I knew the year of 2017 would be exciting, fun, challenging, and full of surprises but I looked forward to it because it was the year I became a published author with my first book the Sno-Cone Diaries. The first shipment of books actually arrived Dec. 27, 2016 and the first official book signing was January 15, 2017. I sold fifty books that day. I also had my first speaking engagement January 6, 2017.
I had decided that as a New Year’s resolution I would utilize the Facebook idea of creating a mason jar and keep track of the significant moments of the year both good and bad so that at the end of the year I could see that so much more good had happened than bad. I truly believe that the formula for long term happiness that I wrote about in my book is sustainable and life altering that I look forward to each and every day. I know it’s working because I recently got another photo update on Christopher (foreword writer in the book) from “Aunt Sandra” (also from the book) of them enjoying a Christmas dinner together. It’s been four years and I still get updates on how well he is doing. Those updates make me so happy knowing that in some small way I played a role in changing that young man’s life. Aunt Sandra follows my activities on Facebook and she recently asked me “do you really feel as good as you look?” The answer is an emphatic yes! I love life now. No it’s not always perfect but by writing down the good things I stay focused on those, and I try harder to find the good even in the bad.
Today I opened up my mason jar and poured out all the colored slips of paper with notes and dates and reviewed my year. I would like to share the Top 11 things that made my 2017!
I spent 16 days in Italy and got t share part of that experience with my children!
My story the Sno-Cone Diaries was featured on live radio, TV, and in print in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa St. Pete
I got to visit “Pig Island” in the Bahama’s and witness that pigs really can swim! I’m going to convince you in my next book that they can fly too!!
I was up close and personal with Kool & the Gang at a 50th birthday party for a friend. I held Kool’s hand and danced a few seconds!!
Sold out all but about 50 of the 500 books I published.
Really moved my relationship with my sisters forward significantly this year and as a result spent more happy time with them
Moved out of our home to begin a major renovation with completion in 2018
Got amazing feedback from women all over the country that told me stories of how my book positively inspired them to give themselves permission to be happy too.
Went back to my 40th High School Reunion and caught up with some amazing old friends. First time in 40 years I showed up!
Invited to be the guest of Ann and Shahid Khan in their suite when the Jaguars clinched first playoff berth in ten years!
Got diagnosed with Stage 2 melanoma and had to have it surgically removed along with a lymph node.
Now the first ten you might understand easily how they would bring me joy but a cancer diagnosis?
My oncologist Dr. Castillo was right when he said you will see that while right now it seems bad, in time you will appreciate the gift you’ve been given.
Cancer has given me many gifts. From this experience I have learned that life and good health is very precious and should not be taken for granted. I learned that sometimes it’s okay to not be the strongest person in the room and let others fight a battle or two for you. I strengthened my beliefs and know that God healed me so that I could do more of His work, and because so many people said prayers for me all over the world. Finally I learned from all of these acts of kindness how very much I am loved, something that moves and touches me deeply.
Through this four month journey I have been very brave and strong crying only when receiving the diagnosis, seeing the wound the first time, and today publicly showing it for the first time when I went with Juan to get a pedicure.
We all make fun of the Korean nail places but every time Juan went without me they asked “where’s your wife?” He explained to them what had happened and why I wasn’t with him, until today. The owner, a man I personally admire for setting up and running a successful business came over held my hand, shed a tear, asked God to bless me, and welcomed me back. He told me he asked for me every time Juan went without me, and was so happy that I was well and back as his customer. Now that ladies and gentlemen is true customer appreciation.
To all my friends old and new, family, and business partners thank you for your love and support this year. It means more to me than you’ll ever know. May all of you be blessed with good health, happiness, prosperity, and wisdom in 2018!
Happy New Year! Can’t wait to see what 2018 holds in store! Be Happy it looks good on you!