With a few hours left in the year 2016, I find myself reflecting over the laughs and the tears of the year.
2016 was good in my opinion, even amidst struggle and a heartbreaking loss. In fact, I find that every year is pretty good, I just choose to see it that way.
The trying moments that this year brought were learning curves at best and the losses were significant indeed. But this year provided some pretty awesome moments too. This year I didn’t have ‘a word’ to live by, but stay tuned because I do have a word for 2017. More on that later.
I found this year to be full of friends and taking advantage of opportunities to have fun. A year in my life would not be complete without fighting for justice and standing against human sex trafficking or exercising. And on that note, this year end’s with a BANG, so don’t stop reading here.
Every Super Bowl Sunday I organize the Traffic Jam, it’s a fitness fundraiser to end trafficking. This year we raised almost $3,000 for The Key2Free here in Austin!
I’m thankful that I can teach fitness classes still and do what I love to do in support of this cause.
In the spring, my work took me to Bellingham, Washington for a business meeting. Boy was it beautiful there. That was probably as far north as I’d been on the west coast. If I could stand the cold I think I’d want to live there! The town is full of breweries–who knew, but the seaside is breathtaking.
In later spring almost to her birthdate I lost my first love, a twelve year old beagle named Skylar. We had been together just five years. It was not long enough. Early in the spring she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. She later had a heart attack climbing the stairs as I called her to come. I miss her every single day. But I’m so grateful that she did not suffer. We did not have enough time together.
Every month there’s a group of us girls that love to workout together and we love to catch up over happy hour once a month too. I’m so thankful for their friendship and their love. When Skylar passed they were there for me in a big way and I will never forget that. I love these ladies.
May brought a road trip to Kansas to see my family. It was a great weekend being with my sisters, nieces and nephew. We ate, laughed, and shopped the thrift stores.
One of my biggest accomplishments this year was getting out of credit card debt. Boy was it a long haul. If you think you can’t, you absolutely can. I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course and it changed the way I think about money. The snowball principle worked. It was a year of delayed gratification and it hurt. It really hurt. This is really true, if you can’t pay cash for it, you can’t afford it. Ouch.
I looked forward to this conference all year long and finally it came in July. At the Declare Conference for faith based bloggers I made some lifelong friends. My time there confirmed my passion and opened the doors for one of the biggest spiritual break throughs of my life. I’m most grateful for how my relationship grew with God this year. I now know what having a relationship with Him is like. I know that He is faithful because of what He’s done for me. He proved himself to me to me this year in the biggest way and by that I know that He is a redeemer and that He makes all things new including me.
Have you ever seen the World Dog Surfing Championship on TV? One weekend I happened upon it and it had been months since my beagle Skylar had passed. I was missing her and feeling the itch for a new love. I randomly picked up my laptop and hopped on Craigslist. I found a photo of a two month old beagle and exchanged texts with her owner.
Two days later I would be picking up Scout, and just like that she stole my heart.
Two days later we would find ourselves in the doggie ER. She would spend six days in ICU recovering from major surgery to repair a perforated intestine. Just two weeks prior I was out of debt, now I was maxed out but my new puppy’s life was saved. Choices. And I was faced with a big one. I see this as a temporary challenge, a chance to reapply what I learned the first time.
I cancelled a beach vacation that was scheduled that week Scout was recovering. The beach can wait.
Scout’s been a big undertaking as a puppy, but we’re doing great.
Later in the year Scout had her first beach experience in Galveston when I went to Blog Elevated, my first big blogger’s conference. It was a great weekend of learning and networking. I made great friendships and learned so much.
The fall brought a trip to Seattle Washington for a leadership conference. I was able to take a few extra days to visit a good friend of many years and we explored as many Seattle sites as we could possibly squeeze in.
I’m so blessed to work for a global ministry called CRISTA. The conference was a game changer for me personally. We studied Lead Like Jesus. God revealed to me that I have let fear rule my life for far too long.
One of the largest events of the year that I oversee is putting on SPIRIT Fest, central Texas’ largest family festival. Every year I think it will kill me and that I might not survive. This year was full of uncertainties because we moved the location to the Circuit of The Americas race track facility. God showed up bigly I might say, we had 11,000 in attendance with For King & Country, Mercy Me, Lauren Daigle and more.
My year, my life would not be complete without these girls. I’m fortunate to work with them but also to call them friends.
This year brought progress in my human trafficking ministry. I’m part of a team that visits a brothel twice a month. We show up like clockwork and finally have made inroads and the women have shown great trust with us. We even shared dinner in the lobby one night. For this I am so grateful.
God also opened my heart to refugees in my neighborhood and I was able to serve them during a Fall Festival with my church. My eyes were opened and my heart was opened even bigger to love.
This Christmas brought a new work project with the Trail of Lights and lots of cheer with friends. I got to try my hand at baking Parker House Rolls and wow! I did it! Let’s celebrate small victories okay! I traveled to the Hill Country to visit my mom for Christmas.
So the day after Christmas I was walking the dog in flip flips, yes it’s only 70 here in Texas. I was actually counting my blessings as we were walking, looking forward to a week of vacation days here at home. I had planned to work out, do all kinds of fun on line work, and fun lunches with friends.
We picked up speed and I began to run with the little pup and landed on my foot to break a side metatarsal bone almost in half. I wonder what God has in mind for me in 2017, as I start this year slow? Maybe that’s it. Slow. Maybe He wants me to slow down and focus on something else.
With this I say farewell 2016. I’m excited to see what 2017 holds, knowing the one who has a plan for me, a plan to prosper me and give me hope.
I’m wishing you a wonderful 2017 with lots of love.