Looking Back on 2017 | One Month at a Time

2017 is coming to an end in a few short hours.  But before 2018 begins, I wanted to take a moment to share reflections from the year-- from the beginning to the end ... the good and not so great. 

2017 Reflections from Latonya at Joy in the Ordinary

January 2017

I tried something new in January. I ice skated for the first time ever! It was truly an experience. I stepped on the ice with the intention to just go for it, but it didn't work out that way. I could barely move. I tried stepping and that was a fail.  I don't know how I made it around the rink, but I did. Once I got off the ice, I grabbed some BUCKETS. Yep, buckets! Buckets were my guide and helped me navigate around the rink without breaking my neck. 

My first time ice skating! 

My first time ice skating! 

February 2017

I was published in Focus on the Family. I never imagined getting published in any magazines, but this year I was published in a few.  The Focus on the Family article challenged me as a writer, and I am really grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a writer

Outschool sent me this awesome mug because of my Periscope broadcast. 

Outschool sent me this awesome mug because of my Periscope broadcast. 

I also started teaching on Outschool. After leaving the classroom and not looking back, I never imagined that I would be able to teach unique groups of learners. This blessed my teaching heart. 

March 2017

March was pretty full, but the highlight as always is celebrating another year of marriage.  My husband and I celebrated 14 years this year.  Marriage is another thing I never imagined so to share 14 years with someone who truly cares about me means a lot.  

Not during our anniversary, but we got a little alone time while at Teach Them Diligently because wonderful friends!

Not during our anniversary, but we got a little alone time while at Teach Them Diligently because wonderful friends!

April 2017

I actually found myself looking back on my teaching experience this year, but not for good reasons. One of my former students who I taught while he was in first grade died by suicide. This pierced my heart in a way I can't explain. He was only 11. 

In the midst of the pain, I was able to experience happiness when my husband's mom and sister came to visit  It had been awhile since we last seen them in real life. It was great to be around people we love. 

May 2017

We celebrated my dad's birthday, and we went to Ikea for the first time. ☺  Both were highlights for May. 

I am SO grateful that my dad is still here after his stroke.  He's been making progress and for this I am thankful. 

Ikea was like going to a theme park for adults. It is so huge with too many distractions. ☺  I enjoyed it and can't wait to go back. 

I received this sweet gift from my mother-in-love for Mother's Day. I treated myself to some sweet tea because I don't drink wine or coffee.

I received this sweet gift from my mother-in-love for Mother's Day. I treated myself to some sweet tea because I don't drink wine or coffee.

June 2017

We visited the Smoky Mountains.  Y'all I am kinda afraid of heights so I was very protective of my people when it came to getting to close to the edge. 

It's beautiful in the mountains.

It's beautiful in the mountains.

July 2017

My husband lost his job. I am happy to report that we didn't fall apart. God is faithful, and even though we didn't have regular pay we were still able to all we needed to do through the many freelance opportunities and God's graciousness.  I know it was more of the latter. 

My youngest daughter also crossed over to the double digits, and we met family in Atlanta that we hadn't seen in too many years as part of celebrating with her. 

We toured CNN. 

We toured CNN. 

August 2017

I officially made it to mid-life age if we go off the 70 year life span. ☺  I also decided to start Al-Anon as a gift to myself. I needed to do something different to help myself heal from being a child of alcoholic parents.

My daughters saw the eclipse as a gift to me since it was the day before my birthday. We had fun experiencing it as a family even though a cloud came and blocked the view right when full coverage was happening.

We started our homeschool lessons for the 2017-18 school year which included teaching a computer class at a community organization. Teaching the class has not only been a blessing to the community, but it has also truly blessed my daughters and me.

September 2017

My daughters and I attended our first mother daughter retreat. It was so fun! I wasn't sure what to expect, but we weren't disappointed. We played together, tried new things together, and just had fun together. 

Western night at the Mother Daughter Retreat

Western night at the Mother Daughter Retreat

October 2017

My husband got a new job, but not really.  It fell through and it was very disappointing in that moment. 

Exercising with Fitivities

Exercising with Fitivities

My girls and I road tripped to D. C. all by ourselves. We saw family and friends, and I attended the 2:1 Conference.  I am grateful for this year sponsor, Fitivities, and for BJU Press for letting my girls join us for a fancy three course dinner. These relationships allowed me to experience a new thing with my girls. 

It's funny we I speak of mother daughter time because we are always together, but intentional times are memorable. We had a few hiccups like a tire going flat on the highway and too many deer being in the road in the wee hours of the morning, but we made it there and back safely.

Out to dinner with BJU Press at the 2:1 Conference

Out to dinner with BJU Press at the 2:1 Conference

November 2017

My husband got a new job, for real. It has been the best job he has had especially when it comes to valuing the people within the organization. We knew this gig was definitely God sent. 

December 2017

My oldest daughter crossed over to teenage years. We celebrated with her by serving at a For King & Country concert. We served for Compassion and handed out cards for children to be sponsored. We ended up sponsoring two more children. After unemployment and such, we had no idea we would leave with two more children, but that's why we live with our hands open to give and receive according to His will.

Serving as a family at the For King & Country concert

Serving as a family at the For King & Country concert

December has mostly been a month of reflection. I've been thinking about many of the events from the year and pursuing the Most High about the things HE wants me to do as I continue my journey. I don't want to do anything that isn't for me, but I also don't want to not do anything because of fear.

I know that I am being led more towards community versus tucking myself away. Tonight is a reminder of this because we are having a few friends over, and we're all looking forward to bringing the new year in with them.