2012 in review

7 days late---but I want to write a quick review of 2012.  The word of the year was adventure.  A special thank you to so many people who helped us take many adventures.  It started with several trips to Florida, then to a surprise honey moon from our dear friends Raymond & Erica rallying people to chip in to donate for us to take a trip to Coco Plum Island in Belize, more trips to Florida, music festivals, concerts, a summer trip to PA to visit my family, Athens for some GA games, a trip to Gulf shores for stem cell for Steve, an unreal road trip to California & back, then to close out the year with a trip to PA for Christmas with my family & New York City for New Years Eve again thanks to Raymond & Erica.  Unreal.

So many people to thank for allowing these trips to happen; and not just those who gave financially but those who prayed for us, watched our dogs (Grant, Jen, Danny, in laws, Rachelle, Christina, Justin), took care of our house, helped paint the van (Jen, Danny, & Dave), & all of those who supported us to take these trips, understanding how important they are for us.  I will touch on that in a minute.

So many other thank yous I need to say for 2012:

  • To everyone who sent us some sort of message of love.  We received so much love & support from everyone around us & it is that support that honestly helps us to continue this fight.  Every kind word gives us hope & strength & is appreciated.  
  • For every meal.  So many people this year blessed us with food----between bringing Steve lunches when I was working to the dinners & yummy deserts.  So helpful & so appreciated.
  • For those who spent a lot of energy on putting together amazing fundraisers.  We had several successful fundraisers in 2012---that allowed me to be able to leave work to stay home & take care of Steve.  That is an incredible gift that I am grateful for each day.  
  • For those that participated in buying our bracelets & t-shirts & helped spread the word, this has helped us with all bills, medical expenses, medicine, etc.  
  • To everyone that helped us come up with the money for stem cell---the fact that we were able to do this is a blessing beyond words.  It's hard to say unless you are faced with this situation what you will try & not try---but our attitude has been since day 1 that we will try EVERYTHING we can.  progressions may continue but stem cell at least gave us a few months of a break & to an ALS patient that is like giving an extra 15 years.  
  • To everyone that stopped by to visit us, drink wine with me ;), help me clean, etc.  
  • For every prayer & good thought sent our way.  These help A great deal :) keep them coming! 
I have to say that I learned more in 2012 than probably my whole life (I think I may have said something similar about 2011, but 2012 wins).  I have 2 favorite quotes that sum up my lessons learned.  

ALS teaches a lot of lessons on life but the main one really is to take every good day & enjoy it & be thankful for it & take the bad days with stride & strength & learn to not be discouraged by the bumps in the road.  There will always be bumps but ALS makes those bumps that may occur to some on a yearly basis, happen on a weekly basis.  So, it's so important to learn to take the bad days with stride & not to let it ruin the good days to come & when you do have a good day don't waste it.  Another important thing I learned this year is that everyone is going to have an opinion.  People's opinions however should never determine how I feel about myself.  The only approval I need (other than God's) is myself.  God will put the people you need in your life when you need them.  Those people may not be meant to be in your life forever but may be there to teach a lesson.  If we focus too much on the "drama" then it's easy to miss the lesson. I've learned to appreciate each person in my life no matter how the relationship ended up.  

My main goal for the new year is to focus more on the positive & less on the negative.  I am a very positive person already but I do get distracted & focus energy on the negative too.  I don't want to waste any more time or energy on the negative.  So that is my main goal.

I hope deeply for some new advancements in treatment for ALS comes and also that we can continue to find natural ways to help continue to increase the value of Steve's life.  We've implemented so many vitamins/enzymes/creams/medicines/natural foods/etc into Steve's life & I'm so grateful for each discovery we made in 2012 that proved helpful & hope for more & more in 2013.  

I will be working on some special projects this year.  After we discovered this year how therapeutic traveling is for us---I hope for lots of more fun adventures & trips.  The memories we have of these trips help us on every difficult day.  Each trip we take Steve & I grow closer, learn so much, & have our spirits restored.  That is why we do them so often.  It keeps us going & positive & helps us to remember that life is to be enjoyed & not get stuck in the easy trap of negativity.  

Okay closing note:  Our last trip was incredible & wanted to share a link to our photos from PA, NYC, Virgina Beach, & Charleston.  Loved spending time with my family & soaking up all the love from them since I don't get to see them often, then NYC---doesn't matter how cold it was, I LOVE that city & it was such an incredible experience to be there for New Years eve.  I had so much fun & will NEVER ever forget the experience as long as I live. I want to go back & explore more for sure!  & Of course our stops at the beaches on the way back were awesome & I fell in love with Charleston in the short time we were there & am already saving money for us to plan a longer trip there.  photos from this adventure

Lots of hope & love for the new year & remember to make every day count.