As you may have noticed blogging isn't necessarily my friend anymore. I'm not sure what the problem is other than lack of motivation and material. I recently googled blog topics and one of the ideas was "What celebrity would you invite for dinner and what would you serve?" Seriously? People actually read that stuff? In my book that's a big fat WHO CARES?! All this to say, I've had this post rolling around in my brain and decided to force myself to type it out. And guess what... I already have another idea for my next blog post that will include a give away, so you won't want to miss out. (I haven't forgotten that I need to complete this series. I will. I promise.)
I cannot rank these moments. They are important in 2013 for different reasons. If you attend Second Mile, Chad shared some of these same events. If you would like to listen to a great message to catapult you into reflecting you can watch it here or just listen here.
As we started 2013 we were still very much in the dark of why I had a stroke. I met with both a neurologist and a cardiologist in Tucson that could find no reasons for what had happened to me. Thankfully, my Tucson neurologist was humble enough to share with us that he felt like he was missing something and wanted us to see a stroke specialist neurologist in Phoenix. It took longer than I wanted to have an appointment with him, but once he examined me and all my records he was convinced that I had a hole in my heart and that the first cardiologist missed it. This neuro doctor was also able to explain the process of healing my brain would take. It was a huge relief to hear his words and look at the graph he drew. When I asked him if certain issues I was experiencing were symptoms he responded by reassuring me that anything I was now experiencing that I did not experience pre-stroke was a symptom and that I was not crazy. I felt like I had the "big fat you're crazy giant" kicked off my shoulders and out of my thoughts. It was a tremendous relief, but at the same time a reality check that I was indeed dealing with real symptoms.
As you know the cardiologist did find a hole in my heart and it was patched in February. I like to say that it is an adamantium patch, but it's really just nickel and titanium. Having my heart fixed is definitely a great point of 2013. All of the nightmares of recurring stroke instantly stopped. I had faith when I was awake to discipline myself not to worry, but apparently my subconscious was not faith-filled.
Orange and Gray
When we bought our house we knew it needed some love in the form of updating. We chose to purchase a large home with the purpose of hospitality and family fun. Big and new was not an option for our budget, so big and 1970s fit the criteria. For most of 2012 we lived in a shell of a house. We couldn't hire out the work, so it had to be done as Chad had time to do it himself or enlist skillful friends to help. Mixed with all my health stuff meant renovating was slow going. In 2013 we (Chad mostly) finished a huge portion of what we were working on. It's not complete, but it is livable, comfortable, and enjoyable. We are at a great resting point until more time and money show up in our lives.
The Big 4-0
Yep. I'm 40. People ask if it feels different and my answer is yes, but I think it has to do with multiple life circumstances coming together that has made me feel more grounded, more self-aware, more reliant on Jesus. Chad threw the most amazing masquerade bash ever. To see my friends and family dressed up, smiling at me, dancing, enjoying great food, and celebrating my life with me is something I will never ever forget. This 2013 highlight is most definitely a whole life highlight. It was amazing. If you want to remember or read about it for the first time you can read this post and this post.
Our family took three significant trips together this year. We went to Disneyland right before my heart procedure. San Diego became one of our favorite places through a trip in July and another one in November. These times with my family recharged and refreshed me. Calling the trips a mere highlight doesn't do justice to how meaningful it was for us. I am so blessed to have four great kids that actually enjoy spending time with their dad and me. We are all a bit crazy which makes our time together joyful and goofy. The older they get the better our relationships. Each stage of maturity requires shifts and change, but Chad and I have committed to navigate the waters of family change with prayer and hope for healthy adult relationships with each of our children. Trips like these contribute to fulfilling our hopes for the future.
Retreat de Moxie challenged me greatly this year. More women attended than ever before. The 2012 retreat was a blur because of the health challenges I faced, so I felt fearful as this retreat approached. God blew my socks off with what he taught me through his word as I prepared each session. I was so hopeful it would translate as I shared my heart with my friends. In my opinion, the retreat was a great success because Jesus was lifted high, women drew closer to him, new friendships were made, and old friendships were deepened. Retreat de Moxie will probably be a highlight every year.
I hope you've already spent time thinking through 2013. Looking back in a reflective way gives us an opportunity to be thankful for the blessings and the trials. We learn and grow emotionally and spiritually with each situation, relationship, experience we endure. My prayer for you is that you will allow God to reveal himself to you as you enter 2014.
As for me, I'm trusting God for what he has in store for my family and me this year. I know it won't all be easy, but I believe if we allow him to carry us, guide us, mold us through this year we will be more like him as 2015 begins.
What are some of your highlights from 2013? I would love to hear about something you experienced and/or learned over the last year.