Well, friends, Christmas is behind us and now we are smack dab in the middle of the LAST WEEK of 2016. (Really, where does the time go?) Today, I thought I’d pay homage with a look back on the highlights of the past twelve months before moving forward into a bright, new year! Let’s do this, shall we?
♦ ♦ ♦
By far the BEST part of January was escaping the harshness of winter in Michigan with the hubby for a long weekend in Clearwater Beach, Florida. We joined my parents down there for a good time complete with sunshine, fresh ocean air, warmth, seafood, and shells aplenty!
February brought with it a fabulous Super Bowl Skication with our family and friends in Breckenridge, Colorado! It was my first time visiting Breck and I absolutely adored my time touring around this lovely mountain town. It was so great to spend quality time with my nephew too. I miss this little guy so much and these times with him are priceless.
In March, the bestie and I hosted the 4th Annual “My Favorite Things / Girls Day Out” party at the ranch! This has become a tradition that so many of us look forward to in that time in-between winter and spring. It’s such an awesome way to come together as women, over food and fellowship, and to learn about each others favorite thing (and bring some of them home)! I can’t wait for our 5th Annual gathering this coming year!
Thanks to my dear college friend’s hubby coming up with a fabulous birthday surprise for her, Steph and I had the chance to get away and meet for a girl’s weekend in the Windy City! I’m so thankful for this girl who is my sister in so many ways, and who despite distance and time apart, I can pick right up with right where we last left off. Our time together was full of good food, grand sites, new heights (literally), and of course, shenanigans!
April ended with my very BRAVE step in getting my first ever tattoo. After thinking about it for months, I took the leap and have absolutely no regrets. I love it! It’s my daily reminder that I am indeed SET FREE forever in His Name. Amen!
Although we really began going up north earlier in the spring (due to milder weather and warmer temps), May officially kicked off our summer season at the lake! This included a six-day stretch up there for work and play in conjunction with the Memorial Day holiday weekend!
There’s no doubt that one of the greatest parts of our year was being a part of our best friends’ wedding celebration on June 25! It was such an honor for both Ken and I to be included in the family wedding party and all of the festivities leading up to the BIG day! And the actual wedding itself was just incredible. We are so happy for them and thankful that we had the opportunity to share in such a joyous day of blessing and love!
July was probably our most ADVENTUROUS month of the year as we took our annual anniversary vacation back out in California where we started in San Francisco and then drove east to explore Lake Tahoe. After doing the lake loop, we traveled south to Yosemite where we finished our tour of this majestic National Park by traversing the Tuolumne Meadows, and again visiting a part of the Valley we had not done before. It was a fantastic time together, just the two of us, in the beauty of nature and celebrating 9 years as hubby and wife.
August really entailed reveling fully in summer at the lake. We entertained our friends, spent time with family, and I enjoyed extended periods of time up there for work, both at our place and on the road. We had such a beautiful summer and I am so glad we had the time to make the best of it before fall arrived!
At the end of September / beginning of October, I traveled to Minnesota to again reconnect with Steph and her family! It was so fun to see her again, and spend time on her turf with her people. We attended the Thrive 2016 conference in St. Cloud, hearing from amazing author / speakers / teachers, and had quality girl time at her lovely home in the woods. It was a perfect getaway and made for a great end to year 31 for me!
October brought with it my birthday, celebrating the start of year 32! On that same day, I transitioned into a new advanced position at work, and shortly thereafter traveled back to Chicago for two full days of meetings. The hubby and I also eased into the fall season at home with football and enjoying the fall colors to the fullest! It was a very busy month, but one full of great (and new) things!
This past November was absolutely GORGEOUS! The colors bold and bright, sunshine almost every day, and warmer than usual temps – it really doesn’t get much better that than for fall in the mitten state! Aside from the beauty of the month, my favorite part of it was the long Thanksgiving weekend at home with the hubby. It was a very restful time together, and we also enjoyed quality time with our family and friends. It really made for a nice kick-off to the 2016 holiday season.
This month has been full of holiday spirit, including celebrating Christmas with family and friends, snowfall, the birth of my nephew, Connor John (so sweet), and reveling in the Advent season. I’ve so enjoyed the long days at home, cozied up next to the fire, and despite the cold and grey days, the beauty of the snow clinging to the trees.
♦ ♦ ♦
Looking back over these days sure does bring back great memories and reminds me how good life really is, even when it feels mundane or the storms blow through. I am thankful for each experience I’ve had this year and all the progress I’ve made, personally and professionally, even when that growth has come with challenge, pain, and the ‘great unknown.’ God has truly done a deep work in my heart and life this year, and I am expectant for what He will bring in 2017.
Cheers and adieu, 2016!
P.S. A couple other fun facts for this year – I accomplished around 600 miles (running) and read 26 books (mostly non-fiction)! I definitely worked a lot out on the road and learned so much! Hope to keep this momentum up in the new year!
:: featured image ::