Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Was Possibly My Favorite Year, So Far

I tend to live in the future.

Not way in the future, just a couple of steps ahead. I can't help it.

Maybe it's the infielder in me, anticipating the ball. Maybe it's the producer in me, anticipating what's two steps ahead, so that my director can be one step ahead, so that my anchors look smart.

I'm not sure. Either way, I don't look back much. Often, I forget to look around during the here and now, but my husband helps me with that.

Today is the start of a new year. I love new beginnings. I'm so caught up in this move, and looking forward to this new job, that our Christmas and New Year have kind of been a fog of boxes, to do lists, unwrapped presents, and deep breaths.

2012 was incredibly good. It really was a year of BIG blessings. Here is how I will remember 2012.

Covering the presidential election. We wrote scripts in hotel lobbies, cabs, rental car shuttles, coffee shops, warehouse floors, and bathrooms. We lugged equipment on planes and campaign buses. I drove a black Suburban (or two) in motorcades, undetected. I got my correspondent a tie to wear for a standup, that belonged to a presidential candidate. We got to know these guys. What an amazing experience not only as a journalist, but as a voter. So grateful for every stop. Freezing in Iowa, chowder in New Hampshire, sweating in Florida, Perkins in Pennsylvania, the rude Starbucks guy in Ohio, and a million Hilton Honors points. Time of my life.
Welcoming my little brother home from Afghanistan. For a year, my mother freaked out every time the phone rang, or a car drove down her street. I don't miss that. So proud of Chris, and his service. I remember that night he came home and we all piled into that hotel room in Syracuse, New York, just looking at each other, and we couldn't stop smiling. And I cried. And Chris made fun of me. So fortunate to have him back, safe and sound.
Embracing ME time. Man, did I fight having to have home health aides come in to help Michael. It's hard for me to understand now, because just like everyone said would happen, I came to love it. Traveling so much to cover the campaign forced me to be okay with it. But the many Monday,Wednesday, Friday mornings when I was in town, and someone would come get Michael up, and help him with his personal care, while I went to work early, or went to the gym, or Starbucks, or Panera were wonderful. It's over, for now. And I'm pretty sad and stressed about it. I'll be back on duty starting tomorrow. This year I learned that I don't have to do it all, and I don't want to either.
Great Falls with Michael. We don't get out all that much, because it's complicated. Hopefully we will do better with that in 2013. But one random Saturday this Spring, we took a spontaneous trip to Great Falls, it's not to far from our house, and it's beautiful. I married an outdoorsy guy who ate this up. I loved experiencing this day with him, having our picnic lunch by the creek, and looking at the falls of the Potomac at the overlook. Wonderful.
Meeting blog readers. 2012 was a very busy year for this blog! It more than doubled in readers, we started a Facebook group, I wrote an e-book (hello! I really should publish that thing), went to a blog conference, so much happened with regard to the blog this year. But my absolute favorite thing was meeting some of our online friends in person. This is us with Heather and Colin at Mount Vernon. We had dinner and lunch and coffee and adventures with many others, as well. I hope to do a lot more of this in 2013.
Arkansas vacation with the Ritters. Michael and I drove from Virginia to Arkansas, which pretty much consists of driving all the way across Tennessee. That is a huge state, let me tell you. We had such a lovely time hanging with his family. The best day was when his entire Ritter side of the family got together. I come from a small family, so I was overwhelmed with all of these Ritters, young and old, getting together. I saw how lucky I am to marry into a huge, loving family.
David's book tour. My partner in crime at work, David Brody, wrote his first book called "The Teavangelicals," and it came out this Summer. Seemingly out of nowhere, I was hired to do his PR. We traveled to New York and Dallas and did LOTS of media for the book, and it was such a fun/crazy time, on top of all of the campaign coverage. It was a huge blessing for me to have this opportunity to learn something new, to earn some side income, and see the inside of the book business up close and personal. Oh, and get Mr. Softee with David on a NYC street corner, eat the most amazing brunch buffet at the Omni, and collect lots of extra Crabtree and Evelyn travel-sized hotel shampoos.
