**Author's note: This blog series is a year-long installment which will chronicle the year that I turn 40 with some comical moments, retrospective insights and empowering calls to action.
It's been a little over a week since my 40th birthday.... and so far, I've survived with no midlife crisis or mettle-downs. It doesn't take a milestone birthday for me to get reflective, but I have to say the week leading up to my birthday, and this week included, I've been replaying the past 12 months in my mind:
- August 2016 - I closed a business and moved reVision's office back to my home. Also Mat and I began the Total Money Makeover journey to get out of debt (see Dave Ramsey for more on this awesome financial plan.) $50K+ to pay off.
- September 2016 - Had my first speaking engagement in front of a college-aged audience and I gave my first talk during Sunday service at my church.
- October 2016 - started working full time in a whole new industry I've not been previously exposed to, for a very fast-paced environment that requires every skill set I've ever developed and then some.
- November 2016 - Thanksgiving was quiet with time spent with immediate family around my father-in-law who was fighting cancer.
- December 2016 - I sang a solo in our church's Christmas service... the first time in 4 years that I've sung in public. It was scary... but felt great.
- January 2017 - Rang in the new year with my parents in Tennessee on a much-needed visit with the family. Mat is hospitalized for severe bronchitis. A week after returning to work, he lands back in the ER after breaking a rib from coughing so hard.
- February 2017 - I received an invitation to be one of three leaders in my church's women's organization. I was humbled...still can't figure out "why me?" but I am happy to serve where God has placed me and hope to challenge the women in our church to push outside the box to embrace a vibrant, abundant life with God.
- March 2017 - Finally a month where Mat and I aren't sick since the beginning of the year! Thankful for healing!
- April 2017 - Spent a really fun weekend with a bunch of great ladies at Time Out For Women, a women's retreat focused on spiritual growth. Made some new friends and laughed...A LOT! I also got the opportunity to speak at my church's district event for women. After about 7 months of the Total Money Makeover, we've paid off $11K+ and have built an emergency savings fund and cash-flowed several car repairs.
- May 2017 - Wrote the first three chapters of my latest book and submitted my book proposal to a publisher. Hit a few more financial goals. My father-in-law is hospitalized in his fight against cancer.
- June 2017 - Summer is here! Headed to the gym to start my workout routine.
- July 2017 - Mat takes a leave of absence from work to offer day-time care to his dad who is no longer able to care for himself. Later that month, on July 28th, he passed away from cancer. Mat and I celebrate 4 years together.
- August 2017 - The memorial service for my father-in-law is held. It was a perfectly planned celebration of his life with lots of laughs and special memories. Yep...this is the month I turned 40! I have to say it is by far the best birthday I've had as an adult. So many great friends and people I care about showed up in their own ways to celebrate with me and I felt, and still feel, incredibly loved and blessed.
It's been a full year stacked with sweet memories, hard times, quiet moments and laugh-out-loud experiences that will be retold for years to come. A special thanks to a few people:
- My parents who gave me life, raised me and sculpted my persona to be who I am today. Thank you for always loving me, believing me and for being the plumb line I've held my self against for years.
- My family, near and far, who love me. You are all cherished and dear to me.
- My sweet sisters at church who love on me, support me and encourage me deeply. You are examples of authentic, Godly women who chase after the things that matter most. Thank you for being part of my heart's journey and growth.
- ....and most importantly, my husband - the love of my life. Thank you for taking a chance on this crazy gal you stumbed upon four years ago; for loving even the damaged, bruised parts of me; for not letting me slide in the background and become less than what God wants me to be. You make the next 40 years of life worth looking forward to!