So…it’s my birthday.

I don’t feel very happy about turning 41 today.  A lot of people I know/work with say I’m so young…but, well, I’m just not really feeling it lately.  Getting old is not fun.  Anyway…I’m not going to focus on all the negativity…how about making a list of all the cool things I can think of I have done in my life. (i’m starting with 4 because memories of before then are pretty foggy and really just rely a lot on pictures and stories from my parents)

  • Age 4-caught a fish, spent hours drawing houses with my grandma, had an amazing birthday party – Raggedy Ann!, met my first bat – eeew!, went to Kindergarten…made a “perfect circle”, My dad built me and Cyndi the best fort ever in a snow drift in our back yard…mom brought us hot chocolate to drink in our fort. Asked Jesus into my heart.
  • Age 5-learned to read, loved to color, rode a bus to school…did NOT enjoy it.
  • Age 6-don’t remember a lot from being 6.  I know I hurt my arm at recess in first grade and I acted like it was broke…really liked the attention.  Dad came and picked me up.  It wasn’t broken, but I got a treat from the dr.s office!
  • Age 7-2nd grade…new school! I remember reading Stone Soup and doing a play about it.  I also got in trouble a lot for not paying attention…daydreaming.  I liked to write stories.  I loved to watch Little House on the Prairie. I took swimming lessons…I hated it – almost drowned when they made me jump off the diving board.  But my green jungle/tiger swim suit was awesome!
  • Age 8-Hated my third grade teacher…but LOVED art class.  We made and glazed clay dinosaurs.  It was awesome!  Survived a tornado at school the day my mom was a sub. teacher in the classroom next door. Loved to play outside.  Got a radio at a garage sale! I felt so grown up, and mom and dad let me start sleeping in the guest room! Went to church camp…first time I ever spent the night away from my family.Favorite candy bar ever: the Marathon Bar! only 25 cents!  Went to a movie down the street without our parents!
  • Age 9-new school, new city, new friends.  I loved my art teacher.  He always had the coolest ideas.  I dressed like my sister a lot.  That was weird.  Played out side a lot with my sister.  We made forts.  Played  house in the corncrib and the loft in the barn.  Almost got married at recess.  Won 2nd place in the spelling bee. Fell asleep on the bus and missed my bus stop.
  • Age 10-started switching classes at school.  I liked having different teachers.  Built Barbie houses out of cardboard boxes and other found materials.  Had my own bedroom.
  • Age 11-Awkward year.  Very self-conscious. Loved…and I mean LOVED my 6th grade social studies teacher-He was cute! Boys were mean.  First babysitting job.  Took piano lessons, played the clarinet…never really got good at either one.
  • Age 12-Liked to listen to Amy Grant.  Recorded music with my tape recorder from the radio.  Favorite color – purple.  first real (?) boyfriend. Very interested in biology.
  • Age 13-bible quizzing, rollerskating…(I’m having a hard time here).  Started taking private art lessons.
  • Age 14-Loved my ART class.  We did etchings, embossings, linoleum carvings and I loved trying all the different mediums.  I can remember almost everything I made in that class. Joined the Teens for Christ choir.
  • Age 15-Art with Mr. Wolfgang…best art teacher ever! Would spend hours drawing at home in my sketchbooks.  First serious boyfriend.  Went to IYC in Colorado with the youth group.  Rollerskating. Writing notes to my friends.  Picked on and teased my sister a lot. (sorry Cyndi). I think we got an ATARI.
  • Age 16-Difficult year.  Loved Art class.  Drew a lot.  I remember being depressed a lot.  Class that impacted me the most was Anatomy…very intriguing.  I also remember it being very hard…and feeling sick to my stomach a lot.  Would read the Bible in the library.  First Date.  Got my driver’s license.  Summer babysitting job.  First real job at Roaring 20s Ice Cream Parlour.  I think I made like 2.25 an hour or something.  First trip to an art museum: the Art Institute of Chicago…made a huge impact on me! Trip to Florida with TFCs.
  • Age 17: changed schools my Senior Year.  New friends, new church.  Youth group was awesome.  Worked at McDonalds in the summer.  Also worked at an art store and helped with teaching drawing to kids. Started at Spring Arbor College.  Took one drawing class and then added another art class.  Decided to major in Art.  Loved drawing.  Made some very good friends.
  • Age 18: sang in a band, became a Camp Counselor, met Sam.
  • Age 19: Started dating Sam.
  • Age 20: Sam transfers to SAC. Taught art classes in the summmer
  • Age 21: We get engaged. I go to Europe in January for my cross cultural trip!  Awesome!!!  I see the Eiffel Tower, the Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel, the canals of Venice, eat Gelato, get pick pocketed, sleep on a train and get pooped on by a bird all in 3 weeks!
  • Age 22: We get married. We get a dog. Move to a town where we know NO ONE! I start subbing. I get up every morning to iron Sam a shirt so he can go to work in his office IN OUR HOUSE! We start using credit cards. We buy our first computer.  I have my Senior Art Show.
  • Age 23: We move to Jackson.  We rent a house-not a good experience.  I write a curriculum for our VBS.  I am still painting…for fun. Still subbing.
  • Age 24:  I get my first teaching job.  We buy our first house.
  • Age 25-29:  I get in a really bad accident. I get a new job…teaching art at East Jackson.  I know we bought a new bed.  We go to Jamaica on a mission trip.
  • Age 30: We have our first baby – Savannah.  Our life drastically changes!
  • Age 31-32: Sam is unemployed. I get pregnant and we have have Max.  We also take a trip to Florida.  Take Savannah to Disney World for the first time. I think I started teaching art classes at Ella Sharp around this time.
  • Age 33-Cooper dies.  🙁 We buy a new house and a van.  And Karson is born.  Sam’s sister’s family lives with us for a few months.
  • 34- I start journaling.  I take an art class.  I start blogging.
  • 35-We start making plans for a sideshow.
  • 36 – We build the Giant Octopus show and take it to fairs. Sam and I go to Florida.
  • 37-We go to Florida, Jasmin is born, we buy a camper, we start planning a show with Sam’s sister called Pirate Island.
  • 38-We sell the Octopus Show, buy a new camper. Pirate Island is a success! Sam’s mom passes away.
  • 39-Worst year of my life.
  • 40-Debt Free (except for our car payment)! No more credit cards! We get a bunny for Savannah. Sam and Savannah start doing a lot of Magic stuff (shows, seminars, etc) together.

