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E40 Highs and Lows

I'm still recovering from E40. It was a long weekend for Muir Rock to be the "Diamond Sponsor" for the party. Welcome to the 4 new subscribers that signed up this past weekend!

It was a fun weekend. Mostly highs to laugh and smile about. With a very memorable event like E40 to celebrate 40 years of life, I'm still on the emotional roller coaster regarding how I feel about Teri's passing and how I wish she had more time on this earth. Grief is still very real to me, sometimes even more real after an event like E40. But it's all good. I guess I'm here to talk about it.

Like the Terwin wedding, E40 was a big blur to me. Lots of people. Definitely lots of kids on Saturday. I feel very thankful, humbled, and loved. I wish all of you still reading the blog was able to make it. For those that did attend, thank you for spending your weekend with me and making this crazy idea (that some even though was a joke), a reality:

E40 Session II (Saturday Afternoon)

The E40 Highs

Overall I'm pretty content with how everything went regarding the logistics and overall turnout. It was a bummer that some of my closest friends and family couldn't come because they were sick or had something come up last minute.

I'm happy with the key decisions needed to be made for the party. Some people thought it was crazy to have a two day event and two sessions on Saturday, including the one for the kids. I really can't think of how it would have worked out otherwise. Having everything all in one day would have been too crammed, especially with the chosen venue and kids. I'm glad it was spread out.

I also really enjoyed being the day of coordinator of the event, and running the show for the most part. It's where I feel most comfortable. I know I would have loved to spend more time talking to people during the event itself, but I'm not worried since I can spend quality time with them during another time. Everyone was so nice to me the whole time and understood that things were busy.

The Friday sessions were my favorite part of the weekend, as the speakers touched on one or more areas that I've been thinking and blogging about:

Lots of stuff on my mind. What's on your mind?

On Saturday, I'm also pretty happy to pull off my first "kid-friendly" event, something way out of my comfort zone, even with all the experience I have with planning VBS and helping out with Children's ministry. The kid stuff included:

  • Making plants with Lifesoulgarden

  • Button making with Kristen

  • Mayo Petting Zoo with Jenny and Mike

  • Story time with Rita

Rita did a great job with story time! Definitely 100x better than if I was the one reading the books. Nice to see her in action, as I've never had a chance to visit her while she was on the job.

I felt like the time with the kids (and adults) went by pretty fast. I actually didn't want to end session one and send them home, but I knew it would get too crowded for session two.

The E40 Lows

I was so encouraged by the speaker content on Friday. I wish more people came and got to hear it live. I've gotten lots of messages about when the content be ready for viewing, so that says something. If I would have planned it more in advance, perhaps people could have made the time for it.

I didn't really get that many good photos or videos throughout the weekend. Hiring a photographer and videographer seemed a bit much and I already spent a lot on other things. I have a decent amount of photos I took myself, but sure wish I had more. If you have any good ones, please send them my way. Thank you!

I also wish I organized group photos by "button" just like I did at E30 and at the wedding. I also wish I made more buttons. We just ran out of time. Buttons and name tags were a lot of fun, even though they took most of the time:

The button maker breaking on Thursday night also wasn't ideal. But it worked out with a replacement coming right on time.

Okay the truth is, there's a long list of other logistics I wish I did a better job executing on. But I'm at peace with all of it and I know I am the only one who will think about these things so why dwell on it. But if you want to talk about it please let me know.

The Real Low

March 2 had a lot more meaning I didn't get to really talk about besides turning 40. March 2 represents 11 months since Teri passed away.

I remember this short video of Teri after we finished the wedding. I can sort of relate to her when you spend so much time planning a big event and then it's all over:

When it comes to event planning, Teri and I made a great team!

I also know that I'm not sure I would have even bothered with planning E40 if Teri was here. This really was a last minute thing I was so hesitant on doing. The speaker lineup and topics would have been pretty different since I would have very different things on my mind besides what I shared on Friday.

After a big event like E40 is over, coming back to a house without Teri still proves to be very difficult for me. I'm not surprised at all. A roller coaster "high" like E40 tends to be followed with a deep "low." Having Mayo and Salina around definitely helped quite a bit. It would have been much worse to have a completely empty house. I'm sad that Salina is back on a plane to Calgary as I finish up this post.

I had a lot of memorable moments during E40 I will never forget. Before blowing out the candles, I took a moment to just look around at everyone and said, wow, so many people really love me. I'm so blessed. I felt like a celebrity. I was also thinking, "I can't believe all these people decided to come to this thing in the first place."

