2016 Year in Photos Slideshow

2016 slideshowThis is my favourite post of the year. It’s a lot of work, but I always do it because I love it. It gives me a chance to reflect and wax nostalgic, which is why I have a blog in the first place. This post contains my annual slideshow, chronicling my family’s year in photos. It’s my ninth (!!!) such slideshow. Looking back over the others is a real walk down memory lane from 2008 to today. I remember things I’d forgotten. I laugh and – of course – I cry. If one of the benefits of having a website is creating a digital record of your family life, then this slideshow is the best example of that.

I know that a lot of people couldn’t wait for 2016 to end, but it was actually a pretty great year for me, personally. A year of completion and new beginning. I started the year one third of the way through teacher training, with my short practicum behind me and my long practicum ahead of me. During 2016 I taught a grade 6/7 class with the support and mentorship of amazing teachers. I participated in the environmental education field school in Vancouver. I turned 40. Hannah finished elementary school and started middle school. I graduated with my B.Ed. and started working as a substitute teacher. My kids started skiing. Looking back over the year’s photos I see snapshots of all that and more. Here’s the photographic evidence set to music. This year I chose one of my favourite songs, Joshua Radin’s “Beautiful Day”, which I have shared with you before.

If you’d like to take a walk down memory lane with me, here are my past slideshows:

2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

I’ve shared the photos and now I’d like to turn the tables back on you. What was 2016 like for you? When you consider this year, what images will stand out in your mind? And what are you looking forward to in 2017? I’d love to hear.

Happy New Year!

A Word for 2016: Confidence

For the past number of years I’ve been choosing a word at New Year’s to represent what I wanted to bring into my life in the 12 months ahead. In 2011 that word was space. In 2012 I chose clarity. In 2013 I chose presence. For 2014 my word was forgiveness. And for 2015 I chose strength. For 2016, choosing was a struggle. In the end, though, I have settled on confidence.

confidence

Choosing a word is about setting an intention for the year. In 2015 my choice of strength was meant to help me acknowledge my own strength. Because when push comes to shove, I am a person who can weather adversity and get things done. Rather than bringing something new into my life, I wanted to focus on what I already have.

My choice of the word confidence, on the other hand, is entirely aspirational. I have long identified myself as grappling with impostor syndrome. That is, even when I am doing something, I feel like I’m pretending. Like I’m an impostor. And now that I’m back in school and about to start my long practicum as a student teacher, this is a huge thing. It’s hard not to feel like an impostor when you’re just learning, but those feelings aren’t helpful. Because you know what? We all have more to offer than we recognize. Any teacher will say this about students – about how we can be gobsmacked by insights from a seven-year-old. I want to give myself the same credit. So in 2016, as I complete my schooling and embark on a new career, I would like to find confidence.

The word confidence is also significant for another reason. Confidence can mean trusting yourself or someone else. However, it can also be about holding your tongue. Keeping your confidence means not sharing those things that should not be shared. It means using your discretion about when to speak, and when to keep silent.

In addition to finding confidence in my abilities, I would also like to find confidence in my words. I would like to choose them more thoughtfully. I would like to work on knowing when to share and when to keep my confidence. This actually cuts both ways, because while I am a talker who sometimes has no filter, I also have a hard time bringing other people into my confidence on a personal level. So I am both building closer relationships and choosing what I say more carefully.

Confidence is a tall order in so many ways, you guys. Sort of like going back to school full-time when you have kids.

2016 will be a big year for me. I am both excited and nervous, but I am choosing to embrace it no matter what it brings. With confidence.

How about you – are you choosing a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear what it is, and how you’re setting your intentions for 2016!

2015 Year in Photos Slideshow

happy new year slideshowThis is my favourite post of the year. It’s a lot of work, but I am happy to do it because I love it. It gives me a chance to reflect and wax nostalgic, which are sort of my bread and butter. This post contains my annual slideshow, chronicling my family’s year in photos. It’s my eighth (!!!) such slideshow. Looking back over the others is a real walk down memory lane from 2008 to today. I remember things I’d forgotten. I laugh, and of course, I cry. I’m not sure if anyone else loves my slideshows, but if one of the benefits of blogging is having a record of your family life, then this slideshow is the best example of that.

2015 was another big year for me. I started the year unemployed and applying for teacher training. My car was totalled. I was accepted into the teaching program. I spent the summer with my kids. I started back at school and finished my short practicum. Looking back over the year’s photos I see snapshots of all that and more. Here’s the photographic evidence set to music. True to my hippie roots, I’ve gone with Joni Mitchell this year, from Joan Baez last year:

If you’d like to take a walk down memory lane with me, here are my past slideshows:

2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

I’ve shared the photos and now I’d like to turn the tables back on you. What was 2015 like for you? When you consider this year, what images will stand out in your mind? And what are you looking forward to in 2016? I’d love to hear.

Happy New Year!

A Word for 2015: Strength

For the past few years I’ve been choosing a word at New Year’s to represent what I wanted to bring into my life in the 12 months ahead. In 2011 that word was space. In 2012 I chose clarity. In 2013 I chose presence. And for 2014 my word was forgiveness. This year, possibly for the first time, settling on a word was easy. For 2015 I have chosen strength.

strength*Photo credit – Colleen McMahon on Flickr

Choosing a word is about setting an intention for the year. This year, rather than choose an aspirational intention, I’ve decided to go another way. In past years I’ve chosen a word that represented something I wanted to bring into my life, but thought I might be lacking. In 2015 I’m opting for something I think I already have, but may not always see. That is, I’m already strong. I think maybe we are all strong. For me, this is about acknowledging and owning my strength. This quote from Marianne Williamson speaks to what I’m getting at by choosing the word strength:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.

