December Gratitude

December 29, 2017

Rather than post about my favorites of the month, I want to just take a took at 2017 and give thanks.  Too often, it’s easy to focus on all of the things that went wrong in the year and forget about all of our accomplishments. This year, I set several resolutions, and one of them was to practice gratitude. I incorporated that in my monthly favorites posts, but I wanted to take one more look at gratitude before the end of 2017.

This list isn’t all encompassing, but highlights a few of my favorite themes from the year. Check out last month’s favorite post for more.

Family and friends

In September, my PawPaw died and life hasn’t quite been the same since. He and my MeMe were married for (almost) 72 years. However, during that time, I was covered with prayer from family and friends. Even though he was 92, it reminded me that we aren’t guaranteed a specific number of days here on Earth, so I need to purposefully love my people daily.

Also, shout out to this gorgeous woman for turning 91 yesterday. She is the epitome of class, grace, kindness, love and so much more. My MeMe is my last remaining grandparent and I cherish every day I have here with her.

I have met some incredible women and grown closer to old friends this year. Two of my best friends in high school and I reconnected this year too. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a great community and love the people in my life. God has put encouragers, motivators, funny, caring and compassionate people in my life.

In February, I will become an official aunt. Since Colton and I don’t want children of our own, we have always dreamed of having nieces and nephews to love and pour in to. Baby Lily will be here so soon and I cannot wait! Stay tuned for another baby shower tutorial in January.


Van Life Yosemite National Park Travel Blog Blogger Love You More Too

This year, Colton and I traveled to several places together. One of my favorite things about our relationship is both of our love and desire to see the world. We made traveling a priority in our marriage many years ago, and in 2017 saw many parts of the world we hadn’t been to. Click on the links to see our travel guide for each destination.

Van Life Joshua Tree Travel Blog Blogger Love You More Too

We took our camper van, Maeve, on several adventures including camping at Lake Ouachita, Big Bend National Park, Marfa, Joshua Tree National Park, Los Angeles, Yosemite National Park, King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park, Grand Canyon, and Petrified Forest National Park.

Colton also attended a few music festivals in Maeve, and I even came along to one and loved it.

We spent some time in a few US cities we haven’t been to, including Tampa, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Denver. One of my favorite trips was glamping in Hood River and Portland. Although we have been to Portland before, we hadn’t spent any time in Hood River.

Also, I got to be bratty and ask for a trip to Mexico for my 30th birthday. I loved relaxing on the beach and stuffing my face with all of the delicious food.

My career

I am one of those weird-o people who actually love my job. When I was 13, I knew I was going to be a counselor. It wasn’t until grad school I decided to become a school counselor. Even after the hardest days at work, I am still grateful for my school. I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be. My school has the best students, parents, teachers, principal, community, environment and more. I pray that I inspire, encourage, and love my students the way they do me.

The Barre Code

For the last two years, The Barre Code has been my go-to place to work out. Not only do I love their workouts, but I love the community. These women challenge, motivate, and encourage me. I am excited for what 2018 will bring.


I hope you have had time to reflect on your year and highlight some of the things you are grateful for. Check back next week for my 2018 goals challenge and ways to simplify your goals.

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What are you grateful for in 2017? Leave me a comment below. 

  • Beth Eaton December 29, 2017 at 10:36 am

    I think this is a great way to close the end of the year as we are planning for the new year!!

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Thank you, Beth. I agree!

  • Beth December 29, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Your grandmother looks simply amazing for 91! And so excited for you to be an aunt! Great things to look forward to in 2018!

    • Jessica December 30, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Doesn’t she? Everyone thinks she is 70 at most. She is timeless. And thank you! We can’t wait!

  • Shybiker December 29, 2017 at 10:38 am

    What a marvelous post. My sympathy on your losses. My applause for your travels. And my envy for your work-satisfaction. Have a great New Year!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      Thank you so much! Happy new year!

  • April December 29, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I can’t believe your grandmother is 91! She looks amazing! My sincerest condolences on the loss of your grandfather as well.It sounds like you had a fun filled year!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      Doesn’t she? Thank you. I appreciate it so much.

  • Lisa December 29, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    I would love to be able to travel around the US in something as fun as Maeve! How exciting! Best wishes for the new niece & new year!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      Thank you! She’s really a fun addition. Thank you so much, Lisa!

