There is something about this week in between Christmas and New Years Eve that fires me up. I love the slow down from the hustle and bustle of the holidays as well as the space it creates for reflection and rest. My December has been in a state of go-go-go leading up to December 25th, so these days at home in the aftermath feel extra special. Extra needed, in fact.
The new year is fast approaching, and I have to admit that I've been eager to wave goodbye to 2016. And by wave goodbye I mean slam the door on its way out and lock things up tight. 2016 was tough, full of high highs and low lows, and my heart has been lingering on the lows a bit too long lately. So for today's post I thought I would share some of the highlights from the year! Let's look back and celebrate the high points, the God-winks and lavish gifts, in the midst of the mess.
I also narrowed it down to one photo per month which was HARD, y'all. I took 3,000+ pictures this year... sheesh!
In the first month of the year I....
- kicked off 2016 with a fresh set of yearly goals!
- cleared out my closet, getting rid of 300+ items of clothing/toiletries using the KonMari Method.
- traveled to Seattle to celebrate Erin and Ben's wedding!
- started rehearsals for the second production of Almost, Maine.
- watched Star Wars for the first time.
- saw The Danish Girl, a heartbreaking and beautiful film.
- retook the StrengthsFinder test and saw that 4/5 strengths have changed since college!
- started my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge strong with six books.
In the second month of the year I....
- directed my thesis show, Almost, Maine, for the second time. It was magical.
- hosted Ryan and Claire for a weekend visit! Baylor friends in town are always a good time.
- had another special visitor: Annie came to town for the show!
- fell off the face of the blogging world.. did I mention my thesis show? ;)
- got a library card and read The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen.
- watched Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and LOVED it. It's hilarious.
- visited a friend in Tulsa to see Kinky Boots, the musical. It was fabulous.
- went to KCACTF Theatre Fest the day after my show closed. We competed and won!
- started Beatrice and Benedick, which is now one of my favorite novels ever.
- watched Leonardo DiCaprio finally win his Oscar. You go, Leo!
In the third month of the year I....
- got to drive a fancy rental car to Hope Spoken (never mind it was because my car broke down....).
- met Teresa in real life as my small group leader at Hope Spoken! What a gem!
- watched some good friends make meaningful art at a theatre festival in Dallas.
- prayed myself silly during my brother's health scare in the car of a sweet friend.
- toured Topeka with Rachel over spring break and savored the season with cupcakes.
- bought tickets to the Broadway Teachers' Workshop (basically just to see HAMILTON!).
- listened to the Pride & Prejudice audiobook narrated by Rosamund Pike, and it was perfection.
- went on a six-hour blind date and was super encouraged by a kind man of God.
- visited Magnolia for the first time on a me-date to Waco.
- treated myself to The Little Mermaid, the musical, at Dallas Summer Musicals.
- celebrated when my little brother's procedures went as well as could be expected!
- attended the Humana Festival of New American Plays with my fellow grad students.
- picked up my cap, gown, and hood making graduation oh so much more real.
In the fourth month of the year I....
- participated in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and read for 13+ hours and 1,400+ pages.
- visited the Dallas Museum of Art with Carissa.
- watched Hamlet featuring Benedict Cumberbatch for the second time. It was still brilliant.
- spent a week at home with family during a stressful period at school thanks to understanding professors.
- went to the shooting range with my dad, sister, and future-brother-in-law.
- read the Hamiltome cover to cover in one night.
- visited Antioch Norman on a rainy Sunday with sweet friends.
- went out on the town with the rest of the graduating gang in Stillwater.
- had a final, goodbye Delight Ministries Bible study, and the girls encouraged my socks off!
In the fifth month of the year I....
- graduated from Oklahoma State University with a MA in Theatre!
- dug through my testimony in the Illustrated Faith Follow Your Arrow class.
- DIY-ed a designer hat for under $20.
- survived a crazy tornado the week before I moved!
- celebrated my sister's graduation and engagement.
- re-read The Selection Series when the final book came out! I plan to re-read it in 2017, too.
- participated in the 100 Day Challenge with Bible journaling (making it around 50 days!).
- started planning the Deep in the Heart retreat with Rach!
- went to several job interviews.
- saw Ophelia Underwater, a one woman, very moving, modern take on Hamlet from Ophelia's perspective.
- visited Free Spirit Farmhouse in Fredericksburg for a gorgeous getaway weekend.
In the sixth month of the year I....
- went shopping at First Monday Canton Trade Days (a Texas MUST-do, y'all).
- helped my sister say yes to the dress!
- picnicked with Carissa on a glorious afternoon.
- saw two more plays: Bright Half Life and The Great God Pan.
- bought a new MacBook pro (after my other one tanked...).
