Another Year Goes By

The clock keeps ticking, and in just 2 hours and 4 minutes, it will be 2014.

Seriously, how did this happen?

2012 was a helluva year for us. We ran ourselves to the point of exhaustion, worked too much, traveled from the northeast to the west to the southwest and back east again. And in the midst of it all, we lost Stevie’s mom. By the time the summer ended, we just wanted the year to be over.

When 2013 began, we were optimistic, simply because it wasn’t 2012 any longer. We knew that it couldn’t possibly get any worse. And we were right. Things looked up for us this year. Cadence started (and LOVES) full-time preschool. I got a new job and have been absolutely swimming in freelance work. Steve started taking classes and is looking forward to diving into more programming. We took an amazing family vacation to Disney and had a blast. We have been saving. And we’re starting to feel comfortable.

After the long hard road we traveled in 2o12, we feel pretty good about where 2013 has taken us. And we’re looking forward to where 2014 will lead.

We’re moving in the right direction, and we’re in it together. If you ask me, it’s a pretty good place to be.

And while I don’t really believe in making “resolutions” per say, I do have one major goal that I intend to accomplish in 2014, and I hope that you’ll all come along for the ride…

Ater reuniting with my birth family in 2002, I knew that the very first book I would write would be the memoir of my adoption and reunion and all the tumultuous years in between. I started writing the story in 2008 and have yet to finish it. This year, I pulled the half-written manuscript out of my desk drawer and started writing again. In the next few weeks, this blog will be undergoing a major renovation, and part of that will include a space for me to share excerpts from the story as I finally bring the project to a close. In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me on the Facebook page I created for my upcoming memoir,¬†In a Sea of Strangers.

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Whatever the new year brings, I know it will be one helluva ride. And I don’t know about all of you, but I’m looking forward to it.

Project Life 365 – Day 1 – Resolution

Well, it happened, the new year is upon us. ¬†Luckily, the Mayans were mistaken and it looks like we’ve got some more time to spend here on this beautiful planet of ours.

I’ve been sitting here thinking about 2012. Whew! What a ride! Amazing highs, gut-wrenching lows, and so many unexpected twists and turns in between. But, I guess that’s life. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, the Universe throws a wrench in your plans, derails you from the direction you’d been going, and sends you rolling down a completely different path.

Sometimes, in the midst of all the chaos, you lose sight of the bigger picture.

Now, I’m not a big one for New Years Resolutions. The way I see it, those are made to be broken. We get all excited in our champagne-fueled, end-of-the-year delirium and we come up with a list of seriously unrealistic expectations for ourselves that we have no way of living up to. Lose 50 pounds. Quit smoking or drinking. Get organized. How’s that for vague? If we can’t even specify what we want to organize, how can we really expect to begin? It’s no wonder that most people don’t even bother making resolutions, and only a handful of seriously determined individuals actually end up seeing them through.

So, instead of a “Resolution”, I’m going to challenge myself instead. I’m not the sort of girl who has ever been able to back down from a challenge. I come from very stubborn stock. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. It might take me awhile, and I might even take some detours along the way, but I always get where I’m going, one way or another.

So, this year…

I’m challenging myself to write more–whether it’s paid articles, handwritten letters, one of those unfinished novels cluttering up my desk drawers, or here on my blog as part of this Project Life 365 Photo Challenge.

I’m challenging myself to read more because, well, let’s face it, I used to read at least 2-3 books a week and I miss it.

I’m challenging myself to shoot more for myself–hence, this Project Life 365. I truly believe that the art of photography, the real beauty in photography, is finding a way to translate your own unique perspective of the world, your own unique vision, into your work. These days, there are far too many photographers out there who are stuck in a rut, trying to recreate someone else’s vision, and the images just end up feeling flat and lifeless. I’ve said from the very beginning that my writing and my photography are not two separate things. I couldn’t isolate them if I tried. My writing should paint a very vivid image in the minds of my readers and my photography should tell a story. If they don’t, I’m doing something wrong. My photography style, much like my overall sense of style (ahem, my signature flowered boots), is mine and mine alone, and it’s time to own it.

I’m challenging myself to find greater balance in my life. I think I’ve done relatively well with this. Hell, I’ve had people tell me I’m the calmest, most serene person they’ve ever met. If only they’d met me about 12 years ago! Truth is, it’s hard to find your own personal balance in this crazy, topsy turvy world, and it’s even harder to maintain it. And yet, finding that balance is absolutely vital to be able to reach your full potential. This past year, I sold myself short, allowed myself to be pulled in too many different directions, and allowed some of my relationships and my time with my family to suffer because of it. So, in 2013, I am making it a priority to put myself and the people most important to me first, and not to worry as much about the things that can wait.

I am also challenging myself to get healthier. I’m not talking about an unrealistic goal on the scale or an unsustainable deprivation diet. I’ve been there, done that, have a medical record to prove it, and I’m never, ever doing it again. What I’m talking about here is just getting back to the basics, getting my ass up to exercise (even just a little) everyday, and being more mindful of the choices I’m making in my diet because, let’s face it, eating frosted sugar cookies for breakfast on any other day but Christmas is just ridiculous.

And so, I begin 2013, not grateful that 2012 is over, but grateful instead for the many blessings. The hard times, the frustrations, the pain, the joys, the laughter, the victories–they are all part of the ride. It’s true that 2012 was a particularly rough one, but I am thankful for wonderful family that I get to be a part of, and for all the amazing people I get to call my friends.

I’m wishing you all a very happy New Year filled with blessings! Hold on, and appreciate the ride.

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Christmas gifts from my hubby to help me start my year off right. A new pair of flowered boots to replace the ones I’ve been wearing since college, and two new books to add to my reading list.