  • ShootingStarsMag December 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful year, full of mostly highs! That’s great that you love your job. I want to find a full-time job like that – one that truly feels like a career and not just a job I do, you know?


    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm

      I really did. Hoping this one is even better. Yes! I totally get what you mean. It makes all the difference for sure.

  • Larissa December 29, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Your year definitely didn’t start on the best note, and I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds like he has left a lasting legacy, and from the beautiful words you have to share, I can tell how amazing person he was! On a lighter note, when I was reading about your niece, I first read that you’re “officially an adult” and I was thinking I didn’t know throwing a baby shower qualified one as an adult, but okay. Haha…but then I reread it and was like, oh…that makes more sense! I love your positive outlook and your grateful attitude 🙂 May you have an amazing 2018!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Thank you so much. He really was an incredible person.

      Haha. I laughed out loud when I read the second part. haha. Have a great 2018! Happy New Year, girl.

  • Marjie Mare December 29, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of your pops. I am glad you enjoy 2017 and meet new people and travel. I wish you a blessed and wonderful year to come

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you so much. Hope you have a great new year! Best wishes for 2018.

  • Diana December 29, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    I’m retrospect, your 2017 looks mostly dreamy! I wish You and your family condolences and well being for the future. Tell your grams she’s rocking 91, and keep your head up in 2018!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:37 pm

      It really was! Thank you so much, Diana.

  • Lecy | A Simpler Grace December 29, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Wow, she does NOT look like she’s 91! So many wonderful things to be grateful for!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you so much, Lecy!

  • Angela Tolsma December 30, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Beautiful post, being grateful is so important!
    I became an aunt three years ago and seriously it made me so happy. My husband and I also don’t want children but it’s fun to spoil others. Love that you found community in Barre, exactly how I feel about my yoga group!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you so much. I cannot wait to be an aunt and agree its so fun to spoil others!

  • Chelsea @ Home Well Managed December 30, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I really enjoyed reading this post because as I read all your reflections I was made aware of some of my wins this year as well. And I’m totally adding Glamping to my live list!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      Awh. Thank you! Yes, glamping was such a fun experience.

  • Melissa Chapman December 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    It was a great year for you, but I am so sorry about Paw Paw. I only wish I could look as good as MeMe at that age. Portland looks like a great place to visit.

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Thank you so much. 🙂

  • Nicole Banuelos December 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    It is so true that its much easier to look at the negatives rather than the positives. Giving gratitude is something I definitely need to work on and this post has given me some inspiration!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you, Nicole! I hope you have a great 2018.

  • tonya December 30, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    I am so sorry about your paw paw. Its evident you were both blessed to have each other in your lives! I love that! And its true- being thankful for what we have and had is so much healthier than thinking about the negative things!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you Tonya. Happy new year!

  • Julie December 31, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Great way to start the year with a recap of the last one! So sorry for your loss, no matter how old people are, it’s still so hard to lose them. You have a lot of positive things in your life, have fun and enjoy! The next year will be even better yet!!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much, Julie! Have a great 2018!

  • Vyom January 1, 2018 at 9:59 am

    I am extremely sorry about your loss but your meme looks such incredibly gorgeous and super charming lady. I am so glad 2017 was so eventful for you and hope 2018 in even better. Happy new year.

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you so much! She is such a sweetheart. Happy new year!

  • Krysti January 2, 2018 at 2:59 am

    What a lovely idea! It’s so nice to reflect on your year and be grateful. I just might do this too! Best wishes for 2018!

    • Jessica January 2, 2018 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you! You too, Krysti!

  • Eli@CoachDaddy January 4, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Years can give us the highest highs and painful lows, and really, every day we exist in the midst of it all, don’t we? I love your perspective and gratitude – it shines through in this post. I’ve decided that if I ever strike it rich, I’ll buy a Maeve of my own.

    • Jessica January 4, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      Thank you so much Eli. You are completely right. These camper vans are super cool for sure.

  • Lindsay January 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Hey girl,
    I hope 2018 is even better to you than 2017 was. So many great things! 🙂 Your meme is such a gorgeous lady and looks so vivacious! Makes me miss my grandma.

    Hope you’re having a great week hun. xox

    • Jessica January 4, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Than you so much, sweet friend! You too!