But then I couldn't help but think about Teri and how much I wished she was standing next to me. I miss seeing her big smile. I felt some sadness trying to blow out the candles since I was struggling. 40 candles is a lot of candles! I felt a lot better when some of the kids came to help.

I really wish Teri was still here and could have attended E40. I miss her more than ever.

My Relaxing Sunday

On Sunday after church and hearing another great message on dating, I just wanted to stay home and lie on the couch and do nothing besides eat leftover pizza and chantilly cake. Thankfully I didn't get my way, as Emilyn and Salina kind of forced me to get out the house. The agreement was that we were supposed to just drive by Laguna Beach, not actually visit the beach. I didn't want to get out of the car. Thankfully for them, a parking spot opened up so we had a nice walk with the dogs:

After dinner, I still felt a bit discouraged. I then took the time to read the guestbook and all the cards. That made me feel a lot better:

Thank you everyone for the cards and gifts!

Leslie included a very belated card regarding Teri's passing. That was a huge encouragement to read in the middle of all the other birthday cards. It felt good to be reminded that "We Can Do Hard Things" and to read some much needed bible verses.

I also know how well Teri would have helped with managing me through the whole planning process, just like she did for our wedding. It was a bit stressful for me to get through all the last minute stuff. Stress that could have been totally avoided. I keep thinking, "why do I keep putting myself through all this unnecessary stress?"

I also felt a bit of guilt not really incorporating Teri into E40. I know it's fine. It's my birthday. Not everyone knows Teri that came. I wish they all did. I also felt some guilt having to use our wedding card box and flipping the lid over so I can store all of my E40 cards.

I know Teri wants me to be happy. And so does everyone else. I am trying my best. I made a point throughout the weekend to stay as happy and smile much as possible and not get too caught up in logistics and details. For those that know me well and how I can go crazy on every detail regarding event planning, I let go of a lot of things I really wanted to do (like more PPT slides). It always works out for the better.

Now what's next?

Thank you for reading. I am not sure. I just wanted to get some stuff on paper since it's been a while and I've gotten messages encouraging me to write about E40.

While I am caught up on my bible reading (I know some of you are gonna ask) I have lots of work and training to catch up on. I'm feeling a bit anxious again, probably because I haven't been working out. I just told some of my cousins how important it is for anxious people to "burn off anxiety" through exercise. I need to do the same, starting tomorrow morning.

What about the lessons learned from E40?

I'm so thankful for the speakers:

What a great lineup, couldn't have asked for more.

I'm still processing all the content. I wish I took better notes but at least I can watch everything later, on my own time. I am thankful to be reminded of the value of contentment and figuring out a new normal life:

Thank you Larry for a powerful reminder on contentment

I still want to "follow my dreams" by writing a book one day. Why? I still love telling my story and writing about Teri. Last night, I really loved sharing with Salina about Teri, her resilient faith, and how we both agreed that she was perfect for me. I really wanted to do a "book announcement" at E40 but I wasn't ready since nothing is done yet. I should set a deadline on this since I only get stuff done when there's a deadline. Maybe 9/8/24 since that's the Terwin Wedding Anniversary?

Okay that's good for now, I'm sure you all have a long week too. We can talk more in the comments section if you have time. Have a great week everyone!

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Also: meeting Mayo (and Jenny & Mike) was one of my favorite parts!!


Thank you so much for inviting me; it was so thoughtfully organized and fun! I'm thankful that you made time for friends and family and chose to celebrate. I think, in the future, you'll look back and be glad you did E40, even though you are still grieving Teri. It takes faith in the Lord to make decisions based on what we trust He will do in the future rather than on how we feel right now.

Glad I got to see you in person this year!! Hope to see you in 2025!


Write the book!


I'm glad you did something that you enjoy and is very YOU. My favorite part of the party was the speakers and the yakitori. You are very blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing friends and motivational people. Should we start planning for E41?


Beautiful blog again, Erwin. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your party. It was such a fun event that I will never forget. Being in charge of the petting zoo was seriously a highlight of my life. Thank you for the gift of time with Mayo. I can never thank you enough. Thank you also for mentioning my name for the blog info in your birthday slides. What an honor! I got choked up when Dan told me you mentioned me. So sweet. In regards to this blog, I love that as you are still grieving, you always take the time to serve and care for others. I love how you asked, “what’s on your mind?” You are so thoughtful…

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