The buzz is top 9 photos. Which led me to think if I had a top 9 photos? I tried. I could not possibly choose. I have 24,000 photos on my phone. Excessive I know....far from simple. I am a hoarder of memories and storage space. I think I hoard photos because of my lost memories. I am terrified of losing more memories so I take a lot of photos!
2017 kicked off with a New Year's Hike with my favorite Bad-Ass Ladyslipper Hiking Gang. These strong, intelligent, supportive, hilarious women have helped me through the toughest of times and been my cheerleaders through the best of times. A few highlights from the year included watching my "nephew" play football at US Bank Stadium in the State Football Championships, watch dear friends receive awards for their remarkable work they are doing to make NE Minnesota a safer place to live, work, and play. I watched my nephew perform in the Nutcracker as a soldier. I won a Duluth News Tribune Top 20 under 40 award and shared that award with two dear friends. Finally, I went home to judge Miss North Star which used to be Miss Marshall County which holds a special place in my heart.....the very last stage I ever danced. Thanks Kara!
I travelled a ton this year: to Florida, saw the King in Memphis as well as Tom Petty, Bill Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ole Miss in Oxford (thanks Krysten), drove to Chicago for U2 concert (yeah Aly!), went to the state fair 5 times! Hiked all Mighty 5 parks in Utah – Zion, Bryce, Canyon Lands, Capitol Reef, and Arches (thanks Bryan!). Fell in love (xoxo Rob). Left North America for the first time in my life and travelled to Paris (ABBY!!!). Hiked Joshua Tree and a hundred trips to the cities to see my nephews who grow too quickly. I always refer to my decade of recovery as the decade lost.....and now I am traveling like mad because I believe had I not been hurt throughout my twenties I would have travelled. I also spend a lot of time helping care for my Dad and spending quality time with my parents. I also took a trip up the North Shore with two of my favorite badass hiking friends to hit some trails and be in the autumn leaves and laughter. Thank you to all my friends and family for making 2017 so memorable!
2017 far exceeded my expectations. It was not luck or by chance. I planned for it to exceed my expectations. It has not always been the case. I have had the years of darkness and dread. I committed to 2017 being filled with joy, laughter, and love. For eight-teen years I chose an annual theme song. When my Dad was injured in 2014, I was in such a dark place I could not sing. I would drive for hours and not sing along with the radio. I was numb. I could not choose my annual song. Even my go-to Tina Turner Proud Mary didn’t do the trick. I would try to dance it out in my living room but the grief was overwhelming. I cut myself some slack and repeated the annual song from the year prior and chose a simple word. Whenever my heart would get heavy or the world would cave in and get black I would think of that word. The word was and has been JOY. Now, I call it my JOYFILTER. I use my Joyfilter in each and every decision I make. It must pass JOY or it does not pass go!
I am proud as I embarked on re-launching my motivational speaking business in addition to a full time job and full time grad school. It is not nearly as easy to book gigs now as it was when I left in 2007. I was at the top of my game when I left. Now, I have to audition for each gig I receive. I am grateful for all the gigs I booked this eyar. I am proud I have already booked several 2018 gigs here in Minnesota as well as Ohio and DC.
Word for 2018
Song for 2018:
Duluth Playhouse production of A Christmas Carol included carolers singing familiar songs. When I heard this song I learned many years ago in Girlscouts I had chills because due to the brain injury I have huge blanks in my memory but songs always bring the emotions back. I knew every word. So for 2018…drumroll…..my song is Simple Gifts.
I ask that you sing along with me…..
Simple Gifts by Elder Joseph
Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right
I hope for a simple 2018 so I can sip tea and finish my dissertation and write speeches for gigs and laugh. I hope I laugh 2,018 times per day!
Comment below what is your word and song for 2018 ? Do you use a joyfilter?
Happy New Year!