I’ve been doing this a few years, post-birthday, sharing where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I hope to go.
I have to say, 47 is weird. It’s a stone’s throw to 50, and wow, that’s an age I never gave a lot of thought to as a college student. That seems like yesterday.
My SON is the college student, not me.
In fact, I just got notice my college reunion, #25, is this year.
It’s a year where two of our children, Tom’s first two that I met when they were 12 and 10, are expecting sons this summer. We’re going to be grandparents. Yet, we have a middle schooler. And honestly? I relate more to teens than senior citizens. I’m eligible to be in the senior group in less than 10 years. And I just can’t see myself jumping all in for that. But the youth conferences I’m invited to attend as part of the adults helping out? I love it. Love it.
I have to color my sassy red hair monthly, but if I felt it were safe and I had that kind of money, it could be every other week. Red is hard to maintain, but what it covers is white. Snow white. And I am NOT going there just yet.
But 46 was a stumble, if not all-out free-fall in confidence. Menopause has been part of my life for years, thanks to surgery. Something about 2016 was a marker for everything to flip on me. Waking every hour. Volcanic temperatures. Voracious hunger. Mood swings I had not had in years. Depression. Anxiety. Weight gain.
So entering 47 is with a bit of trepidation. Thankfully, an endocrinologist helped get my health straightened out and I feel a lot better. But a tiny part wonders if it is short-term. There are times emotionally I feel completely fragile, and I hate it. People need me. And I don’t like spiraling out with no reason except hormones.
Yet, in those tears and exhaustion, so much happened that was GOOD. Our oldest son of the four kids got married to a wonderful woman. Our son graduated from high school and started pursuing education at Kent State. I started my own writing and speaking business/ministry. In three months I released two books in both print and eBook form. Now my hormones rebelling makes more sense…
It’s in writing I feel I’m on more stable ground. When I questioned God if I was doing the right thing, it was at 3:23 in the morning I woke and knew I was supposed to open my Bible to Colossians 3:23.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23
I feel free from numbers. Where my books rank. How much money they generate. I want to see readers living free in Christ. This 47th year I am on track to finish my first contemporary romance series with ENGAGED and start the first of six book in my new series about surrendering what others think. I’m not scared. I’m excited.
I take into 47 an amazing piece of wisdom my pastor shared when I doubted I could survive the stress and changes. He told me to picture an arch, and imagine Jesus on the other side. As long as I stayed on one side and Him on the other, a million tons of stuff could be on that arch and it would not break. That held true through all the things I mentioned, plus much more I have not.
It is true as I’ve watched the kids grow in Him through their personal valleys I know all too well: rejection. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. Doing the right thing and feeling completely alone. Their pain has been the most devastating thing to observe and feel so helpless. Yet, we’ve had the deepest most intimate prayer times we’ve ever had. In those times, God revealed so many awesome things. Messages of hope. Encouragement. That they are not alone. They are deeply cared for.
I’m 47 and full of hope for the world and people around me. Not because of the election results or new administration, but because there are so many promises I’ve prayed and prayed and believe breakthrough is close at hand. For our family. Friends who are hurting. Ministries that are 1000% ready to give all God asks of them, and have 1% provision as far as the world sees. I don’t know how or when, but I know it’s close.
And I guess to sum it up, it’s the same two words I’d use for turning 47.
I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach 2016 was going to be a long haul.
Some things I knew were happening—a wedding in the same time frame as a graduation. A child’s genetic testing. Another child transitioning from high school to college.
But, as the year unfolded, there were plenty of surprises.
- I felt a stirring I attribute to God that I was to my own ministry/business as an author and speaker. By February, I was moving forward with Surrendered Scribe Media. By March, ENTRUSTED was re released and ENTANGLED was released.
- My husband changed his job. I had a feeling this was coming, but what I didn’t anticipate was his working from home much of the time.
- My father-in-law passed away in July. The kindest man, talk about a huge void.
- Grief from loved one’s choices I couldn’t control (and still can’t!)
- A complete flip in health that was hormone/menopause related. It hit me HARD.
It was rough, and I honestly wanted to define the year that way. However, the word for my year is perspective, and I’ve really tried to apply that. I see why it is the word for me, because I learned a lot.
The absolute fear and anger I had over my husband being home on “my” schedule also offered a lunch partner at times, and help when I wasn’t able to get our child from school.
Watching God grow our loved ones closer through as they listened to us share with transparency regarding choices. Had I stayed grief-stricken, I don’t think God could have used us. Seeing it in time as an opportunity instead of devastation changed everything.
I’m sure there is more I’m not seeing yet, but perspective definitely helps me move forward and not dwell on the negative. As we wind the year down, we also had a very thankful Thanksgiving. Not only are we surviving all these things, but we learned Tom’s oldest daughter is expecting. It’s the first grandchild for us, and we are thrilled for her and her husband.
What are you thankful for this year? Do you think of perspective at all? How?
This is it! All week I’ve been sharing my posts from the Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. I hope you’ve been encouraged and wanting to apply oneness to your marriage. It’s worth it. Not easy. Worth it.
LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, DAY 7
Here we are. In a couple weeks we celebrate our 20th. There were people who questioned the age difference or the fact I was entering in a ready-made family. We went through infertility, miscarriage, parent deaths, job changes, near death of child and then the day-to-day.
We are not a perfect couple. In all honesty, this has been a tough year. We both changed our work situations. We had a child marry and a child graduate. We lost a beloved parent. Just one is what specialists suggest a couple go through in a year. Not all of them. We are both all or nothing personalities and we are both introverts. Affection is not natural for me, and he can be technical. We have different perspectives as parents, especially with medical issues. These truths are challenges.
