2014 – A Year in Review (just for kicks)

IMG_2747Belated Happy New Year!  I did this last year and am doing it once again.  Throughout 2014, I kept a jar on our kitchen counter labeled “2014 Happy Events”.  Every time something special, fun or celebratory occurred I documented it on a slip of paper (kinda like a “Tweet” but not) and put in the jar.  It was fun and reminded me about the good things in my life.  This is a good thing for like many of us (at least in my recent conversations with friends) 2014 was a rough year – it had its bitter-sweet moments, wonderful occurrences and a good dose of happenings that made me just want to crawl in a corner and pull a blanket over me. 😉

Humorously, to cap it all off, on Tuesday, December 30th, a huge flock of robins found our back yard which we’ve set up as a haven for our feathered friends.  I remember standing at the kitchen window watching as they energetically ate to their fill, flew around and then happily made their exit. Shortly afterwards, I walked out to get in my car and found it covered in bird poop. Completely. My husband’s car, on the other hand, was spotless.  Not a drop of bird poop. I was, as they say, taken aback. And after several expletives escaped my mouth, I carefully considered how to interpret this final gift of 2014. It was then that I decided to see this as just the odd end to a happy, sweet, sad, interesting and eventful year. I could have seen it as a forewarning but chose not to go there. And I’m happy to report that thus far – 2015 is a very good year. So here’s my year in review via my “2014 Happy Events” jar:

  • Began new jar by reading and appreciating 2013’s happy events. Starting my 2014 jar!
  • Really good time, at annual oyster roast, despite the frigid temps.  Thank goodness for fire pits!
  • Working a cool “gig” with Caroline – fun! We are good together.
  • Epic “girls night” – no more will be said.
  • Great monthly dinners with Rutledge’s and Jenison’s this spring & early summer. Stoley’s will never be the same.
  • Dent repaired in my car
  • Many house repairs completed
  • All flowerbeds mulched and new hydrangeas bushes planted
  • Great time with Theresa & Mark pre-wedding – they helped get the house ready for the wedding.  Wow – so wonderful.
  • Taylor and Kitty’s beautiful wedding #1 at our home on Sat. 05.31.14.  Max & Ben were the ring bearers.
  • Epic (for a variety of reasons) second wedding ceremony on the beach and celebration at Hatteras
  • First vacation in years spent at Cape Hatteras May 31st – June 6th – happy birthday to me!!!
  • My job was funded for three more years – WOO HOO! I love you Carolyn Rutledge!
  • Even though it was for bittersweet reasons, I got to spend beautiful time with  my brother Marc the week that Mother passed.  I love him so.
  • Sweet and special weekend with my sister Marcia in Ruston, LA for Mother’s final “send off.”  She’s the best big sister ever…
  • ODU played great in 1st year in C-USA (football); 6 – 6 record.  Go BIG BLUE!
  • We had another fun year of weekly (well, almost) Thursday night dinners with Jack & Susan.  Cut short for a variety of reasons but we can’t wait to get back into our Thursday night flow in the next few weeks.
  • Fun and “cold” – brrrr – Thanksgiving with Taylor & Kitty in Chicago.  They cooked. It was awesome!  I love Chicago and I love AirBnB!
  • 12.23.14 – Fun and festive cookie decorating contest (aka: reason for a party) held by Taylor & Kitty at our house.  It was great to visit with friends and “kids” we hadn’t seen in a while. Cookies were homemade and delish!  But the best thing was the company.
  • A lovely Christmas brunch with the Geroe family and then a true family dinner at Shannon and Norm’s. It was so nice to experience the expansion of our family and enjoy it 100%!
  • Lovely and delicious New Year’s Eve dinner with Susan & Jack, Susan’s mom and our friend Nancy.  We were home by 11:30 and I was able to meditate in the New Year.  Thanks for driving, Jack!  You are our own personal “Uber” 😉
  • Pet harmony achieved – finally! All is good.


