"Mustn't grumble," I remind myself. After all, my grandma had a much more difficult life than I ever did. Not to mention a zillion others in the world, past and present. Future too, no doubt.
So what have I learned from 2015?
*If you think your life's crap -- someone else always has it worse.
*Often, when you just can't stand it anymore -- soon after is when things start to get better. There is an amazing verse in the Bible that makes it clear: God will not give you more than you can bear -- with His help. (It's true. Really.)
*You may be learning more from hard times than you think. In fact, if you pay attention, you may well come out from the shadows with several helpful lessons.
*Doing the right thing may have short-term consequences. But in the long run, it's still your best course of action.
*STUFF is not that important. Other things are far more precious. (This short flick is a little corny, but it makes that point well.)
*You can live on less. I know this, from experience. With few exceptions, you can cut costs somewhere. Granted, you're going to have to hold off, or cut back: buying clothes, going out to eat and cable tv come to mind. But you can save on more than you think. Because of that:
*Become particular on what you DO spend your money on. Buy classic clothing that's well-made, and will stand the wearing, instead of high-fashion junk that fades and rips in just a season. Instead of mediocre food, save your cash and go to a nicer restaurant -- just not as often. Wait to buy, until you find the very best at the price you can afford. Then:
*Regularly set aside some of that saved money for emergencies. Even if it's a few bucks each month, it adds up -- and you will need the money, eventually. (We had to come up with $5000 on very short notice. Could you do it?)
*Patience really is a virtue. And it's very, very difficult to do. But it helps if you can:
*Keep your mouth shut. For one thing, you appear wiser than you are. For another, people will get tired of attacking you, when you're not attacking back. After a parting shot for good measure, they tend to get bored and wander off...and leave you alone.
*Follow the Golden Rule: never treat anyone else the same way you were. Make sure you know all sides of the situation before you form an opinion and express it. And if you see injustice, speak up -- right away.
*Treasure your friends and family. They can help get you through the roughest of times. A faithful partner or loyal friend is worth their weight in diamonds. Finally:
*Trust in the Maker of the Universe. It amazes me that God would care about us when He's got far better things to do -- but He does. Far too many 'coincidences' happened for us to think He wasn't aware of our situation: unexpected work, quiet champions and help, incredible sale prices on items we badly needed, people and authors who offered comfort and reassurance just when we were most discouraged. Prayer was a huge part of this. Trusting God was another.
So what's in store for us this coming year? And what do we have for goals?
Stay tuned for Part III.