writing

Turning 32

Today is my birthday. Another year of my life has gone by and now I can take the time to reflect on all that has happened. If I had to put a label on 31-years-old before I file it away, I think I would label it the year of spiritual growth, for sure. I have seen God work so many wonderful things in and through my life I have to sit back in awe for a minute and soak it all in.

May 2018: Almost a month had gone by since I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart. At the end of April I went to a church encounter, April 27th to be exact. The experience saved me and I came back glowing with new salvation. I also started to take a deeper look at my life and all the wrong I’d done to people and the wrong I’d allowed myself to live in for so long. I put together my amends letters to all I was still in contact with who had hurt me or I had hurt them. Some were welcomed with open arms of forgiveness while others were not, but that’s okay. I also started my first complete read-through of the Bible.

June 2018: I don’t really remember June all that well. I know that I was regularly attending a local church’s Celebrate Recovery program, eagerly awaiting for their next STEPS study to start. I continued my complete read-through of the Bible, soaking in God’s Word and all I could apply to my life. He was making some big changes in me and I was becoming the person he had created me to be and shedding away the person the world had shaped. John and I took a painting class together and the teacher turned out to be his art teacher from school years and years ago! It was a fun experience and I would recommend doing it at least once with your loved one or best friend! We still have both our paintings of R2D2 up in his nerd theater room with all his other Star Wars and Lego paraphernalia.

R2D2 Painting Class

July 2018: I started the STEPS program at Celebrate Recovery. I finished my first complete read-through of the Bible. We spent the weekend before Independence Day in Michigan with John’s family, as we do every year. Charlotte got to drive the boat again, which she loved! This is always a nice, relaxing vacation that I enjoy! We went to Michigan’s Legoland Discovery Center and had a blast. John is a huge Lego nerd so I think he might have had more fun than Charlotte even!

Boating in Michigan
Legoland Discovery Center, Aquarium, and Rainforest cafe Detroit, Michigan

August 2018: I almost quit the STEPS program at Celebrate Recovery. I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. I felt like I wasn’t being moved or changed as greatly as I should be by this program that was deemed so life changing, plus it was a 45 minute drive for me one way. The enemy had his claws in me but John and the members of my group encouraged me not to give up on it and I’m so glad I didn’t. I helped John build the Ghostbuster’s firehouse Lego set, the first major Lego set I’ve ever done. I am a pro at sticking on the little stickers pretty darn straight!

Ghostbuster’s Firehouse Lego set (minimal help provided by me)

September 2018: The STEPS program really started to work in my life and change me from the inside out. I started taking horseback riding lessons from a local instructor close to my home. I hadn’t ridden a horse since I took lessons in Hawaii back in 2010 so I was well out of practice. It was a test in my patience and desire to do hard work for sure. My leg muscles were screaming after that first lesson, but it was great to know I had found something I actually enjoy a ton that can help strengthen my body. For John’s family’s cousin’s weekend, which they do ever year and a different cousin picks the activity each year, I played Whirlyball for the first time and learned I am actually pretty good at it!

Me and my lesson horse, Oscar.
Cousin’s Weekend 2018, Whirlyball in Chicago

October 2018: Miraculous transformations went on inside me, changing my heart, my character, and my mind. Also, I dressed up as my favorite Disney Princess Merida for Halloween. My daughter was Snow White, and my boyfriend was Chewbaca. I started leasing a Thoroughbred horse named Whippy and had one of my dearest friends, Emily, train me on him. It was such a great learning experience and it really grew my confidence.

Halloween 2018
Me and my lease horse, Whippy all matchy matchy in purple!

November 2018: I was getting anxious to finish up the STEPS program as the inventory and making amends started to take a toll on me. It’s no secret that the program can be intensely emotionally draining on a person, but I am so glad I did it! Whippy bolted on me one morning. I held on pretty good for a while, but his sharp turns were just too much for me and I didn’t know enough to stop him, so I was thrown. It was my first time falling off a horse. From 16.5hh, it was quite a way to fall and I was limping around for a good 2 weeks because of it. My confidence was shaken and I wasn’t sure I felt comfortable riding him anymore. I debated quitting riding for a while. I was proud of myself for going back the next day and getting back on him again. I consider that a win for bravery!

