God, loss, fear, and family…Happy birthday!

Today is my birthday! It’s been a tough year to say the least. I lost my dad 5 months ago today. He didn’t usually remember dates too well, but last year he sent me a card for my birthday. Probably with the prompting of his ex-wife and her dedication to try and help him remember things! But it is something I treasure. I read it at his eulogy.

My Dad

He was able to visit for Thanksgiving, and it was the last time I ever saw him. He had multiple health problems, but was a strong man that never wanted to show pain or ask for help. I share his many of those traits with him.

I also went through some of the most trying times immediately following that. I was told I possibly had MS and then went through tests, MRIs, and months of fear until I finally found out it wasn’t MS. I spent nearly two weeks with an excruciating headache and still suffer from some stiffness in my leg from the entire episode. It wasn’t a stroke, but they’re not really sure what it was. I had Bell’s Palsy in my face, but whatever it was also affected the entire right side of my body. My worst fear was that I would lose my ability to sew, knit, and crochet. I prayed to God that He would please spare my arms. I could work without my legs, but I needed my arms and hands. He saw fit to not only let me keep the use of my arms, but to heal me totally and completely.

So along with the bad comes some good. I was healed and given a new lease on life. My little quilting business has grown and I’ve become much more adept at handling multiple orders. I have moved into designing some knitting patterns and found I love doing test knits. My life is fuller. It is more complete. I do things that I enjoy and take part in things that I normally wouldn’t.

My son getting drenched waiting for Colton Dixon

A couple of weeks ago I took my kids to Rock the Universe in Orlando, FL. We spent 3 days riding the rides in Universal and Islands of Adventure. We listened to Christian bands we hadn’t heard before and some that are near and dear to our hearts. It was too crowded and it rained all night during the first night, but I was able to see Colton Dixon (American Idol participant) and Christ Tomlin up close and personal.
We camped out at the KOA in a tent. It rained so hard that our tent collapsed (yes, I had it staked into the ground) and I was up until well after midnight trying to put it back up, find dry blankets, take a shower, and get the kids in bed. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Chris Tomlin
Our campsite

Usually, I wouldn’t have spent the money, taken the trip by myself (without husbannd), or attempted to camp out all in one weekend. But it was an experience I and my 3 older children will NEVER, EVER forget. We’re planning to go again next year. Hopefully with less rain, but whatever comes our way.

So it has been a year of high emotions, good and bad, finding God in impossible situations, getting closer to my family, and changes. I want to celebrate life, and all that it brings, and look back on what I’ve learned and grow. That’s really all we can do, right? There will always be challenges that make us better. Fears we must overcome. Loss we never really “get over.” And growth through it all that changes us. I’m blessed I have a soul mate otherwise know as “husband” to tackle everything with and a family I can rely on through it all. My mom is still with me, and I treasure her so much. I have an amazing sister that I love dearly and a brother I’ve grown closer to. My “extended” siblings from my dad’s first marriage have also grown more beloved in my heart. I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, but I hope to change that too! Out with the old, in with the new. I will celebrate every year I age and never look at it as a loss of youth; I will see it as a year of gain and an opportunity for growth!

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