After the “year that tried to kill me” I was so thrilled to jump into 2018. Our church claimed it as the #BlessedYearEver and boy was it! We rang in the new year with our favorite friends, which seemed quite perfect. Meeting Jen Hatmaker in person with my bestie was also a huge highlight.
Skylar’s birthday party may have gotten messed up by the snow, but not our tickets to the Elvis Symphony. I remember thinking our tickets behind the orchestra were the best ones at the Schermerhorn and now we get those all the time. I remember Winter Olympics and Skylar teaching me to knit while we watched piled up in my bed. I also paced, screamed, and jumped, and cheered for our USA boys – especially Red Gerard and Shawn White. Snowboarding was definitely my favorite this year!
I remember fasting for the first time with New Tribe and appreciating how gently they present truth and Biblical teaching. I committed to saying “yes” to everything for the first 6 months. I didn’t love the women’s Bible Study but I did enjoy getting to know the other ladies and challenging myself to memorize the first Chapter of James. However, Mike and I both loved our first small group experience! And then there was that time Mike smoked 20 pounds of meat for the picnic and it was the best I’ve ever had. Youth starts in 6th grade at New Tribe and I wasn’t quite prepared for that transition but I grew to trust the staff so quickly. In return, they have loved our girl well and she looks forward to youth every single week!
I remember planting 10 new trees at the BFF. That was really special! I remember when Metro Water FINALLY came to fix our culvert. It took several weeks but it looks and works SO much better now! I remember baby birds in a nest on the front porch and watching them fly the coop so quickly! They were the ugliest cutest little things.
I remember my 2nd kidney stone attack. It was on the same morning we were supposed to go on a much-anticipated field trip. Mike had the car warming up to take me to the ER and then I literally felt it pass and all the pain was gone. I was so relieved in more ways than one.
I remember saying “YES” to a new venture on a total whim while standing in our kitchen right as we were leaving to go on our week-long DC vacation. I listened to training videos in the car on the way. That one little yes changed the trajectory of our year, in a good way.
DC was amazing! It’s impossible to fit everything into a week but we sure tried. I adored the Museum of the Bible and I think we all enjoyed taking a night tour of the monuments as a highlight. Skylar loved the Air & Space Museum so much that we stopped in Virginia to visit the 2nd one. But, boy, do I remember her being picky about food. I threatened to never vacation with her again, because that’s my favorite part! Our first AirBnB was such a lovely experience that we now use them on the regular. This trip is also when we discovered our most favorite house sitter ever – we love Ben and so does Onyx!
I remember going to the Union Station employee event and being so proud of Mike and all he had accomplished there in the last year. I also remember him switching companies mid-April and it totally caught me by surprise. He had known about it before our vacation and I was furious that he hadn’t told me. But I also realized that I would have worried myself sick about it on our trip, so I was ultimately thankful that I didn’t. The Lord quickly gave me peace about it and this move has turned out to be a good one. He’s so much happier and fulfilled where he is now.
I remember finally settling with the insurance company about my rollover car accident. My negotiation skills are strong. LOL! Not long after we got our own 4-wheeler and I remember taking Skylar on our own dusky dark ride.
I remember Skylar practicing for her 4H competition, demonstrating how to make scrambled eggs. She kept asking WHY I was making her do it and, honestly, I doubted if I should make her go through with it. Then the little stinker won in Wilson Co. and went on to place 2nd at the Regional Competition. I was beyond proud of her. She’s a natural at being in front of people, even though she said she was nervous! Apparently, fake it til ya make it is a gene I passed to her. I remember she worked hard to earn her way to TWO camps through Bee Kid Candles. She’s quite the little entrepreneur! Dropping her off at Cumberland Camp felt familiar and safe but dropping her off at 5 am to ride a charter bus headed to Oklahoma for a week wasn’t easy at all. I think I maybe saw 2 pictures/updates the entire time she was gone, but she had an absolute BLAST! I remember Skylar taking fiddle lessons from Craig Fletcher and then switching to Ukulele a few months in. I just love that she can play multiple instruments. She’s also quite the songwriter. I remember Skylar having her first driving lesson on 4th of July weekend in the pasture with my Dad in Curt’s old truck. It was really special and she did great! We start ’em early in the South.
I remember snuggling a sweet baby in the middle of the night for one of my doula clients. Overnight postpartum shifts are my favorite. I remember forcing myself to listen to primarily non-fiction books this year and now I’m hooked! My favorites were Educated, Capital Gaines, Henrietta Lacks, Sister’s First and The Road Back to You.
I remember waiting for paint to dry on the day of our Summer Solstice party so we could finish installing Mike’s grandfather’s wall-sized bookcase. And I loved showing off my beloved new barn door made from tin from The Circle S Ranch. My Dad came and we had several of our New Tribe friends here too! I remember camping with our friends in Pigeon Forge. The indoor snow tubing was definitely a hit with everyone and it was so nice to have a break after all the party preparations!
