2017! (And The New Year)

WHAT A YEAR!

We have approached the end of 2017. The end of any year always puts me in a state of reflection, as I'm sure it does for a lot of us. There's so much to talk about, but I'll try to keep it short. (Look out for my "end of the year wrap up" post for movies, tv, and books in a few days!) 


2017.

The year of beginnings and endings. The year of adventures and some sorrows. The year unlike any other year. 

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A new year can birth new opportunities, but it can also bring new challenges. Be courageous. Trust your journey. And when you feel like giving up, remember why you started. You have a purpose that only you are meant to fulfill. Stay on path. I believe in your victory...
— Jess Higgins

I wrote this quote at the beginning of the year on Instagram. I had just gotten back from Yosemite, one of my absolute favorite places. I was there for the New Years break with Dan, and it was so magical (as it always is)! Yosemite always, always, always inspires me in so many ways. 

These words rang so true over the course of the year. A new year always means new opportunities, and it also means there will be new challenges too. We can't escape them. We have to just trust our own journey, not looking at other people's lives for comparison, and be courageous along the way.

What we have control over is how we react and also how we approach these situations -- these opportunities and challenges. We have control over our actions, like whether or not we take advantage of the opportunities in our path and whether or not we choose to succumb to the challenges (or take the necessary steps to conquer them).

 

This year definitely had its share of opportunities and challenges, am I right!?

I'm not going to talk about politics or the hollywood scandals or the state of our country or the world on here. That's not why I'm writing this. I'd like to talk about what I've learned, what I'm taking with me into 2018, and all the joys in between (and hope it will inspire you in some way).

All the joys in between, my ups and happys.


THE UPS & HAPPYS.

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I learned that thinking about living is not the same as living...
— Erin Loechner

Some of my favorite moments of the year included spending time with my family (family first always), my many adventures with my favorite person aka Dan, going on several trips (including my first trip overseas!), starting this blog, seeing friends succeed and gain traction with their God-given gifts, discovering another writing voice I didn't know I had, acting a little more, meeting wonderful coworkers and people at my job, and starting to write my book (more on that one in a later post though). 

A handful of some of my ups & happys from this past year (in no ranking order)! 

  • Sibs in Cali! 
    • My big brother, Marcus, moved to California for his job (he works for NASA y'all)!! Since his move, I've gotten to see him often and a lot more than I have in a long time. He came down to L.A. for weekend visits and I just visited him recently and got to see his 'hood and a part of his new life too! 
  • My parents' new home!
    • I got to visit my parents at their new home a few months ago! I love those kids! They're my best friends and it's always a great time with them! My favorites.
  • The Grandest Canyon!
    • Dan took me to the Grand Canyon!! I've been wanting to drive out there for the longest, and we finally did it! What a breathtaking sight to see and a beautiful park! Whoa!! 
  • Magical Yosemite!
    • My Yosemite, I love you. Anytime I get to go to Yosemite is a blessing on blessing on blessing. I absolutely love Yosemite. It's captured my heart and I really don't know how else to describe the way I feel about this park. It's magical.
  • Game of Thrones!! (And I got my parents to watch it too, ha!)
    • I was so against watching GoT for the longest, but I finally gave in and gave it a real try before season 7 premiered, and I fell in love with it! Incredible series! 
  • That work life: 9 TV shows, including The F Word on FOX.
    • I supported and worked alongside the audience producer (my coworker and friend Morgan Lindsey) for The F Word. Oh man! That had to be one of the funnest times I had working on a tv show. Great laughs, interesting challenges, fun times!
  • European Holiday!! 
    • I finally, finally got to visit overseas! I'd been working hard, dreaming, praying, hoping to make it over to Europe soon and I was blessed enough to be able to go a few months ago with Dan! We got to visit Copenhagen, Paris, Rome, and the Almafi Coast! What a blessing, what a life!! If you haven't read about my travels yet, check it out here!

So many wonderful moments, experiences, adventures, and joy, so far beyond these particular highlights. But these are a few of my favorite moments. 

Gratitude on high.


TAKEAWAYS & WHAT I'VE LEARNED.

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The Big Three.

  • Take more chances.

Taking more chances in my personal and professional life is something I'm always striving to do and have accomplished a little over this past year. One example is I've taken more chances with my writing and putting it out into the world more.

And this blog.

I took a chance by starting this particular blog. I'm a film, tv, book, and coffee lover (obviousy, ha!). I always had it in me to share my thoughts on those particular interests of mine.

So I created this little spot on my site for all things coffee and entertainment -- and gave it a go. It truly has been such a creatively fulfilling adventure, taking this on and keeping it up. 

I want to encourage you to do the things you always wanted to do -- and to not be afraid to let your dreams and passions morph and change and grow with you.

 

  • Be more patient and practice gratitude.

We all could practice patience a little more. This is something I'm constantly working on within myself. I'm pretty impatient a lot of the time. I want things to happen quickly, and I tend to compare my journey and its speed with other people's journeys. 

I've made some strides on that this year. It will be a continuing thing for me, I believe, for my entire life. 

But I've learned that practicing gratitude helps with this a lot. Practice gratitude and recognizing all there is to be thankful for right here and now. This helps with patience. It puts us in a more present state.

Be present, practice gratitude, and patience will flow from that. 

 

  • To not be so hard on myself, to know grace has already been given. 

I'm a perfectionist by nature. I'm super picky and will nitpick about the littlest things, particularly anything I do creatively -- and sometimes with who I am as a person. I analyze and analyze. It's the way I am and have always been. 

I've learned to remember who I am -- and to keep remembering who I am. No matter what I've done or what I do, I am enough, just the way I am. I am a child of God.

Every morning, every day... God offers grace, to me and to you. Oh His grace. 


NEW YEAR, NEW ME. 

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Reflecting back on 2017, I can see what's made me stronger, better, wiser. I hope you're able to recognize your growth and your joys, as well. Don't lose sight of where you've been and where you're going. Don't lose sight of your path.

As Cheryl Strayed said, "Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding..."

A great and continuous unfolding. 

There will be many joys along the way in the new year, despite the challenges and heartaches that are sure to come. I want to encourage you and myself to stay ready for our opportunities, so once they're presented to us, we're able to take full advantage of them, whether we're the ones creating them ourselves or they're being given to us. 

And let's remember to reset and reconnect along the way as well, staying in touch with ourselves and our needs.

 

Bonus Thoughts.

REALIZE YOUR RESOLUTIONS. 

My good friend Ellis E. Fowler has written another book, Realize Your Resolutions: Setting and Sticking to Goals for the New Year and Beyond! The kindle e-book will be FREE on Amazon starting on December 29th until December 31st! This one is a short, nonfiction book "that focuses on setting specific goals and making a plan that will help you stay on track and maintain your focus throughout the year." (From his site!)

Check it out if you can and use it to help you stay on track during the new year! (See below for more details!)


As we step forward into 2018, let's stay mindful of our goals, and let's not forget to celebrate our journey. Celebrate the joys. Celebrate the good times in bad times. Celebrate your life and all its ways. 

Believing in and praying for our victory.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

#SparklesOfHappy

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