2015: A Year in Review

It's quite strange to say that we are in a brand new year because so far it feels a whole lot like the last one, but dates don't lie. Hey, 2016!

Obviously, 2015 was a big year for us. Huge. Lots of change and growing pains, as you know, but also lots of joy and love and life.




I realized very early on last year that I wasn't the greatest person to be around: I was a terrible friend, and an even worse family member. It became my goal to become better at being those things, to become better at loving the people around me who did and do so much for me, who love me more than I deserve. The thing I realized, though, was that I had to love and take care of myself if I was going to be able to give anything to anyone else. Teaching, plus the countless other things - these so-called responsibilities - that filled my schedule, had run me so dry that I had nothing left to pour out to other people, and I felt wretched because I was constantly on the receiving end. Sure, being blessed by others all the time is all good and well until you realize that you don't even want to *want* to give anything you have to others - that's how it was for me. I was stretched that thin, and it is certainly not how life is meant to be lived. So I started to try to fuel myself first by slowing down and doing the things that bring me joy, and then I was able to see that doing things with and for other people brought me even greater joy when I wasn't dead as a doornail! What a concept. And the results were everything I dreamed of and more. I am a blessed woman who lives a very blessed life, even when I convince myself otherwise.

So the first two-thirds of 2015 was spent trying to be a better person by allowing myself to be a better me, and then we moved. But you know plenty about that. At least you know what I've told you so far... hah. Instead of going through event-by-event and including a novel-length narrative with it, I thought I'd just create a montage of photos from this past year with some captions. Here goes nothing! (I'm sorry in advance. I take a lot of pictures... oops.)




I started applying my new philosophy quite early. This meant more puzzles, more reading for pleasure (instead of just for teaching), more games, more time with my love, and chilling the heck out. We moved our table close to the window in order to enjoy the natural light. So many fun times in that living room.
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2015 brought The Count of Monte Cristo and creative writing club into my life, and boy have I missed them. Oh, the fun I had getting to know my students through both of these mediums!
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More time with friends equals more joy and more love. Especially on our annual Lord of the Rings Day.
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It was a year of exploration and adventures for us, starting during spring break. We went to the cabin at Eufaula, ventured to Robbers Cave State Park, and slowed the heck down.
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Exploration with one of my dearest friends took on a whole new meaning. How I love venturing into the unknown with this girl by my side!
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Spring isn't complete without going to the Medieval Fair in Norman, Oklahoma. This year, we got to go with my momma!
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The passing of a dear soul rekindled my desire to shoot in film - with the camera that he gave me so many years ago. It's one of the things that I am so sad about having to leave behind. It has been a learning experience for sure, but I absolutely love it.
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Spending a day with sweet, sweet friends is the cure to many ailments. It was such a blessing to see these three wonderful women who I look up to so much, even under heartbreaking circumstances.
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Gardens galore. My garden was pathetic and crappy this year, but it brought me joy nonetheless. Being in my poppa's garden with him always makes me happy, mostly because it makes him happy. It will always be a favorite memory.
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I completed my second teaching gig (and adored it, mind you), and I survived EOI season with my sophomores. Talk about experiencing highs and lows. Never have I felt more proud of the work I had accomplished while simultaneously feeling like a complete failure for not doing better at my job.
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EOI stress melted away with the birth of our sweet little nephew, Greysen Neil Womack! Just look at that cute little squishy face.
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I was super proud of some of my 5th hour students for basically being good, honest people. That isn't rewarded much these days, so I decided to do just that. It brought me joy seeing the surprise and smiles on their faces!
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Mother's Day sadness was eliminated for me this year; I was a momma, and my babies loved me so very well! How I wish I could just give some of them a ginormous hug from across the ocean. And how glad I am to *not* have to come close enough to hug some of them... haha. It was so very sad tearing apart my room when the time came. I blame England for that one.
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Adventures around good ol' Oklahoma with fabulous people make my heart happy.
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May brought lovely people from far and wide to a beautiful wedding for one of the most beautiful souls I'm blessed to call a friend. What a wonderful day of celebration that was!
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Birthday celebrations for days with the best people on this planet. So many pictures on my IG with so many lovely memories that I couldn't even begin to post them all here! Also, 2015 was the year of the donut; I'm not mad about that.
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We sold our stuff in a garage sale on the same day that Patrick performed in the final session of a marimba concert. Then we moved out of our house, into Patrick's parents' house, and drove across the country the next day. What a whirlwind that was... my body has never ached so much. I kid you not, my fingertips ached. It was awful.

Instead of driving straight through to Mesa, Arizona like we normally do, we stopped overnight at the cutest AirBnB in Corrales, New Mexico (just outside Albuquerque). Then we got up bright and early to catch the sunrise, and we stopped at the Painted Desert National Park on our way to Mesa because I had never been there despite being born in and constantly visiting family in Arizona!
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Before spending a ton of time with family, we made one more trip to the Grand Canyon. We knew that we were going to end up in England at this point, and this was my compromise since I wasn't able to finagle a way to get us to Yellowstone before we would leave. I think this was a good compromise for myself, don't you?
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Family time is good times if you're a part of the McIver Clan.
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Patrick and I decided to take another detour (surprise, surprise) on our way home from Arizona. When you have a 15 hour road trip ahead of you, you probably shouldn't do that, but we did anyway. I don't regret it one bit. This time, we went to El Morro National Monument. It was AWESOME.
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In July, we road-tripped to the other end of the country: we took a two-day drive to Miami, Florida. While we aren't particularly fond of Miami, we absolutely loved our time there. We went for the main purpose of visiting Jonathan and Rachel, mostly so we could meet our sweet little nephew! The trip held so much more than that in store, though: gorgeous scenery, beautiful beaches (although I dropped a curse word or two when walking across the hot-as-lava white sand... OUCH), a drive down South Beach, Walt Disney World, Key Largo State Park, Long Key State Park, the best key lime pie I'll ever have in my life, outrageously delicious street food at an incredible farmers market, and air-boating through the everglades with some gators. What a trip!
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August brought highs and lows - stress and moments of slow bliss. Friends, family, excursions, camping trips, packing, repacking, crying, snuggles with my fur baby, moments of quiet, moments of chaos - all sorts of things. It was a whirlwind of a month to be sure!
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Then... we moved to Birmingham, England. 
Hotel-hopping. City living. Castles. Castle ruins. Forests. England in autumn. Trips to Dublin and Wales and London and Stratford and Oxford and Warwick and Coventry and far off places no one back home has heard of. Cream tea and public walking paths. Holidays spent in a foreign land. Meeting up with friends, new and old, in places so grand it amazes me. 
And my life will never be the same again.

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2015 was one for the books, that's for sure.
Here's to 2016 and all it holds - challenges and adventures alike!
Cheers!

Comments

  1. Love this! Also the pic of you and the scarecrow mug! Presh! ♡

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this! And the pic of you and the scarecrow mug! Presh!

    ReplyDelete

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