December 31, 2016

My 2016.

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE! What a crazy, exciting time of year and I can't even believe the beginning of January is about to hit us!

For someone in my shoes, the months of October to December are nuts. I say "in my shoes" because I'm a Canadian who married an American and is living in America. Therefore, in October Jarryd and I celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, in November we celebrate American Thanksgiving, in December we celebrate Christmas, and now we celebrate New Years Eve/Day! There are four major holidays all within the span of three months for us! (Thank goodness Christmas is the only holiday where gift-giving is expected, or else we'd be sooo broke!)

Last night in the car, Jarryd and I were just talking about how great of a year 2016 was for us. Thankfully, and I say this with a truly grateful heart, nothing drastic or tragic occurred in our lives. (Thank you, God!) We both conquered some things we wanted to conquer, and accomplished things we never even dreamed we'd accomplish. But, there's also things we wish we would have done more of, or wish we would have done less of. Obviously our lives aren't perfect and therefore our year wasn't perfect. But overall, despite how exhausting and busy the year may have been for us, 2016 really was a good year.
I'd say this blog post is less of a "look at all of my accomplishments" and more of a "look what I have so much to be thankful to God for"--like a praise report. God is good, He has totally provided for us in ways that we constantly take for granted and in ways that are unseen. 💗

Our 2016 actually began in Canada, when we were visiting friends and family for the Christmas holidays; and there's no better way to begin the year! Despite not wanting to leave Canada and go back to Maryland, I remember feeling very optimistic about the new year. I remember one of my biggest resolution was to find a full-time job and reach financial goals with Jarryd. At the time I was working at a job that was only part-time and just not good for me (if you ever find yourself at a job that gives you major anxiety every single day--get out)! So the month of January (around the time that Winter Storm Jonas hit) was spent job hunting! 

At the beginning of February I got hired at a full-time job, one with fantastic benefits and fantastic hours (well, according to "morning people" they're fantastic. According to Jenny they are death!). This is the job I'm presently at and I can't even believe that in just over a month I'll be there one year already! I really do feel like time moves faster when you're working at a full-time job, probably because you have less time to think about the speed of time moving, right? I think I too often forget how HAPPY I was to be hired onto the job I have now, I was so excited and grateful--a full-time job with stable hours is something I had prayed for for years and I finally got it! Almost a year in, this thankfulness is something I really need to remember.

