I’m blaming it on the text message.

A priest friend of the family texted me earlier today and said, “You should write yourself a birthday love letter. It will do your soul good.”

And it gave me pause.

I have no problem writing the kids’ letters, or our lives here for that matter, but I rarely write to myself. Don’t worry, this won’t be a “pat on the back” kind of letter because that would be, weird. Rather, I think I’ll focus on something a bit different.

Here goes…

I really loved year 42. Like, really loved it. Please don’t read that to mean it was all was rainbows and kittens. Quite honestly, these last couple of months have been harder on me than our time in the neonatal intensive care unit with Luke. So, no, all sunshine it was not. But soul-filling? Absolutely.

Last fall’s excursion to Europe reminded me of how deeply I love my husband. And, in turn, how much he cherishes me. I don’t take that for granted. While one doesn’t have to sip prosecco in Italy, eat pastry in Portugal or tour art museums and churches in Spain, each reminded me of our abiding love for one another and how saying ‘yes’ to our marriage matters.

Every. Damn. Day.

Seeing my kids grow has been a real privilege this year. Last summer, we hit some major bumps in the road with our teenagers and I found myself questioning every parenting decision I’ve ever made. It felt crushing. Then, we made some adjustments, got some help and with some hard work and honest conversations we began to see the light. It was humbling, yet invigorating, to know that we have the power to change our habits, our words and our attitude. We didn’t have to settle. We could change. And we did. We are.

There have been so many hard things this year – deaths, loss of friendships, betrayed trust, hard conversations – but I only feared them initially. The beauty of growing older is that my temper tantrums are shorter and my perspective greater. Kathryn of yesteryear may have fired off an email, left a scathing voicemail or burned a bridge, but Kathryn of today is settling her temper a bit and invoking more of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t you worry, I’m still sassy as hell. But I’m learning to use it in moderation and ask myself if it’s the hill I’m willing to die on. Most often, it’s just me, needing to turn to prayer instead of my iPhone.

While the wrinkles are starting to show more, the life experience is greater. Aging is starting to become an old friend and I feel like I’m finally finding myself. My 20s, I tried to impress the world. My 30s found me worrying about all the wrong things. What a gift it is to be in your 40s. I pray I will say the same for each upcoming decade. Birthdays are a gift and I love each and every one I get to celebrate.

The good things this year? Oh man, they were good. Birthdays and sacraments, 10-year-old trips and anniversary celebrations, pool time and family roadtrips, fitness commitments and spiritual renewals. The common denominator they all had was simple: an intentional lifestyle. Intention in our love, our finances, our health, our faith and our relationships.

In January, I declared my word of the year as “flourish” and that just hits it, doesn’t it? Flourish doesn’t mean mistakes won’t be made, or sorrow will escape us, but it does mean we bloom where we’re planted.

I’m trying y’all.

Here’s to year 43. Bring it, God.

Love,

Me

 

Photo credit

 

7 Comments

  1. Wendy on June 11, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    You’re a decade further into this Life-Journey-Thing, this Living-Life-Abundantly-Thing, and I gotta say – if I’m half as put together at 42 as you are now, I will be grateful. Your willingness to embrace getting older, and embrace the changes in your relationships with your teens, is nothing short of amazing. Our eldest will be 11 soon, and to tell the truth, I’m scared as hell. I hate conflict SO very much, and I’ve been so lost in diapers and feedings and school assignments and playdates and read alouds that I’ve managed to parent with only a dim, faroff conceptualization that one day, these tiny people will be teens. And so I’m arriving at these preteen years filled with worry and anxiety. But you? Your example of courageously forging ahead and FLOURISHING as a result? You give me hope that we can escape the other side of the teen years with scars, but also with a renewed love for each other and a stronger faith in Christ. Love you, sister. Happy birthday.

  2. Penny Churchill on June 11, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    A big Happy Birthday to YOU!!! Am betting Year 43 will be just as good as Year 42 was for you! Enjoy the 40’s…..they race by as does every decade!

  3. BG on June 12, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Happy happy birthday! I hope you had a fabulous day- you deserve it!!

    (I follow you on insta and the blog, but rarely comment. I really love your instastories and your bday present from your sweet hubby was awesome. What a fun night!)

    Cheers to a great year!!

  4. Nicole on June 12, 2017 at 8:28 am

    From one fellow Gemini to another… A very Happy, Happy Birthday to you! This idea is brilliant. I just celebrated my birthday, too, and we are about the same age. I appreciate your wit, perspective, and style. I am so glad you are taking us along for the ride during your parenting, wife-ing (heard that as a verb this weekend… along the same idea as adulting, I guess?), party-throwing journey. Looking forward to seeing what this next year holds – for both of us.

  5. Suzanne on June 12, 2017 at 11:36 am

    What a lovely letter to yourself and one that will hold much meaning in the future. May God bless you with a new year of life filled with joy, happiness, love, strength, family and lots of faith building memories. Happy Birthday!

  6. Gina on June 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Loved your letter to yourself! Love all your posts! You are an amazing person, Kathryn Whitaker! You touch so many people’s lives in so many different ways! Happy 43rd Birthday, my Cyclone friend! Love ya!

  7. Aileen on June 12, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    What an insightful letter to yourself! This is what is meant by maturing as an adult. And you will continue to do it into your 50’s as that’s where I am now. Thank you for putting it out there and being honest. I love the way you articulate your thoughts and feelings. 🙂

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