I decided at the beginning of 2011 that I would not have resolutions, but instead 2011 would be "a year for rebuilding." I wanted to work on my life, and start on the right path. I found out quickly that change and getting life right does not happen overnight. It does not happen in a year even. But every small step counts. Every small decision leads to a bigger life, remember? :-) So anyway... Although I may not have accomplished the huge goals I had, I did exactly what I wanted to do: I got myself on the right path. I have learned so much, and have so much to be thankful for. It's amazing what all can happen in a year, and yet at the same time we look back and wonder what we did and how it went by so quickly. Quite the paradox. My 2011 in review is a mixture of highlights, and funny random pictures I took along the way that are worth noting. Enjoy. :-)
I saw this in Wal-Mart on my way to a women's retreat. Yes, that's right, onion rings, generic Little Debbie snacks, a HUGE block of cheese to go with the hamburger buns, AAAND an "As Seen on TV" T-Core Workout machine!! Because all of that goes so well together. And in a month, they're going to quit, saying that machine doesn't work for crap. 1) Probably doesn't. 2) Can you expect ANYTHING to work when you're eating like that?!? Ugh.
Saw this on one of my many road trips, and it was too random to pass up. Emergency Milk Transport??? Really?!? hahaha
March 5th, 2011- Ran my first 5K! On the race shirt, the front has the race info, and the back has wings and says, "Cuz that's how I roll!" I love it!!
This was me and Jessica at the beginning of the race waiting to start. It was extremely cold, and windy, and wet. The first race I had ever ran period, much less in those conditions, and I think you can tell from this picture. haha
On a more somber note, that picture/race above was exactly a month before she was diagnosed with breast cancer. One of the most heart wrenching, life-altering things that can happen, especially to someone so young. She went through one full round of chemo and radiation, had the double mastectomy, and still has active cancer cells. She has refused a second round though, and is instead doing it the all-natural way, according to Crazy Sexy Diet and Dr. McDougall's cancer fighting through holistic means. She is doing great, feels great, has lost almost 30 pounds already, and is slowly but surely fighting this. We will see in a few more months just how well it turns out. I'm sure I will keep you guys updated.
May 19, 2011- My brother and two cousins all graduated high school! Here they are along with my aunt. Man, it is crazy how time flies... I am 24, and already I catch myself using phrases like, "Kids these days..."; "When I was your age...."; and "Man, I remember you when you were just this big!" Uh oh... I'm one of those people now... Le sigh...
May 21st, 2011- The very next day after my brother's graduation, my mom got married!! Through the years, I admired her integrity when it came to dating. It is NOT easy being a single mother of 2 in a small town on a teacher's salary, but she did a phenomenal job. She kept integrity as a woman in her dating life, she raised us with proper morals and values, and ALWAYS put her children first. I'll admit, I played guard dog when it came to her finding a husband, but turns out this man is great: Godly, caring, and I could not have asked for a more supportive, generous step father for me and husband for my mom. This picture is a picture of her wedding cake, done by a friend actually. She did such an amazing job with it! She also made 3 kinds of cupcakes: coffee, peanut butter, and red velvet. I know, sounds interesting... I was skeptical, especially because I'm not exceptionally fond of cupcakes, but they were AMAZING!! I've decided said friend is doing my wedding cake as well. She just doesn't know it yet. :-)
I only have a picture of the cake because I was in the actual wedding, so no pics of the bride. :-( I do have a picture of the church wedding reception though! :-)
My mom and her new husband Martin!
Next was the weather: Arkansas is horrible about tornados every year, but this year floods came with it. You couldn't drive anywhere because of not just flooded roads, but flooded land in general. Whole towns were flooded with several feet of water. It destroyed a lot around here. This picture is from the White River state park. That roof you see? Is actually a gazebo that is usually on completely dry land. In the part of the park there were cabins that were completely flooded, and the dock was completely trashed just from flooding alone. It's amazing what mother nature can dish out sometimes...
