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Every New Year’s Eve I take a little time to think about things that have happened throughout the year: the good, the bad and the ugly. I catch myself looking forward to the New Year, hoping for positive change, a better direction, stronger relationships and renewed health. I think most of us do probably do this.

New Year’s Resolutions are like well-check appointments for me:  I make them because I am supposed to, but I cancel them because “I feel just fine.”  I prefer to call this process “goal setting” which is code for many ideas I roll around in my head for a bit and then get back to the daily grind.

This year has been a little different. At 6:32 p.m. on 12.31.2015 tears are streaming down my face as I write this and eagerly await 2015’s farewell party (which I am supposed to be at in an hour and still haven’t showered and now I have cry-face. This, by the way, is the Ugly).

This year, for me personally, was the worst year on record (don’t fade out on me here, I’m not one to  throw a pity party and I will bring it back around, I promise).

Here is The Bad:

  1. I fell down my basement stairs and broke my toe and foot.
  2. Through this injury I found out I have a degenerative arthritic hip and need a new one like, yesterday. Walking sometimes becomes a challenge for me and this girl hasn’t been to the gym since February which is not pretty for my psyche or my credit card.
  3. I own a small business and had to let some employees go for doing things they shouldn’t have done. And my staff becomes my family, so this is hard stuff. It flip-flopped my belief system for awhile.
  4. Said small business went through a slump because we tried something that just didn’t work, but I didn’t know that until I tried.
  5. Some friendships ended because it was just time.
  6. One of my favorite people on the planet lost her mom suddenly. She was only 52 and my dear “K” is only 22.
  7. Another member of my tribe is going through the ugliest divorce I have ever seen.

(Insert Sidebar: I’m losing track here – it’s hard for me to focus on the negative.)

  1. There is so much fear and hatred in our world. I find myself researching tiny houses so I can go off the grid (not really, but I can dream.)
  2. And then on November 16, I got the phone call that changed everything and sealed the deal on the crappiest year of all: “Your dad lost consciousness in a whirlpool at the gym. He is in a medically induced coma and we won’t know anything for 48 hours.”  Three days later he was gone.


Here is the redemption part and why there really is good that comes from bad. Sometimes you just have to wait for it.

The Good:

  1. I fell down wooden stairs to a concrete basement. I didn’t hit my head, I didn’t go to the hospital and my husband made be tomato soup and grilled cheese (my favorite) and waited on me hand and foot (pun intended!)
  2. I need a new hip…now I know and I won’t have to suffer anymore!
  3. As for the business, the staff I have now is the best crew I have ever had! They like each other, are such a great team, have fantastic work ethics and they care so much. Talk about light coming through the dark…wow.
  4. Said small business made it through the slump and is back on track.
  5. I have made new, wonderful friendships this year that I now have room to nurture!
  6. My dear “K” who lost her mama and I have become so close. She has asked me to help with her wedding planning. (Tears of joy and honor are welling up…)
  7. My almost finally divorced friend is the happiest I have ever seen her and we are plotting future endeavors together.
  8. There is also so much hope alive in the world. We have to fan this flame, not hide in the cold shadow of fear.
  9. And then there’s Dad. This one…whew. Well, I had him for 46 years of my life. We had our struggles and our arguments, but wow did I get so many strengths and learn so many lessons from him. And I know he truly loved me and my family, and was proud of me (I was always tossing this doubt around, but since his passing, so many people have told me so many stories—good, positive, kind, memorable stories.)  My mom and I are closer than ever and I didn’t even think that was possible. And sometimes there is a great peace that washes over the sadness.

The moral of the story: “What if your blessings come through raindrops, what if  your healing comes through tears…what if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise…”    ~ Laura Story’s song, “Blessings”

So, hi 2016, I’m glad you’re here. New dreams, new promises, new challenges, new people and finding a new “normal.” Bring it.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Juli Schafer

A native of Lancaster, PA, Juli has lived in the Fredericksburg, VA area for 11 years. She and her husband of 15 years own a restaurant and a cupcake shop. (How did that happen, she jokes all the time since she doesn’t bake or cook, so don’t ask for any recipes or tips.) Her true loves are writing, marketing and event planning, Jesus and her 14-year old daughter. She proudly accepts her crazy and invites you to join her....crazy is NOT a bad word: 'Crazy' –“Full of cracks or flaws. Unusual. Distracted with desire or excitement. Absurdly fond; passionately preoccupied.” She is working on building a stronger faith, finding her true path, and being a brighter light. You can find her at

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