Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ponderings on my 41st year

Well, there's one more day in my 41st year on the planet. I guess it's time to sit and think "out loud" about the past year. We've had good times and not-so-good times in our family these past 364 days. Here's the Readers Digest version....

New Job
Just 10 days before my 41st birthday, I started full time at my current job, which I completely LOVE. It was a very good decision to leave teaching and go back into the advertising/marketing industry full time. I'm glad I taught - it was something I always wanted to do (and I still enjoy facilitating workshops and other trainings), but I really missed the day-to-day "chaos" of putting together marketing/advertising/public relations campaigns and being involved in the community.

New Friendships
I've gotten involved in various committees around town since taking the new job and have made some great friends in the meantime. So glad to have met these people and I look forward to working with them to help our community grow.

Loss of Family
In August of last year, we lost Dana's mom. She had been having some "rough" spots in her health, but her death was completely unexpected and pretty much turned our family upside down. I miss her dearly but I can see on a daily basis how her loving influence on my wife will live forever. Carol's death really shook up Jackson and we had a rough few months in school and at home (and we're still working on things with him), but again, I see how Carol's love for her grandchildren created such lasting memories for all of them.

In late December, Dana's uncle suddenly died. Here we were, back at a family funeral in Dana's hometown just four short months after we buried her mom. Again, I grieved with this family I've known for only 13 years. But we also celebrated the life of Bill and his lasting legacy in his siblings, children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.

On my 42nd birthday, I will attend the funeral of a cousin who grew up just a couple blocks from me in our hometown. She was nine years my senior, so we weren't playmates growing up, but as adults had enjoyed many conversations at family gatherings. Our entire family and our small hometown will mourn her death for years to come, but we must also look at the lives she touched with her humor and compassion and make sure it lives on. Crystal, you will be missed!

A New Home
This spring, Dana and I decided it was time that we "spread out" a bit and find a larger home. We had been cramped into a small house for more than five years and had one more child in the house than when we bought it in 2005. We found a perfect home for us where each child has their own room and we can live for many years to come. We moved in over Easter weekend and are really enjoying our new neighborhood.

Expanding Horizons
This spring I've been fortunate enough to be a part of the 2011 Leadership Hays class and I've learned quite a bit about myself, my community, my company and how we all can work together to make our community stronger. I also got to take part in a three-day workshop conducted by the Kansas Leadership Center on building stronger communities. It was a great experience and I'm looking forward to expanding this knowledge in the future.

Dana and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary less than a month ago. I can't believe it's been 12 years since we married. We've helped one another through many obstacles and had many victories. And who would have ever thought 12 years ago that I would find the love of my life, she would give me a beautiful son and then convince me (twice) that yes, it was possible for us to bring home a beautiful child from the other side of the world?

These life experiences have shaped me to who I am, now almost 42 years old. I'm thankful for each and every one of those and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

I just wonder if at 42 I have twice the wisdom of a 21 year old???????

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