Also in February I had the biggest urge to make chocolate covered strawberries. Other than it happening to be Valentines Day around the corner, I honestly have no idea what inspired this, but I wanted to make them, photograph them, and write a blog post all about them. I remember spending HOURS on the whole thing. After posting it to social media, the positive feedback I received was astronomical!! It encouraged me SO much to believe that I could really do this!! That I could totally pursue baking, food photography, and blogging if I really pushed myself enough! But it was more than just people's encouragement that heightened my desires to pursue this, it was the fact that baking was one of the few activities in my life that I could totally lose myself in; lose track of time, lose my anxieties, and lose my worries. It's FUN for me. 👍
With the blessed financial help of my full-time job, we were finally able to afford buying me a--pink--KitchenAid stand mixer and other baking supplies like more pricey ingredients, piping tips, piping bags, flower nails, cake boxes, bowls, ect. And soon after practicing with cookies, muffins, cupcakes, cakes, ect, I began getting cake orders--yes, people who actually wanted to pay money for my baked goods! Baking for baby showers, get-togethers, parties, holidays, and even WEDDINGS was a huge accomplishment for me! So since February, you could say I've been baking steadily ever since, for others and also just for my own practice/appetite. (haha!)
The negative voices in my head are like you could have done WAY more baking in that amount of time, your portfolio isn't very long at all, you're lazy, you're a fraud, blah blah blah. But first of all, in my defence, trying to build a baking portfolio outside of a full-time job and other regular "life" engagements is exhausting if you don't give yourself time to rest (especially for someone like me who burns out real easily!) And second of all, those negative voices should NEVER be listened to! Those are the voices trying to make you feel like a failure and discourage you from pursuing your dreams so you'll end up accomplishing nothing at all. In full disclosure, I'm extremely proud of myself for the culinary portfolio I've built--sometimes I can't even believe I did all that! Sure, I wish I could have done more, but for the amount of time I had I think I did pretty good for myself.
So, in honour of all this baking, I decided to create a gallery page here on my blog, a portfolio, showcasing all of my the desserts and savoury dishes I've created this year that I am most proud of! (I'd love it if you'd check it out and leave a comment there letting me know what you think!! Feedback is always greatly appreciated, friends!)
Also, in 2016 I joined a women's bible study group at church called a "Freedom Group". This was absolutely huge for me and my relationship with God. Meeting with these ladies once a week and then the Freedom Retreat at the end really helped me to let go of alot of damaging hurts/feelings from over the years and give it all to God. I remember thinking at the retreat how I've always wanted to find a reason for why God wanted me here in Maryland--what was my purpose to be living here so far from my familiar life back home in Canada? And I do think a huge reason was so that I could attend this Freedom Group and transform my relationship with God. It was amazing, you guys! If your church has Freedom Groups or even just Bible studies, I encourage you to check them out. Believe me, if I can show up at a Bible study without knowing a single soul there, then you can too!
2016 was also a big year for traveling! (Then again, every single year of my life is a big year for traveling. Haha!)
In April we headed up to New Jersey for a good friend's wedding!
In June we drove up to Honeybrook, PA for our two year wedding anniversary!
Also in June we drove to Washington D.C. for a Nationals game!
In July we flew to Birmingham, Alabama to celebrate 4th of July Weekend with really good friends.
They also surprised me with a day-trip to NASHVILLE!!
In August my parents and my brother flew down from Manitoba to Maryland to stay with Jarryd and I!! It was such a fun weekend!! We showed them local Pennsylvania, Maryland, some Delaware, New York City of course, and Gettysburg!! It was so awesome to have them here and to show them a little glimpse of our lives here in the USA.
In September we took a little day-trip to St. Michaels, MD with Jarryds parents. It was extra special because it was where they went on their honeymoon, many moons ago!
In October Jarryd and I flew home to Canada for Canadian Thanksgiving, which was such an amazing trip; I got to meet all of my friends' new babies, my new niece, hang out with my parents and siblings, go fourwheeling with friends, and try my first macarons at Jenna Rae Cakes.

And lastly, in November we spent a night in NYC with our friends and got to explore the city in all it's Christmas glory!!

In 2016 Jarryd, my athletic husband of mine, became the assistant coach of a high school boys soccer team! I was and still am so stinkin' proud because he's so good at what he does. You guys, I was so dedicated that I'd go to his games, not knowing anyone, and just sit by myself watching and having the time of my life. (The angry and rowdy soccer moms and dads were also a very entertaining aspect of the game.) It was super cool to see Jarryd in his element like that, and I can't wait for what the future has in store for him in regards to coaching!

In December, we celebrated our third Christmas together as hubs and wifey, and got to spend the Christmas weekend with Jarryds family which is a huge blessing. I can't imagine not having any family around to celebrate Christmas with. (To read more about this, just keep scrollin' through to the next post!)

As for 2017, I'm feeling really optimistic, probably more excited for a new year than I ever have before, and I'm not totally sure why... maybe because I have all these big dreams and plans that could actually be brought into fruition next year. Who knows? Well, God knows, and it's my prayer to seek His wisdom in all of this! I'm sure you'd love to hear all about my dreams and aspirations for the new year, but I think for now I'll just share it with my new Heavenly Planner (by Horacio Printing), and God of course. 
SO, Happy New Years, friends!! And 2017, I can't wait to see you tomorrow (hopefully without this dreadful cough and runny nose)!

1 comment:

  1. have you written in your planner yet? I think it would be too intimidating.. its too pretty to write in.