I remember getting the news that my mom had 3 months to live and immediately, without hesitation, rearranging everything for the rest of the year. I withdrew Skylar from co-op and extracurricular activities. I farmed out our chickens and shut down the garden. I transferred my virtual assistant clients to another company. I remember packing up and moving to Birmingham knowing it was the right thing to do. And even though she proved that prognosis extremely wrong, I don’t regret my decision for a minute. I remember going up on the mountain to Uncle Fletcher’s cabin and picking loads of okra and peppers from Uncle Bennie’s garden. I remember him bringing me bags and bags and bags of pears. I lovingly called mom’s kitchen Adventures in Betty Crocker Land. I made jalapeno poppers, pickled okra, banana bread, and pear preserves on the regular. I remember many trips back and forth to Nashville for the next 6 months and lots of stops at Lawler’s BBQ. I remember knowing I was exactly where I was supposed to be in Birmingham but also being homesick like crazy. I remember when Mike sent flowers and Mark and Amanda came and surprised me. I cried all. the. tears. I have good people, y’all.
Skylar was an absolute trooper the last 6 months of the year. In turn, she got to enjoy some pretty sweet horse riding lessons as a reward. I remember the day she tried to sneak a barn kitten home with us in her riding helmet. I remember her and Hannah dressing up and doing skits as Grandmaw and Grandpaw. I also remember us scouring multiple stores so she could try Pop Rocks for the first time. I remember long stretches without her while she stayed in Nashville with Mike and trying our best to keep her and Onyx together because they are basically lost without each other. Onyx became an awesome traveler! I also remember her coming in heat when I least expected it and us miraculously avoiding her getting pregnant, because I didn’t need anything else on my plate. I remember a village of people who helped care for Skylar while Mike was at work and how much that meant to me then and still does now.
I remember going to Atlanta with Mike for our Anniversary Trip. We grabbed our backpacks, hopped on a plane, stayed in an awesome AirBnB loft, ended up visiting the most beautiful cemetery I’ve ever seen, and ate ALL THE DELICIOUS FOOD. I would seriously go back there just for the pho we found. I remember that Mike would not let me drink the broth with a straw despite my protest that it was THAT good!
I remember our trip to the fair. This year was our 2nd at Wilson County and it was much easier to navigate. We even squeezed in a photo session at the beginning, which ended up becoming our Christmas card. I remember taking Skylar to her first concert and I’m not sure if anything else can live up to it. Taylor Swift puts on a fabulous show! I also remember taking Skylar to her first SEC Football game. She wasn’t thrilled that it was Alabama but she loved the band and I also introduced her to Newk’s Eatery so it was a win. We made up for it by taking her to the Music City Bowl in December to see Auburn beat Purdue.
I remember our trip to the beach. The red tide was so bad that mom barely left the room and the first few days the beach was covered in dead fish. I remember snorkeling at St. Andrews State Park with Skylar and we found some big shells. Other memories include Skylar loving her pedicure and also teaching her to shave her legs for the first time. She had only been asking me for a year.
I remember lots of trips to Hwy 280 for doctor’s appointments and chemo treatments. I remember lots of lunches at the little cafe with mom. She likes their beef tips and meatloaf. I remember cleaning out her closet and in turn, she taught me how to make dressing and sweet potato casserole. I remember tacking a quilt at Aunt Sheila’s and meeting baby Stewart. I remember my friend, Melissa, taking me paddleboarding for the first time and I only fell in once. I remember NOT wanting to go to my high school reunion but going anyway just because mom wanted me to. There was a big outfit debacle but I ended up going in jeans and felt so much more comfortable. I’ll admit it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I remember going to St. Louis with Mike to celebrate my advancement to 25K with HempWorx. We absolutely love backpacking through a new city together. I remember this was the trip that I said “yes” to everything. Go to the tippy top of the arch? Yes. Crawl around like a kid at City Museum? Yes. Ride scooters ALL over the city? Yes. It was a great trip! I remember when all the traveling got so crazy that I was literally sleeping in a different bed almost every night and chunking clothes into a suitcase and hoping I had what I needed.
I remember winning a Lexus at the HempWorx convention. It still seems like such an out of body experience, yet at the same time, I feel like I knew it was going to happen. I just kept willing my name to stay on that screen but I have never known ANYBODY to win a car. Ever! But I did. I remember when the car was delivered. It was so surreal to see it come down the driveway.
I remember shopping at Hobby Lobby with mom to get some things to spruce my house up for fall. We piled her wheelchair up! I hosted Thanksgiving at the BFF this year. Having people at our house just makes me feel so content. I made everyone write down what they were thankful for and formed them into a wreath. They hated it. I loved it!
I remember going to a presentation about the Bethlehem Star at the planetarium and it felt like the perfect way to kick off Advent. I remember doing Legos and Advent Devotions with Skylar again this year and being reminded to S L O W D O W N. It was so nice to be home and there was SO much to do but I tried to focus on my people instead. We saw the Dancing Lights AND Chad’s Winter Wonderland this year. I remember Mike having 4 days off at Christmas and it was glorious. We watched the Harry Potter marathon all weekend long. It’s my favorite, as is the crockpot hot chocolate. I remember Grandma and D-Dad going with us to the candlelight service. I remember putting together all of Skylar’s envelopes for her “experience gifts this year” and I got a gift from Rudolph – Oregon Trail!!
2018 was the year that taught me to never say never and to push out of my comfort zone. In doing so, it really was our Blessed Year Ever!