|COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!
I truly cannot count all the blessings bestowed upon me in 2016. I entered the year full of anxiety, trepidation, and a bit of fear. How and when would I tell my boss I wanted to retire? Would I truly have enough money to retire? Was I an idiot from walking away from this extraordinary comfortable life? I didn't enter 2016 with much peace, but I knew I had prayed, prepared, and yearned for an early retirement.
Now, as I sit in early January 2017, I realize what a remarkable year it was for me. 2016...blessed beyond measure. A quick snapshot of 2016 in the life of Liz...
- Donny Osmond in Reno in January. Thank you, thank you Shannon Tobin for kicking the year off right with me on the trip to Tahoe! He was...get ready for it...FANTASTIC, of course! He didn't sing my all-time Donny favorite of "The Twelfth of Never", but he sang Puppy Love. What more can one ask??
- Work kickoff with my team in Napa with our special guest...Professor Becky Barker. What a kickoff to end my career. What a great friend to celebrate it with and enjoy the camaraderie of my last team get together.
- Retirement. AT&T blessed me with a generous retirement package, and wonderful celebrations with my guys in Monterey (love you Kenny!), my mentoring group, and close friends (love you guys LeKeisha, Shannon and Ryan).
- Italy, Italy, and Italy. Thank you Cathy Mathis for sharing the best retirement trip I could have ever envisioned!
- It was so hard to say goodbye, but I did...to my 2004 Ford Thunderbird. I loved that vehicle! There was nothing quite like the feeling of driving it on a sunny, beautiful day with the top off, wind in your hair, and the music crankin'. Man, I loved that car. I was fortunate though in that it went to someone as anal about their cars as I am...the father of a co-worker. Heck, he even said he was going to keep the OU sticker on the windshield to remind him of me. That was cool!
- Born to Run. I am still amazed on how effortless it was for me to give up almost everything I owned. The house? No problem. Furniture? Whatever. Bike? Gone. Skies? Hurts my knees. All of it. I was blessed to have a recently divorced father buy my home and in need of, well, everything. So, that is just what he did...bought my house and everything in it. Oh yeah, made a pretty good return on that investment...thank you Lord!
- Uhaul it baby! I love my family. I really do. But when it was time for me to pack up what was left and take off for Texas, where o where was my family?? There she was...Glynie! Thank goodness for Glynis. She hopped on a plane and was determined to make everything I was taking with me fit into that rented 5X8 trailer...and by golly, she did! I was in the house ensuring we got everything and by the time I came outside to help pack up the Uhaul, it was done! So, we took off for Texas. A lifesaver you are Glynie. Thank you, thank you!!
- Experiences...too many to recount in detail, but what a time I had once we hit Texas. Bought Gypsy Red (once again, thank you Glynie). Hit the road in Gypsy and visited Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado. Not bad for just a few months of travel. I experienced high highs...houseboat in Destin, Mount Rushmore, and hiking in Custer State Park; to low lows...losing Presley for 7 hours in Colorado, one very, very cold night in Iowa, and the last stand in Black Mesa State Park in Oklahoma. But, other than losing Presley, I wouldn't change a thing.
- Trips with friends! So many trips this year starting with Tahoe with Shannon; Monterey and Napa with Nolet; Italy with Cathy; San Antonio with Jules & Bec; Destin with little sister; and New Orleans with Dodd, Cathy and Brian Gaskins. And, i got to see longtime friend and co-worker, Kip Harm for the first time in years on my visit to Missouri; as well as re-connected with college roomie, Kimmie Pope, whom I hadn't seen in at least 5 years.
- Family time. Lastly, I got to spend some quality and quantity time with family. Since moving to Washington D.C. in 2010, I hadn't spent much time with family. Nothing like my family! Amen??
So how good was 2016 for me? Without a doubt, my most memorable one. As I head full steam ahead into 2017, I can only hope it is half as good as last year. We pack up and head out this weekend. We have Hill Country in Texas, Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, Utah, NYC, and Sun Valley, Idaho planned already (through June).
What a great life it is...
"Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." - Psalm 16: 1-2
Here we go! I love you all,