Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reflecting on 2014

Well, my plan was to share my year-end blog post on the last day of the year.  I should know better than to make any kind of plan!  I ended up getting sick with a cold and that's what I've been dealing with all month.

Everything happens for a reason.  I now believe this was a sign to share my blog post on Stephanie's birthday, which is today.  So often she is the inspiration behind what I do, so it seems fitting to share with you some of my highlights of 2014 on her birthday.

1.  Craft Fairs - It wasn't long ago when I said I would never be a vendor at a craft fair.  What was I thinking?  I'll tell you what I was thinking.  I was thinking about all of the reasons why I shouldn't even try.

Well, at the beginning of 2014 I set a new goal and that was to be a vendor at at least three craft fairs.  I realized that this would not only be a way to grow my business, but more importantly grow as a person.  It was way out of my comfort zone, but truthfully it was something I really wanted to do.  Even when I set this goal, however, I put limits on myself.  I said, "Okay, I'll do the craft fairs, but only indoor ones."

Clearly a Higher Power was in the process of working out other plans for me.  Again, I should know better than to make a plan.  Lol.

You see, my teammates were preparing for a huge outdoor craft fair in May.  I didn't sign up for the craft fair ahead of time due to the fact that it wasn't indoors.  As that day quickly approached some vendors backed out for various reasons and there were open slots.  I closely monitored the weather in the days leading up to the craft fair and I finally said, "Okay, I'll do it!"  There were open slots and the weather was predicted to be SPECTACULAR.  It just felt like the right thing to do...even if the big day was only a few days away.

I truly amazed myself with how quickly I pulled this together.  My teammates offered advice and encouragement.  The fact that they made it clear they really wanted me there helped a great deal.  I would not have done it if I didn't feel their support.

My first craft fair was a huge success simply because I did it.  I sold one item, and it was a special one.  It was a medical bracelet attachment I made with beads from Stephanie's collection.  I learned a lot from participating in this craft fair, but the most important lesson was I CAN do it.  I don't know when I'll do another outdoor craft fair again, but I certainly won't say I'll never do it.  My mind is open and I'm up for anything.

2.  Smoothies - In the summer of 2014 smoothies became a regular part of my diet.  I used to attempt to make smoothies in my blender, but it was such a hassle to clean up (I created quite a big mess sometimes) that I lost the desire to even try anymore.

That is until I discovered the Nutri Bullet.  This little appliance has changed my life.  Since purchasing the Nutri Bullet I've had a smoothie for breakfast almost every day.  The Nutri Bullet is easy to use and easy to clean.  The smoothies I make with it are healthy and filling.  I rarely need a snack between breakfast and lunch anymore.  I also enjoy the creativity that goes into making a smoothie.  I wake up thinking, "Hmmmmm....what masterpiece can I create today?"  I usually start with frozen fruit (most often it's mixed berries).  Next I add baby spinach leaves, which I keep frozen so they won't wilt.  Then I add some kind of nut or nut butter, hemp seeds, oat bran, yogurt, cinnamon, turmeric, and either milk or coconut water (sometimes both). 

While I'm on the topic of drinks, I should note that the last time I had a soda was April 30th, 2014.  Since then I've had one serving of sparkling punch, one serving of sparkling lemonade, and a few servings of regular fresh lemonade.  Other than that it's been all home-brewed unsweetened tea or just plain water.  While I do crave lemonade and soda sometimes, my cravings are not as strong and frequent as they used to be.  Actually, now that I think about it, I have no desire to drink lemonade.  Yuck.  Too sweet.

Christmas in July Scarf
3.  Knitting - Every year in memory of Stephanie I like to "bring something to life".  In 2011 I opened StringtownBeads .  In 2012 I reintroduced my updated blog.  In 2013 I created a lyric video in her memory.  In 2014 I learned something completely knew.  I learned how to knit (sort of).  You can read all about my non-knitter confessions here.

4.  Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida - In 2014 I participated in not one, but two of these events!  The event has grown so much that we expanded to cover more areas of the region.  With the two events combined my team raised $2,325!  We exceeded our goal of raising $2,000 and we raised more money than last year!  The Spina Bifida's mission is to promote the prevention of Spina Bifida and to enhance the lives of all affected by it.  Since I was born with Spina Bifida and I have friends who were born with Spina Bifida, this is an important cause to me.

5.  Ice Skating - For as long as I can remember I have always loved to watch ice skating.  It's my favorite sport in the Olympics and I also love to watch the general public skate at Rockefellar Center in New York.  It gives me a sense of freedom to watch people skate.  Skating has always been something I wanted to do and more importantly it's always been something I believed one day I would do.  I even wrote a poem that included the line, "How I'd love to show the world the beauty in my figure 8."  I just never knew how and when.

Above:  a pin I've had since I was growing up.  
Bottom:  the skates I wore my first time skating.  

I had the pin in my pocket that day.
Coincidentally, my dream becoming reality began to unfold at the Walk-N-Roll for Spina Bifida in October when I briefly mentioned to a friend that I've always wanted to ice skate.  After a couple of weeks she contacted me to let me know she spoke with the management of a local ice rink and they said it would be fine for me to skate during the toddler time when the pace is a lot slower than usual.  My dream became reality the day after Thanksgiving.

I was very nervous, but also very excited that morning.  Driving to the arena I still wasn't sure how this was going to happen, but simply having the opportunity to even try was an amazing feeling.  It was one of those rare days when it was sunny, but snowing at the same time.

I'll never forget how it felt to stand on skates for the first time ever.  I imagine that is what walking on air would feel like.  I had friends hold me up on each side as I walked to the ice rink.  With a lot of help, for the first time ever I stepped onto the ice.  I didn't feel stable going any further and to some just standing there for a few seconds might seem small, but for me it was a major accomplishment and dream come true.  Eventually I sat on a chair and my friends pushed me around the ice rink.  I tried to simulate the skating experience by keeping my skates on the ice and making my own version of figure 8's.  I need to work on it.  I would very much like to go ice skating again.  I am definitely not done with it.

I feel good about everything I accomplished in 2014, but I'm even more excited about what lies ahead.  I hope you'll join me on my journey through 2015!  It's going to be another a great year!!

Happy Birthday, Stephanie!  Best Friends Forever!


  1. Thank you for sharing your life. Your devotion and determination are inspiring. :)