The past couple of months have been hard for me. It has been all too easy for me to fall into a place where I feel overwhelmed by all that is happening around me. Because you know what? Sometimes life is just too much. I was having a bit of a moment one day when my husband said, “You can do this.” And you know what? I thought to myself, He’s right, I totally can. This year I want to spend less time worrying about my shortcomings, and more time facing up to the challenges in front me. Curve balls will come my way no matter what. Running from them won’t change that, so I may as well step up to bat.

Here’s to claiming our strength, wherever it lies!

How about you – are you choosing a word for the year? If so, I’d love to hear what it is, and how you’re setting your intentions for 2015!

2014 Year in Photos Slideshow

This is my favourite post of the year. It’s one that I do purely because I love it. It gives me a chance to reflect and wax nostalgic, which are sort of my bread and butter. This post contains my annual slideshow, chronicling my family’s year in photos. It’s my seventh (!!!) such slideshow. Looking back over the first six is a real walk down memory lane from 2008 to today. I remember things I’d forgotten. I laugh, and of course, I cry. I’m not sure if anyone else loves my slideshows, but if one of the benefits of blogging is having a record of your family life, then this slideshow is the best example of that.

2014 was actually a big year for me. I went back to school. I suffered through a renovation nightmare when the contractors I’d chosen went bankrupt only after they’d demolished my ensuite. I received confirmation of my decision to become a teacher. I lost my job. Looking back over the year’s photos I see snapshots of all that and more. Here’s the photographic evidence set to music. True to my hippie roots, I’ve gone with Joan Baez this time:

If you’d like to take a walk down memory lane with me, here are my past slideshows:

2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013

I’ve shared the photos and now I’d like to turn the tables back on you. What was 2014 like for you? When you consider this year, what images will stand out in your mind? And what are you looking forward to in 2015? I’d love to hear.

Happy New Year!

2013 Year in Photos Slideshow

This is my favourite post of the year. It’s one that I would do, no matter what, purely because I love it. It gives me a chance to reflect and wax nostalgic, and record my life in a unique way. This post contains my annual slideshow, chronicling my family’s year in photos. It’s my sixth such slideshow, and looking back over the other ones I can immediately see how my children have grown. I remember things I’d forgotten. I laugh, and of course, I cry. I’m not sure if anyone else loves my slideshows, but if one of the big benefits of blogging is having a record of your family life, then this slideshow is the pinnacle post each year for me.

2013 was actually a really great year for me. Looking back over the year’s photos, I see evidence of how much more I can do with my kids now that they’re a little bigger. They’re not babies anymore. This makes me a little wistful, but it also means they’re more independent, and less prone to cry in public. We’ve gone a lot more places and done a lot more things this year, because my kids are getting older. Here’s the photographic evidence set to music:

If you’d like to take a walk down memory lane with me, here are my past slideshows:
2008 in Photos | 2009 in Photos | 2010 in Photos | 2011 in Photos | 2012 in Photos

I’ve spent plenty of time talking about my family and myself – and not just in this post. I’ve had a whole year to write in this space, and I’ve done it. Now I’d like to turn the tables back on you. What was 2013 like for you? When you consider this year, what images will stand out in your mind? And what are you looking forward to in 2014? I’d love to hear.

Happy New Year!

A Word for 2013: Presence

Since 2011, I’ve chosen a word to set my intention for the year ahead when New Year’s Day rolls around. For 2011, my word was Space. For 2012, my word was Clarity. I chose each of them because they reflected a quality I was hoping for more of in my life.

Did choosing a word work? It’s hard to say. In 2011, I actually brought a whole lot of new things into my life. I did make some difficult choices around letting things go, but the truth is that I actually started the year with more space than I ended it with. When it was time to choose my word for 2012, I reflected on that experience. I knew that choosing a word wasn’t enough. I needed a word that I was willing to work with. A word that would be about more than casting a wish out into space. After some back and forth, Clarity came to me.

spring tight
Photo Credit: mindfulness on Flickr

I can say that I actually do feel that I ended 2012 with greater clarity than I started it with. Somewhat ironically, I worked harder to create space during 2012 than I did during 2011. I had to – I was under a pretty severe time crunch. At the beginning of the year I had something like five jobs. Five. They weren’t all very big jobs, but still, it was a lot. I felt as if I was under constant time pressure. I was pulled in a whole lot of different directions, and I wasn’t always doing any of it all that well. I had to get clear with myself about what my priorities were, and what I did and didn’t have time for. It wasn’t easy, but in the process, I found the clarity I needed to create space in my life for myself.

With 2013 starting, I’m actually in a pretty good spot. I feel like I have a sense of direction, and I know where I’m going. My word this year isn’t about self-exploration, so much. It’s about making sure that I’m actually taking the time to enjoy my life. With my daughter Hannah rapidly approaching her eighth birthday, it’s ever more apparent to me that I need to make sure I’m actually pausing to see and appreciate what’s going on around me. Since I work from home, it’s really easy for me to blur the lines between the professional and personal, and spend a whole lot of time with my face in my phone, or trying to finish an article when I should be doing something with my kids. I guess you could say I want to be more present in my life, so that I don’t miss it.

This led to my word for 2013: Presence. It’s about cultivating mindfulness. It’s about focusing on what’s in front of me, and spending less time looking at a screen. Will the year bring me what I hope? I think that’s up to me. I need to be willing to work on it – my experience in 2011 showed me that. I chose the word Presence because this is important to me, so I would say that I am willing. Now I just need to put it into action. The first way I’m doing that is by Crafting my Life. I’m going to spend a little less time writing, and a little more time living.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you choose a word, or a theme, for the year? What are you hoping 2013 holds for you? Please leave a comment and let me know. And Happy New Year!

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