- got new headshots taken by RoseWheat Photography!
- visited Rachel in Kansas for another glorious getaway, complete with time by the pool.
- packed up my apartment to move to Texas.
- went to a Rangers Game and saw Finding Dory with Carissa for her birthday !
- got a part-time retail job at Versona for the summer.
In the seventh month of the year I....
- celebrated the 4th of July at our annual family reunion.
- went to a Noonday Trunk Show at my high school theatre teacher's house.
- saw Shakespeare in the Park with Carissa.
- celebrated one of the sweet girls I mentored in college getting engaged!
- stage managed a production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
- watched a broadcast of Lily James and Richard Madden in Romeo and Juliet, which was phenomenal!
- visited family friends in Wimberley to take my Texas theatre teaching certification test.
- broke up with SnapChat for good.
- turned twenty-five years old!
- celebrated the big two-five with Micah in the city.
- visited New York City for the first time, seeing eight Broadway shows in six days!
- saw HAMILTON! Oh my stars, what an incredible experience!
- attended the Broadway Teachers' Workshop with Claire and Kelly.
- answered 73 Questions at 25 to document the day.
- FINALLY GOT A POST-GRAD JOB TEACHING HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE!
- found an apartment in my new town.
In the eighth month of the year I....
- moved to my new city and started unpacking my new apartment.
- found a new church and small group!
- decorated my classroom.
- started teaching high school theatre and picked my first show to direct.
- made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons.
- spent most of my time figuring out how to (and how not to do) my new job.
In the ninth month of the year I....
- hosted The 3rd Annual Blog-tember Challenge!
- abandoned my first show and started a second one (all while having strep).
- watched my students love Shakespeare and These Shining Lives.
- pleaded with Instagram to find me a basket at Target then met sweet April when I picked it up!
- saw a fantastic new play called The Revolutionists with Lindsay after delicious dinner of crepes.
- put finishing touches on my apartment and finished unpacking.
- made all the florals for my sister's wedding.
In the tenth month of the year I....
- recovered from hosting The 3rd Annual Blog-tember Challenge ;)
- went to Silobration (Part I, Part II) at Magnolia with Rachel, and it was a divine evening.
- completed the 101 Goals in 1001 Days Challenge!
- opened my first high school play! These Shining Lives was a success and, according to faculty and students, the best show ever done at this school.
- went to Austin and was a "model" for Hagen-Daas Ice cream with Steph ;)
- went to Baylor Homecoming with friends.
- had a fun-run of our show with my students that made me laugh so hard I cried.
- hosted my sister's first bridal shower.
- won the door decorating contest for Red Ribbon Week at my school.
- decorated for Christmas!
In the eleventh month of the year I....
- went to Las Vegas for my best friend's wedding!
- voted by mail in the 2016 election.
- got my 2017 PowerSheets!
- finished decorating for Christmas.
- threw my sister a Bachelorette party.
- started the Christmas Tree Confessions series on my Insta Stories.
- picked my word of the year for 2017: SIMPLIFY.
- started the Entrusted Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore with Annie.
- celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends.
- surprised Peyton by showing up at her play in Stillwater unexpectedly.
- spent time with sweet friends from grad school.
- completed my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge with time to spare!
- took my students to Texas Thespians for a convention/competition plus a visit to Baylor.
In the twelfth month of the year I....
- finished our time at Texas Thespians with a new nickname: Mama Duck. Long story ;)
- completed my duties as Maid of Honor and celebrated my sister on her wedding day!
- successfully survived my first semester of teaching high school theatre.
- cut our spring show, Proof by David Auburn, down from 72 pages to 27.
- started on my 2017 PowerSheets goal prep.
- went to Santa's Wonderland with sweet new friends from Lifegroup.
- overcame some fears and rode the mechanical bull at Santa's Wonderland...
- went to my students' choir concert/dinner and SO enjoyed it!
- hosted a girls' night at my apartment for a few fellow teachers.
- celebrated Christ's birth with my family for Christmas.
- had a wonderful post-Christmas breakfast and day of reading/outdoor shenanigans with Carissa.
- retreated at my apartment to rest and reflect, finishing The Crown and starting This Is Us.
- finished preparations for the Deep in the Heart retreat this weekend!
- celebrated the release of the Illustrated Faith Devotional that I WROTE!
Looking back, a lot of really good things happened. There were so many sweet moments and gifts along the way, and I'd much prefer to linger on these than to let the cloud of difficult moments overshadow them. I know 2016 has been hard for many of us, so I encourage you to do the same. Take some time to list the good. Write it out. Put it on paper in front of you. It was a healthy dose of perspective for me at least.
What did YOU make happen in 2016?
What were some of the highlights of this year gone by?
I'd love to know!