Good morning, friends! I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas with your loved ones and are enjoying a bit of time to continue the festivities and get some much needed rest before the new year kicks off! I’m currently right in the middle of my holiday break (a “staycation” at the ranch), and making the most of being home, spending time with our family and friends, and preparing my heart, mind, and spirit for 2018.
As I’ve done the past few years, today I’m sharing my “2017 Year in Review.” Before I move full steam ahead into pursuing the goals and dreams I have in the new year, I think it’s important to take a look back and “count the fruit.” It’s a way of being able to focus on what is good and take those moments and memories into the days, weeks, and months ahead. So let’s go!
2017 kicked off with an amazing opportunity to take a road-trip with my cousin, Brooke, and attend the last ever Influence Conference in Franklin, Tennessee! It was such a wonderful time of leaning in to hear from God at the start of the year, sharing in fellowship and catching up with my dear sister friend, and exploring fabulous historic downtown Franklin. I am so glad we took the leap and made time for this trip! It was such blessing and inspired me for the year ahead!
Although February is the shortest month of the year, it often feels like the longest with the mostly cold, snowy days. But we were able to break up the month by hosting our family and friends while my brother, his girlfriend, and my nephew came into town and stayed with us over Super Bowl weekend. For one of the first times, we had the opportunity to celebrate my nephew’s birthday with him and it was SUCH JOY to watch him blow out candles, unwrap his presents, and play with all of his new toys. We love him so much and are thankful for every gift of time we get with him considering the vast distance between us.
March is always a very busy month and this past March was no different. The highlights from this month included going to Colorado for our annual “skication,” completing the Ann Arbor Half-Marathon (my first half-marathon in 4 years following injury), and hosting the 5th Annual “My Favorite Things / Girls Day “party! The month did NOT disappoint and it was so great to hang out with family and friends, go back to one of our most favorite places in the world, and get back to doing one of the things I love most – training and completing long-distance races! God is GOOD!
By far one of the highlights of the year was having the opportunity to travel to Philadelphia for the first time ever to attend a National Social Services Conference. It was so fun to spend time with some of my co-workers (outside of the office and normal work routine), exploring this very cool city. The weather was warm and sunny the entire time and we got to see pretty much all of the big historic sites. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn not only more things pertaining to my field of work, but about so much more of the history of this country.
May marked one of my most SUCCESSFUL moments of the year. I trained and completed my very first 25K (the Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids)! It was SO HARD, yet SO REWARDING when it was all said and done. I’m so glad I took the leap and accomplished this distance of 15.5 miles and even though I hesitate to say I’ll do it again, I probably will (LOL!).
June really marked the kick-off to summer and I took advantage of every opportunity to be at our lakeside paradise as much as possible composed of a two-week stint up there for both work and play. I so appreciate the opportunity to get away, take a break from the normal routine of home-life with its various tasks and to-do’s and bask in the fullness of Pure Michigan’s BEST season! I also got to compete in one of my favorite races in one of my favorite places – the Ludington Lakestride 10K!
There’s really only one word for July: AWESOME! I wasn’t home one single day in the month of July, and as much as I do love our home, I really didn’t mind being away. The hubby and I started the month with an extra long vacation out west to explore three National Parks (Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Rocky Mountain) and celebrate our 10 year anniversary a little early. And upon our return, we both headed to the lake for work and then I stayed there the rest of the month. July is probably my favorite month of the past year. I am SO THANKFUL for the amazing time away with my man and the incredible memories we made together! I’m also really proud of us for hitting the milestone of 10 YEARS of marriage. It may not always be easy, but we’ve managed to work our way through life’s bumps and for that I am a better and stronger person.
After a FULL July, August was very low-key with a nice time spent between both home and the great up north. The big highlight was finding out over Labor Day weekend that my best friend is expecting and that I get to be an “Auntie” again in May! Yay for a new little to love on and spoil (and so close to home too)!
Following Labor Day, I was pretty much home for good. The “fall season” has a way of sneaking up on us and bringing with it the hustle and bustle of a new, busy routine. My favorite memory of this month was completing the Fifth Third Capital City River Run Half-Marathon, which I hadn’t done in some time. It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day and it was so great to get another good race in with my running buddy and dear friend, Nicole.
October is always a blast, and this one fully lived up to that description! My bestie and I traveled to Minnesota to visit my dear friend, Stephanie, and spend a long weekend with her family on their turf. Us girls had SO MUCH fun! I love this new annual tradition I’ve started of going out there to visit. After that trip, I celebrated my 33rd birthday with the usual week-long shenanigans. (God bless the people in my life who take a little time out of their busy lives to dote on me.) And later in the month I finished one of my BIG goals for the year: completing all of my coursework and earning my certificate in Retention-Focused Social Work Supervision. WOOHOO!
If there’s one thing this year provided, it was opportunities for travel (one of my absolute FAVORITE things in the world), and November encompassed our last adventure of the year. My grandparents treated our ENTIRE FAMILY with a week-long trip to Arizona to all come together and celebrate family time! It was AWESOME! Of course, the weather was fantastic and our accommodations for the week were beyond incredible. Also, this meant another opportunity for me to be with my nephew and you can be sure I made the best of every single second with that kid, as did the hubby.
Now to be honest, December has been a very hectic month on ALL fronts. BUT, having the holidays and a much needed break to look forward to has helped me be able to get through and make the most of the busy time. So by far my favorite thing for this month has been getting into the Christmas spirit complete with listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies, buying and wrapping presents, enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree, and spending time celebrating the season with loved ones.
As evidenced by this rather long post, 2017 has overall been a pretty great and productive year. Has it been perfect? Absolutely not. There are certainly challenges I’m working through and things I’m still waiting on and praying for, BUT there have been many blessings despite those things and I’m thankful for all of the people who’ve been a part of it, the places I’ve been able to visit, and God for making it all possible!
Cheers to 2017! Now onto welcoming a new year with arms wide open …