It's "Birthday Eve!" Tomorrow I'll turn 40. It seems strange to think about that, because I certainly don't feel anywhere near that old. I still barely feel like an adult sometimes. I guess that's a good thing, to feel younger rather than to feel older! It's a big milestone, and milestones always make me introspective and contemplative. I've done a lot in my 30's...it's been a busy, busy decade of babies who turned into grade-schoolers and grade-schoolers who turned into teenagers. My first business flourished and we started a second one that continues to grow. Lots has changed around our acreage, including a huge addition project that turned our little house into our dream home. We've lost loved ones and gained new friends. Life keeps changing and the days seem to fly by faster and faster.
A milestone birthday seemed like the perfect time for a resolution of some kind. I thought I'd set a goal to be "Fit by 40", meaning I'd finally dedicate the time and energy to dropping a lingering few pounds of baby weight (since the youngest of my four babies is now almost eight years old). But when a skin cancer diagnosis rocked my world earlier this year, my priorities shifted. I spent two months with a bandaged face following a relatively major surgery. I no longer worried as much about my bit of extra tummy fluff. It didn't seem nearly as important anymore. Maybe down the road I'll prioritize exercise more, but right now raising four busy kids, building a business and cultivating a happy life for our family is filling all my waking hours, and I'm happy with that.
So as my 39th year comes to a close, I look forward to what the next decade will bring with lots of hope and excitement. I'm thankful for good health, a wonderful family, and all that God has blessed us with. What better time to focus on gratitude...
My husband, Matt, who loves me more than I deserve, every day.
My daughter, Maggie Laine, who has strength that exceeds her years.
My son, Judd Mattson, who is the kindest spirit I’ve ever known.
My daughter, Greta Mae, who has a sparkle that cannot be dulled.
My daughter, Cleo Lise, whose quiet, peaceful contentment is an inspiration.
My dad, Dave, who taught me to be quietly rebellious, hard-working and to always be a kid at heart.
My mom, Amy, who taught me to be generous and to do stellar work.
My brother, David, my lifelong friend and joke-sharer.
Grandma Dolly, for teaching me to sew, garden and make pies and lefse.
Grandma Nichols, for being a constant source of love and hugs in my childhood.
Grandpa Nichols, for all the hours we spent in his workshop listening to old country music, for sharing his love of dogs, and for giving me the nickname “Chub”.
Grandpa Zincke, for his strong faith and quiet, pleasant, dependable manner.
My in-law family, who treat me like one of their own.
Our sponsor children in Africa and Brazil, who remind us of the blessings we take for granted.
My loyal dog, Chip, who thinks I hung the moon and takes me on a daily walk.
My sweet barn cats, who teach us that life is short and precious.
Our countryside home, so full of memories and possibilities...my cozy place to dream, create, organize, decorate, build our life and share it with those we love.
Our secluded gravel road, my personal sanctuary in a noisy world.
Our church, a precious haven for our family to grow in our faith.
Our children’s schools, for countless opportunities.
Our children’s teachers, for their dedication, energy and inspiration.
Friends, for giving us opportunities to enjoy life more fully, to enlarge our circle of loved ones, and to share our world.
My brief stint with skin cancer, for teaching me not to take my health for granted and for teaching me to be less self-conscious after spending two months with a bandaged face.
Music, for inspiring and energizing me and for the joy it brings our talented kids.
My graphic design business, for making it possible for me to be a work-from-home mom all these years.
Our business, Homestead Design, for allowing my husband and I to explore potential we didn’t know we had and use our gifts and talents to make the world a little brighter.
Minnesota, the most beautiful place I could imagine living.
State parks, for putting the beauty of nature within the reach of anyone who wants to explore.
Summer, for warm days of exploration and cool evenings around a bonfire.
Fall, for crisp mornings, beautiful sunsets, and new beginnings of school.
Winter, for the childlike excitement of snowflakes and Christmas.
Spring, for baby animals, budding trees, and a fresh start.
My flowers, for the peace and joy they bring me.
My clothesline, for the connection to a simpler time and a slower pace.
The internet, for limitless possibilities and connections.
The ice maker in my fridge, so I never have to fill ice cube trays.
Fountain pop, because there’s nothing like an ice cold Coke or Dr. Pepper once in awhile.
Ice cream, tacos, steak and popcorn: joy in edible form.
Birthdays, for giving us reason to celebrate each and every precious year of this wonderful life, and for reminding us that time really does fly when we're having fun!