A milestone has passed us by and I think it’s important to recognize and celebrate milestones. My friends and I each turn a year older every twelve months. Never changes. They know I love them and I know they love me and, yet, the older we get the more I realize what a privilege it is to celebrate our birthdays.

It’s a time of remembering we’re a family. That we’ve weathered both storms and sunny weather and a year is worth closing out with a meal or a toast or, sometimes, a full-blown party.

A year ago (plus a few days but, who cares, it’s not like I count things for a living) this little site I call “the blog” went live. In honor of the occasion I’m sharing a few things I’ve learned the past year, in no particular order:

Writing is time-consuming. My husband has noted (with kindness, mostly) there’s an inverse relationship between the volume of words I produce and the number of home-cooked meals I serve in any given week. And food at our house, in general.

I should never ever, never ever, take my value from the number of likes and comments my writing gains. Only from a God who loves me all the time no matter what I say.

I sometimes take my value from the number of likes and comments my writing gains.

The posts I end up liking best are the ones where I say cusswords. Not quite sure what this says about me, but I kinda like it whatever the case.

Taking pictures of myself and not caring how I look is infinitely more fun than posing and  worrying about hair and makeup.

Having one friend take my pic while another tweaks my hair still takes the cake even though it’s super awkward trying to pose, smile and look relaxed all at the same time.

I come up with some great ideas that could be life-changing.

Most shots I take at grandiose game changers last about five minutes. Especially when they involve people I can’t control. (Which is to say, all people).

When our friend Charles Martin links to one of my posts the traffic on my site spikes from the usual small hill-ish lump to something more resembling Mount Kilimanjaro.

Surprisingly, I haven’t paid him to do this. Yet.

Using my voice in a public space feels akin to a roller coaster ride. Exhilarating but scary as all get out. I’m suspicious God really gets me and knows I’m too feisty to back down from a dare.

I sometimes get tired of hearing the sound of my voice. I need to listen to a wide variety to truly experience the fullness of wisdom God has to offer me.

I picked up a favorite writer and, through her, learned that Keifer Sutherland has a twin sister. All those years watching 24 and I never knew. See. Wisdom.

My kids are on to me. They’ve surmised I sometimes use our conversations for blog fodder and have started shutting them down earlier if I trip their radar by taking too many notes.

I invest a lot of time in those three boogers and think it’s only fair I milk them for all I can before they go Goth and get piercings in strange places.

Opening myself for feedback from a pro means he may rip me a new one and I’ll end up doing seventeen re-writes while licking my wounds and nursing a scotch.

I don’t really drink scotch. It just sounds writer-ish and romantically suicidal in a Sylvia Plath kinda way.

I’m pretty sure, since I’m a writer now, I’m obligated to tell you that ‘romantically suicidal’ is an oxymoron. But isn’t one of the goals of creatives to invent new stuff? So there. Romantically suicidal. You’re welcome.

To the Quiet Readers among you, please know I’ve learned to greatly appreciate your volume. Feel all the freedom in the world to silently slip in and out anytime. You bring me much comfort and permission to be quiet sometimes too.

And, lastly, although I make friends online whom I consider special, conversation over the internet will never supersede the special warmth I get from a chat with a friend over coffee or a glass of wine.

I recently celebrated my fortieth birthday dancing with close friends. Some even indulged my dream to flash mob by performing a choreographed (and much-rehearsed) dance for surprised onlookers. I even did an unplanned hurkey for the finale and almost broke my ankle.

In that same vein (the dance party, not the injury), the best gift you could give me is to add your favorite dance song–any genre, any decade–in the comments below. Then feel free to pump up the volume and dance like ya’ just cain’t quit (pronounced like paint, but with a “c”). I feel like celebrating the fact that God can do a lot in one single year.

Spread the word! Everyone’s invited!

To all of you: thanks for reading. Without you, the party wouldn’t be nearly as fun. ~~Samantha

Photo credit: Sourced via Flickr, Cherrie (Creative Commons)

But that's enough about me…what about you?

Would you help celebrate by sharing a dance song that always gets you up and moving? Any genre! Any decade! Let the party begin...

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  • Samantha Livingston

    It’s your hostess here! Let’s get this party started with a sampling of some of my faves from three different genres. Old school: Play That Funky Music (Wild Cherry) More recent: Club Can’t Handle Me (Flo Rida) Praise: Every Good Thing (The Afters).

    Special thanks to my dear friend Leighton who–within five seconds flat–was able to name both song title and artist after I called and performed a badly-hummed rendition over the phone of the Flo Rida song! Boom. You’re a rock star.

  • Laura Cox

    One year already! This has been great! You’re one brave cookie for pouring your heart out. I love it! Let the good times roll!! Hey ya (Outkast)

    • Samantha Livingston

      Have LOVED having your support and seeing your sweet words & face show up here. Cueing up your song right now. Thanks for visiting!! :)

  • jaime!!

    i’m feeding my lil guy with my left hand and typing with my right…so this is going to be short and sweet. Cheers to your first anny! My current fav song is “let the groove get in” by Justin Timberlake. I’m happy to demonstrate my super sweet dance moves…they might inspire some writing!

    • Samantha Livingston

      You get a multi-tasking award: party + production. Thanks so much for your encouragement Jaime. Always means so much. Love that you shared a JT song. Playing that one next…

  • Leighton Hulslander Davis

    Seriously…one year!!! This has been so enjoyable and something that I always look forward to reading, so it has made this crazy year fly by! More times than not, your posts would speak directly to me and something go on in my life. The fact that it was my friend’s “voice” giving me such wise perspective, making me laugh (and cry), and filling me with whatever word of encouragement or hope I needed that day…has been so special! What a gift you have friend! Thanks for being so brave and sharing it with us this past year!!! xxoo
    My Dance Song – Vivrant Thing by Q-Tip (warning – explicit lyrics) but maybe you’ll like it since you are a fan of the cuss words now!

    • Samantha Livingston

      Yes ma’am evidently I am. Leighton your ever-present presence here has brought me much comfort and confidence. It’s people like you and others that help me find my voice to speak up. Trust me, I don’t always feel brave. :) Love and hugs.

  • Laura Hunter Fowler

    Congrats! A whole year!:) You are awesome! So fun getting to know you better as I get to read your thoughts – you are so fun and real! Not sure what my favorite dance song is right now… hmmm… my first thought is “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” by Rihanna, but not sure if that is the title or just the chorus I like to sing out:)

    • Samantha Livingston

      Thanks for your support Laura. Love having you behind me.

  • Ashley Shinall

    I love how brave and bold you are! You have a powerful gift in speaking/writing. I have been encouraged so many times with the truth you share and freedom it brings! Thank you for your passion and excitment for guiding women to seek their meaning and significance in God, and share their voice. It is contagious and life giving! Cheers to many more blogs and dance parties! Rock on! xo Song that comes to mind: Brick House (think that’s what it’s called)

    • Samantha Livingston

      Wow! Thanks so much for your encouraging words Ashley! And, yes, Brick House…I was waiting for that one. :)