Instagram automatically collates your most liked snaps of the past year.  Mine are featured above.  It's interesting to look back at the year and reflect.  It's that time of the year, as the year is winding down, people make resolutions for the new year.  I wouldn't say this was the best year (chapter) of my life and I wouldn't say it was the worst year either.  There were lots of extreme highs and extreme lows.  I always look to this quote -

"You gotta look for the good in the bad, the happy in your sad, the gain in your pain, and what makes you grateful not hateful."  

Here's my year in review and instead of resolutions, my intentions for the new year:

26.freaking2 - you read that right.  I completed my first full marathon.  And if anyone wants to tell you it's easy, it's not, hence the freaking.  I wrote a whole blog that you can read about my journey.  The race was in January and what a way to start the year - am I right?!  Never in a million years did I think I would run 26.2 miles.  Half marathons are easy and full marathons are not meant for the human body. It was on my bucket list of things to accomplish and I only did so with my friend Marcela's help.  The marathon did forever change me.


After the marathon I decided to take a period of rest.  Little did I know how much injuries would plague me throughout the year - from a cracked rib, to a broken toe, and now currently I'm dealing with a heel issue.  I think back and wonder if the marathon forever changed my ability to run.  I've been through injuries - broken foot 5 years ago - so I know this is my body's way of telling me to slow down.  Slow down I will and look for alternative exercises I can do.  I tried my first pilates class last week and I know I'll be doing lots of yoga.  As I said extremes highs and lows this year.  Finding peace with being where I am currently.


Job Transition - In April I had decided it was finally time to start looking for a new job.  While I am forever grateful for my time at the DRI - I learned SO much, earned my CDE - I found myself not loving what I was doing day in and day out and that was effecting me personally.  I also wrote that in many a blog if you care to peruse.  I applied to one job and one job only.  It fit the description of what I wanted to do to a tee.  Too good to be true?  I think timing plays a big role in the job search and I do believe that all the stars were aligned with this one.  I was offered the position with Baptist and started in early July (after taking a well deserved week off).  I'm still learning the ropes in my position, but I can tell you this - I am working on a lot of different projects where I'm gaining  experience and learning a lot!  Not a day goes by that I'm bored.  Not to mention, I'm working with great people and in an organization that values that their employees are happy.  Excited for all that's to come in this next year.

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Bread - during my week off in-between jobs I had time.  I had started trying to bake homemade bread as a way to de-stress some (from the old job), but I truthfully didn't have the time to focus and not rush the time the dough needed to rise.  May sound silly, but sometimes I wouldn't let the dough rise enough and was too set on the time it said it needed versus letting the dough do what it needed to do and sometimes that meant two hours instead of just one hour.  More recently I started a sourdough starter - another item on my bucket list.  Challenging myself one recipe at a time in the quest to make all things homemade.  Sure I could use yeast from the store, but what an accomplishment to have started my own and take bread from literal start to finish.  I think my bread journey is just beginning and am excited to make this the year that I buy as little bread as possible.  Lucky for me bread freezes.

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It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times - While I won't go into too much detail (as it is quite personal), suffice it to say that when others are stressed you are stressed.  There were moments that literally required me to just stop and breathe because I almost couldn't catch my breath.  Yes, it was that bad.  I don't know if these trials and tribulations are preparing me for what could come at some point in time, but what I do know is that you must really truly live in the moment.  Yes, I know we hear this all the time.  But how many times are we truly present?  Taking one day at a time?  You have to truly appreciate the times you have as you may not know when you'll have those moments again.  Not trying to put a damper on the blog here, but this is my year in review.  There were times that were horrible and that I never want to relive.  Honest truth.  All that I know is that we only have today.  If you have a loved one you haven't spoken to in a long time, reach out (same for a friend).  If there is something that you've been meaning to do, go for it.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there's always a rainbow after the rain, you just have to look for it.


