2016: Year in Review

With 2016 coming to a close, I always become reflective during this time of year.  This seasonal contemplation always strikes me the most at the end of each calendar year (and at my birthday, too).  It’s a good time, I guess, to slow down, think about what went well, what could have been improved upon, and how I want to move forward.  I did not write an annual letter this year to include in my family’s holiday greeting cards, so, hey, why not share one here?!  As a matter of fact, as one of my 2016 lofty “ideals,” I promised myself that I would blog more.  That did not happen.  But, so many other things did, indeed, happen!! 

As a creative entrepreneur, I find myself - many times - overwhelmed with ideas.  One such idea hit me hard - square in the heart at first - and then aligned well with my brain.  The idea to start a girls only summer camp from home stemmed from the desire to get my own girls enrolled in a summer camp.  But where?  I ruminated about costs, course offerings, travel time/distance, carefully weighing all the pros/cons and decided it would be best all around for me to open my own camp.  So, I did!  It wasn’t such a big stretch for me since I did run an in-home daycare years ago when Alanna was a toddler, before Emilia joined our growing family.  It was the Busy Bees Montessori Daycare, so, naturally, I stuck with the Busy Bee theme and developed an enriching program with the central idea of:  what’s most appealing, important, valuable, enjoyable for young girls?  The Busy Bees Summer Camp for Girls opened in late June and finished mid August (for a total of 6 non-consecutive weeks).  I think it’s safe to say that everyone that joined us was happy with the program offerings:  art, crafts, yoga, meditation, group-minded games, journaling, swimming, healthy activities in a safe, creative environment.  I loved it!!  It was a wonderful experience for myself and my girls.  We plan to do it again next summer!

In the spring of 2016, I completed a year of teaching preschool for a lively, super-sweet class of fourteen 3-year-olds at Robeson Lutheran Preschool!  What a time it was!  Those little ones filled my cup up each and every day we were together.  I had a wonderful aide by my side and a terrific team of teachers to receive encouragement from.  I won’t tell you that it was all fairy dust and roses, for every teacher out there will call my bluff!!  But I did give it my all; I sang everyday; I got hugs everyday; I had a chance to play everyday; those little ones are forever imprinted on my heart!  The plaque hanging in my office that says “Teaching is a Work of Heart” is the most truest statement ever to be made.  I decided to take a pass (this time around) on full-time teaching in the new school year, though.  As much as I loved it and devoted myself to my students, I have many other things, people in my life that needed to take precedence.  I am, however, still with the preschool as their “Building Substitute Teacher.”  I do believe this to be one of the best roles I could have been given at this time in my life.  I get to see everyone at school, including my past students (and get lots of hugs).  I get a chance to play with the kids, help the teachers/aides, do crafty projects, and then go home feeling rejuvenated!  I’ll take it!  

My portrait photography business is thriving as I close out my sixth year and begin my seventh!  Lucky 7!!  From one year to the next, I never know how things are going to go, maybe that’s because I’m so emotionally invested in my work, that I have to force myself to let go of the reigns on expectations, preferring instead the serendipitous means to an end.  You know, when God winks your way?  That’s what I love and work towards.  I have to say how wonderful this year was for my photography business.  Not only did I shoot more, meet more interesting people, branch out in new ways, honed in on my skills and cemented my style, I designed a new website and logo for myself, too.  I also learned many valuable lessons and how to improve my business going forward.  All of this would not be possible without the generous support of my client-friends.  I am deeply honored to have had such a successful year - all because of your trust and friendship - some new and many returning to me over the years.  I am grateful beyond any words I could ever write in this blog or in thank-you cards.  I want you to know that each and every one of you, past, present and future, client-friends are a part of my heart always.  Yes, I’m sappy like that.  It’s just who I am.  Not gonna apologize either.  :)  Thank you! 

My family life is busier than ever!  I am a lucky woman as my husband works so diligently and makes sacrifices so that his girls are well taken care of, affording me the flexibility to start up ventures of my own.  I am fortunate and grateful to him for all he does on so many levels for all of his family, including his mother and brothers.  My guy is the rock that holds our foundation firmly in place.  He learned well from his own father.  Geez, how’d I get so lucky?!!  My Kurt is doing well and keeps busy with his work and projects around our home, like putting in an above ground swimming pool this past summer with the terrific help and smarts of our dear friend, Leroy (aka “Woody”).  Props, Woody!!  We loved our first summer with the new pool and the Busy Bees really loved it, too!!  Many good memories were made.  

My girls are all busy, busy.  Chelsea started off the year in southern California, but, as of late spring, has found a new home in Terlingua, Texas (close to Big Bend Nat’l Park).  She’s a mover and a shaker, that one.  She and her fur-baby, Jax (a lovable pit bull/boxer mix) are living the rugged life - she’s working in a local restaurant and writing her first draft manuscript - a nonfiction piece that I can’t wait to read from start to finish, again and again!  She’s so talented - she amazes this momma!  Our young girls are busy with school and friends.  Alanna (11) see birthday blog post link here, is in the 5th grade and Emilia (7) is in 2nd grade.  The girls love books, anything Harry Potter related, cooking, baking, reading, and arts/crafts.  They are super excited for Christmas and Santa (and momma & daddy) has some extra, extra special things cooked up for them.  Christmas day is sure to bring some early-morning shrieks of joy coming from our home!!  More to come… ;) 

Wishing you all a peace-filled, loving holiday season, friends!  Thank you so much for taking time to stop by.  I hope your 2016 year in review, contemplation about the past and hopes for the future, are warmly fond for you.  I am excited to greet a new year, to see what's in store for everyone throughout 2017!  Much love to all!!