Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Best of 2016

Only one more day to go for this year. I often times cannot believe how fast the days go by (even though there are moments it feels they are dragging.)
 Honestly, the saying is true that the older you get, the quicker time passes. This year has really been a very good year for me personally.
 Yes, there have been struggles. But what is life if there aren't any? Struggles bring growth and growth brings opportunities. So, today I just have some photos of the Best of 2016. I will tell you that I have found myself taking WAY more photos this year! And while that may at times annoy or intrigue those around me, I love it because now that the year is wrapping up, I can truly find all the best moments I chose to document in pictures.
  I could share the messy moments, too, but I don't usually photograph those. And I think I am real enough through the year about my hard days that today I just want to dwell on the best. I chose the word Strong as my word for the year, not knowing what would come along with that.
   I neglected to share one thing about that in depth, so I will close with this (brief) description and then show you my favorites/bests of the year.

  In January, I chose to do a word study through the Bible on the word Strong. I wanted to see what the One who matters most- God- had to say about strength. That time of study was one of the most eye-opening and heart shifting times I experienced in my perspective of strength. It's not about me. It never is. It's about putting my trust in the One who can give me strength.
 He will help me rise on wings like eagles. (I don't take credit of getting through the day of anxiety attacks and hardships. Only He gets me through those.)
  I can do ALL things through His strength, not mine. (going back to school took a lot of courage on my part, but I can only do it through Him because resources and time are limited, but He helps me to do ALL things)
    But the verse that became the most vital to me became 2 Corinthians 12:9 (or 8-10) which says
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will gladly boast all the more about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

  That is why I am OK with fighting anxiety and sharing about it- because I would rather boast about his power in me than pretend I am fine and not allow His story to be told through my life. That is why I am OK with who I am, and not just Ok with me, but embracing who I am. That is why I have grown so much this year. Because this verse became my theme. It's not about me or about my own strength. Yes, it is good for me to work on those things, but really, HE is the one who provides all that and realizing that and relying on Him for it truly brings a strength that is supernatural and unexplainable. And one I am learning to embrace in a very real way.

  Now.... here are the best moments of the year.
Bethlehem, PA. Great Times. Good Race. Great Company. Good learning. 
My best finish time in 2016 came from this race, The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, but the snow, sleet, hail and rain that happened in MAY made this race be my most memorable of the year. 

My favorite photo this year with Paola in Colombia. It's my favorite photo because when I see this, that smile is one of the most genuine smiles and sums me up pretty well. The real me. :) 

My Second Favorite photo of the year. We were all exhausted and worn out, but the race was a success, and our leader left an impact on me and the event's completion marked another time of growth for me. I love my little work family. 

God gave me a new best friend this year. Paula has become an answer to my prayer. 

It is hard to find a better cup of coffee than in a country where it actually grows. Yum. And this girl knows coffee- trust me. I can so often be found at Starbucks or traveling with a cup in my hand. 

Best surprise ever when my best friends from Florida showed up at my 5K in June. I had no idea they were coming! (Side note- these 2 ALSO showed up at the airport in Miami to greet our team upon coming back from Colombia.)

This photo sums us up well. He's never serious and I'm always trying to get him to be. It's very hard to get a good photo. We celebrate 15 years this year.  

Best discovery this year- my TRX class and people 

Best photo of me and my son, Joseph. Finishing one of his Cross Country meets. #ProudMom

One of my favorite moments with my daughter this year. Going to see the Lion King. 

Best "Yes" this year. I finally began my journey to get my college degree.

 As I say goodbye to 2016, it has been a beautiful year. I look forward to what 2017 will bring. One day at a time. 

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