Can you believe 2017 has already come and gone?
My Gram always used to say, that when I got older, time would go by much faster…she was certainly correct! And changes seem to go hand in hand with how time flies!
2017 was definitely a year filled changes that held many highs and lows for me. Thankfully, the highs far outnumbered the lows!
Changes from the very beginning.
The changes began the beginning of the year, as the first few months of 2017 were filled with setting up my blog and learning all the ins and outs of it. Believe me, there is still a lot for me to learn! I feel very lucky though because the blogging community has so many wonderful people that are willing to help out!
In January, my annual mammogram led to a biopsy shortly thereafter. Which was then followed by a lumpectomy in February. And again, by another lumpectomy at the end of March. Thus my breast cancer journey began.
Thankfully, throughout all of this, I had my blog to work on! So on March 1st, I hit the publish button for the first time and went live on the blog! I can honestly say, I have LOVED every minute so far! Truly, I can’t thank you enough for following along. Blogging has become my passion!
Since my breast cancer diagnosis on March 6, 2017, my life has been a whirlwind of changes, to say the least! One thing is for certain, it made me totally reassess my wants and desires.
Towards the end of March, I opted to leave my full-time job where I’d been for almost 5 years so that I could concentrate on fighting my breast cancer. This also allowed me the freedom to attend doctor appointments and to rest when I needed to.
Spring saw more changes.
April and May were a time of settling into my new normal. I tried to keep busy between doctor appointments. So I was glad there was never a lack of things to do around the house and with my blog.
During this time, my body was able to heal from both lumpectomies. Plus mentally I was able to prepare for my breast cancer radiation treatments.
Just knowing that I had my blog to work on, was so comforting. My mind was kept busy planning and writing blog posts, which is just what I needed so that I wouldn’t dwell on my cancer diagnosis.
On Mother’s Day after celebrating with my daughter, Elecia, I headed out to look at a piece of property. The rest they say is history as it was love at first sight! At the time, little did I know that this would be the farm we would end up buying in July.
Fast forward to June.
The beach vacation I took with my sisters towards the end of my radiation was just what I needed at the time. Even though I wasn’t able to go for the full week I still loved every minute of it. Honestly, who doesn’t love putting their toes in the sand?!
June also saw many trips to visit and explore the farm we were thinking of buying. Each visit swelled my heart with the desire to purchase those nearly 40 acres of trees!
In my post, The Pink Sisterhood Part 4, I had just finished my radiation treatments and was on the mend by the middle of June. It’s truly amazing how our bodies heal and we recover.
Thankfully, the discomfort is a distant memory for me now.
July was a busy month!
After much prayerful consideration, we decided to jump into the unknown and buy the farm! Mr. Man and I closed on the property and officially became tree farmers the beginning of July! Owning property like this was a dream come true for me!
By mid-July, I was physically back to my old self again. Other than having to be extremely careful in the sun, I really didn’t have any lingering issues. Praise God!
I was so glad that I was able to attend a beautiful wedding in Indiana with my sisters. We had a wonderful time catching up with family! Plus it was a perfect girls’ weekend for us! We shared a lot of memories on this trip bonding the three us even more.
The weekend after the wedding I headed down to the Haven Blogging Conference in Atlanta! What an absolutely AMAZING experience that was to be surrounded by so many successful women in the blogging industry! I made many new friends and learned a lot that weekend. Plus meeting so many vendors/sponsors was fantastic!
I also had professional portraits done for the blog in July. I usually don’t like to have my picture taken, so I was so thankful my friend, Tamisha was my photographer! DVOC Photography is absolutely amazing, if you live within a hundred miles of Raleigh, NC I hope you will contact Tamisha for your photography needs!
August and September came quickly.
Since I was feeling better I decided to go back to work part-time. It was nice to be back with my friends and colleagues again.
At the end of August my beloved dog, Dale had to have surgery to remove a cancerous growth on her front leg. This was her third surgery in 5 years for cancer. She’s a genuine fighter and weathered the surgery well. I just hate that she has had to endure these surgeries over the years.
Summer also found Mr. Man and I visiting different builders around the state to start narrowing down our farmhouse ideas and to find the builder we would eventually be working with.
After viewing LOTS of homes and meeting with many different companies, we decided to go with a modular built home instead of a traditional stick built home.
Total aside: Were you able to view the solar eclipse? I was lucky enough to be at the farm to witness the eclipse with special eye protection! What a totally amazing experience!
In September I met with the folks at Morton Buildings regarding getting a barn built at the farm. We looked at several different sizes and styles before we found exactly what we wanted. They are supposed to start construction on the barn this Tuesday! Photos to follow soon!
I also had my first follow up doctors appointment with my Oncologist. We discussed what the next few years would be like and how I was tolerating the Tamoxifen. I was relieved to have this appointment behind me.
Some more fun trips!
I was fortunate to take a weekend trip to Kentucky to see my friend, KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms to help her celebrate her book launch for “So Close to Amazing”. It was a dream come true to see her lovely farmhouse in person! KariAnne is very dear to me as she was instrumental in helping me become a blogger and for that, I will always be grateful!
