How can it be that it's already January 1st? For anyone out there who still reads my Blog (I know, I've been very lax with it the past several years), here is a recap of my 2015 (no holds barred!)
Mom and Dad arrived in early January for what would turn out to be their final winter snow-birding it in Florida. Unfortunately, Mom also came bearing scary news; she had been diagnosed with breast cancer towards the tail end of 2014. Prayers went into effect immediately and we involved as many people as possible in the prayer chain. We know God already knows what's going on with us, but several (ok, many several!) reminders and requests can't hurt!
Dad, Mom and Mom B
Not that we necessarily wanted to do it, but, January also found us in the market for new family room furniture. Isn't it pretty?
Of course, thanks to our cats who insist on behaving as if they are still small kittens despite the fact they are 7 and 6, this is what it normally looks like:
In mid-January, I traveled to Orlando with my Stephen Minister pal Sybil to take a week long training course to become Stephen Leaders. Despite a very busy schedule (including a lot of late nights and continuing confusion over which set of papers we were supposed to bring to what session) it was a fantastic experience. Sybil and I made some great friends with fellow Stephen Leaders around the country (and beyond) and we also got a photo opp with the founder of Stephen Ministries, Dr. Kenneth Haugk. Most importantly, Sybil and I got to know one another better and bonded (this happens when you share a room with someone for a week!) All of this amounted to be very fortuitous as we are now the only Stephen Leaders at our church. And what do Stephen Leaders do, you ask? Recruit, train, supervise and support our Stephen Ministers. What do Stephen Ministers do? Walk alongside those who are experiencing a life crisis such as death of a loved one, divorce, illness or loss of job for as long as they are needed.
With Sybil in Orlando
Stephen Ministry Logo
With Dr. Kenneth Haugk
With a few of our fellow Stephen Leaders
Tax season kicked into full gear for yours truly (for Mr. B it begins right after the first of the year). Each year I get more involved in the business so thus spend more and more time working. However, Lucy and I did manage to get up to see Father in Weeki Wachee for a few days where we experienced the mystery of the exploding tile in Father's kitchen. Thankfully, it was not a sinkhole but the result of improperly installed flooring.
Both Mom B and Mom T had medical procedures done in mid February. Mom B had her right knee replaced and Mom T had surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. Thank God for God as I don't know how I would have managed to get through the worry and stress of this on top of Busy Season without Him. And also family (Mike and Kym came to stay with Mom B while she recovered and later Aunt Judy to help out until she could drive) friends and church family.
I gave up Facebook for Lent, as well as (attempting to) give up complaining by taming my tongue. Let's just say giving up Facebook was far easier!
Also in February, I had to acknowledge that things don't work quite as well as they used to with my person; after experiencing pretty awful ovarian sensations (and eliminating cancer a the cause after having an ultrasound) I broke down and started seeing Mark's chiropractor. Turns out I was way out of alignment, kinda like a rundown 1963 Ford Fairlane. And, who knew? This sort of misalignment can wreck havoc all throughout your body. After several sessions with Dr. Nick, poof; pain be gone. Why did I wait so long to go? Why do we put ourselves through unnecessary suffering? I continue to go every two weeks to keep myself tuned up.
1963 Ford Fairlane
My eyes also went "wiggy" on me in February; I thought I was experiencing a detached retina in my left eye so Mark rushed me in to see an eye doctor who also happened to be one of his network buddies. Thankfully, it wasn't a detached retina but just more darn floaters. The good news is, I found a new eye doctor who has been great helping me get the right combination of glasses and contact lenses.
In all honesty, I was pretty happy to see the tail end of February!
Guess what? The majority of the month was spent working on taxes, but we also were able to spend time visiting with Mom and Dad before they headed back to NC at the end of the month. We wrapped up a 24 week Bible study called Covenant, too.
Prophetic timeline courtesy of Jennifer!
Goofing off. Shush! Don't tell the boss!
Glorious Easter! Unfortunately a bit low-key for us since we were still in the throes of Busy Season plus Mom T began her (self-appointed) extremely aggressive chemo treatments the following week.
Burling Consultants LLC celebrated post Busy Season in style at Michael's on East towards the end of the month. I have the best boss in the world. I've never had a boss give me diamond earrings before ;-)
At Michael's on East
A great month and not just because Busy Season was in the dust behind us. We celebrated our 10th anniversary at our timeshare resort in Cancun. Other than hooking up with our cruising friends Gary and Christine for one day, we did nothing but laze around by the pool, read, relax, eat and drink for nine glorious days. The only bump in the road was a few days before we left, a filling came out of one of my back molars which couldn't be fixed without crowning it. Thankfully this happened before we went to Mexico but unfortunately the temporary crown came off while in Mexico. So far, 2015 seemed to be the year yours truly started to literally fall apart (more on this later).
Mom and Dad sold their house in NC in record time!
