2017 has ended, but this is just the beginning


There is no doubt my 2017 was by far one of the best years I think I have lived. I typically would sit down at the end of the year and write about some of my adversities and then address how I overcame them with wonder and hard work. I would summarize my months, give some highlights, address my successes, and note the challenges; then finally giving sweet sentiment and thanks to those who deserve a shout out. Not today - I think today, I am going to give a single thanks! What I am about to share with my readers will be a short summary to portray the captivating and profound keepsake that one person gave to another. Before I start, I will note that I didn’t have any surgeries or hospital stays longer than 24 hours. YES – this is actually a huge accomplishment! I started my year heading after conquering a fear which is highlighted in a previous post. I was knocked out a few times with some adversity, but kept getting up to fight. WOW. It is hard to believe I am considered a Bodybuilding PRO, but then finally having my MIC4D Foundation recognized as a 501(c)(3) is beyond my wildest dreams. For these reasons and what I am about to share: 2017 was simply EPIC!

On Friday, December 29th I received probably one of the greatest gifts in my life.  I couldn’t have predicted the gift even if I had been given a hint.  I mean in this case, I actually was given a hint because she said jokingly in her “nonwhite” girl voice “listen, I made you your gift gurl, but I think your gonna like it.” (maybe not exactly like that, but very close, especially the nonwhite girl voice!)  Nor would I have ever predicted that she had a gifted talent of hand lettering. She has bought me other gifts in the past, but they usually contain colorful words (bad language which you will get a taste of below) associated with them, so I just didn’t expect something so profound and emotionally charged. It brings me to tears just thinking about it…
We talked for a bit while she trained my puppy to not lick her face. The box looked professionally wrapped, perfect in gold with a lovely bow!  Unlike my ghetto wrap which was a $2 Merry Christmas bag from Party City with no tissue paper and the butts of her gift sticking out. You would have thought that since I own a construction company my wrapping skills would have been well-defined and flawless. After all, most of my friends think I am “so” tightly wound because of my manicured yard, organized home, and very standardized life! (In my defense, I got terribly ill with influenza a couple weeks before Christmas and was trying to stay out of the hospital to keep my 2017 record in tact) She said “Ok girl, I know opening gifts in front of people can give you a little anxiety, so you can open it later.” I actually offered to open it up while she was there, but she thought it would be best if I opened it alone. Boy was she right…

In my 42 years of life, there have been many letters and cards that have brought me to tears, which isn’t that difficult because although I have this relentless and exhaustively strong driven attitude, I am actually a very emotional person. What was within this lovely hand wrapped gold lined box, was what I will call an emotionally charged and riveting written statement of truth from one human-being to another. To say I cried was an understatement, I sobbed and even thinking about this letter and looking at the picture makes me cry.  
I will share with you two sentences that hit me like a mag truck...

She writes...

“When we first started working together there was no doubt in my mind that you were a kick-ass contractor and hard working as a motherfucker, but I honestly had no idea that I was about to meet the most selfless, inspirational, generous person that I have ever known.” 
 And the very last sentence will bring the meaning of this powerful gift to the surface.
“But above all, I want you to always remember that you made – and continue to make – such a huge difference in my life, as well as the lives of countless others.  Everything you do – IT COUNTS. Trust me.”

Sara -
As I said to you on the phone in tears, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me such an amazing gift and the amazing reminder that what I am trying to accomplish in this world DOES COUNT. You not only spoke from the heart, but you knocked me out with how you SEE me. It made me emotional and speechless because it was so authentic. Finding your success can be a very lonely road filled with disappointment and friends who become less of a “friend” because it is easier to manage things that never change. I am going for change always! Owning who you are and who you want to be is defined by your principles. Character is reveal by what you do when no one is watching. I am honored and thankful to be able to mentor and give you a helping hand. I am not perfect, but my mission is very clear: Helping you become your BEST YOU! We all have the potential to be anything we want in this life. Taking that first step into the unknown is by far the hardest. Looking fear dead in the eyes and pushing through the abyss – that is how we MAKE IT COUNT. I believe in you because I know you CAN do it! We are lucky to live in a world where choices define us and they also educate us. You aren’t really living if you don’t experience failure, because failure teaches us about monumental strength. I will make you get back up. I might even kick you in the ass a time or two because real friends push us beyond our limits. They encourage, support, and give us honest feedback with compassion. They don’t run and hide when the going gets tough. The true test is not when things are easy, but when they are very difficult. Having someone to lean on and count on is harder and harder to find in this walk of life, but just like you wrote “I will always have your back” and will give you my best advice, an ear, or that push whenever you need it. That is my truth. I will look at this picture every dam day! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HEART AND THIS POWERFUL GIFT!  I love YOU!  MAKE IT COUNT ~ Danielle


Ashley Stevenson