I am reminded again that with all my struggles and recent losses, I am still incredibly blessed. I have friends, family, and faith – what else could I need? Life will always have its ups and downs (hopefully not as many as this year) but some things stay constant.

Wherever you are, dear friends, I hope that you also have friends, family, and faith. I hope that this holiday season brings joy even amidst the heartaches of life. Many blessings to you all. And don’t worry, I’ll return with educational-themed posts next week 🙂