Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reflections on The Thirties

Assuming I make it til midnight {or really 6:13 am tomorrow morning EST}, I will have successfully reached the end of my thirties.  Reaching 30 totally did not bother me.  I am not sure what it is about 40 that seems so much...well...older.  I'm not approaching my 40s as well as I did my 30s.  I have this image in my head of being pulled along forcefully {and quickly} by a rope while I pull back and dig my heels into the ground, all the while the dirt flies around me as I approach that line that I will inevitably cross.

Surely it won't be as bad as all that!!

I wanted to look back, though, on this past decade and share some thoughts and little bits of randomness that have made me me.  Join me, won't you, for this little journey through time.  Again, another image pops into my head.  It's the torch ceremony that I remember from the years spent watching know - the one near the end of the season where the final Survivors spend their last day walking through the wilderness passing by all the torches of contestants who have gone before them.

The year was 2002, and I had just turned 30...

Ok, well, first off, in the year 2002, I did not even own a digital camera, much less the Sony DSLR that I own today, so there aren't too many pics to share!

I began my 30s having celebrated 2 years of marriage to my amazing husband, Ron.  I am ending my 30s having celebrated our 12th anniversary this past April.  He has been my rock for all these years.  This guy has put up with me for all this time!  He has been strong when I've been weak.  He has been with me through so many trials in life - infant loss, miscarriage, three events where I could have died, having a child with multiple special needs who is also increasingly medically fragile, and just life in general.  Together, in our 30s, Ron and I have experienced more difficult and challenging life events than most couples experience in a lifetime.  The odds of our marriage surviving any one of these events is slim, but combined, I can't even imagine how small the percentage of a successful marriage would be.  We're probably talking 15% or less.  Yet here we stand.  Together.  Ron's one of the good guys.  The best.  And I love him with all my heart.

I entered my 30s still mourning the loss of our precious son, Jeffrey, stillborn in 2001.  Just a year into my 30s, there was a miscarriage.

Without those two events happening in my life, it is unlikely that I would be celebrating my precious daughters, Moira and Peyton.

In 2004, we welcomed Moira.  We finally had a precious baby to bring home!  Moira is now 8.  She is funny, so smart, and has an amazing personality.  She is sensitive and, while she is quite outgoing, she can be a little shy at times.  She's so artistic and I love to see what she's going to come up with next.

In 2006, we welcomed our second baby girl into the world.  Peyton is now 6.  Peyton is so sweet.  She has had so many obstacles in her short life but she is so incredibly strong.  She's a fighter.  She has taught me more in life than I could ever teach her.

Moira and Peyton became sisters in 2006.  In 2012, Moira is still taking a look at her sister laying on a hospital bed.

In my 30s, I became an Aunt to three nephews and two nieces.  Ok, one nephew was just a few months before I turned 30, but in total, I'm three and two!

In my 30s, my mother was an amazing pillar of strength for me.  She wasn't just my mother.  She was one of my best friends.  She was my confidant.  Someone I would speak with or chat online with on a daily basis.  That is, until 2010 when I was 37.  My mother passed away in July of that year.

In my 30s, I discovered how much I fully appreciated a lifelong friend who has been with me since I was in the fourth grade.

In my 30s, I was attending church with my husband and family.  My children were baptized in the Catholic church.  We had every intention of raising our family in this tradition.  Then one day, within a week of our relocating from Houston, TX to Charleston, SC, we had an experience in a local Catholic church which pretty much ruined the church for us.  Oh, we tried to continue, but there are a lot of reasons we did not.  Then in 2009, we were introduced to what church, at least in my mind, should be.  In 2009, I came to realize that it wasn't about going to church to fulfill an obligation.  It wasn't about rituals.  It wasn't about whether I knelt down, stood up, or sat down.  It wasn't about repetitive rituals.  It was about an actual relationship that I discovered that I could have with God myself.  It wasn't about people being an intermediary between Him and me at all.  In fact, there isn't one.  It's me and God because of the sacrifice of His son for me.  It took me to my late 30s to finally get that.  But I got it and now our whole family is experiencing our faith in a whole new way because of this.

It is because of my new-found faith in God that I am able to deal with much of what we go through in life nowadays.  Am I perfect?  Not by a long shot!!  Do I handle everything well??  Ask Ron.  Probably not!  Ok, definitely not.  Like I said, I am not perfect.  

In my 30s I began this blog.  I began it as a way to recount the good things in my life that I was struggling to see amidst all of the challenges we face.  I did it to remember that, despite all that is going on, God is still at work and is faithful.  I know that a lot of my posts lean towards being more faith-based and more serious, but I write because I know that there is a message to be shared with others.  It is my hope that God will somehow use what I have to say to help someone else - to encourage or bless someone else who may be facing something similar.  What I write isn't about me - it's about Him.

