Five Things I’ve Learned This Past Year
(Reflections on My Birthday)

by | Aug 1, 2023

Today is my birthday, and I’m in reflection mode. I’m a voracious learner…always have been. The thirst for learning and growing leads me into perpetual adventure, for good or bad. I can’t imagine life without learning. So, in no particular order — here are five things I’ve learned this past year. I hope you can learn from them, too.

I’ve learned that the time to do what is in my heart to do is NOW.

We think we have time. But no one is guaranteed another day.

I had a wake-up call the last few months. I didn’t even know I was asleep! I’m the sort of person who accomplishes a lot on a daily basis. So, I didn’t even realize I was coasting with some of my goals. I was busy enough and didn’t feel an urgency that these dreams just HAD to be chased at 100 miles an hour. I thought doing 25 miles an hour was alright.

I was wrong.

God didn’t just tap me on the shoulder and gently wake me up… he threw an ice bucket of water on the bed.

I’m not imminently dying or anything…at least I don’t think I am. But, the point is, circumstances awakened me and my butt is now in gear and I’m pressing toward the mark like the third monkey trying to get on the ark! I’m not waiting to see what might happen. I’m not just letting life happen to me. I’m pressing forward like my life depends on it…because IT DOES.

A few months ago I decided to work for several hours a night on some goals I am not okay with leaving undone before I die. One night last week my husband mentioned to me that he doesn’t think our TV shows will be available this coming season due to a writer’s strike. I said, “Perfect timing! I have several hours of work to do each night after I get home from work-work.”  (I call all of my work for PF Women “work-work,” to differentiate it from all the other actual work I do that is not part of my primary job.) Don’t ask me why I started calling it “work-work.” I just did and it stuck.

I went on to tell Larry that I would not have time to watch our usual TV shows. But, the one show I will make an exception for is when the new season of Virgin River releases on September 7. I know many people consider it a cheesy show, but I love it, my two daughter-in-laws love it, and my sons love to hate it! (Ha ha!) Just for all you VR lovers, my favorite character is Mel. My least favorite is Charmaine, and my son Dustin thinks that is DEPLORABLE of me, but we will have to agree to disagree. He says, “Mom, if Charmaine was a lady in the church you would feel SORRY FOR HER!! You would not detest a woman in this situation up close and personal…you would have compassion because of the way Jack treats her.” But nope, nope, this is a fictional TV show, and I’m just tellin’ ya, I can’t stand Charmaine!

So, I have digressed on Virgin River but back to the point — think about this my friends….what is on your heart to do that you WOULD NOT be okay with not getting accomplished before you die? The time is now.

I’ve learned that a snake is a snake.

I’ve heard people talk about certain individuals and say things like, “Betty was a real snake to June.” I have awakened this year to another fact. Snakes are snakes. Betty is not just a snake to June. She is a snake to the whole world. Everyone hasn’t realized that Betty is a snake yet, but they will. (No disrespect to anybody named Betty or June. They are just names I pulled out of my brain for the purpose of this post, but are not a reflection on anyone with those names.)

I used to think that people may be mean or devious or manipulative with another person but not to me, or vice versa. I thought people could display different character with different people. WRONG. Except for the fact that it’s all nothing but a display! It’s not real. Because character is character. A snake is a snake — no matter who they are with. So, a word to the wise, be careful out there, because unfortunately, snakes aren’t rare. And, if you see them strike out at one person, realize that it’s just a matter of time before they strike out at you! Don’t be fooled by their charm. And let me just say…despite what people say about good snakes, bad snakes…

I. Do. Not. Like. Snakes. Of. Any. Kind.

I’ve learned that when people play dirty to get something they are still…dirty.

Yep, yep. I’ve learned a lot about snakes and dirty people this year. When you’re not a snake and you don’t play dirty, you don’t go there in your mind a lot because it’s simply not “you.” When you’re a pure-hearted honest person who trusts others and you genuinely have goodwill toward people, you get sideswiped by dirt and it’s such a shock. You’re not even looking for it so when it comes, you get hit in the face unawares.

An important principle to remember is, if you have to play dirty to get something, you’ll have to play dirty to keep it, and guess what — you’re just all around DIRTY! Not something I want to be. I’m stayin’ clean over here. When I get to the end of my life I want to be able to say that everything I got was legit.

Let’s live clean, friends. It makes victory all the sweeter, and life worth living!

I’ve learned how important it is to be intentional about who I meet with.

I was at a conference years ago where a speaker said, “There are two types of people in the world…energy producers and energy zappers. Most of the people in our lives are energy zappers…they only want something from us. Be sure to take the time with energy producers as well, and treasure them.”

A little fun fact about me…most people think I’m an extrovert, but I’m not. I emerge from my home in order to do my job successfully, and do things like go to church or the grocery store. I don’t even go to the store if I don’t have to. I order from Amazon or Kroger. It is a blissful thing when I can be alone. I could spend all day in my PJs or in my bathtub, or curled up with my dogs reading a book or writing  I’m an INFJ and if you know anything about us you know we are 1% of the total population and the “I” is for Introversion. After we are with people for a bit we have to get away from everyone and decompress or we will not be in a good headspace, not to mention it takes a toll on us physically.

If I want a meet-up where I leave feeling energized and poured into, I ask a leader who is running at my pace or faster to get together. I’ve learned the need for this in my life is HUGE. When I don’t get enough of this type of meeting, I start to feel blah or rough around the edges. I used to not be as good at prioritizing the energy-producing meetings and limiting the energy-zapping ones. I’ve learned the importance this past year of how essential boundaries are in this regard, for my well-being, and in turn the well-being of those I serve.

So a word to the wise — don’t aimlessly meet up with whoever asks for your time. Time is the most important commodity you have, so steward it well. And make sure you aren’t just meeting with zappers, but with producers as well.

The fifth thing I want to share (but certainly not the last thing I learned since my last birthday) is…

There is no shortage of people to learn from!

Yes, I already knew this, but it’s good to be reminded of. I thought I’d share my favorite person I have learned from in the past year, through her various resources but mostly her podcast, and that is Amy Porterfield. She is THE BOSS when it comes to online marketing. If you are an entrepreneur who is starting a business or want to improve your existing online business, Amy is one of the people you need to listen to.

If you are willing to put yourself in position to learn daily, there is no shortage of FREE resources online where you can do so. I take advantage of this every single day.

Here’s to learning more than ever in the coming year!


  1. Marianna Steele

    Happy birthday thanks always for your words of wisdom. You are loved🩷

  2. Hope Burt

    Deanna, as you probably know I am a Pastor’s wife, a Pastor, and I received my Doctorate a couple of years ago. I turned 60 this year so probably older than you, but I readily say to your 5 lessons: amen, amen, amen, amen, and amen.
    Kind regards,


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