2017 Sharpening and Strengthening

Monday, January 16, 2017

Black Hills: In my field, I have learned which time frames are meant for solitude. January is one of them as I take the year to prepare to lead a team through some of the most challenging, but rewarding phases of life. I love the Black Hills Forest, providing both solitude and inspiration to fuel the year.

2017 – Sharpening and strengthening what I already have in my life; A year of local and grounded-ness.

What a 180 degree turn compared to 2016, which was an external year on steroids, with a giant spotlight, filled with visible changes and the work being done could have been seen from the Arctic circle.

When I was in South Dakota over Christmas, I was looking at my To Experience List and it has narrowed down to half. Wild to look at a physical list where my handwriting hadn’t changed much since I was 20 years old and half of my so called bucket-list was crossed off. 

And after numerous lifestyle changes such as becoming a minimalist (doing more with less), purging most of what I own, funding experiences - not things; all of which derive from this value of we always want more, but more doesn't make us happier. 

Within that though, I didn't realize that craving experiences can become just as toxic as collecting things, and some times becoming so obsessed with a lifestyle, takes away from the reason you started making life changes in the first place.

So, as I restore balance this year,  I decided 2017 is going to be an internal year 

Most of the changes I make this year have less to do with actual change and it has more to do with focusing on cleanup work. It has to do with investing and loving the work, connections, purpose, money, projects, and life giving matters that already exist in my life. No new lifestyle habits. No crossing off bucket-list items. None of it.

Yes, you read that right.

I am not making new friends...

I am not bringing on anymore new projects...

No job searching...

No new sources of income...

I am even going as far as to not date this year, which is a future post.

And every year since 2010, I have followed through on every single one of my yearly themes. No matter how challenging or how exhausting or how anything...and they're not always pretty, and I'm starting to accept 2017 may be similar.

I started writing down my themes to remember to believe in God's love and plan, and to trust my gut.

When I re-read my 2015 post it encouraged me to remember we are getting what we need for what is to happen later.

And as I gear up for 2017, I am grateful for what I have, because what I have really IS enough.

2016 - Thank you

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A year of getting after it. It wasn't a secret in my life that 2016 was a major upgrade from 2015 for me. You can read about it HERE, HERE, and HERE.

It was a year I needed. A year of exponential acceptance of my relationship with God, self, and place in life. It was a year of partying, silly, fun, but also serious, big picture questions and semi half answers. You can read what 2016 was about in my posts above and how it was a miracle year, but I wanted to review and highlight some of my favorite moments from January-December of 2016:

  • I was asked to do reality TV, twice this year
  • I accepted a role as an Advisor for Fashion and Industrial Design Students at The Academy of Art in San Francisco where I saw my pageant life and New York Fashion week collide
  • I also was asked to be keynote for the No Frills Conference where I got to talk about a project that was an idea 5 years ago
  • Moved to San Francisco, a city I'd dreamed of living in for 3 years
  • Met my Community Group at Canvas
  • Planned a South Dakota State University alumni party prior to NCAA game at Stanford, over 47 people showed
  • Miss Teen of America President called and asked if I wanted to recruit judges. I needed a piece of home and familiar in this chapter. I love this program and would make several sacrifices to be a centimeter part of it
  • Attending graduation at California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB)
  • My goodbye party at CSUMB...stories for days
  • Surprising my old team CSUMB at their banquet. I love them very much
  • Skydiving w. my community group - Finally crossed this off my to experience list 
  • Attending my first ever Pride in San Francisco
  • San Luis Obispo Reunion with KD and KP after not all being together since graduate school.
  • Touring San Francisco on the 4th of July w/ Hay Sue, Hay Ann, and Nessa
  • Getting a program 100% funded and turned over into higher education so me and the co could actually relax after a 4 year run on what was suppose to be a 2 year stint
  • Trip to Muir Woods w. Nessa
  • Declining a role on the Clinton campaign because I was already in love with my life
  • Visiting Chicago on a whim
  • Accepted a job at San Francisco State to finish out the year
  • Fleet Week in San Francisco
  • 3rd Annual Ingrid Michaelson Concert
  • Canada!
  • Santacon w/ 3 of my former Resident Advisors in 2013 who are now close friends
  • Reunions galore & home for the Holidays
  • Accepted my own unique connection with God and my faith
  • My Dad is no longer going blind & my Mom is cancer FREE!!!!!

...and despite 3 job changes and collectively earning less because of it, I still donated more money to  causes than any year I've been out of college. I dated, loved, healed, and forgave a lot. I took risks, cleaned out my life, and like my mom said yesterday to me, I go big or I don't go at all.

2017 has magical moments ahead & grateful for all of what 2016 has given me to prepare.

Romans 12:14-21
















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