Cookbook Addiction - at least it's a healthy one, right?  To say I've gone a little overboard with the cooking is an understatement.  I didn't start off at being good at this so called cooking thing.  But I'd say in the last couple of years I've stepped my game up.  Practice makes perfect.  I like to eat tasty food, what can I say?  My food tastes really good - no shame here - but in the last year or so I've started taking better pictures of my food - all my "2017BestNine" pictures are of food - no shock there.  I think we often times eat with our eyes.  So while my dad's birthday cake made the "2017BestNine" I think I've had a few others that actually have been better.  Stay tuned for my intentions in 2018.  Food is definitely a part!

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2017 Intentions

A few years back I wrote 5 things a day that I was grateful for.  I kept all the entries in my "Gratitude Jar".  In the last two years I haven't officially written anything down but do take time to reflect.  It's my intent to go back to writing/journaling things down that I am grateful for.  I am going to write one thing in the morning and one thing in the evening.  At the end of the year I will be able to read through all the things and really reflect on the year.  I think actually taking the time to write things down can help me put things in perspective - especially when I've maybe had a rough day, I can look back at the end of the day and always find the good in the bad.

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It's a little bit of irony, but ever since I've gotten my new job I haven't been meditating daily.  I'm not as stressed, which the meditation helped me take a moment to breathe, so maybe I think most days I don't need it?  That's not what meditation is meant to be, but I know that I used it as my time before I even walked into the building to center myself.  I also used it as one-minute increments throughout the day simply to catch my breath.  It's my intention in 2018 to go back and stay consistent with my meditation.  There are many studies that show the benefits of meditation and while it's not easy - my mind is always distracted - it is a literal bicep curl for the brain that I know will get stronger the more I do it.  I have used an app in the past, but I am going to try out a few different methods this time around.  I'll keep you posted on how it's going throughout the year.


Yoga - In my YTT a few years back I struggled with having a consistent practice with yoga.  I had a long commute and in my mind I wasn't able to have that hour/hour and a half practice because I had no time (or so I thought).  I knew there was more to yoga than just the asanas (poses) but I was frustrated and mad that I wasn't able to do the poses because of a lack of time - that freaking commute was literally draining my life!!  After YTT I learned that yoga simply meant showing up and taking time to be on the mat with whatever time I had, being present.   Yoga includes not only the physical poses, but also pranayama and meditation.  I know that I need to have a balance of all three.  The best practices for long-term health are those that create a balance between strength and surrender, challenge and comfort, effort and ease.  It's a great reminder that sometimes the most simple things can be the most powerful.  This January I'll be starting Yoga With Adriene.  On and off I've utilized on-line yoga to help with my practice.  Yoga with Adriene every January starts a challenge if you will for 30 days to help with consistency.  In the last year she also included mantras along with the daily practice.  I'm excited to see what she has in store for this January.  It will be a great start to getting back to what I've always struggled with, consistency.



Food Art - I've looked back over my pictures in the last year or two and seen how far my pictures have come.  I've been shooting all my food pictures with my Samsung Android (no I do not have an iPhone).  I think that my pictures look really great for just being shot with a phone camera.  But I finally have a real camera.  It's my intent to not only step up my food art but also my picture taking skills.  I've always loved photography.  I think this is a perfect mix of combining two things that I love, food and photography.  I intend to start using that camera more and maybe even buying a few food props.


Education - While I was at UM I always thought I'd pursue a masters (they would help with tuition reimbursement).  The only problem?  Time.  I worked really long hours and never was able to wrap my brain around how I would fit classes, let alone h.w. into the mix.  Hence that never happened.  But with my current job?  I have the time and flexibility.  The other day I started to look at programs online.  I found a few that sound like something I like to further my education in.  I have to be with Baptist for at least a year before I'm able to apply, but it's definitely something I'm starting to consider and be more open to - I have the time, so why not know?


As 2017 comes to an end and 2018 begins, it's a great time to reflect.  I look back on the past so that my view going forward can be that much clearer.  Be present.  Breathe it all in.  Enjoy the ride.

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