2011 in Review

As 2011 rapidly draws to a close, now is the time to reflect on the last year and prepare for a new one. I’m in a place of meditation these days, recalling the journey of the last twelve months and contemplating it’s meaning and significance. So, rather than doing a ‘Year in Review’ post focused simply on events that occurred, I’ve been inspired to take a deeper look at the last year and all it held.

As I was writing out some of my ideas, I ran across a great post over at Get Busy Living. Benny created a great starting list of questions to prompt further thought into your assessment of your year. I loved it so much I’ve decided to use it and share it here. Go check out the post and download the worksheet to create your own year in review.

Overall, 2011 was a year of growth. Although it seemed slow in many parts and I often felt like I was simply treading water, a closer look back reveals that the water was moving me along, even when I wasn’t able to see how much closer I had traveled to shore. I’m thankful for the journey of the past year, for both it’s waves and it’s stillness, and I am looking forward to paddling farther this upcoming year.

Here’s to 2012. Let’s make it great. <3


2011 in Review

10 (11 because I can’t narrow it down) greatest things that happened in the past year:
1. Bought and moved into the perfect new home for our little family of two.
2. Organized and participated in the 5,000th mile for Drum Hike as Troy came through our town and honored The Hubs’ memory.
3. Took an epic trip with my sister to see Lady Gaga and have some much-needed and long-awaited sister bonding.
4. Began volunteering for the EOD Memorial Foundation as the Legacy Committee Chairperson.
5. Took a great two-week trip to Utah and Montana to visit my then-someone and had some amazing moments seeing the beauty of nature.
6. Took another amazing trip to California to meet some amazing women who have become dear friends and participate in Camp Widow.
7. Enjoyed the first semester of Music Together with Little Man and watched his love of music grow.
8. Took another, more spontaneous yet equally as awesome, trip to Colorado with Little Guy and spent time with a great person.
9. And took yet another trip, this time taking my mother on her dream trip to the mountains of Tennessee over Thanksgiving.
10. Spent time with Uncle after he returned home from his first deployment.
11. Celebrated Little Man’s 3rd birthday and joined in his joy of the first Christmas he was truly ‘involved’ in.

I am most proud of these three accomplishments from last year:
1. Overcoming shyness and breaking through barriers to get more involved in things that mean a lot to me.
2. Devoting time to giving to others and creating precious memories with those closest to my heart.
3. Learning more about myself as I stepped up, took charge of my grief journey, and made the changes I needed to in order to truly focus on improving myself, my current situation, and my grip on my future.

Three great lessons I’ve learned from last year are:
1. Don’t compromise on what you truly want out of life simply because something else might be easier or provide quicker gratification.
2. You have to be aware of what you want in order to begin working toward it.
3. If you are feeling alone, it is most likely because you are putting yourself in your own cage. You have break through your own barriers to begin connecting with others, both spiritually and physically, and the life around you.

Three personal developments I have made in the past year are:
1. Found a little more peace with the loss of The Hubs and began training myself to focus more on what we/he had instead of what what was taken from us.
2. Began to understand that I can be alright on my own, that loneliness won’t kill you even if you think it will, and that love will be in my future again someday.
3. Finally let go of the anger I had toward God and let Him back into my life, discovering a deeper spiritual relationship than I’ve ever had before.

If I could do things again last year, I would do these three things differently:
1. Let go of control sooner and been more present in the daily moments of life.
2. Yet, took more control in other areas and began setting my own pace for life.
3. Handled some things differently in a relationship.

Three things I need to do less of in the next year are:
1. Feeling sorry for myself.
2. Indulging in self-sabotaging poor habits that hold me back from things I want to achieve.
3. Being afraid of putting myself out there and creating a new life.

Three (four, because I need all of them) things I need to do more of in the next year are:
1. Travel!! I know, I did quite a bit of traveling in 2011, but I have declared 2012 the ‘Year of Exploration’ and I intend to take many trips and visit many places. It’s good for my soul and I want to experience while I can.
2. Exercise. I still haven’t lost those last few pesky pounds and I’ve realized just how much it actually bothers me. I intend to get into the best shape of my life so I can keep up with all I want to do and feel better in my own skin.
3. Cherish and truly LIVE every moment. Enjoy the small things, soak up even the most minute beauties, and be mindfully aware of and grateful for every blessing that comes my way and every opportunity I have to make a moment amazing for myself or someone else.
4. Take more time for myself. For many reasons (that deserve a whole post of their own, hmm), I struggle with allowing myself to take time away from Little Man and do things for ME. I now see how much I truly need that, for my sake *and* for his.

