It has not been an easy year. Not by a long shot.
But it was a good year, a productive year, and I have so much to be thankful for.
About this time each year, I begin to sift through my photos and prepare my super-long year-end video. It’s my homage to all of the good I experienced and is a celebration of my friends, family, job, and so much more. Though I have been super-stressed most of 2017, I was reminded by these photos just how incredibly blessed I am really am.
If my year was recapped in a highlight reel, it would look a little something like this:
I witnessed #LoveWin with two of my dearest friends getting married in a beautiful and touching wedding ceremony on New Year’s! Just 5 years ago and even sooner than that, this would not have been possible. This was incredibly significant and I felt so blessed to have been a witness to it.
I got married to one of the most decent, hardworking, loving men I have ever met! This sweet, gentle, and strong man came into my life just when I was not sure how my story would end. He filled all of the empty spaces with a healing love and represents the glue that has held all of my cracks together. Love does win… and can do so even later in life.
I finally got to Paris! Though I have traveled to some really exotic and exciting places, this one was always at the top of my list! Our honeymoon was magical!
I think I finally crossed a good line in tourism at the RVIC Conference in Woodstock. FINALLY, I made some really good connections/friends. Those connections have carried over into many of the areas in Tourism. I believe this was the turning point with statewide connections, almost a year after starting this job.
Marketing College through the Southeastern Tourism Society was a pivotal moment for me. I spent one week at the University of North Georgia studying the latest & greatest in tourism. Yes, I have degrees, etc – but this was an opportunity to begin to specialize in my chosen field. In 2 more years, I will add a few fun credentials to my name! It is the first time in a long time that I felt like I was really learning something new. And if you consider how important my career is to me and how much importance I put on furthering one’s education – this was a great step for me.
I rebranded my community!!! THIS was something that was soooooo desperately needed, and I was not sure how I was going to make this happen. Luckily, by cultivating relationships, I was able to obtain the funding and voila! Five communities now have one voice! HUGE year for my career.
I began to mix my worlds! I made a few solid friendships in Americus and continued to nurture my friendships in Macon and brought them together a handful of times out at the farm. From cooking out, to swimming, to riding the trails – I began to mix my worlds and find some little shred of a social life!
We broke ground for our new house! That’s right – we bought additional land (not on the farm,) and began construction on a house that Tim has designed. Every single decision about this home was made by the two of us – down to the color of the grout (which, btw, is light gray.)
Normally, September is a terrible month for me. Lots of BAD things traditionally happen within this month… and sure… it had its challenges, but the one thing I remember the most is learning how to roll with the punches. This photo represents some hard-working girls who had a girl’s night out and celebrated 125 years of our grand old hotel in town! It was festival season, and this stuck out as my favorite event thus far!
I was reminded how much I am loved back home. It is not easy adjusting to a new community, and not just a new community, but a bit of a different culture. My only experience has been with a medium-sized city to a very large city – never truly rural. I adjusted very quickly to a metropolitan area and it was more my cup of tea and a natural fit. Rural living has been a challenge.
But there is always home… with my oldest friends. I can always go home for some healing.
As for November & December – that highlight remains to be seen. I can say that it was a very good year – but a challenging year, both mentally & spiritually. So, so, so much good… but so much new! “Expect the unexpected and hold your head high” was my mantra.
With all of that, it appears we will be celebrating soon! Apparently, we will be moving into our home within 3 weeks or so.) I will be wrapping up a very successful fiscal year (I have increased hotel/motel tax by almost a quarter compared to last year.) And finally, even better news – my health is at an all time high! BP was 110/60, Heart Rate 82, Cholesterol 112, and Fasting Blood Sugar 91. Outside of dropping the weight – I am in excellent shape! New challenge: Weight loss, New Home, Bigger Goals, and Settling in for 2018!
I am entering the Thanksgiving Season with a thankful heart. My blessings are many and my life is very rich. From my family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!