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It's been a year of "bigs" & "LITTLES!"

I'll just tell ya...early this year started off with something I thought was really, really big for me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer & faced bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. We can agree that is big, right? Yep, I put it in the big, even the giant, column. Lots of decisions, lots of uncertainties, lots of life flashing before my eyes moments, & lots of time spent in prayer to help me get through it...all of it. The morning of my surgery Cory Hines, President of Howard Payne University, sent me a note. He was checking on me, but most importantly, to remind me I was not going in to a 6 hour surgery alone. No, He was with me & He had my right hand. Not at any point would The Lord leave my side - no matter what happened. That comforted me incredibly deeply while I waited for the decisions around if there would be a need for chemo & radiation especially. This one huge gesture gave me the peace to endure the weeks that would pass before I received word officially there was no need, not any, for these deeply feared treatments.

It was then I saw the real BIG. He saved my life to continue His work. The diagnosis was the real little. I had only to remain patient & find the BIG. No longer could I see the world as the same place. While it was the same, I definitely was not ever going to be that "same" again. This rewiring of myself is another little that was really the BIG. To say my prayer life changed is an understatement. I absolutely stand still in Him...not typically on the run be still thing? I'm definitely a proud prayer warrior, but I realized it took on a whole new life of its own. I absolutely don't assume others know I love, admire, or am inspired by, them. This means when they are on my heart, regardless of when, where, etc, I'm to reach out to connect with them..sometimes on multiple levels - & not to wait until I have time, or when they have time. Tanya Tucker says "you always think you have time until you don't" which is one of the most powerful messages to me that I hope I've learned this year. No one will remember what you have accomplished as much as how you directly impacted their world, connected with them on a deeply personal level & helped them to be a better "them".

Something I think you'll find humorous? I decided to get 2 more ear piercings. NO idea where to go so I did what all of us would likely do? I googled it! The highest rating, really it was clear the only place to go, was the Lucky Horseshoe Tattoo shop in the Fort Worth Stockyards! It was easy to quickly decide I'm not going there! I called a spa I loved & asked for their recommendations; I knew they would help with something reasonable! You already have guessed it, right? the Lucky Horseshoe! So the first stop was getting earrings for the occasion still thinking I wouldn't do it. But I found myself on the mission to get the piercings done & I set out for the Lucky Horseshoe. Many know I live in FW, so it was about 10 minutes from my house. They weren't open so I went home thinking this was the sign I needed to give up the idea. But, I went back, yes. Without my driver's license, they would NOT do it. WHAT? Wait...I brought my money? They just didn't care & would not budge. So back home I went to get my license talking to me all the way home this was just more sign of what I thought was obvious. The 3rd time I was well prepared & they took me back to the artist who would help me. Her name is Stephanie & is the kindest, most gentle, & sensitive young woman! She definitely knew I was way out of my comfort zone & The Lord had put her in my path to change my thinking in profound ways, & this little became a BIG for me. It was incredibly liberating, humorous, & just a giant fun thing to do. I made her day, too, as she loved that I had been recommended to her. Not only was this experience a BIG for me, it was for Stephanie, too.

I have realized there's a depth to the world I see, but now I look in different places. I've always been a critical thinker, analytical, strategic, & driven (for sure). The focus now is on the moment & a real big understanding of how precious it is. I said above, the world isn't different that I see, it's the lens through which I look that is different. My connection to others has a place of critical importance, how I may make a difference / impact them, & serving Him in every motion is all rolled up in it. All the years of going to school, increasing professional success, growing & developing nonstop which I call part of deferred gratification? These experiences are the accumulation of the littles that give us the BIGS along life's journey,

My team at DBU, I can't say enough, or articulate accurately, just how important all their littles in thoughtfulness have become BIGS for me. Ollie, Brent, Bailey, Ana, Aneliese, Stephanie, Kody & Ashley have expressed so much love toward me in words, actions, & prayers. I knew when all things got too heavy for me, they had this. Why? Because that's just what families do. There was no moment I felt like a boss as much as I felt like family helping family. Never did they let me think we weren't gonna make it together. This is a BIG.

The list is long, but just one more before I close. This year has been lots of planning, actions & great anticipation for my Beautyfull Niece, Katherine, to become a DBU Patriot Freshman! I knew it would be sorta big, but I had NO idea it would be BIG! Wow! I've had the tremendous honor to experience life as a freshman, on my very own Campus, in ways never before possible! Oh my, she's shared so much with me - dorm life stories, ADK Sorority Rush & a huge circle of new friends. She introduced me to her friends, I introduced her to mine. We've taken selfies at places all over the beautiful University Hill which are definitely my treasures from these moments shared. Although she's a wonderful student, I've also felt the stress of exams, papers, etc., in whole new ways - & the opportunity for me to say - you've got this. We've had lunch at Mooyah's & taken the moments to calm the noise. I know Katherine has learned lots this year, but it's probably me who has learned the most from her - the reminders, lots of them, of what's really important. She has 4 siblings & when they've got something big going on she goes home to experience whatever it is with them. Never is her first thought self - how powerful is this to see in someone so very young! Katherine now has a job on Campus & I call her The Working Woman! A joyful connection of BIG proportions.

What a BIG year 2019 has been! Most experiences of what I thought were littles, were the BIGS. All I had to do was to be patient, remain faithful, & wait for Him to do the rest.

I know all of my readers will have had lots of LITTLES & bigs throughout 2019! Here are the Call to Actions you know are coming:

Call To Action:

1. Reflect on your life's journey in 2019. What did you originally think was a little that ultimately became a BIG?

2. Share your moments with loved ones at home & within your network. Start a dialogue!

3. Take the time to pick up your pen & Milemarkers to record these impactful moments there so they can be reflected & acted upon for years to come. Capture the connection not only in real time, but forever through the journal.

Come on New Year & New Decade! 2020 We ARE ready for you!

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