It has been a year filled with high highs and low lows, yet God has been good and faithful through it all. After a very difficult holiday season last year, Frank and I have been together again since February and have shared some lovely experiences. I am grateful to have him in my life!
The most difficult of all this year, however, was when my precious grand daughter, Kinsey, age 15, was diagnosed with leukemia in July. The treatment is an intense two year process, so she will miss her entire sophomore year in high school, yet the good news is that the cure rate is very high. We are so grateful for all the prayer, cards and gifts of encouragement she and her family have received. This experience is a reminder of the fragility of life and the blessing of each day on this earth.
My work has been slower this year, but I have been blessed with some wonderful new clients and some amazing travel experiences. I treasure the privilege I have of sharing a message of hope with my audiences. I continue my work on the boards of Guideposts and Lead Like Jesus as well as being a part of a monthly book group, a monthly luncheon, and a Home Fellowship group which all help fill my emotional bank account and bring me lots of deep relationships and much joy.
Travel this year has been one of the greatest blessings, and in August I flew my MILLIONTH MILE with Delta! In February I was able to visit Garrett’s family in Seattle, and my good friend Shannon and my Aunt Joan and cousins in the San Diego area. Joan is 93 and in the last two years has gone both white water rafting and zip lining. She is my role model and heroine! In March Gretchen, Randy, Owen and Simon came for a week’s visit. As always. they love coming to the beach. Then Frank took me to Disneyworld in April for a long weekend where we both felt like kids again!
May was my first adventure for the year. My travel buddy. Nancy, and I spent two weeks on a tour of the Dalmatian Isles, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Venice. We visited the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik and saw where “Game of Thrones” was filmed, and on to Korula, Hvar (named one of the world’s top 10 islands), Split, the Plitvice Lakes, Opatja, Ljubliana, and Bled Island with its gorgeous castle. The scenery was spectacular, the people were gracious, and I even got to dance on my birthday!. At one point the guide stopped the bus on the border of Slovenia and Bosnia so I could speak in two countries at the same time
Later in May Frank took me to the elegant Boca Raton Resort for three days for my birthday. In June I spoke to the Canadian Speakers chapter in Toronto and spent a special day with my dear friend, Laurie Flasko. June was also the annual Society for Human Resource Management convention where I presented two sessions for my 19th year in a row. I LOVE speaking to HR folks as they are the heart of any organization! Later that month I received a very special distinguished alumnae award called the “Pink Carnation Award” from my sorority, Gamma Phi Beta, in Atlanta. I was honored to speak to over 1000 young women.
In early July Garrett and his family came for several days. Then Frank took me for a fun few days to the Breakers in Palm Springs, a famous elegant old resort. I also attended the National Speakers Association convention in Phoenix where it was a delight to connect with speaker friends from around the world.
In August Frank took me to Las Vegas where we saw two shows and enjoyed wonderful shopping and dining. The end of the month we attended the Veteran Speakers Retreat in Washington, DC. One of the highlights for Frank was to go to the new Air and Space Museum and see John Glenn’s space capsule whose engine he worked on at the beginning of the space race
I spent a week in September in Portland visiting Gretchen’s family, and then Frank and I traveled to Australia for three wonderful weeks from September 28 to October 18. We visited Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Cairns and Port Douglas as well as visiting my niece and her husband in Townesville. I got to hold a koala and feed kangaroos, we snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, saw the Penguin Parade in Melbourne, and got to hear Beethoven at the Sydney Opera House. In each city we connected with some new speaker friends and even had dinner in one of their homes. We LOVED the people and the country!
In October we celebrated Frank’s birthday at his daughter’s in Atlanta with all his family. November was busy with the CSP/CPAE Summit at High Point University in High Point, NC, followed by Guideposts Board meetings in Scottsdale and a visit to Seattle to see Kinsey. Then Erin came for a week for Thanksgiving.
In December I will spend three days in New York City with a girlfriend, speak in Oklahoma City, and then spend Christmas in Portland and Seattle with all my family. How blessed I feel to have such great kids and grand kids!
GRETCHEN and Randy are still in Portland where Gretchen is operations manager for two boutiques and Randy does freelance website design. Owen is 11 and Simon is 9, and both are involved in soccer, skateboarding, Legos and Minecraft. They have a new puppy named Peanut. ERIN continues in fashion design in Portland and is a HUGE Timbers soccer fan. She adores her kitty, Cricket. GARRETT’s team at Microsoft in Redmond was dissolved, so he is currently job searching. Ashley is busy with their horse, and Gavin is in community college studying business and delivering pizzas while Kinsey is bravely fighting her battle with cancer. They love their new puppy named Tank.
I feel so blessed to have a deep faith, a beautiful family, a wonderful man in my life, many precious friends worldwide, clients that I love, good health and the opportunity to experience the beauty of our world. May God bless you in 2017.