Having fun with Gary and Christine
Mr. B at the Tiki Bar
On our 10th anniversary
Me with the resort behind me
A relatively quiet month for the B's. We went to visit Father for Father's Day. We also started a new fitness program at 20 Minutes to Fitness. I can tell you that, half a year later, we're both really glad we did; it's made a huge difference in our lives.
A totally glorious sunset one June evening
Ok, so, along with the exercise regime, we decided we needed to alter our diet so in mid July, we began a low carb diet, which has morphed into a low carb lifestyle. We both feel so much better and, frankly, look better. Mark's lost over 25 pounds and I've dropped about 10-15.
Mark facilitated a Bible study July-August called Five Stones (all about slaying your personal giants). A small but great interactive group.
I spent the last part of July in NC helping Mom and Dad move from the house into their temporary digs at Duke Towers in Durham. Mom finished up her last chemo treatment in July, too. In addition to spending time with them, I was able to see my brothers and their families and Cailyn and Chad. I also went down memory lane and drove by the places we used to live. Seems like I spent an awful lot of time in the car while in NC!
Tons of boxes!
In the car!
Great month! Cailyn came for a long visit and we had a wonderful time with her. It was especially special as she was here for Mark's birthday. Lucy was, of course, over the moon to have her Sissy here!
Cailyn and Lucy
Mark's birthday dinner
A wonderful picture of Mark and Cailyn
A few days after Cailyn left, Lucy and I snuck in another visit to Grandfather Hayes in Weeki Wachee. This month literally flew by!
Mom and Dad arrived for a several day house hunting trip and were successful in finding a lovely new home a mere ten minutes away. We had a great time visiting with them. Not long after they returned home, Mom finished up her radiation treatments.
My mysterious shoulder ailment flared up. I went to a specialist who told me it was inflamed but without doing further testing (e.g., MRI) hard to know why. My chiropractor did a series of deep tissue laser treatments which eventually helped with the inflammation. Whatever is wrong with it (likely a small muscle tear) is still an underlying issue but since there isn't much I can do about it, I'm learning to adapt and live with it.
Mom B had her left knee replaced. After her surgery, she stayed with us for a few weeks until she was ok to be on her own. It didn't take her long; she's one determined lady!
A few of the cats helping Mom B "feel better"!
Mark finally got around to sealing the lanai pavers ;-)
Cailyn was accepted to Elon's Physical Therapy Doctoral Program!
We rolled into the last three months of the year with record temperatures. Although we shouldn't complain, we missed having the typical gorgeous fall Florida weather.
Mom and Dad moved permanently to Florida, closing on their house on their anniversary (how fitting!)
Mark made his way through October 15th (tax filing deadline for those people who filed extensions in April) while I happily prepared for our cruise on Freedom of the Seas.
We left October 17th for our cruise; several pictures from that wonderful vacation follow. We're so lucky to have such great cruising friends.
With Gary and Christine during the muster drill
With Mary and John and Tina and Paul
Getting ready to "dance in the streets" with Terri, Paul, Kay and Tina
I blinked and this month was over! What can I say? The highlights were a successful and uneventful colonoscopy for yours truly and a great Thanksgiving spent with Mom, Dad and my brother Nathaniel and his family (followed by a trip up to Weeki Wachee to see Father).
Don't worry; I won't share any pictures of the colonoscopy ;-)
Holly and Kendal Thanksgiving Day
Lucy loves road trips!
We got into the Christmas spirit early by participating in our church's annual Hanging of the Greens program. I actually got my butt in gear and got the house decorated by the end of the first week of December. Having the halls all decked out really contributes to the joy of the season.
An impromptu addition to my Christmas decorations
Surprise! Mr. B got me a pink cruiser for my birthday! So now in addition to my training and my step work out, I can bike. My first time out I clocked five miles so I've set the bar high!
We went on another cruise to celebrate my birthday. We love cruising. Can you tell?
With Terry and Rick
Margaritaville in Jamaica
Best yet, we were able to hook up with Cailyn in Jamaica on my birthday as the ship she was on with her mom was also in port.
With Cailyn in Jamaica on my birthday. She was able to be with both of us on our birthdays this year!
We enjoyed a visit with Mark's younger brother Kevin and celebrated Christ's birth on Christmas Eve and Christmas with both of our families.
After Christmas Eve services at church
Christmas selfies. Lucy was not amused!
With my Moms
At Sarasota Jungle Gardens
We finished the year over at Mom and Dad's playing cards, celebrating, and reminiscing; a slow-paced end to a fast-paced year!
We know that we and many we love and care for are entering 2016 with both joy and mourning, blessings and challenges, and the never ending hope for world peace.
May the Lord bless all of us and keep all of us. May he make his face to shine upon all of us and be gracious to all of us. May he lift up his countenance upon all of us and bring all of us peace!
Happy New Year!!!!!
All pets are doing well!