My hair. I had a good hair year. I learned how to do my hair this year, thanks to Kate over at The Small Things Blog. That may sound like a trivial, vain thing - to look back on a year and remember your hair, but if you have ever had that light bulb moment when you know how to make your hair look good, you know what I mean. Good hair changes your life. It gives you a unique confidence. I'm thankful for those You Tube curling iron tutorials, and Aquage Uplifting Foam.
My 24 hours in Annapolis, by myself. Some of my friends and family thought this was radical. Other women in my situation completely got it. I was so tired of everything, I took a break and got away by myself for 24 hours. I drove about an hour away, went to a "beach," went to the mall, went to dinner alone and got an appetizer and dessert. Bought myself a new pair of earrings, and walked around a waterfront, alone. I also wrote the best piece of writing I've ever written. It's amazing what a little margin can do. I encourage each and every one of you to do this, this year. Take a Sabbath, for yourself.
Michael surfing. Do I need to say anything more? I grew up at the beach, and I always wanted to date a surfer. The Life Rolls On Foundation "They Will Surf Again" event in Virginia Beach was amazing. It wasn't easy for my man to catch that one wave he caught, but what a thrill to see him ride it in. And I just love the smiles of all of the volunteers, too. It was such a picture of community, and people working together. It was beautiful. I made some awesome friends that day, too. Can't wait for LRO '13!
*This picture is at the height of my weight gain, which is NOT a highlight of 2012, but oh well. The van. On our way home from that long trip to Arkansas, we started talking about wanting to get a van that is modified for Michael's wheelchair. About a week later, I was in my hotel room in Salt Lake City, and Derek and Krystina called me and told me they wanted to give their van to us! A few months later, they got their new van and gave us the Silver Bullet! I am not kidding, this has been a life-changer! I don't know what I was thinking that I thought it would be okay to lift a grown man in and out of an SUV every single day. I've learned so much. This van makes our life so much easier, and so much more fun! Looking forward to lots of adventures in the Silver Bullet in 2013!
The Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway. We spent 5 days in Maryland volunteering with Joni and Friends. If I had to pick one highlight of the entire year, this would be it. My heart was so full. I love wounded warriors, I love Joni and Friends, and I love serving side by side with my husband. This picture is from when Michael went parasailing. It was awesome! I went first, and I told him, "you can totally do this!" The beauty was he trusted me, and up he went! When we got back on the ground after parasailing and the boat ride, I was all amped up, pretty much yelling, "WASN'T THAT AWESOME!?!?!!" To which M replied, "Yeah, it was pretty cool." Oh, my calm/cool/collected husband who never gets too excited/too upset about anything, I love you.
Jorden and Kyndall's wedding. I watched my nephew become a husband. I'm so proud of the man that he is, I adore his wife, and I was so happy to see this beautiful day unfold for my sister. She danced with her little boy, and my brother cried. I love my family. We aren't perfect, but we know how to have fun, and how to love. And how to have beautiful beach weddings. :)
Allume. I was so inspired by attending the Allume Social Conference this year. It was amazing to be in a room full of 400 Christian women bloggers, to make new friends, and to learn the lesson that "There is room in God's kingdom for all of us to do something awesome." I can't wait to see where He leads us in 2013.

There is a lot of "new" to go with this new year. New Year's Day 2012 I never could have imagined all of these experiences that we had. What an amazing, super-blessed year! Looking forward to another one.



Dana Brown Ritter said...

Testing comments...

Cheri said...

Great post Dana!

Tracy said...

Love it! You have had an awesome year! I can't wait for this year to bless of crazy little family with you and Michael close by! Many more pictures with family in it this year! You might wonder why you moved back LOL!! I love you!!

Unknown said...

This blog is down to earth, hats off buds available.life insurace