Three things I need to stop completely doing in the next year are:
1. Indulging in one particular bad habit that I know is not good for me yet I do it anyway.
2. Falling prey to the blues/deep valleys/the ‘sluggishness/laziness’ that follows. I’ve struggled with depression for the greater part of my life and by now I know my triggers, so I hope to see it coming, ward it off, and push forward.
3. Being SO terrible with the phone!!! It’s a characteristic of mine that all of my friends and family are aware of, and it is costing me friendships and chances to connect deeper with people I love.

Three reasons I didn’t achieve my goals from this past year are:
1. I didn’t have any goals. I didn’t make them, nor did I think I was deserving of doing so.
2. I was too afraid.
3. I was too caught up in my own pain and looking too deeply into the past, instead of the future.

Three goals I want to achieve this next year are:
1. Finally discover what I was put on this Earth to do, what I am meant for, what my gifts are and where I am supposed to use them.
2. Develop a deeper sense of self, learn to love who that person is, and allow her to do and be what she desires, without fear of judgement or making mistakes.
3.Take risks. Go higher and farther. Push past boundaries. Put myself out there.

Three reasons why I want to achieve these goals are:
1. Because I deserve them.
2. Because Little Man deserves the best me I can give him.
3. Because life is fleeting and you only get one chance to live…

Smartest decision I made last year:
Stepping away from emotions and dependencies that were holding me back from becoming and having everything I want out of life.

Biggest risk I took last year:
Buying a house when I already owned one! Becoming a two-mortgage holder was terrifying and is still a challenge!

One sentence that sums up this past year:
The past year has been a time of perceived stagnation yet immense growth, a period of gut-wrenching hills and valleys, all the while learning a very valuable lesson: to allow yourself to deeply feel and experience each one, no matter how painful or fleeting it may be.

One year from right now, I want to my ideal day to look like this:
Sipping coffee with someone I love while watching a beautiful sunrise over a mountain blanketed with snow, awaiting Little Man to awake and begin a day filled with laughter, exploration, and some sort of new experience, after which I treasure the most precious hugs and “I love you, goodnight Mommy!” from my then-four-year-old and settle in for an evening spent by the side of someone who fits the missing piece and whose relationship with me enhances both of our lives, all the while knowing that I am right in line with God’s plan for my life and am accomplishing the things out of life that I want to achieve.


Not asking for much, am I? ;) Like I said, 2012 is my year of ‘owning it’. I intend to grab it by the horns and hold on for dear life. Dear, dear life…I will love you again. I hope all of you reading this will too. <3


jen de jong

Love this! And if you want to explore Amish Country, as of February (we hope!), we’ll have a place for you (and H!) to stay here in Ohio!

Ashley Allison

Great post and review of 2011!

Stephanie Richardson

Once again, YOU AMAZE ME WITH ALL OF YOUR STRENGTH and WILL!! I’m not a widow but know what it’s like to have “a Loved One(my baby) Leave Way To Early.”
You inspire me more then most people because of the way you deal with grief. My sad time was back in 1989. Still to this day, I have not been able to cry and grieve. This probably wouldn’t effect me this bad if I could have another child. Due to having a list of birth defects, it’s not possible to adopt a child.
So much for talking about me. YOU JUST BRIGHTEN MY DAY WHEN I READ YOUR POSTS. Before I close, HARRISON MAKES ME SMILE, LAUGH and GET HAPPY TEARS from just by looking at all the pictures his Mommy takes.
Hope this text didn’t bother you. That was not my intention. Thank you for your friendship on facebook. GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF US!!

Hi Erin,

I came over from my blog because I saw you had linked from it. I’m glad I came over. You have a beautiful way with words. Especially how you described your ideal day in the last part.

You are a strong woman who had to overcome so much. You are an inspiration for many women and men!

I’m happy your 2011 was good and hope you get to travel as much as you can in 2012!


Thank you for your kind words, Benny! And thanks for the visit. I hope your year is excellent too! :)

[…] else on this blog, I prefer a much more personal approach. The guideline questions I used last year were spot on, so I’m using them again. (Visit Get Busy Living and download the worksheet to […]

[…] for my annual year-in-review. I big-puffy-heart this tradition (check out my 2011 and 2012 in review, or download the worksheet to write your own) of reflecting on the past twelve […]

[…] been so busy, i haven’t had a chance to complete my annual year-in-review yet (see 2011, 2012 and 2013 in review). it just didn’t fit with what i was doing on new year’s eve […]

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