Oh, 2013. You receive mixed reviews from me. It's been a challenging year at times, and most of you kinda know why by now, so I won't go into it all again. Seeing our new doctor in October really lifted our spirits, especially since he told us our prognosis to conceive looks "excellent," but it doesn't make the passing months with no good news any easier. We just have to continue pressing on with the best attitudes we can, save our pennies and hold on to hope that something will happen for us in 2014. About this time last year, I said a lot can happen in 365 days. It's so true in so many ways. I look back at the emotional state I was in at that time (a mess, if I'm going to be honest), and I realize I've come a long way. I've grown tremendously, and I've found an inner strength I didn't know existed until now. People will tell you when you're going through a hard time that life throws you curve balls, but only ones you can handle. I don't know if I agree with that. Life can be tough, but you have persevere through every storm the best you can. You don't really have a choice. Sure; some days I want to wallow and feel bad for myself. And some days I give in a little. But that isn't going to get you very far. You have to move forward, you have to hold your chin up, and you have to put on a brave face. It's all anyone can do, really.
But you know what? I have so dang much to be thankful for. It makes me feel guilty for wanting anything more right now. I sat here this morning making this collage from my 2013 Instagram photos, feeling nostalgic for all we've seen and experienced this past year. I have to admit, despite my uterus being a real disappointment, it's been a pretty good year for James and me.
I grew my small business more than ever over the past several months. I have a new website that's about to launch in 2014, I've expanded my product line with all kinds of new goodies, and I've made more custom art for clients this past year than ever before. I took a calligraphy class with one of my artistic heroes, Anne Elser, and I attended the Maiedae Mixer with my sweet friend Amber. Also, I met freakin' Andy Cohen at a book signing (I just love him.) One of my best friends tied the knot, I made tons of fun things for her wedding, and then James and I hopped on a plane to Vegas. We gambled, saw the Grand Canyon and we oohed and ahhed at the signs of Vegas past. We came home and promptly started cleaning up our back yard, built a fence, tossed around some pebbles, and made the space feel like an outdoor living room. It was fun.
This summer James and I went to the beach with my family, played lots of Apples to Apples in the sand and saw a rainbow over the ocean. We flew in a biplane over Atlanta with two of our closest friends. We trekked to Charleston for a last-minute getaway and hung out with family friends while we were there. I took a letterpress class with a friend at Smokey Road Press, a screen printing class with Double Dutch Press, and was a featured vendor at the first Not Wedding in Athens.
In the fall I was lucky enough to go back to Charleston for a friend's bachelorette trip, and the house we stayed in was a dream. I threw my mom a 60th birthday tea, and all of her closest friends came. I participated in several craft shows around town this fall and celebrated my 30th birthday -- twice. Once in Athens with family and friends, and again in New Orleans with my college pals, the same weekend we attended our friend's wedding, complete with a second line parade (one of my favorite memories from this past year.) We also stayed in a really cute house near Audubon Park. We'd like to go back sometime. The holidays were a whirlwind -- James and I hosted family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it was a blast. Yes; it's been quite a year. A really good year, honestly.
2013 still gets mixed reviews. But I am so thankful for all the great people, business opportunities and experiences it brought my way. I will look back on this past year as one I had to take time to grow, both personally and professionally. A "building year," if you will.
2014 holds lots of promise. Happy New Year to all of you! I'll see you on the other side. -- Natty