Flipping through my ‘old school’ tattered calendar with scratches and penned in dates, I reflected on all the things I was able to do and be a part of this year. More than that, I realized how God has been at work in my life.
What hit me as I wrote this, is that despite my grand plans and expectations of how my life ought to be God’s plan always trumps mine. I realized that the life he has blessed me with is far greater than anything I could dream up.
Who would have thought that almost three years ago I would learn about the horrors of human sex trafficking and that I’d become so fired up over it that I’d spend most of my year fighting and advocating against it.
I decided to put my love for fitness and dance to work, and raise money. So I planned this three hour workout, dance party called Traffic Jam on Super Bowl Sunday, the day when trafficking is at it’s highest. We raised $3,000 thanks to some really great friends who joined me!
February brought Human Trafficking Lobby Day at our state capitol. I was proud to have lobbied Senator Kirk Watson and Governor Greg Abbott about the issue.
In 2014 I became a volunteer with a ministry where I’d eventually be a part of a team to visit an area brothel, loving on the women there. The journey would begin with a series of trainings continuing through the year. Trauma Training was first. I learned about the life and the abuse many of the women experience. It was not for the faint of heart.
Little did I know that God had planned this time to also open wounds deep within my own heart, causing me to deal with struggles that had held me hostage for some 30 years. This was only the beginning of the heart surgery that I was to undergo over the course of 2015.
God dug deep into my heart when the final survivor’s after-care training took place. My heart procedure was to be completed this time around He’d sew up the incision. Through this heart surgery God showed me His great love for me in the most profound way, bringing healing, revelation, and ultimately freedom. It was just like when you put a coin in the slot machine but the coin gets stuck and never makes its way to the belly of the machine to allow you to pull the handle and play the game. This time the coin took.
September came and finally our brothel team made it’s first visit. God showed me through the waiting and the trainings to stay faithful, don’t quit, don’t give up. And he continues to show me every time we visit the girls. For those times we get a quick hello or we stand ready at a closed door. Stay faithful, don’t quit, don’t give up.
Friends and family top my list. I went to my first Shanklin family reunion in Palmetto State Park. It was a joy to reconnect with family. Our annual girls trip to the Texas Wine Country was a summer blast. I celebrated Halloween in my front yard with neighbors from down the street that I’ve never met before. In December I watched my good friend Sandy walk down the aisle.
This year brought lots of travel with two business trips to Seattle and two summer trips to the great state of Florida. Ft. Lauderdale is my go to beach and I stayed in a resort I’d been dreaming of for years, the Pelican Grand. July 4th brought a weekend trip to Venice, Florida. Amazing. Beautiful. Refreshing.
On the fitness front, this summer I celebrated 16 years as a fitness instructor at Body Business. Wow, I don’t think I’ve done anything for that long. Midyear I discovered high intensity training at Orange Theory. I’m addicted. If I could only keep up with 20 somethings.
I love entertaining and cooking for friends. So I did a little this year. I hosted a Good Friday dinner with good friends. We celebrated my baby’s 8th birthday with PAW-ty. It was Skylar’s (my beagle) day with pup cakes, bone-wiches and puppy chow! She unwrapped presents and all.
I threw my own ½ birthday party with a Southern PicNic theme and cooked all the food. Then my annual Christmas brunch brought me so much joy with good girlfriends.
Serving the community and outreach is a big part of my day job. Yes, I am so blessed to be able to do it day in and day out for an incredible company. After the Texas Memorial Day flooding I organized a donation drive raising $45,000 for Austin Disaster Relief Network in just four hours. Our annual back-pack drive provided 200 for kids in need. Then we brought in 16 bands for SPIRIT Fest drawing 15,000 for a day of music and fun.
I said farewell to Shania Twain on her farewell concert and sang every word. As a new college football fan, I yelled at the TV every Saturday cheering on the Ole Miss Rebels.
After hosting three garage sales in succession, I learned I’m not a garage sale kind of gal but it sure felt good to get rid of stuff. Mid-year I learned never to go bare foot downtown after an evening in high heels. You’ll break your big toe!
If you were to ask me what do I love doing in life, writing would not have appeared on the top 10 list. In May of this year, I was prompted to write about my Grandad. So I shared it with a couple of people, on line. And so this blog was born.
Then in October I saw this thing called Write31Days. I thought oh that looks cool. So signed myself up to write for 31 days. Wait, what?
Yep. I’m learning so much and I can’t get enough. Huh? How does this happen? Me, I dreaded writing even a press release for so long. God’s funny like that isn’t he. I can honestly say I love writing and I hope in 2016 this blog grows to be shared with more people. Maybe soon I’ll have a reader or three.
I’d love to hear what tops your list of 2015. Leave me a comment!