There are certain things that happen that make us pause and reflect and reevaluate our lives–things like births and deaths, crises and career changes. For Stevie and I, this past year has played host to all of these things.

Sometimes the universe just throws it all at you at once to see what you’re really made of.

And what we’ve learned from all of this is that we are a whole lot stronger, smarter, and more resilient than we ever thought we were. We were hit with enough stress and hardship this past year to drive the Dalai Lama straight off the edge and we owned it, like freakin’ bosses.

And here we are.

Yesterday I celebrated the beginning of my 36th year on this earth. What a wild and crazy ride it’s been! And I am so blessed and so thankful for all of it, for every moment, even the hard ones, because they have all brought me to this place, and this place is awesome. I’ve got a beautiful home, an incredible husband (and best friend), two gorgeous children that make me laugh and fill my heart with joy. I’ve got a big family and an even bigger circle of friends who prove to me every day that love always wins. I’ve got writing projects (several short stories, my memoir, and a novel) that are moving right along. And I’ve got a great new job that I’m excited to start next week.

Life is good, and God is good. All the time. Even when times are tough.

So today, I’m celebrating so much more than just another birthday. I’m celebrating life–the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the joys and the hardships. I’m celebrating the abundant gifts I’ve been given, the opportunities I’ve known, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m celebrating with a date night with my hubby (which included sushi, peanut butter beers, and a movie), and with the kids today as we hit the Farmer’s Market and indulge with some Hurts Donut.

Here’s to 36! So far, it’s looking pretty damn good.

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About the Author Lori Romano

I am a writer, photographer, wife, mother, dog owner, half-assed housekeeper and a self-proclaimed coffee and chocolate addict. One day, I will write a book.

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