Well that about wraps it up.  I’m starting the new “2015 Happy Events” jar tonight and looking forward to what this year brings.  As I already mentioned, it is already a good one.  But … I’m not going to tell you why or how – that would spoil my next “Year in Review” blog post!  I wish you the very best 2015.  Keep smiling my friends.

PS – Here’s a pictorial review:

10365965_10152186926853807_4990773742682056019_n  Brothers of different mothers  IMG_247910476165_10152216238406232_3270623571906263615_nIMG_2483

Taylor and Mother copy

IMG_2525 IMG_2522 IMG_2539IMG_2541IMG_2536Thanksgiving visit copyFather and son copyThe girlsChristmas Party Poodle copyThe winner! copySusan & Michele do New Years 2014 copyPet harmony achieved copy

Express yourself like nobody else can!


True confession, for years, I spent my life trying to be someone else. I can’t even tell you why or when this began.  Maybe I always did this.  I don’t know. The point is, I lived this way – for years.  A stunning example is when I was a group fitness instructor, a role I played for a good 25 years of my adult life.  I spent almost all that time trying to be someone else.  I was never good enough for me.  I wasn’t creative enough or my music wasn’t the right music.  And on and on and on.  Some of my good friends (fellow instructors) would become my “study”.  I’d watch and learn … down to the way they dressed, their presentation, their music and their choreography.  I took learning from others to a whole different level.  Because I wasn’t comfortable or secure in my personality and style I had to copy someone else because she or he must know better than I.  And…for some time I was able to pull it off even though something never felt quite right.  And then it all came tumbling down.

I was being inauthentic – not true to myself – not being myself.  What it really got down to was that I was afraid to be me – fully. There was a fear that if I was Fully Me people might not like me.  Upon facing this assumption I had created I realized that maybe, just maybe I was okay, had value, a purpose and something to offer.  I considered that perhaps the world might just be a better place with me in it.  And it took facing myself in the mirror everyday.  Honestly, I began standing in front of the bathroom mirror and looking at myself and saying out loud the words, “I love you”.  It probably sounds kind of funny or odd but when I started doing this it felt awkward. It was always easy to say these words to my husband, son, family and friends.  But to me?  Oh my gosh.  Awkward!  And…I stayed with it because I’m worth it. Through this exercise I faced my whole self – all my strengths and all my weaknesses.  It also taught me not to take myself so seriously.  In essence, it helped me lighten up – not just on me but on everyone else. Today, I’m comfortable with me – all my strengths, weaknesses, perfections and imperfections. Hah!  There are probably more of my qualities for me to uncover.  Bring em’ on!  I like being who I am and I can laugh at myself at the drop of a coin.  I embrace me even when I don’t embrace me.

Each of us has this going on within us to some degree.  Obviously some more than others. 🙂  How often do we take these notions we have of ourselves so seriously?  How often are we blindsided by the assumptions we make about ourselves?  Why not take a look and see?  What have you got to lose? Here’s a little exercise and process to help you embrace yourself – completely:

1.  Get out paper and pencil (or your journal).

2.  Write down 5 things you like about yourself.  For example, “I like my sense of humor – I make people laugh.”

3.  Write down 5 things you see are weaknesses.  For example, “I have a tendency to interrupt people mid-sentence.”

4.  Be completely honest and don’t judge any of your answers.

5.  Read over what you have written.  Put down paper and pencil, close your eyes.  Consider what you have written.  Feel how it feels in your body.  Where are you feeling tightness and tenseness?  Just notice it.  Then ask yourself, “who’s experiencing this?”  Now just breath into and relax. Sit for a few minutes and let it all be just as it is.  Open your eyes and move on with your day.

6.  Every morning for the next 30 days, stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself out loud (not to yourself) “I love you”.  Say it out loud!  And smile or laugh…

Now, go out and be your sweet self knowing that you are beautiful…just the way you are.  Here’s an oldie but a goodie song to set you on your way – “Express Yourself” by Charles Wright and the 103rd Street Rhythm Band.