Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ciao 2013! I hope you like photos!

My, my. I feel like I blinked and it was already December 31st! The past two months have flown by so quickly. Then again, this whole year has gone by so fast.

I swear this blog is NOT shutting down. I won't even mention the word hiatus. I owe you so many more thoughts, recipes, and ideas! Thank you all for sticking with me all this time.

With that being said, I decided to look back on the past twelve months. My initial thought was "2013?! Gone?! Good riddence!" I mean within one year, I almost risked losing my Father, was diagnoses with an in-curable disease, took a deep dive into depression, and lost three family pets. All this while struggling to keep my strength and energy. Needless to say, I first had nothing but bad thoughts about this past year.

I thought a few more seconds though and realized that's not how I want this year to end. I don't want any year to end with such negative energy. And surely none of you deserve reading a blog tainted with darkness. So, I began looking into what GOOD happened in 2013. Here's what I came up with:

Within the first few months of this year, I realized how important my Dad is to me. While I would never wish bad on his health, I am thankful that it forced me into accepting myself and my relationship with him. Watching his quick recovery as we began bonding again was icing on the cake! For the first time in a very long time, I spent a weekend full of giving thanks with my Father.
We even visited my Grandma Swanson. Don't they look great?!
Oh, I should also mention I shot a gun for the first time!... Still scared of them.
I have no idea who was foolish enough to think I should have a rifle.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude that I'm given more time on this earth with my Dad. I'm also awe struck of my family's strength and my friends' love. I even learned there are a lot of people out there who know me more than I know myself. It's been a very humbling experience.

If there's any needed proof that I am related to my family, it's that I now have ulcerated colitis. My first initial reaction to the diagnosis was to fiercely scream at some higher power for awful timing. "Incurable" is such a disgusting word. The thought of taking pills for the rest of my life and praying for remission is so daunting. I have to be honest with myself though. I have four immediate family members that have some form of IBD, including two with ulcerated colitis. So we all knew there was a risk. In fact I'm lucky that I've lived as long as I have without it. Other family members were diagnoses with it in their teens... and had to have surgery. Thankfully that was decades ago and I can take full advantage of modern medical advancements!

... If you couldn't tell, I've had to work really hard on convincing myself there is some good in that.

I can't quite explain how or why it happened, but something snapped halfway through the year. I greatly doubted my capabilities and became unhappy with my life. I quickly turned to beat myself up because really, what do I have to be depressed about? That creates an awful cycle though. I'm thankful for this challenge because it forced me into figuring out why I was unhappy. Today I cannot quite say exactly what made me so upset, but I am pleased with what happened when I searched to find it.

Frankly, due to certain actions (including my own) I didn't think I did a very good job producing. And that turned into dreading work. Thanks to a summer class and good friends, I identified my strengths and weaknesses. Then through a lot of work (and heartbreak) I strove to change those weaknesses. While I still have a way to go, (you learn something new every day) I've improved through out the past few months. Also due to my producer class, I learned I wasn't alone and developed a great network of colleagues.
Thanks Poynter Producer Project! You all rock!
When you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. I got to a point that I had to address certain relationship at work. Which for me, is a difficult struggle. I hate conflict. I'm also awful at responding to negative statements, even if it is constructional criticism. So, I made the mistake of turning my head downward and not saying anything at all. But, as I said, I got to a point where there was no where else to go. I also realized that if I say nothing, I never allow anyone to better understand "my side." So I took awhile to "predict" the conversation and began tackling those relationships. Mind you I said bad relationships. I have great coworkers. I couldn't ask for better coworkers. Our relationships just needed to be adjusted. I personally just let it get to such a tragic point. Months later, I can say I'm pleased by the outcome! Not only do I have a better connection with those colleagues, but I've gained invaluable lessons. I learned that as long as you handle an issue with grace and professionalism, there's no excuse to not confront it. I also learned a lot about certain coworkers and believe they know me better as well.
Quick shout out: I couldn't of done any of this without my great friend Heather (Right). AND who better to learn about the management of a newsroom than THE Patti Dennis From KUSA?!
That leaves one last chip on the shoulder. Both my husband and I lost the last of our childhood pets: the immortal felines. Lawson's family cat, Sasha, and my two cats Whoopi & Chopin needed help to reach their eternal slumber this year. All three were old and very sick. In our families, pets are family, so it was very difficult to say goodbye. All three had great lives though. We also saved them from a lot of pain. We also have the faith that they now get to be with the other animals they grew up with.  Never the less I already miss their smooth fur, soft purrs, and sweet companionship. They all have a place in my heart. I miss them dearly.

So there it is. The worst parts of my 2013. It brought a lot of challenges. And yet I couldn't be more thankful for the end results. I haven't even gotten into the best parts of my 2013. Needless to say it involved a lot of train rides...
I took more train rides this year than in my entire life.
And a lot of car rides...

And even some flights!

I saw so many amazing people that I love dearly!
There's too many photos to share- so here's cute one of Lawson & me!
I got to see some unbelievable sites.
Not sure which is more breath-taking: So. IL Garden of the Gods or that Dad recovered so well that he came to see it with me.
I even traveled in time with a best friend!
Oh yeah, we're that cool.
And that's just skimming the surface! There were so many good things that happened in 2013. This has truly been an inspiring year.  I can honestly say I have no regrets.

Yet another blessing I can hang my hat on? All of you! I'm ever so grateful that you all have hung in for this sporadic roller coaster that I call my life. I don't know how we did it but Limelight Musings has more than 7,500 views from all over the world! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

So... how do you plan to remember 2013?

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