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merry merry...

Merry Merry from the McLovies! 
I don't even know where to start-
As we were just days from closing in one of the best years of our lives, 
I found my heart extremely heavy and lost amongst the hustle and bustle.

Actually it, nor I, was lost. 
It was just fact. 
A fact of life.
A new reality. 

But before that- this.

Matt & I. 

Healthy, willing and able to love through all of it. 

 A damn good, yet harsh reminder of what is most important.
A reminder that we can't control the opinions of others. 
Even if they are just that- opinions. 
You see, 
we are a family that prides themselves on being open and honest, real and reachable.
Doing what's right even if it's the hard way.
The road less traveled if you will, it's always the harder way.
If it were easy, everyone would take it. 
Let's face it. They don't.  

Who knows the reasons why they don't
but I can guarantee it's something personal. 
It comes from within.
It's hard work, it takes effort, it takes growth.

It's harder for some people to look within and recognize what they can do to be better, 
how to better a situation, and maybe actually listen. 
Not just listen to respond, because everyone can listen just to respond.

Can you listen and let it penetrate?
You may find yourself in the place of personal reflection. 
And let's be honest, you might not like what you're hearing or how others see you. 
The one thing I've found to be true is-
Perception. It's everything.

Personally, when I have found myself in these predicaments- it sucks. 
Not all self reflection is a mirror and a selfie. 
How nice would that be? Ha! Filters among filters! Bring it! 

In all seriousness, we've all been there. 
Having to take a hard look within and realize 
what you may be hearing from someone you don't want to hear it from 
may just have some truth to it. 
 Growth comes from hearing all of it. 
Listening with out a candid politically correct response and 
not making a knee jerk reaction that effects more than your ego. 

That's maturity. 
Accepting, hearing, listening, changing. 

It may be hard to hear. Harder work to fix. 
And the hardest to change...
but it will be worth it. 

Hard work is always worth the reward. 
We know, we've won some.

I look at what the most important thing I am teaching our kids.
Recognizing what's right from wrong. 
We teach them to speak up and always do what's right. 
 Because at the end of the day, 
it doesn't matter what sports they play, who they're friends are or 
even what they end up growing up to be-
even with all of that considered and all the choices they have to make, 
there's only two-
The right way and the wrong way.

And if we can't lead by example, speak up when we feel something is wrong, 
then who's leading who? 
We are not sheep. 

We have a foundation, a gut feeling, a heart...
an instinct that leads us.

Much different than reactions. Much different. 

When you love something it's easy to be passionate.
It's easy to care, to go the extra mile, to be kind, 
to be supportive, to be genuinely happy. 
It's easy to work hard when it's your passion. 
When you surround yourself with the ones that love and support you,
it's easy to go the extra mile. After all,
 you have your team, your tribe, your people in your corner. 

 They keep you honest. 
They let you reflect without judgement. 
They keep you self aware- imagine that.
Because of this earned trust
you are able to work through things where others may throw blame. 
We will never understand why.
We will never understand the point of the blame.
Instead, maybe set your ego aside and be accountable. 
It's the only thing you have-
that and character.  

Then there's this character...
What a personality he is. 
I love this man.

Our rock. Our guy.
Our Mr. Misunderstood. 
He doesn't stutter. 
He speaks the truth. And he's gotten really good at it. 
I love him even more for that.  
He takes care of all of us. 
He protects us with everything inside him. 
He is a family man that genuinely loves his family-
And his wife... imagine that.
It feels good to be loved as much as you love,
that the feeling is mutual,
that you are in this life together. 

That when thoughts like the ones I started this blog post with:
"As we were just days from closing in one of the best years of our lives, 
I found my heart extremely heavy and lost amongst the hustle and bustle"
make you realize your heart is more open than ever before and was never lost. 

It may have just been found yet again
and this in fact was one of the best years of our life.

 As we send you late Christmas wishes during the New Year, 
we as a family reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of being honest. 
Speaking up. 
Being truthful. 
Requesting change for the better... 

It's a hard lesson to receive and even teach our kids. 
Sometimes the result is devastating, embarrassing and hurtful when you speak up.
It shouldn't be. 
 Neither should keeping your integrity. 

Those in the position to receive such insight from someone being honest 
should be able to discern and communicate how to work together 
to formulate and implement change. 
Not just disregard. 

Even as I type this my heart breaks and my stomach knots up 
to see some things be implemented now as a result of speaking up.
What great idea! (ultimate sarcasm) 

It may have cost a relationship but those changes, 
clearly necessary, 
were just not ready to be heard at the time 
nor from the person it came from.

As we embark on 2017 with open hearts, I encourage each and everyone one of you to be open to hearing others, even it's a result of you having to self reflect or even change course. 
But promise me this- you won't ever abandon ship. 
 Coming from a past commercial fisherman's daughter, that crew is your family. 
And at the end of the day- even if the ship is sinking, that family is all you have.

"For the ones who follow the compass in their heart, home is always the journey."

all our love, 

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 Photo Credit: Katie Mathis