Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year

The last day of 2012! And if I can use one word to describe this year, I'd say... pretty-glad-it's-over. It's been a tough go. Lots of stress, plenty of tears. But at the same time, as much as I'm glad to see the calendar flip to 2013, there have also been some good memories made and some amazing friendships developed.

I think there is something important about writing some things down at the end of a year. Whether you call them 'resolutions', or 'goals', or even if it's just a look sets your feet firmly in a time and place, and I think it builds our character to take a good hard look around ourselves.

So first, a look back at the last 12 months. And yes, I'm scrolling through my Instagram page to try and remember what the heck I did this year. And then a few quick resolutions for 2013. :)

January marks the month I started and ended resolution #2 I made last year: "Make my bed every day." I started off so strong! But I didn't last, and soon Kevin was making the bed, and I was like "Hey! This is way easier!" So...yeah. January also marks the first full month of one of my best friend's greatest endeavors. The Cannon opened on December 21st, and by January it was already packed and had totally become an instant haven for lovers of Hamilton, coffee, great food and meaningful time spent with friends. This shop has become my happy place, and my favorite coffee shop in this city. It's been amazing to see Anne and Cindy grow it from the ground up, and dangit! Those lattes!
First latte at The Cannon!
February. 2012's hardest month. I remember sitting in the doctor's office, and telling her that my anxiety was suffocating me. Bless her heart, she said "I'm not giving you medication. Let's try some alternatives." She showed me some breathing exercises and recommended going on a walk every evening to clear my head. Simple solutions, but so helpful at that time. This was the first time I've ever dealt with this, and it's been a bit of an interesting realization, as I never pegged myself as someone who would be crippled by emotions, or tangibly affected by social anxiety. For some reason, to me, that was something other people suffered with, and I never expected those feelings to just pop up. This has been an ongoing process, but has grown me in ways I couldn't have imagined. February brought a lot of heartache, as I watched a lot of hearts get broken, and witnessed a lot of hurt around me that I couldn't control. It felt like a very sudden jump into being "grown up", and I quickly remembered the resolution I had made just weeks earlier: "Learn to suffer well: We live in a broken world, and we can't wrap our minds around the terrible things that happen. I want to be a person who knows that is true, and who looks forward to God's kingdom being fully realized and everything set to right, but also lives in the tension of knowing that we're not there yet. I want to 'sit shiva' with my friends that are grieving. I want to acknowledge pain, instead to digging desperately for optimism. I want to make soup for people who are sad. I want to cry over broken hearts and broken lives." I think God was preparing me for a big, hard year. 
Night walks.
February was also the month that Needlework opened. Two of my dear friends started this sewing shop, and it's become my other 'happy place'. Their little line up of sewing machines, and their giant cutting tables became the place where I practiced creativity this year, and where I was able to find moments of clarity and peace when shit hit the fan. Who would have thought that local businesses could be such a literal blessing, but Needlework (and the Cannon) have both been that to me this year.
Needlework, just before it opened.
March was one of those months that was just full of a bunch of fun events. A few of us organized Cash Mob. We threw a dinner party at the Baltimore House. Lindsay and I launched an online fundraiser to renovate our vintage camping trailer (a project that is still a long way out, unfortunately). I have learned this year just how much I'm a person who likes to Do Things. I love organizing, and planning, and bringing people together, and working on projects bigger than myself. It's a good thing, but it can be dangerous. Keeping busy can swallow you up, especially when you know that it's rest and quiet conversations that will stir your heart. Doing Things is a distraction, but it is also a joy. It's learning to find that balance of productivity/excitement/creativity and stillness/peace/reflection that is so hard.
Dinner at the Baltimore House.
April was full of more fun things. Like...going to see First Aid Kit in Toronto. And concluding forty days of "climbing high mountains" and ending that journey by celebrating Easter on the escarpment. And throwing a dance party to raise the last of the money for Sweet Ice's camping trailer. That was a good month.
May was a month of fresh starts. The days got warmer, and summer activities started. We cleaned up the back yard and I started jogging. I took some "offline" time to clear my head. Sweet Ice got rolling again, we sold our house, and started house hunting.
Hamilton Waterfront.
Cleaning the backyard.
The wallpaper I loved when we were house hunting. Wouldn't have guessed that this house would eventually be ours.
June's greatest accomplishment was the Sweet Ice commercial. It kindof speaks for itself. I'm still blown away that this came together, and I feel so very proud of it.
July is defined by the Great Disaster of 2012 - the flood. This was an absolutely awful month full of stress, disruption and unsettledness. We spent the next 3 months moving around, living out of a laundry basket. The greatest thing I learned was that people are kind, and so hospitable  It made me want to be kinder, and more hospitable. I hope that if someone I know has a disaster in their home like we had, I will be the kind of person that welcomes them into my home, because we were so blessed by that.
The only saving grace in July was the three amazing weddings we got to attend. Kevin's sister got married, and I had the honor of being in her wedding party and Kevin officiated their ceremony. It was pretty darn special. Kevin also got to stand up in the wedding of our dear friends Aaron and Cath. Lastly, my cousins got married on the beach, and Kevin officiated their ceremony. Then there was a pig roast.
August! We got our new house on the first of August and began renovations right away. We unpacked the kitchen, watched the contractors knock down a few walls, then escaped to the cottage for a week. Thank God, because the renovations were the biggest undertaking of life, and we had no idea that we'd still be working on the main floor at the end of December. The house has come a long way though, and it is slowly and surely becoming a home. We feel so blessed to have gotten this house - it really is (or will be) our dream house, and we're so thrilled about the location. I'm excited to see what life will look like in 2013 in our new place!
August is also when I accomplished last years resolution #1: "Pay off my school debt." Buying a new house is what allowed us to do so, and it was a huge weight lifted! 
September, in Hamilton, is basically know as Supercrawl Month. Most of the people I know are basically getting ready for Supercrawl for the first half of the month, executing whatever awesome thing they’re involved in, and then spending the second half of the month coming down from the Supercrawl high. It’s a good month. A crazy one, but so good. I had two awesome ways to get involved this year. First, Sweet Ice was setting up, for two days this year instead of just one, and second, the Beehive was installing our Modular Beauty piece. We got ready, we executed, and then we rested.

