Reflecting on this past year…

I can’t believe it’s January. I can’t believe 2016 over. It’s still is hard to believe how time just keeps going, and going so fast, but life is so different.

2016 was a big year for me. Weeks ago when I started this blog post I was typing one handed due to a condition where my left hand was suddenly out of commission for about a solid month. I simply woke up the Saturday after Thanksgiving and it was numb. Talk about a reality check. It really made me think about all the ups and downs of this year. The hand being a bit of both. I can’t deny that I often feel my life is pretty unfair. That I have some bitterness to the universe and so many unanswered questions. But what this also reminded me…is how lucky I am. I have all my limbs, my sight and my hearing. Whenever I would get really down when this traumatic event first happened in my life almost two years ago I’d always remind myself of those exact words.  However,  I’d lost some perspective lately and this certainly opened up my eyes. I apparently slept on my arm in an odd way cutting off the radial nerve resulting in my hand having limited function for an unknown amount of time. It’s almost back to normal as of today, but it’s still not quite there. After multiple doctor appointments and time, it’s on the up and up. But it definitely gave me quite the scare. I’ve always tried to be a pretty solid beliver in ‘everything happens for a reason’. I’ve struggled at times during these past few years but I’m getting back on track. And this is a perfect example. Sometimes it takes challenging situations to put things back into perspective. Everyone is fighting their own battle. And we can all feel sorry for ourselves but that’s not going to get anyone anywhere. We only have one life to live…so my goal for this new year is to really focus on living everyday to the fullest.

My biggest accomplishment this year has been running my own photography business. Yes, I started it here in the states last year but this year was official. I became an LLC, shot my first weddings as a company, and booked more sessions than I would have dreamed of. It sounds so cliché when I say this, but no words can express my gratitude to my clients this year. And my friends and family who are my biggest fans, pushing me every step of the way. Without all of you I wouldn’t be where I am. I wouldn’t have invested back into my business to keep learning, progressing, growing into a better photographer. Your belief in me, your trust in my skills, and your praise has meant the world to me. I could go on and on and on but I’ll save you from many sappy paragraphs.

Another huge part of my year was Pure Barre. The studio here in Roaonke breathed life into me when I needed it the most. The astounding woman I work with, the clients, the workout, and the daily challenge all combined has made this year more than I could ever hoped for. So thank you PB <3

I finally moved a piano into my house and started guitar lessons. Music has always been a huge part of my family and I idolize my mom and older brothers every time I watch them perform. I have had high hopes for awhile of writing a song of my own. I found my passion for writing years ago and I find that it and music combined is one of the best expressive outlets. It didn’t happen this year. But I’m happily on the right track.

We lost one of the most profound ladies in our family this year. And it still makes me tear up writing this. I’m so glad she is at peace because no one wants to be helpless, sick and laying in a hospital bed. But man do we miss her. Her infectious laugh. Her constant sense of humor and her sweet smile. But she lived 90 beautiful years. And that’s more than anyone can ask for.

Lastly, I’ve made it 2 years without Alo. I’m still here. And I’m doing big things whether I always choose to see it or not. And I’m trying to see the light daily. I’m able to look back on our life together now and feel so thankful for our experiences. And who it’s molded me into today. Which was something I couldn’t do for a long time. And it’s still a work in progress. It’s crazy how so much time can pass but it can still feel like yesterday. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. But as a friend recently reminded me…It’s not how our story begins, yet how it ends.

I want to thank everyone who has been here for me this year. New and old friends. And of course my family. I have met some of the most impactful people while living in Roanoke who have served a greater purpose in my life than they will ever know. I’ve found that tragedy can weed out a lot of people in this new journey. Something I’ll never understand. But it’s allowed me to have a greater appreciation for those who are here. I find people think they need to ‘fix’ it. Which no one can or will ever be able to. It’s the small gestures that mean the world. It’s the new memories being made. I stood at the top of a snowy mountain in WV a few days ago just taking in the simple beauty. My oldest brother and I went snowboarding and as silly as this will sound…in that moment I just wanted to cry. Happy tears. Tears of thankfulness. Tears I wouldn’t have been able to cry if I would have given up as I wanted two years ago. Proud tears. I’ve been feeling this often. I started this new year in the Dominican Republic with a group of remarkable people and if my paths hadn’t of crossed with friends six years ago in Indonesia, I wouldn’t have been on that beautiful island ringing in the new year. Taking these few weeks to reflect and enjoy life was just what I needed. A restart in a sense. A chance to step back from the daily grind and see things a bit clearer.

I don’t have set goals for 2017. But I’m ok with that. I know what direction I want to see my life head and I’m working hard everyday to achieve this. I’ve also never been the biggest planner, let’s not lie to ourselves. So I’m excited to see what this year has in store. I feel deep down it’s going to be a good one <3 Happy New Year all!

Much love xoxo