So…life hasn’t been too exciting in the past few years.  Maybe I need to do something to change that.  Maybe not.  I listed a lot of things I remember…but not everything.  I’m sure I could keep adding to this list.  I can honestly say I never thought my life would be like it is now, when I was a kid.  But I must say I am so blessed to have a wonderful family, to have a home we can pay for, thankful for a job, cars we can buy gas for, 4 beautiful, smart and amazing kids, a wonderful husband who loves me and believes in me.  A church that cares about our family.  Things look a lot different the older I get.  Some things that used to be so important to me are so not that way anymore.  It’s funny how your perspective changes.  But I am so thankful for who I am today and every moment I get to spend with my family and friends.


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4 Responses to So…it’s my birthday.

  1. Wow! Being your favorite sister, (because I’m your ONLY Sister, lol!)) I learned a few things I didn’t know about you. I think also noteworthy is when we moved to Jackson. I am glad our kids know each other and can grow up together. Though family almost always has it’s ups and downs, drama and occasional struggles, somehow I’d like to think that there would be a really big void in all our lives had things went different at that point in time. I’m glad that we live near each other and have each other. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Some people, a lot of people, are not so fortunate and blessed. Love you!

    • Love you too, sis! I left out a lot of things…state of mind I was in when I wrote it? And I’ve thought of at least 50 more things I should have included…and you guys moving to Jackson, definitely should make the list. I am very glad to have my family so close. An advantage we never had growing up…I hope our kids appreciate it someday when they realize not everyone gets to grow up with their cousins. 🙂

  2. Julie, Finally got to read your blog post. You are amazing, remembering all those things about your past. It was fun to read. It would be fun to do a scrapbook page on the yrs. I might try to see how many highlights I can do from my life. You are inspiring to me. I think I’d like to see more blog posts. I removed you on my blog list as you hadn’t written in so long, people were asking me why. I just kept telling them that it was probably easier to write on Facebook. I’m so glad you wrote. Love you Julie, and am so happy you are my daughter. It is fun being near you and your family and Cyndi’s family and we love being Grandma and Grandpa as well as Mom and Dad. Thankful for our family too and so many things since we have moved here.

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