at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

2011: A Year in Review

It’s a new year, and with that comes a good opportunity to reflect on the past one.  While I don’t typically do New Year’s resolutions, I thought it’d be fun to reminisce a little bit and recap some of my life in 2011.  Last year, we rang the New Year in down in Florida with some friends: a great way to kick off the year.

Unfortunately, we then had to return to the dreary cold of winter back in Michigan.  We had a weekend up north with some family and had intended to go skiing – but it was just too dang cold.  Really.  I don’t do well in cold anyways, but it was zero degrees out, and much colder with the wind chill.  We opted to do an hour long dog sledding ride instead.  Good choice. 

Much of our winter time was also taken up by our Winter House Project, which is actually still in the process of being completed.  We painted pretty much all of the trim in our house and replaced most of the interior doors last year.  We are finishing up replacing closet doors now, and I still have to paint our ceiling beams.  I guess that’s Round Two.

The rest of the winter was spent pining for spring.  I had an unfortunate start to my garden last year (improper seed starting method), but ended up with some decent yields nonetheless.  I rearranged my perennial plants several times, as I’m likely to do again this year.  I also will not be making the same seed starting mistake as last year.  Live and learn.

just a few of my cousins :)

Spring also brought on our first big trip of the year – our huge family ski vacation to Colorado!  That was such a blast!  What a unique experience to be able to spend that kind of time with such a large group of extended family – and a fun, game-playing family at that!  Oh, and the skiing was good, too!

We celebrated my Grandma’s 80th birthday in April.  As a part of that, we got family portraits taken.  It’s so cool to have nice photos done with extended family!

The lovely ladies on my mom's side of the family

On the cooking front, I continued to experiment with new recipes and found a new love in thin crust pizza.  I made my first real bread sticks and my first dinner rolls!  I also really enjoyed being able to use food from my garden to make my meals.

Summer brought on the opportunity to cross something off my bucket list: go backpacking on Isle Royale.  This was truly an experience of a lifetime.  If you ever get the chance to go, do it.  I’ve heard statistics that Isle Royale is one of the least visited National Parks, but that it has one of the highest return visitor rates.  Perhaps it’s just a well kept secret, or perhaps it’s just that not everyone wants to trek to northern Michigan or Minnesota then cross through the deep waters of Gitche Gumee (Lake Superior) to get there.  At any rate, it was by far my favorite backpacking trip I’ve done so far. 

I also celebrated my 4-year anniversary with Tom this summer, and we did our first anniversary trip.  We rented this little cabin (shack?) near Silver Lake, and just had a low-key fun weekend.  It’s nice to get away, just the two of us, every now and then.

We did a trip with Tom’s family up to Manistee over the summer, as is tradition, and also introduced a friend to Manistee for the first time during a September camping trip.  The close of summer also came with a couple of weddings – on the same day, no less: my cousin and a good friend of ours.  I did my best to celebrate with both!  My brother also got engaged, and we’re all anxiously awaiting his destination wedding this coming June. 

Fall brought on some new ministry opportunities for me as the new “school year” started.  I began leading a women’s bible study with my church, which has been fantastic on several fronts.  I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the women in my group and being challenged to work on my leadership skills.  I’ve also enjoyed getting to know the other leaders and learning from their experiences.  We are currently going through the book of Luke and really learning to understand the person of Jesus.  I’ve continued to work with the children’s program on Sundays, as well, which is a great deal of fun.  Young minds are so interesting to watch and I am often very impressed by the questions and conversations sparked by young girls.  I just pray that God would continue to use me in these ministries and help me to be an effective witness for his kingdom in 2012.

We had our 8th annualHalloween party this past fall, which is always a hoot.  I went a little crazy painting pumpkins and such this year, but I had fun!  

I had another new life changing experience this fall when I attended the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting for a day and worked the exhibit booth for the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation.  That short weekend trip (and, really, the people I met there) inspired me to get more involved in patient advocacy and doing what I can to build up others in the RA community.  Part of that has meant being more open about my own story and sharing more on my blog.  I hope to be able to make it to the ACR Meeting in D.C. this year!

We did a trip to Florida for Thanksgiving – we had tried going for Christmas in 2010, but it was “too cold”.  Well, too cold for Florida.  When you’re down there, you want good beach weather.  This year, we got it!  Perfect weather all week.  The holidays really just flowed all together this year, and we had a great time with family over Christmas.  New Year’s was spent in the Detroit area with some friends. 

Overall, I’d say 2011 was a great year.  I’ve continued to enjoy my job and learning new things at work and at home.  I got to experience nature in new ways, and even saw the Northern Lights.  I’ve had lots of fun times together with Tom, and I look forward to each day that I get to spend with him.  Marriage has been a wonderful joy and blessing in my life.  God is continually prompting me to get outside of my comfort zone in areas of service, and I’m anticipating being challenged spiritually in 2012 as I seek out a deeper relationship with my Savior.  I'm excited to see what's in store for the next twelve months!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!