My husband, son, and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Montana. This wasn't just a vacation, it was a new adventure! We stepped out of our comfort zone of the usual tropical getaway and found ourselves glamping under the beautiful, big Montana sky. Instead of sitting on beaches sipping fruity cocktails (don't get me wrong I love that too), we did all sorts of activities from white water rafting to trail riding to paint ball to ATV rides to the top of mountains (which, by the way, will leave you in the thickest layer of dust topped off by mud you've ever seen). I do believe I earned my official "boy mom" stamp after all this! We truly could not have had more fun! And the best part is, we were able to enjoy every last minute being together, which really brought it full circle with why we were there!
Most vacations are simply a getaway or down time, but this one was more of a celebration. Not a celebration in the birthday kind of way but a celebration in the we survived, we made it kind of way! This trip celebrated the one year mark, the kind of anniversary that helps you truly gain the confidence you need to officially move on. You see, on June 26, 2017, I received a phone call that completely turned my world and my entire life as I knew it upside down. While it wasn't medical bad news, I was so devastated that I became physically ill and ended up at the hospital. While my husband and I hoped that it wasn't true, we quickly learned the truth was even worse than we could have imagined. So many of my life decisions, and even ours as a couple, had been made based on manipulation and lies, not truth. Now, here we were, at 40 years old, learning the truths and untruths and being pushed out of normalcy as we knew it as more of the truth came out and the lies we had been fed emerged. So much happened in a short amount of time. Lots of hard choices. One of which was having to give my beloved horses away (so getting to ride in Montana was truly bittersweet). My husband and I spent countless days and hours in deep conversation, filled with lots of prayers. What we found was how deep our love truly is and how strong of a little family unit of 3 we are! We focused on what was important and even though it was a most difficult time, we found a joyful heart. We found what mattered most and let our cup runneth over with it. My faith grew right along side my love for my boys.
And right when I had started to find peace, my father committed suicide. It was a tumultuous time made even more difficult by strife between those who sought truth and those who wanted to maintain appearances. But I had already learned that living a life for the purpose of appearances will never yield a joyful heart. So I chose the path of truth. I decided to focus on what is important to me and left my corporate job to immerse myself in my family and my hobby business, Haley and the Hound. My boys were completely supportive of me and still tell me daily what an instantly changed person I was. My life focus was clear and I was full of joy thanks to God and a wonderful, adoring, loving, and supportive husband and son. While my work days have grown longer, the fulfillment of my wishes has grown more. I have continued to seek and live in truth and pray for God's grace, strength, and guidance. And here I am one year later! I made it! We made it! And I am a better person, wife, and mother. I am motivated by love and a joyful heart each morning to be thankful for my blessings, to strive to be better, to dedicate myself to work I enjoy, and to focus on what truly matters. I have learned the true colors of many and am forever grateful for the family and friends that support love and truth and have been with me on this journey to overcome and find joy! As I have said before: Joy is not just an emotion, it is a decision we make.