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Video games allow characters to start over. If the character makes enough mistakes and dies they just regenerate. Start over, pretend it never happened. Try try again. If only life could be so kind.

Every so often I have a day where I want to go back to bed and hit the restart button on the day. I’m starting to feel that way about this year. The year started with me feeling so enthusiastic about the possibilities that lay before me. Who knew what 2014 would bring? Bring it on was my attitude.

What could possibly go wrong?
How could I not end the year with the same level of positive enthusiasm I greeted it with?
How indeed.

January – I saw life lessons in jigsaw puzzles and craft projects. I set spiritual goals for myself like spending one hour a day praying, reading scriptures, and reading other spiritually uplifting material.

February – Gavin and I bonded while he stayed home all week from Outdoor Ed. It was exactly what we both needed and I don’t regret for a second letting him stay home. We threw a birthday party for Gwen and I swear we will never do it again! Parker and Gwen got really good at riding their bikes. I started taking them on daily bike rides through the park.

March – Every lesson I taught as a Ward Missionary seemed to revolve around the themes of Christlike love and The Plan of Salvation. I was obsessed with watching Turning Point on BYU TV. My heart was constantly overflowing with love for others. My testimony was so strong I never thought anything could ever shatter it.

April – I lost a dear friend to the sheer inability to keep in touch. Few things have hurt more than not knowing what happened with him. The good news is I did hear from him in December.

I had my worst case of vertigo. Every doctor I saw blamed it on something another doctor could fix. I still don’t know why it was happening. My doctor reluctantly agreed to let me go off the cholesterol pills. I was tired of taking medication just because diabetes puts me at a higher risk for other issues like heart problems. I also wanted to only put into my body the bare minimum of drugs needed to keep me alive. I was sick of side effects.

After nearly two years I was released as a Ward Missionary and called as Primary Secretary. I have never felt so overwhelmed or inadequate.

May – We bought an above ground pool that saved the summer. The kids were involved in a lot of performances at school. I helped the kids create a hideout under the stairs. I shooed a lizard out of my house. That was probably my favorite memory of the year!

June – My dad died. Some people were supportive. Others not so much. Some people acted like it was no big deal and expected me to keep going as if nothing happened. I’m still angry about that last group of people. How dare anyone judge someone for their response to tragedy?

July – We went on a two week vacation to the Northwest with Heath’s family. I may have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t retreating into my own head.

August – I flew home for the second time in two months. Depression set in. Real depression. The barely-can-function kind of depression. I finished reading the Book of Mormon again and was so depressed I never wrote about it. My daily hour with the Lord was the only thing keeping my head above water.

September – The kids went back to school which only added to my stress level. Heath went out of town on business. I was on auto-pilot for every aspect of my life.

October – I flew home again to bury my dad and grandpa the same day. I flew back that same night to sacrifice my husband and his time with us to his new church position as Ward Executive Secretary. His new position became official the next day. As I struggled more and more with my job as Primary Secretary I spent less and less time on my spiritual goals. Heath jokes that by the third death in my family in a year, I finally gave up on spiritual things. Sad but true.

November – Heath’s parents visited for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately I have hit my limit of people and social situations so I was not good company.

December – I became bitter and angry. When I got to a point that I couldn’t even stand being around myself anymore I asked Heath for a priesthood blessing. I learned that the Lord understands what I’m going through and He doesn’t want me to quit because He has lessons in these challenges that I need to learn. My endocrinologist also prescribed me more cholesterol pills after I asked for them. I told him my dad had a heart attack and I know I need to take care of myself.

My umbrella is up. It was once down and the blessings could pour all over me. Over time I stopped trusting myself and the Lord and I put my umbrella up. I have fortified my walls so no one can reach me, including the Lord. I have learned that I am a very rebellious soul. I fight everything. I’m trying to learn how to stop.

When I take a step back from all the stress and anxiety of the last six months, I realize the blessings. I may have lost my dad but I got him back. And I got his family back. The family history my aunt gave to me is a tangible miracle. It reminds me that families are eternal. It reminds me of how it felt to see my aunts and uncles again after twenty some odd years away from them. I will never forget the look on my uncle’s face the first time I saw him in June. I saw my dad in his eyes, apologizing and accepting my apologies for lost time.

I am grateful for the life lessons I wrote at the beginning of the year. My testimony was being strengthened in good times so I wouldn’t lose it when things became unbearably hard. I would have given up completely if it weren’t for the lessons I learned that last year as a Ward Missionary.

I have become quite selfish and self-centered lately. A lot of personal growth was required of me this year. Sometimes growing really hurts. I’m always grateful for blogging and blog books. They remind me that there was happiness in the storm. Speaking of storms, we have had some pretty awesome rainstorms this year. Prayers really are answered!

My kids are happy and healthy. We have a lot of fun together. They amaze me with how much they are growing. The top of Gavin’s head reaches my nose. Maybe he’s up to my eyes now. They are all smart and funny.

Heath is my rock. If it weren’t for his patience I would have been committed to a loony bin by now. He allows me to be who I am while gently nudging me in the right direction. I can’t believe how much I have changed for the better since meeting him.

The Lord has also blessed me with wise Bishops and their counsel. He has blessed me with angels in friends and family. He has blessed me with simple every day moments so personal in nature I can’t doubt where they come from.

So as much as I want to throw away the year, pretend like it never happened, I can’t. I can’t forget. There were lessons there, blessings, and miracles. Life is not a video game. I can’t regenerate and start over. All I can do is move forward where I am. I have made a million mistakes and it’s hard to move past them. But I realize now that a recurring lesson this year was that the Lord accepts us as we are. We don’t have to reach any level of perfection before we can approach Him.

I don’t look forward to 2015 with stars in my eyes. But it can’t be all bad right? Things can’t get much worse than they already are, right? Well, let’s be honest. Things can get worse. I hope they don’t. I have to believe that I have the power to view my circumstances more positively and things can only improve from here! Only time will tell.

Resolutions aren’t really my thing, but I would like to resolve to find that one hour a day again for the Lord. I was never mad at Him. I just lost my way momentarily and forgot I don’t have to do things on my own. If I have learned anything in my life it’s that the blessings are equal or more wonderful than the trial was difficult. I have forgotten that lately.