But, God. We get each other’s jokes and laugh. The jokes we have are precious and goofy. We don’t get away a lot, so our hot tub dates are how we catch up on what’s going on, talk finances, schedule, etc…
We might get annoyed by failure to close cupboards or slurping, but if someone comes against one of us, we have each other’s back. If there’s a good action movie at the cheap theater, we’re all over it.
If you’re contemplating marriage or aren’t quite at year 20, realize those day 1 challenge pictures won’t look the same on day 7. You won’t be the same, either. I pray you are better, stronger, and more committed to oneness than you are right now. It is truly worth it.
Goodreads Giveaway…don’t miss out!
I’d love to title this post how to survive releasing two books, a wedding and a grad party, but I fell apart in the middle of it physically, spiritually, well, in just about every way.
I had a wise friend (and a 2015 graduate) give me tips on graduation, specifically, the party, and here’s what we did. We didn’t just survive, but had a great time.
- We had our party the day before actual graduation. It was a risk because it was Memorial Day weekend, but we had two things going for us: family was in town for graduation anyway, and we were so early into party season we avoided grad party burnout. I think our guests did as well.
2. We had a basket of envelopes for guests to write their mailing address on. Our wise friend said she had not done this, and it took her a lot of time to track addresses down. Our graduate wrote a personal note asking for the addresses so he could write a personal thanks.
3. Three words. Dollar Tree/Pinterest. Pinterest gave us the idea to hand out favors of Nerds and Smarties, LOL. Make sure you physically hand them out. We left them on the gift table and no one had any. Pinterest also gave us the idea of the grad hat card box. My mom made it and it was a huge hit.
Dollar Tree was like Christmas for my husband. When I ordered the balloons, he couldn’t believe it. “You ordered them for $1 each?” “And they fill them with helium?” Yes and Yes. They also had all the tablecloths, decorations and was across the street from our party when we needed something fast. Sam’s provided a lot of the paper products. It was a sundae bar, so it was easy to serve and clean up.
We also didn’t have it at the house. We live 30 minutes from church and our friend said it is easier to have it at a place on church property. It’s not far for people to travel and you don’t have to worry about your house. I never thought we’d be as busy as we were, so this worked so well. It was a modest fee and they did all the set up and take down.
We provided disc golf, bocce, and we were loaned corn hole for outdoor fun. Our son loves board games, so the centerpieces were board games on every table with a placeholder of his pictures through the years with trivia about him on the back, all laminated.
I’m the worst with decorations but I had a lot of help hanging things. Pinterest to the rescue with making the balloons fancy. We printed pictures of our grad through the years and stapled them to the balloon strings. It really looked festive. Make sure your paper isn’t too heavy, though.
That’s it. Soak it in and enjoy. It’s a huge achievement and you want to remember it.
I’d love to hear how your graduation went.
Key strategies for parents of teens in the crucial window before that “launch” into the real world. Learn how to set them up for success through effective communication, valuing and cultivating their unique strengths, and empowering versus control. Help your teens build a strong personal leadership foundation that will enable them to live successful, independent lives of purpose, integrity, and impact.
PART ONE – Destination Preparation
Chapter One Give Them Wings, Not Strings
Chapter Two Keep Your Eyes on the Goal
Chapter Three Build a Solid Leadership Foundation
Chapter Four Prepare Them for Key Life Decisions
PART TWO – Relationship Preparation
Chapter Five Value Your Teen’s Uniqueness
Chapter Six Affirm Your Teen’s Immeasurable Worth
Chapter Seven Communicate and Relate!
Chapter Eight Know Their Third Party Voices
PART THREE – Transition Preparation
Chapter Nine Moving From Driver to Passenger
Chapter Ten Launch Time!
With graduation not too far away for our oldest, I was curious what Parenting for Launch would be about and if I’d be encouraged or feeling like I missed out as a parent. Turns out Parenting for Launch is a comprehensive look at preparing your child for success. There are principles that cover every aspect of the transition from teen to young adult. I love what chapter one covers—giving our children wings, not strings. That’s just one area the book covers.
There are also “Take 5” activities for you to work through and the appendices include checklists, charts and other resources. I walked away feeling empowered. There’s a lot of room for us to improve and now we have the tools to help us get there.
No matter whether your child is in kindergarten or ready to start their senior year, I recommend Parenting for Launch:Raising Teens to Succeed in the Real World.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
For a few years, each birthday I’ve blogged about how I’m feeling about the new age I’m in. I’m a little late on this one, but here it goes.
I’ve noticed 44 is usually the last number on surveys and paperwork before a new age bracket begins.
It’s a small step forward to being closer to 50 than 40.
But for me, 44 isn’t a bad year to embrace.
I’m looking forward to the future while contending for it.
I’m believing God for promises He sealed to be delivered long before I was born.
I’m long past the longing for a baby to hold as my own, and starting to look forward to the day when I hear I’m going to be a grandmother (from Tom’s older children, when they are both married.)
We’re looking for a home that will be our last.
The place where kids graduate and move on.
Where we retire.
Where we entertain our kids and their families.
But first, there’s the now.
Entering new writing projects filled with hope and promise.
Waiting on other writing projects but coming to terms with it.
Trying new things, including a haircut my stylist based, of all people, on Miley Cyrus.
And I wear that hair, with the same attitude I wear 44.