Happy New Years everyone! Can you believe it is already 2016? I don't know about you but in some ways our 2015 was never ending, in other ways it flew by. Looking back on those first few months when everything was so delicate with Ellis and we were confined to our home; from there to the latter part of the year are night and day. Once we hit June it was full speed ahead, life was a blur from there.
On Instagram many have been posting their Top 9 Moments. I won't say I have any moments that outweigh the other as far as importance. I'm being truthful when I say that the moments where my son grabs my face and says "I love you Mommy!" are just as important as any accomplishments I've worked hard to achieve. All of life is a gift and each moment is important. I don't take any of it for granted. Not one bit.
That being said, I was able to come up with 9 moments I won't necessarily say where my "top" but were definitely defining moments of our year. I shared those, along with some of my favorite pictures from this year below.
As for New Years resolutions? I don't have them set in stone but I always try to evaluate the previous year and see what I can do better in the year ahead. Be a better person, Mommy, daughter and friend; yet also take better care of and make more time for myself. There's always room to improve and trust me I want to. I'm always striving to learn, grow, strengthen and evolve. At the end of 2016 that's what I hope I will feel the most in my personal life. Growth.
Here's my Top 9 for 2015:
Firsts-This year was full of firsts for my kiddos.
For Ellis it was her first year of life so everything was new; from new words, her rolling, to sitting up, to her eating finger foods. Each one of her firsts were such major triumphs for her and we cheered her on with all we had.
For Milo it was the year of leaving behind all things baby. We transitioned him out of his crib (he still tells me he misses it) got him his first big hair cut, and his first bike. The list goes on and on for both of my kids. It was a big year for them both.
Road Trips-Once we got past the winter months of sickness we were aching to get out. We took a major trip out West to see all the sites and meet up with my parents for a day at Disney. That trip was one of the greatest times of our lives. It felt like we were going on a victory lap after all the difficulties of the prior 6 months. It also cemented my little ones as the world's greatest travelers. They love going on trips and thrive in that environment.
We took a trip to Texas so I could be a part of ministering to a group of Widows at Gold Monarch. I will be doing another retreat with them in 2016 so stay tuned for more info on that!
We also went down to Dallas a few times this year, which is pretty typical for us every year since it is so close. It is a great place to go to get away for a night or two, eat lots of yummy food and visit an aquarium, which is our families favorite thing.
Milo Three-My boy turned Three this year! So hard to believe. Along with all his many firsts he continues to mature far beyond his age. The talks we have about Life, Death, God & Heaven continually amaze me. Milo is a learner and he likes to know and understand the why's and how's about everything. He's just like his Daddy in that regard. In fact he's like his Daddy in most areas. Having Milo around is so much like having Joel around and it continues to be the greatest gift to me. Milo matured so much this year from two to three. I can't even imagine how he will change from three to four. I wish I could stop this train.
Ellis One-My girl turned One this year! What a celebration that was. With her every day is an adventure. With every new thing she does I continually shake my head in amazement as my mind flashes back to all of the moments of 2014 we spent in the hospital. I don't want these moments with her to ever lose there wonder, because her life is just that, a wonder. I told you that Milo is a mini version of his Daddy? Well, Ellis is a mini version of me. She is opinionated, stubborn, feisty and strong. She is also thoughtful, sweet, loving and kind. I get her. I know her temperament will make for some interesting days ahead (and already has) but I also know that I wouldn't have it any other way. We don't call her our mountain-mover for nothing!
Year of Strides-This year was the year of marking things off the list for Ellis. She took her last dose of seizure meds and has been completely seizure free since. This is a big deal for her, as she used to take medication twice a day. It had a list of side affects a mile long. Once she got off the meds she blossomed. Her appetite increased, she started to grow, and her abilities started to really take off.
Another thing we got to mark off was hearing, since Ellis passed her final test with perfect marks and was released as a patient.
Our 1-2 times weekly physical therapy still remains along with checkups to other Doctor's typically every 6 months.
I believe that as she keeps thriving we will be able to mark more things off, one by one. Milo and I love rooting her on as she goes. The word we believe for her this year is continual and accelerated healing. When I look at the start of her 2015 to the end I can only imagine what the difference will be from the start of 2016 to the close. She's a special little lady and we are so proud of her.
Choosing Joy-The Choose Joy Project is something we do once a year, July 23rd, to honor my husband's life by doing random acts of kindness. This was the 2nd year we did the project and we saw the participation DOUBLE from 80 to over 160 families. As we move forward every year with the project we hope to continue to see it grow beyond what we ever hoped it could be. I'm so thankful to all of you who were a part of that day. It is always a special one for us.
Life on a Stage-A huge, mind blowing part of this year was how much our story was told in the media. From People, to News 4, to The Blaze and beyond, it was just crazy to see our story take off the way it did. I have always said I will take every opportunity to tell our story because it is the only thing that brings redemption and meaning to the mess. Thankfully, this year brought me the opportunity to do that on an even broader stage, which leads me to my next point.
Book/Documentary-After 5 (6 this spring!) years of faithfully blogging, opportunity began to arise. Yes, I am talking about the book deal I received to release my first book. This was such a crazy dream come true. As I look back on how it all came about I am still shaking my head at the goodness of God. 2016 will see the release of the book and indie-documentary our family was a part of-both set to come out next fall. I am believing big things for both projects. The book is close to my heart, I worked so hard for so long at writing it. It was such a labor of love and I can't wait to get it in your hands. Another big project for my 2016 will be writing Book #2.
This Blog-My baby. I still remember the night Joel and I decided to start a blog to have one central place to post all of his cancer news. I remember sitting with him on the bed trying to come up with a name. Of course all the good ones were taken. What do we call this thing? How about Joel and Sarah's journey? So we did.
That little baby evolved to the Journey of Sarah you now know, which continually grows every year in number and reach. Would you even believe this blog was read in 165 countries last year? That blows my mind. 2016 will be a BIG year for this site. I've been hard at work the past 3 months with my designer friend on a complete overhaul and let me tell you, you will love it. We will be launching in the next couple of weeks. I am giddy beyond belief to show you what we have been working on.
Thank you so much to every reader for the support and encouragement you have given me. I keep at it because I'm passionate about it, but mainly because you love and read this blog. If there were no you there would be no blog and I am constantly humbled at that thought, just as I am at the thought of you anticipating what I have to say next. I never take it for granted.
We are so grateful to have you follow along on our journey and to be a part of our lives. Here's to an amazing 2016 for us all!!