Friday, December 28, 2018

Closing out 2018

As another year ends, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the little moments that made this year spectacular. You know, take some time to remember the happy or best events that shaped this year. To express gratitude, which as you know can actually make you happier.

Try it. Take 30 minutes or more and think of the times that put a smile on your face this year. The times that gave you joy. Try for 5 moments and believe it or not, I bet you even more will start popping into your head.

Write them down. Share here or share with a friend or a loved one over a beer or your favorite hot chocolate, or pizza. See what they come up with.

Here is my list. Believe me there are more, but I had to stop. Hope it works for you and it makes you smile and feel good about the close of 2018.
Grandma at rehab.
Some of my best moments this year revolved around my beautiful, strong, 94-year young grandmother. My grandmother got sick this year and was in the hospital for several weeks. Well, if you knew Maxine (AKA Mad Max as my father likes to refer to her), you’d know she is one tough cookie. She survived the incident, thank goodness and I have pictures of her smiling to prove it.

Grandma with my hat she made.

Grandma made some of the crocheted hats we donated to the homeless Veterans this year. She even made a hat for me. When I got bronchitis in late October grandma called me to check on my health and to tell me I should go stay with her, so she could take care of me. Such wonderful love and spirit this woman, the heart of our family has to give.
The quilt my mom made.
My mother, who battles cancer every day, the daughter of the grandmother I just mentioned is a fighter and the craftiest person I know. She may not do as much as she used to, but when she does, whatever she makes is beautiful. Mom made the cards for our homeless Veterans backpacks. My Christmas gift this year was a quilt made by my mom, Mary. I adore anything handmade/homemade and she knows that what she makes will be treasured.

Dad and I doing a 5K together.
Dad, AKA Pops, is the smartest person I know with the most common sense and the biggest heart. He takes care of everyone in this family, no matter how close or how far. But we all worried when he had to go in for a hip replacement earlier this year. He survived it and he was right back to playing golf the same day the doctor gave him the all clear. Not kidding. He booked the tee time before he went for his last follow up visit. He was not going to be stopped. I get my outdoors and activity mode from my father, Keith. Along with my tenacity.
My nephew and me.

I had a terrific time when my youngest nephew, Brandon came to visit and share his 20th birthday with me. I mean, seriously, how many aunts are lucky enough to have a niece or nephew want to spend a long weekend with them? Me! I enjoyed every minute and I hope Brandon brings his contagious smile, blue eyes, red hair, and his amazing personality back to visit again SOON.

Even though I am so far away from all of my family I hope they know how much joy they bring into my life.
Tough Ruck 2018

This year I had some huge accomplishments in my running/walking. I did my first marathon ruck this year. Twenty-six point two miles with a 22-pound backpack. Talk about tough, but the reward was time spent talking with many active military, retired military, and first responders. Oh, and the embarrassing part of tripping over the finish line. THAT, I will never forget. And the hot fudge sundae as a reward for my efforts. I had so much fun and supported such a fantastic cause - Military Friends Foundation that I am doing it again this year. If you’d like to help me support the Military Friends Foundation, which helps military and first responder families you can donate here:

Me and my support crew.
What brought me to happy tears this year was FINALLY reaching 100 miles in an ultra-event. Actually, it was 101 miles of cold, rain, heat, sweat, and blisters (my nemesis). What made it all the sweeter was not the buckle I received (although that was very cool!) it was having my good friend Renee there to share it with me. She not only walked with me off and on, but she was my support crew. She pulled me out of my funk when I hit bottom, went and got us real food when we could eat no more junk, and suffered through sleeping in the back of my SUV for two nights. How many friends do you know would do that? Heck, I can’t get most my friends to even go to a run and see what I love about ultras. If they only knew what they were missing…
Renee bucket list.

This year Renee and I also did a run from her bucket list – the Marine Corps Marathon. That is by far the best marathon and I know I enjoyed running it with a good friend, the sightseeing we did before and after the event, and just the general good time. Of course getting that medal put over my head by a Marine - there’s a lot of happy tears involved in running, but none more than when you do it with a friend. 😊

Operation Stuffit with family
What brings me much joy and happiness is giving back. This year I saved so I could spend every weekend gathering backpacks and supplies for our local homeless Veterans. I wish this was something that did not need to be done, but it is an honor and a privilege and a way for me to say thank you to the men and women who do so much for us. The culmination of this effort happened on a Saturday evening where I spent four hours with my neighbors and friends who are more like family to me; listening to Christmas music and stuffing the backpacks with care and love in what I refer to as Operation Stuffit. Thank you, Kenny, Donna, Jay, and Lynn not only for your help, but for your friendship and unwavering support.
Speaking of good friends. WOW! Right before Christmas I got to speak with a couple of longtime friends. I’m talking people I have known and loved since high school. I literally sat in my car for 90 minutes talking with Maurine and Duane who I haven’t spoken by phone or seen in years. Amazing how time slips away even after all these years and you realize how much you still have to talk about and how much these people meant to you back then and how much they helped shape who you are today.

I could go on. Like all the text messages my aunt Sheri and sister, Jeanine share weekly. Drives my brother in law nuts when the phone dings repeatedly when we are on a roll, but the three of us have a good time keeping in touch and making sure we know what is happening in our lives. Sharing with each other. Sharing is caring, right?!
See! I told you once you started you would see there were many happy moments, little slices of heaven that occurred throughout the year. Times and events that that make you smile and make you grateful.
I hope you take the time to recognize just a few and take that warm feeling into the new year.



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