One of the most important things I learned this year: The importance of NOT dieting, but eating healthy, whole foods. You don't have to be rich to eat healthy food. Just be vigilant about reading food labels, make even the smallest changes to be healthier, and you'll see a difference. Pick fresh when possible, visit your local farmer's market, shop grocery sales and in-season produce, things like that. There are so many little steps you can take to become a healthier you.
One of my favorite parts of the year...
July 9th, 2011- I got to go to the family lake house for the first time in a few years!! It's on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, and it is BEAUTIFUL!! This was my getaway weekend, and I'm so glad I took advantage of the opportunity. This is a picture of my brother and my mom's dog Foxy. She is probably the biggest purebred pomeranian you will ever see. As is tradition, we were taking a ride on the party barge around Lake of the Ozarks. Gorgeous day, time with family, a leisurely boat ride...
You can't beat it!
My grandpa and brother and I went out in the early mornings and checked the trot lines out on the lake. Usually I would sleep in, but as I get older, I'm realizing the true value of moments like this, so I went along. And I'm glad I did. :-) I got to spend quality time with them, and we got some nice catfish!
The view from my window at the Lake House while I read. How much more peaceful does it get than that?!? I make sure to savor moments like this. Soak it all in, take a deep breath, and just relax in the beautiful silence and scenery. Marvelous.
Me and my brother decided to ride back to Arkansas together (it's about a 7 hour trip), and I let him drive my car. He was beyond stoked... The 18 year old boy gets to drive the coveted new Honda?!? OMG I think I lost my mind... But we had a blast, and we don't get these brother/sister moments very often, so we took our time driving back, goofed off, listened to music, talked, and just enjoyed every minute of it.
Remember the goofing off I was talking about? This would be one picture of it. My brother is a ham. This is at the top of a lookout on Hwy 7 up in the Ozark Mountains. If any of you ever come through Arkansas (which is rare, I know...), you HAVE to drive Hwy 7 just for the view if nothing else. And for Nelly's Quilt Shop, for some of the greatest homemade jams and honey you've ever had. Ok, now I'm sounding country, so I'm going to move on...
August 11th, 2011- I won a cookoff at one of the huge radio stations here in Arkansas, Alice 107.7! It was awesome... I won using my mom's quiche recipe (Amazing, trust me), and this is a picture with Heather, DC, and Poolboy. If you were from Central Arkansas, this would be a big deal. :-) haha I won a Weber grill, and my dish was feature at a local restaurant for a week. Pretty cool!
August 12, 2011- I got to see Casting Crowns for the third time for my birthday!! I love them... If you like Christian music, check them out. They have amazing lyrics, and their sound is great as well.
August 27th, 2011- This year, I started volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters, and this is a picture of me and my little sister at the zoo, which was one of our first big outings. I'm sure you will see more pictures of us over time. I love to hang out with her!
August 14th, 2011- Me and this wonderful man started dating. One of the great things about this was I found someone great for me once I stopped trying so hard. Once I started living my life for myself and I started doing what made me happy and becoming more of myself, THAT is when I found someone great. We cook together, go hiking together, we both love to work out, we both want to own a business someday, and we both just love trying new things together. We been together almost 5 months now, so we shall see what the future holds... :-)
October 22nd, 2011- Remember Jessica that I told you about? This is me and her at Race for the Cure. The team was called "Jessica's Walkers for Knockers"- pretty cool, right?!? :-) She still had no hair because of chemo, and she had to wear a face mask because her white blood cell count was so low, but she insisted on being at the race since we were walking for her. She is a fighter!! I love her, such an inspiration...
This sign was at Race for the Cure... OMG I love it... hahaha
I had a great Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years thanks to both my family and Jonas' family. Looking at these pictures and thinking about the holidays has really made me realize just how truly blessed I am. Things can never be "perfect" and there will be hard times, but we should all sit back, take a deep breath, and realize just how truly blessed we are.
Thanks for tuning in, and look for my inspiration board and 2012 goals post tomorrow or Friday! Happy New Year!