The following weekend, I headed out on a much-needed 10-day solo vacation to go “home” to Northern Michigan. I used this time to reassess my goals and to internalize all the changes in my life.
A visit with my Aunt and Uncle the first few days home began my trip on a happy note! We had an absolutely wonderful time visiting. Needless to say, I left feeling well loved!
From their home in Southern Michigan, I headed up to Torch Lake to stay in an almost 100-year-old lake cottage. BEST decision ever! This lovely little gem was exactly what I needed. It was like spending time with my Dad again. I could honestly feel his spirit around me.
Spending this time in one of my most favorite places in the whole world, seriously healed my soul. It filled my heart with renewed energy and a drive to push forward.
It’s amazing what reconnecting with your past can do.
After returning from my trip, I selected the logo for the blog. Kerry, from PlusOne Studios, created several amazing options for me to choose from. I couldn’t be happier with my logo and watermark! Kerry offers top-notch full-service graphics assistance, so if you are looking for branding assistance, I hope you will contact her!
The last 3 months.
Due to the amount time the farm requires as well as the time needed for blogging, Mr. Man and I decided that it would be best if I quit my job and started working from home again. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone, but in my heart, I knew it was the right decision.
In October, we went to several different tree farm meetings around the state and were welcomed warmly by other tree farmers. These were great learning experiences for us and the tree farm tours were absolutely gorgeous!
In early November, I completed the paperwork necessary for our land to be recognized as a farm by the USDA and the FSA. Everyone was so helpful and kind.
We were so excited when we received the letter stating that we were officially a farm! Early this summer we were certified by the American Tree Farm System so this was like icing on the cake!
I attended a lovely breakfast with the ladies from the FSA office and I was able to meet other farmers in the area. I also enjoyed listening to several speakers that morning.
In mid-November, I went to a couple of farm auctions. The first was a land auction and the other was an equipment auction. Both were excellent learning experiences and I met a lot of great folks!
Mr. Man and I were pleased to attend to a wonderful customer appreciation dinner our Farm Credit Agency held for its members. We won a giant country ham that night making it even more special!
The holiday hustle.
I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. Spending time with family and all the delicious food sure does make it special. This year was no exception!
The first weekend in December, Mr. Man and I attended three Christmas parades and had an absolutely festive time. Each parade was unique and special for these small towns! The marching bands played Christmas music and it was fun seeing Santa Claus in each parade. These definitely put me in the mood for Christmas!
I’m also proud to announce that Thistledown Domestic Creations became an LLC the beginning of December.
Two weeks before Christmas, I had my first follow-up appointment with the Nurse Practioner at my Radiation Oncologist’s office. She was very pleased with how well I healed and after a thorough examination gave me a clean bill of health!
My first mammogram, post radiation, was the following week. This appointment had me the most nervous. Since over the last several years after each mammogram, I’ve had to have a biopsy.
I was so relieved when the technician came to get me to see that it was one of the ladies that had been through almost all of my previous biopsies with me. Her gentle spirit instantly had me at ease.
Due to my past history, the Radiologist read my mammogram while I waited. This too provided me with a great sense of calm as this Radiologist was the one who performed all but one of my biopsies.
I waited as patiently as I could for the results, so when they told me everything was fine I nearly lost it! Thank God, this time I did not need a biopsy! I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present!
Goodbye, 2017 – Welcome, 2018
After a lot of research, we decided to work with Silverpoint Homes to build our farmhouse! Our Housing Consultant, Darrell has been wonderful! We found a house plan their partner, Nationwide Homes offered that had the traditional farmhouse look we wanted!
I even visited the manufacturing facility and was thoroughly impressed with the quality and care I saw during my visit!
We are currently finalizing the floor plan and all the different options for the farmhouse. Since I made a few changes to the first floor I am anxious to see what they look like on the blueprint! We should receive our first set of plans in the next few weeks.
The exterior of the farmhouse will have white Hardiplank siding and a black metal roof. At this time, we haven’t decided if we want to add shutters to the front of the home.
Hopefully, I will have some renderings I can share with you soon!
I know I will have many more meetings with contractors, etc. for our farmhouse, but quite honestly, I am looking forward to all of them!
After Christmas, we started moving stuff up to a storage facility near our farm. I think this will help when we put our house on the market. Not to mention it will make the final move up to the farm easier this summer!
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for reading my stories and following along. I have many new projects coming up in the New Year that I think you will enjoy! Plus I will keep you updated regarding our farm!
I also want to thank my fellow bloggers for including me this past year on their blogs. It was an honor for me to guest post on The Crafting Nook by Titicrafty. Plus I had so much fun being a part of the all the different blog hops over the holidays!
I hope you will continue to follow along on all my adventures and projects featured on the blog! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter yet, it’s easy to do, just fill in the opt-in form at the top!
What changes did 2017 bring to you? Do you have big things planned for 2018? I learned this year that changes can be a good thing and I am thankful for all that I have been blessed with.
Could I ask you to take a moment to comment below to let me know what you might like to see more of in 2018? I read each and every comment and I promise I will reply!
So what’s next on the blog?
I will be redoing an old metal filing cabinet for my office. Please join me then!
I WISH YOU A SAFE AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR FILLED WITH MANY BLESSINGS!