Yearly Reflections 2014

I love to do yearly reflections as well as new year resolutions.  I consider it to be an important time to consider if I’m going where I want to go or living how I want to live.  Last year, I found the following questions on one of my favorite blogs, Rage Against the Minivan, who appears to have “stolen it” from another blogger who has taken it from another blogger, etc. and I wanted to continue by starting my year again answering these questions.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I “swam” in the Boiling River in Montana, which is a river where hot springs meet a river and creates an interesting experience of feeling boiling hot water and ice cold water sometimes within inches of each other.  The temperature outside was a brisk 50 degrees but the warm pockets in the river made it worth any coldness we experienced on the short hike out to our car.

The Boiling River


Another thing I tried this year was pole dancing for exercise.  I found the experience incredibly fun, I loved twirling on the bar and challenging physically.  It took me a long time to get up the nerve to actually do it and I was grateful I found the courage to try something new that involved body movement.  It was liberating.  And.  There will be no pictures for that one.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Like every year, I kept some of my new year’s resolutions and not others.  I could pretty much say the same things I did last year, which lets me know how committed I am to some parts of my life and not others.  I was successful in my career goals.  However, I wanted to blog more regularly and just didn’t create the time.  I was also successful in connecting with friends regularly and staying committed to two regular meeting groups but I had wanted to have a “fun” night out every month and that happened irregularly.  Health goals were hit and miss but I did gain understanding of what really works for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and need to do a better job of preparing veggies one or two times a week so we can have them for snacks rather than going for the baby carrots every time.  I also hope to meal plan a better variety of foods rather than our go to meals of tacos, spaghetti, and Costco rotisserie chicken.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.  The first year in a long time my group of friends and family didn’t welcome someone new.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, good friend, Amy died after her 6 year battle with brain cancer.  She experienced some years of remission before it came back aggressively a year ago March.  She did not want to die.  I didn’t want her to either.

5. What countries or new places did you visit?

While I would love to write I traveled outside of the country, it didn’t happen.  However, I traveled to the first time to Montana and enjoyed Yellowstone National Park as well as Red Lodge where we saw a black bear.  We also went to Antelope Canyon in Utah and Walnut Canyon in Arizona, two places I had never been.

Black Bear in Red Lodge

Black Bear in Red Lodge

Yellowstone ImagesIMG_2880 IMG_2820 IMG_2799Walnut Canyon

IMG_1356 IMG_1358

Lower Antelope Canyon, Page, AZ

IMG_1450 IMG_1482 IMG_17336. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

I would like to have a routine planning time where I meal plan for the week, enter budgeting information, identify time for writing and exercise, and daily prayer/ meditation.  I find if I do not plan well, quality of meals, spending habits and healthy choices get compromised.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

June 20th, the day I learned my friend, Amy died. October 30th, the evening I received a call from my dear family friend, Barbara, who told me my Mom had been “air-vaced” to Seattle for bleeding in her brain.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I continued my work on my memoir and will be submitting it to an editor and then agent for hopeful publication.  I will have my huge school bill paid off in 2015.  I am also proud of all the fun outings we planned as a family.  We made some incredible memories, many of them cost us only time.

9. What was your biggest failure?

1) Purging and organizing my garage, I just never created time for it after Dennis, my husband, put up shelves.  2) Failing to live with a budget.  We want to pay off my still large school loan in two years, which means living intentionally with our finances.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

My hips and back have been injured for much of the year.  I haven’t been able to do the type of physical activity I was doing before but am hoping that by adjusting what I’m doing, I’ll find healing.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I made big canvases out of several of my photographs and hung them in my house.  These are two of my favorites.



12. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, taxes

13. What did you get really excited about?

Visiting National Parks and Forests.  This year we visited the national forests by Sedona, Walnut Canyon (a national monument), Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone, and the Sequoias.  In 2015, we hope to visit Red Rock National Park and hopefully make another trip to the Sequoias.

14. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Counting Stars by One Republic.  This was one of my favorite concerts of the year.  Eden and I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl.  There are so many lines in this song I love but my favorite is, “Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.”  I love the honesty this song gets at about the struggles of life and the striving for dreams and how we sabotage ourselves by how we cope.  I can relate not so much in terms of having blatant addictions; instead, in terms of how I emotionally protect myself by isolating when I need connection, by staying silent when I need to speak up, by speaking up when I need to be silent, and by doing all those things that are intuitive and which I do unquestionably — many of which take me away from relationship and deeper into my unhealthy ways of coping.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder?  I’m sadder than last year, I’ve been grieving the loss of my dear friend, Amy since June as well as grieving some realities about my life story which are painful.  However, (and I don’t want to just sugar coat my sadness) I’ve experienced some of the most joy and laughter as a Mom this year than I ever have.

– thinner or fatter?  I’m sure I’m fatter though I haven’t gone up any clothing sizes.  I’m ending a two week vacation, one week which was spent in Vegas which has AMAZING, AMAZING dessert establishments (did I mention they were amazing!?).  I’m hoping it doesn’t take all year to lose whatever pounds I’m gaining while enjoying mounds of chocolate.

– richer or poorer?   Richer but our commitment to paying off school debt hasn’t translated into feeling richer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I would’ve spent more time with God, listening and praying.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Surfing the internet

18. How did you spend Christmas?

With my husband’s family in the Phoenix area before traveling to Sedona for a quick stay and finally, ending our Christmas vacation in Las Vegas where we got to experience the crowds and New Year’s Eve fireworks.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Same as last year, Parks and Recreation (though I’m only on season 5) and The Voice; guilty pleasure — Nashville

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Brainstorm by Dan Siegel; and books I read written in previous years — Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, and Integrity by Henry Cloud.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Philip Phillips album was probably my favorite from the year.  I also enjoyed new music from The Script, American Authors, and Five for Fighting.

22. What was your favorite film of the year?

I loved Philomena, one of the only movies I saw that wasn’t rated G in the movie theaters.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

43, I went to hear Jerry Sittser speak at Biola, which was simply amazing, and ate my favorite restaurant, Panda Inn and I don’t think my age matters anymore.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having landed an agent to publish my book.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

Lots of tops with asymmetrical lines and leggings or skinny jeans with hair down, curly, and long.  Bohemian casual to Bohemian dressed up (for work)….and ankle boots.

IMG_3130The backdrop almost looks fake, but it isn’t.  The picture was taken in Montana on a fun, picnic hike to Ousel Falls.

26. What kept you sane?

Nature, dinners with friends and family, prayer and meditation (God’s presence), laughter, writing, meeting weekly with my mentor, and deepening friendships.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Should your death be anything but immediate, you will most likely die in much of the same manner that you lived — the fruit you bear will be recognized as coming from you (for better and for worse).


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