A few years ago my friend Jennifer Bennett introduced me to the iBloom Network, a unique community of like-minded women of faith who want to make a difference in the world. Never did I imagine how being a part of their Network would set me on a path that would literally alter the course of my faith, my family, my business, or dare I say myself.
In 2014 I prayed long and hard over my “theme” for the year. This is a one or two word statement that speaks to the core of your heart and sets the trajectory for the rest of the year; often personally and professionally. For me, that year, it was The Great Purge. I looked around our home and found closets filled with stuff, baskets overflowing from my forgetting what it meant to “file not pile,” spaces so crammed we often couldn’t find things and I found on occasion I would buy new simply because whatever couldn’t be found. Something clicked one day and I found I had enough and it was time for The Great Purge. Over the course of several weeks I literally pulled everything out from every closet, every drawer, every basket and every crevice where “stuff” was shoved I laid about a room in our house. I spent day after day digging through piles and trashing and donating and organizing and trashing some more. I was on quite the roll… then company arrived for a week stay and I could not bare them seeing the mess so I shoved it aside into the garage. Bad move! Once the company left I no longer had my visual reminder and many other important (and not so important) things kept those remaining piles in the garage… for months. If I couldn’t find something I would just go to the pile and dig about, find what I needed, and close the door. I found it was easy to ignore the mess as long as no one could see it, including me.
In 2015 I felt clearly that my theme for the year was to be about joy and about my journey, albeit I had no idea where that journey would take me Joy In The Journey made total sense to me mentally and spiritually. Our Cradle to College Kids Sale business was doing well, our kid was having success in academics and sports, my husband celebrated 16 years at his job, our home seemed to be in order and thriving. Then September 4th came and I received a call from my mom that my dad had a 99% blockage that caused a massive heart-attack. Then September 10th, while operating our Clermont Kids Sale, we received a call from my Mother-in-Law that my Father-in-Law was admitted to Oklahoma City Heart Hospital and things did not look good. Then September 14th came and changed everything…. that is the day I took my 89 year old grandmother to the hospital, learned she had terminal cancer, and moved in with her.
As we approached New Year 2016 I found myself reflecting on the many lessons learned in the month I spent 1:1 with my dying grandmother, while offering Thanksgiving that both of “my dads” we doing remarkably well after such a trying few months. There is much about the time with my grandmother I have shared with family and close friends, yet there is much I haven’t yet shared. I did keep a journal and I find that most poignant lesson from her was about how one needs to be intentional in the way they live their life. Two years ago my Theme was “The Great Purge,” last year it was “Joy in the Journey,” and I can’t help but notice how my 2016 Theme “Be Intentional” ties in to the others. I find that I can’t be intentional along my journey without purging things in the way of my path.
Over the next 12 months I will be using this blog to help me create a life that is intentional. Designed to connect community, I will use CTC Kids News as an outlet to share my heart and the lessons learned along the way, to showcase ideas and ways in which our family blooms and ways to encourage your family to do the same. Oh, and that “pile?” I finally finished “The Great Purge” last weekend… or have I?
Here is to being intentional and to the joy that truly is in the journey.
Giving Back. Connecting Community. It’s what we do.
<3 Melinda Gill