December 2018: Graduated from the STEPS study program at Celebrate Recovery! My daughter and boyfriend both came to watch me get my certificate and book and to celebrate a great victory in my life. The idea for my next nonfiction, first Christian, book came to mind because of my sponsor and her words to me in the book I was given and all throughout my process in STEPS. The idea of women being Warrior Princesses in Christ was born. I switched my lease from Whippy to a small, fat, horse though I think he was really a pony named Blue. He is a Kentucky Mountain Saddle horse and the complete opposite of Whippy. He is old and I had to stay on top of him every minute just to keep him moving, but it was nice having a horse I could take out on the trails with the group, even if it was starting to get freezing outside. I was baptized the morning before my daughter’s 4th birthday party on Sunday, December 2nd. It was a wonderful and powerful experience and I’m glad I got to share it with Charlotte, John, and my church. Immediately after being dunked and I had to book it out of there, change into my Wonder Woman outfit, and race back to John’s house for the party, which started basically once I got there. It was a princess and superhero party and it was so much fun! I redesigned the cover for my book box collection of the first three books in the Kamlyn Paige Novels, Chronicles of a Supernatural Huntsman Part 1. I also released a guided journal for horse lovers which was inspired by my time spent with Whippy and Blue! This is my best selling journal to date and I’m so happy other riders are enjoying it like I do.

Charlotte meeting Blue for the first time
Charlotte’s first official ride on a horse! Blue is…excited?
Charlotte’s 4th birthday party on the day of my baptism, Princesses and Superheros!
Redo of the cover for “Chronicles of a Supernatural Huntsman Part 1”
Release of my Horse Riding Journal, Phew! December was a super busy month!!

January 2019: My boyfriend and I participated in our church’s Daniel Fast. We did our best to comply with all the rules of the fast. It was SO hard! I’d never been tempted by food so much in my life. We completed the fast though, save for the last day which was spent at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis with my boyfriend and his family. We only had about 12 hours to go in the fast, but chose to have cheeseburgers for lunch since we did not have much in the way of Daniel Fast choices in the cafeteria. Felt bad for breaking the fast early, but also great that we ate so well for three weeks. I lost a little weight and felt good. For New Year’s resolutions, I set attainable goals, one being to exercise more and lose a little weight since I was the heaviest I’d ever been at this point and I could feel it slowing me down and affecting my mood and choices. My lease with Blue was going great. I loved cantering around the arena on him. I felt like I was flying! I also learned a new skill at work so I can cover the cashier ladies when they need to take breaks. Our bible study group at work started reading C.S. Lewis’s book “The Four Loves”. It was a tough read, but so interesting. I’m glad we all got through it together!

Charlotte, John, and his nephew at the Children’s Museum

February 2019: I started my second read-through of the Bible with the intent of gathering scriptures for my upcoming book “Warrior Princess: Claiming Your Identity in Christ”. I split the scriptures into two sections, the Princess and the Warrior. For the Warrior I gathered all the scriptures of encouragement and fighting spiritual battles. For the Princess I gathered all the scriptures of who God says we are in Christ and also the behaviors we should display through Him. One of my closest friends and someone I got the enjoy seeing at work every day as well as have the pleasure of being trained in riding by, Emily, moved to Nashville. It was one of the saddest goodbyes I have experienced before, but I’m happy to report we are keeping in close contact and I plan to visit her soon! I celebrated John’s 37th birthday with him. That’s always a fun experience because I love him to death and I love to spoil him. It can be stressful because it’s two days after Valentine’s Day and I really tried to go all out for both holidays. I believe he was sufficiently spoiled, though, so yay! Charlotte also started her first ballet class this month. It was so fun seeing her dressed up in all pink and twirling around. She loved it. I also started my first ever tailored for me exercise plan to lose just a wee bit of weight over the rest of the year. The goal was to lose about 20-25 pounds. All I did was start tracking my calories with my Samsung app that goes with my smartwatch and also, and this I thought was so genius and still do, whenever I was at work I would get up once and hour and run in place for 5 minutes. That’s it! Doesn’t really feel like exercise at all, or a commitment for that matter, but it burns a good 150 calories a day. Pair that with good eating choices most days and the pounds were slowing melting away.

Cover Design

March 2019: I decided to give up social media for lent. The only one that was hard for me was Instagram. That’s my media of choice because I love pictures and seeing what everyone is up to and there’s not a lot of political stuff or hateful messages on there, at least not that I follow. John and I started attending a new home church on Thursday nights, which was interesting. Very different from the big church experience on Sundays, which we still went to as well. Our Bible study group started reading through Letters to the Church by Francis Chan as well, which I felt coincided with our home church experience. I ended my lease of Blue this month. The barn was just too far away from my house for me to spend the time I needed to spend in order for the lease to make financial sense. Plus, I felt like I was putting all this money and care into an animal that wasn’t even my own, like paying monthly to play with someone else’s dog and take it on walks and pick up its poop.