In the time I have been blogging, God has blessed me with many new bloggy friends. I have had the pleasure of meeting a couple.  There are many who I would love to meet in person one day.  I am so blessed and so grateful for these friendships in my life.  You all know who you are.  I am thankful for the relationships I'm still developing and I look forward to getting to know you all better.  Here I am this past August getting in on a little Houtz House Party action:

All that said, I have to say that my 30s were not all doom and gloom and so totally serious that I didn't know how to have a good time or laugh every now and then!  That said, let's lighten up the tone here!

My birthday is November 19th.  What famous people share my birthday, you might be wondering {or not}?!  Larry King, Indira Gandhi, Meg Ryan, the McCaughey Septuplets, Jodie Foster, Kerri Strug, Ted Turner, Allison Janney, and Ann Curry to name but a few.

There were also some important historical events which took place on November 19th.  Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863.  Pele scored his 1,000th goal in 1969.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest premiered in 1975.  In 1985, Reagan and Gorbachev would hold their first summit meeting.  And this one, for my husband, Notre Dame and MSU played to a classic tie in 1966. That means nothing to me, but since I love my husband, I am throwing that in there!

Six out of eight Harry Potter movies were released in my 30s.  If I had been born 5 days earlier, we could bump it up to seven.  Half of the entire series had release dates in November, all within 5 days of my birthday.  However, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part I had a release date on my birthday!

Now that that is out of the way, I am going to expand a little further - because if we were in a room talking all together and my husband were present, I'm quite sure he'd interject with a little side commentary.

My absolute favorite actor of all time, hands down, is Ralph Fiennes.  Click on the name if you must.  I have been met with blank stares on that one many times. But, for goodness sake, he's Voldemort!!!  At the very least, you must know that!  I have been a loyal fan {Ron might use another word} since I first saw him in Schindler's List in 1993.  Yes, he was the evil Nazi Amon Goeth.  Again, cilck on his name - if you don't see a couple movies on his resume that you recognize aside from Harry Potter, I am afraid you must have been living under a rock these past 20 years.  Currently, he is in Skyfall, the new James Bond movie...which I have {sadly} not seen yet!  Sigh.  I'll just say that the film industry has been very nice to me most Novembers of my 30s!  Oh, and just for fun, let's do a 2002 to 2012 comparison on him shall we??

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Hmm.  Yes.  Well, moving on....

In my 30s, I continued my love for Ralph Fiennes {who is nearing the end of his 40s just fyi}.  A love that has spanned 19 years.  Sigh.  Also in my 30s, I developed a love for coffee.  I love my Starbucks and my Keurig.  I realized in this last weekend of my 30s that Starbucks was kind enough to offer B1G1 holiday beverages between 2-5p.  Ron came home with a Venti White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha, which I am enjoying right now.  As you can see by the picture, I actually did some research on the above paragraph.

Towards the end of my 30s, after feeling so frumpy for so long, I made a pretty drastic - and very much needed - change.  I could make up all kinds of excuses - money, time, energy, and so on.  But here it is.  What do you think??  I know the thoughts I have about that "Before" pic...ugh!!  Yeah, I think I'm gonna keep up with the "After" look.  On the up side, I did have about ten inches chopped off and I was able to donate to Locks of Love.

As I move into my 40s, I realize that the decade ahead is likely to be pretty monumental - in good ways and not so good.  I'll get this out of the way first.  My 40s could be the decade where the Fontenot Four will become Three.  I am not trying to be a downer here, but when I think about Peyton and her health issues of late, this is a big area of concern for me right now.  One which I would love for you to join me in prayer over.  No matter what happens, we need prayer for her.  And for me for the strength to handle all that comes our way.  In this coming decade, Ron and I will surpass 20 years of marriage. Got that??  We will surpass 20 years.  Moira will go on to middle school in a few years - and graduate and move on to high school.  She may have her first boyfriend, her first kiss and maybe even her first heartbreak {watch out buddy, don't you dare hurt my baby!!}.  We'll have dealt with college applications and road trips to see potential schools.  Moira, if you intend to follow in your father's Notre Dame footsteps, you'd better either get a job now or get a really good scholarship!!  Ten years from now, she will be 18.  My "baby" will be able to vote.  Moira will be an adult!!

In the coming decade, I intend to grow as a Christian and develop a deeper relationship with God.  I intend to work hard on making my marriage to Ron even better.  I want to be a better parent to both my daughters.  I want to demonstrate my faith by example.  I hope and pray that Moira will grow from her child-like faith into a deeper relationship with God and I hope to see her take that next step in committing her life to Christ.

So much is going to happen in the coming decade.  Life is already going by too fast.  I can't imagine it's going to slow down anytime soon.  


"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, 
you could miss it."

~ Ferris Bueller ~


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