October was a great month because I really got to settle into Autumn. Every year I say that I want to do more “Fall Stuff” and unfortunately this amazing season only lasts about three weeks so you really have to make an effort to squeeze all that Autumn goodness out of it. Kevin and I went for a lot of walks, we carved a pumpkin, we drank apple cider, etc etc, but the most exciting I did was Sports! (I capitalize it, because it really is a new concept to me…almost otherworldly, actually.) My carpoolie Meag and I partnered up for a charity bike ride and we killed it! And it almost killed us. But we did it! Also, we finally moved into our new house at the end of October. It’s been a bit like camping, because we’re missing a lot of the essentials (stove, laundry, bathroom sink), but it’s cool how well you adapt to making all your meals in a slow cooker, using the laundromat, and washing your hands in the bathtub.
November was the month of 'making home'. I started making pillows, and decorating for Christmas, and buying furniture and finishing projects. I got some kind of second wind, and just stormed through home-projects.
Linds and I hosted the Not-So-Sweet Ice Dance Party, our season closer, and it was super fun and successful. It's always so humbling to see all these amazing people come out to enjoy snow cones and dancing, and to hear their feedback. It was such a great way to close our season; especially to end on a high when we were both ready to hibernate for a few months. November was also the first time we welcomed a big group of people into our home. We've always wanted a place where we could host large gatherings, and it was really cool to offer our place for our friend Tim's CD release party. I hope that this year will bring many more gatherings of friendly faces.
Aaaaand December. Lots of highlights in December. Obviously Christmas is always a fun time, but I had the added bonus of an amazing trip to Buffalo with Kevin, where we saw one of the best concerts of my life. Not to mention Shopocalypse, where our church raised over $7000 in one night to provide fresh drinking water to an underpriviledged community in Ethiopia, AND I got to celebrate my birthday about 4 different times because I'm spoiled like that. 
Whew! So there's the nutshell version of my year.
Now, the new year...let's address that. I'm declaring 2013 to be the year of simplicity.
Here are my four resolutions.

Slow down. 
Take a deep breath, don't sweat the small stuff, say no to things, enjoy my evenings. Read some books. Take time to sit and craft and talk.

Clean Up
Organize my life/house/brain. We've got housemates moving in this Spring, so the goal is to have all things in their proper place, and a purged and organized home before then. Also included here: cleaning up finances! I want to pay off our  $7000 car debt in 2013. We were debt free for two weeks in 2012, and it was nice...but then our car died! I want to get back there by the end of the year. 

Finish What I Start
Accomplish two projects each month. January is baby shower and wedding shower month. February is Operation-Terri-Gets-Married and cleaning my basement. March is finishing my braided rug on and so on.

Quality Time
Last year was high stress for most of the people I know. It was a a tough year, and everyone had a lot on their minds. This year, things are simpler, so I want to take advantage of that and spend more time with friends and family.

So there you go! That was a long writeup, but it's nice to take a glance back and a look forward. Happy New Year, friends!


  1. Wow! What a year. It is amazing when we take time and reflect on all that happens in one year. It is a great practice and I loved your photos. There is so much love and grace in this post. All the best in 2013.

  2. What a year! I like that you have highlighted the happy memories of the past year. That's being optimistic. We have highs and lows, and I believe there are more highs, which is enough reason to be happy and contented. Your house looks great. It might be needing few renos when you bought it, but that doesn't stop you from making the “dream house” happen. Keep up the good work!

    Calvin Mordarski @City Block Team

  3. your blog is all quality over quantity. i like!