April 2019: I joined the SDMI group at our church and we were given the challenge to pick one word for our own “My One Word” challenge. I was intrigued and after going through a list of words I settled on “Brave”. I even bough the book and powered through it. It’s really good and the word has already changed me greatly and worked through my life in special ways. We stopped going to the home church we started the month before. Our plates were getting overloaded with things to do, especially with the church and our spiritual life. We felt overwhelmed with work, school, parenting, work bible study, Sunday morning Bible study, church, church plays, SDMI meetings and planning, home church, and more! Phew! I reminded myself it’s okay to limit yourself and your choices and it’s okay to say no to things sometimes. We are not meant to do it all! One of my favorite story fandoms came to a dramatic end when, as a family, Charlotte John and I went to see Avengers: End Game. I started riding lessons again once a week with a wonderful instructor in town, close to my house. I am happy with this and feel I am working toward something, even if just for myself and not competitions. It’s hard work and a learning experience, but I’m so in love with horses (and have been since I was 4). It’s a phase I will never grow out of! I heard the Game of Thrones song, The Night King, and was so moved by it that I decided to buy a keyboard and learn how to play it for myself. I haven’t played the piano in about seventeen years, but I can still read music and I am on page two of the four already! It’s a great way for me to clear my mind and take the focus off of all that’s going on around me for some peace and rest. AND, the last season of Game of Thrones started so right there I knew my life was going to change. (LOVE that fandom, books and show) I also started my last semester of school before I earn my Master’s degree in Business Admin and Marketing. I never thought I would ever receive a Master’s Degree! It was such a struggle for me to complete my bachelor’s, but I’m glad I pushed forward and stuck it out. I already have plans to continue further since the schooling is paid for in full by my work, and I will be starting my Master’s Degree in Education (K-12) this July! Phew! I also finished writing my first draft of “Dead Road”, the second book in my most popular fiction series Dead Soil. I started the editing process and designed the cover. It feels good to be writing again regularly and putting my work out there into the world for others to enjoy!

Image result for avengers endgame
Image result for game of thrones season 8 posters

May 2019 (21st is my bday!): I was asked to be the official secretary for our SDMI group on top of being in charge of WordWise, which is a program to encourage kids to memorize scripture. New responsibilities and helping out our church. Feels pretty good! I watched my Queen, Dany, go insane and then die, leaving me without a ruler for the Kingdom of Westeros. The season finale, the entire season 8 in fact, was a bit underwhelming. I was glad not every single character died and it didn’t end by just fading to black with no one left like I thought we would be tortured with, but the one I was lobbying for did not survive to sit on the throne, which had me a bit sad. I feel okay with how it ended though. I know the kingdom is in good hands and I can relax with that knowledge. (Yes, I’m a huge nerd and places like Winterfell, Hogwarts, and the Shire are real in my heart!) For Mother’s Day this year I received a purple violin from Charlotte and John. It’s amazing. I’ve never once played or even held a violin in my life, but I’ve always thought they were one of the most beautiful sounding instruments and I always wanted to learn. Since my one word is still brave and I’m trying to let that work through my life, I decided to actually try the things I wish I had always tried. I am awaiting the arrival of my targets so I can start learning archery on my recurve bow, I’m going to start working on the Game of Thrones theme song on my new violin, I am going to continue struggling through The Night King on my piano, I’m going to probably hear my riding instructor telling me to stop leaning forward and to put my heels down more for the rest of my 32 as well. Health-wise, I am slipping in the eating healthy department, but I have lost a solid 13 pounds since I started running in place at work, so I call that a win! My clothes are not stretched to their breaking point anymore, which was my main reason for wanting to lose the weight in the first place. There was no way I was going to buy all new clothes just because I didn’t want to get moving.

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The only Season 8 finale photo that didn’t include any spoilers!

So far it’s been a quiet but good 32nd birthday. Charlotte woke me up at 6:30am but let me stay in bed uninterrupted until 7:30. I came into work an hour later than usual, because hey, it’s my birthday! I was feeling a little weeping and under-the-weather emotionally and spiritually, which I have no idea what that was all about, but I’m sure God will reveal it to me when he’s ready. I got a surprise box of gigantic chocolate covered strawberries from my mom and daughter. I got a delicious White Castle lunch from my boyfriend whom I got to enjoy it with because he sits in the office next to mine. He also somehow found a pumpkin spice cupcake in the middle of May, which was amazing! And I got assorted cake treats from White Castle. I am busting at the seams now from being spoiled. AND, I am blessed to have such a wonderful boyfriend who takes the time to really get to know me and therefore gets me uniquely specific gifts that only someone like me would love…The Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective game: Jack the Ripper and West End Adventures edition! I am so excited to be frustrated by this game!

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How cool is this purple violin?!
Image result for jack the ripper and west end adventures
I am so excited to dive into the first mystery of this game!

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