Life has been hectic for the last year to say the very least. Over worked, over tired, and over stressed would all be understatements when describing our lives. Jake and I have been killing ourselves working crazy hours, doing extra jobs, taking care of the house, the kids, school, and everything else you can think of. We are working hard to pay off our debt and reach our dream of moving to the coast. Nearly a month ago I kicked it into over drive in preparation for our son returning from Okinawa for a brief visit, a short vacation with the family, a graduation party for our middle daughter, a welcome home party for our son, getting all my responsibilities at work completed so I could take a bit of time off, getting my house spotless, and everything ready to go away, getting ahead on my studies so I could not have to focus on them while we were gone, not to mention the daily routine of cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of my chickens, etc... etc.... Well apparently I am not as strong as I used to be because I pushed myself so hard my immune system took a vacation and I ended up with an acute case of salmonella. And speaking from experience with illness I would have to say that is the sickest I have ever been in my life. I nearly died. I had been sick 8 days by the time I was diagnosed and I was so dehydrated and depleted my organs were starting to shut down. It is funny how when you are that sick and it takes all of your energy just to breathe, how your mind seems to shut down as well. It is very dark and solitary. It is still haunting at times. I have never EVER been so sick that I was looking forward to dying. This was a horrible experience to say the least. Thank God for a praying and loving husband who never left my side. Thanks to all my friends and family who prayed for and showed concern for me. This experience was a game changer. It was amazing to see the people who reached out to us, and the ones who didn't. They say when hard times or illness come you know who is true and who isn't, and that is a fact. I learned several important things through this experience, and it seemed to really change the way I think. 1. I worry too much about things I don't need to worry about. I need to just let some things go. I have decided at this point to make a few changes in my life, and in my pursuit of a different future. I am planning now on just finishing my real estate licensing and not going back to college to complete my business management degree. I am still hoping to land a job as a property manager at some point, but if a 4.0 in my one semester in college in business management, a real estate license, and 12 years experience as an area manager for a finance company isn't good enough, well, it will be their loss. I will trust in God to open the right door, in the right time. No more killing ourselves to pay for college for me, or for my fitting one more thing in my hectic schedule. God has blessed me with a position that I was not originally qualified for, and with my experience and drive He can do it again. 2. I don't have time for the negativity and drama. Life is too short to be negative, or to have unneeded drama in our lives. God knows life comes with enough unavoidable conflict without adding to it. There are people that are just going to have to take backseat in our lives. Both friends and family members who tend to bring me down. I am done with it. I will be here if anyone needs me, but I can't deal with unnecessary drama any longer. Life is just too short. I am praying God shows me how to balance this with love. To be able to be present, but to know when it is time to just shut it down. This will be a work in process, and it will take me a bit to get it right, but I am definitely headed in that direction. 3. Work does not need to rule my life, and I need to slack off on trying to keep everything perfect. It wasn't like I was always succeeding in that anyway. I have let work take too high a priority in my life, and I have always strived to do everything at 100% all of the time. Well I have learned the hard way I can't do it. I need help. I need to rely on my family to help me. I need to put things in the proper order. And if I need a day from work for my family, then by God I am going to take it. I have missed things I shouldn't have missed, and if I had died this would have been one of my greatest regrets. I will focus on things based on priority. Now don't get me wrong, my competitive drive has in no way died, and I will still be on top of my game, but my mental attachment to that will be by far less. My value and the quality of my life will be based on much deeper issues than how well I perform. 4. I don't want to wait until I retire to live my dreams. Everyday should be a part of that dream. I want to find beautiful moment in everyday to enjoy. Whether it is having dinner with my family, sitting on an overlook and taking 5 minutes on my drive to work to thank God for the beautiful view He made to brighten my day, or just sitting on my deck and relaxing, I will focus on the good, and not get consumed with my schedule. It is amazing the peace that you can gain in a 5 minute break. 5. I will work towards us achieving our goals earlier instead of later. Ok so maybe we will get a smaller home and move to Beaufort, NC instead of Buxton, NC. But in Beaufort I am pretty sure we will find better jobs, and housing is definitely cheaper. I will still be coastal and a whole 15 minutes from my beloved ocean. It may not be my original dream, but my real dream is a slower paced life, where I have time to LIVE, not just work and strive. It isn't about the money, but about the ability to survive, and survive happily. 6. I want to make sure that I am a support and blessing to others. I want to smile and encourage people more. I want to bring help and happiness to others. I want the opportunity to share my faith and my peace with others. And this follows every other change I am seeking, because if my life doesn't show peace and happiness, why would anyone want anything else I have to offer? Everyday is a gift, and we never know which one will be our last. I want to love everyday, learn something new (whether from good or bad experiences), love passionately, and live freely. This is my new goal. My new outlook. May God keep my feet on this path, and provide me the wisdom needed to seek His way above my own.