Adventures, Bucket Lists, and Contentment: 2014 Recap

I want to start documenting a little more directly the exciting and adventurous things I have done each year…it helps me remember how blessed/not boring my life actually is. I have been contemplating this project for a while, and I like it because it is not only a great way to remember a creative, fun year, it also caters to the side of me that loves to put everything in boxes.

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Sweet things I did in 2014:

dyed my hair like Rogue from X-men
refinished a desk
tried Kopi Luwak coffee at the Woman at Risk Conference
discovered hammocks
sent over 50 letters and read 26 books (and started countless more)
learned to throw pottery
found morel mushrooms
completed an internship at Hawkins Family Farm
finally mastered the forearm stand
finally got a six pack
started teaching myself cello
community dinners with rock climbing friends
tried slacklining
saw a calf just birthed in the mountains of Switzerland
started a monthly newsletter about courage

Month-by-Month 2014:

Januaryrecipe tested for FoodLovesWriting’s Einkorn Cookbook
February– solo road-tripped to Virginia, participated in the 40-day challenge through Goshen Grace Community Church
March– got some killer bruises while ice climbing in Michigan
April– Rock climbed at Red River Gorge (discovering Miguels and Ale-8), visited Nashville to run a marathon without training (barefoot) (don’t try this at home)
May– got published in Edible Michiana for the first time, got published in Wolftree magazine twice
June– saw baby bears and washed my hair in a mountain stream while backpacking for three days through Shenandoah Valley, (also may or may not have hitchhiked 20 miles up a mountain in a storm with a guy who’d just gotten out of court for possession of marijuana…did not just tell you that) sat in on a Sasquatch convention during the family reunion in Burr Oak State Park
July– helped unload a truckload of hay for the fun of it (and for a little cash)
August– competed in my first triathlon, drove a jet ski across Culver Lake, learned how to wakesurf, swam across Winona Lake
September– spent a week in Switzerland, hanging out around Eiger and drinking ungodly amounts of espresso, celebrated Hobbit Day, ran the Grace College Alumni 5k, got published in Edible Michiana again and hung out at the Nappanee Apple Fest
October– raced (and won) Nocturnal IV, hung out at Mississinewa 1812
November– learned about winter harvesting and butchered chickens during my internship at Hawkins Family Farm
Decembercut down a real Christmas tree, counted small blessings, and enjoyed a month full of celebrating with family and friends, observed Advent, celebrated my 2-year wedding anniversary and the 12 days of Christmas!

Okay, on to some of my favorite things (basically this means food and books)

U-Picked: strawberries, blueberries, and apples
Foraged for morel mushrooms, black raspberries (made black raspberry syrup), sassafras, hickory nuts (made hickory syrup), and wild blueberries in Switzerland
Made home-pressed apple cider (from a press my father in law built!) and homemade root beer with the foraged sassafrass
Shared: participated in a bread share, as well as receiving an abundance of vegetables from Hawkins Farm!

Gifted a moka pot
Discovered chicory coffee and dandelion root coffee
Invented a hot chocolate with smoked tea infused caramel and smoked salt (it tasted like a campfire)

Best Reads:

East of Eden by Steinbeck (changed.my.life.), Unbroken (biography of Louis Zamperini), (reread) Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, The Shack by William Young (wow that one was different than I expected!), Mastery by Robert Greene (hidden ebook gem), and Lone Survivor, autobiogrophy of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.

Best Movies: The Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Battle of the Five Armies, Unbroken
I also watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Ameile for the first time and re-watched The Breakfast Club. Classics! (Also, I learned that my favorite TV series, Pushing Daisies, was heavily inspired by Ameile!

—–
Quick 2013 recap (Because I didn’t do this last year and I plan on making it a yearly thing)

States visited in 2013:

North Carolina
Alabama
Colorado
Wisconsin
Michigan
Kentucky
Indiana (duh)
Ohio (duh)

Best of 2013 in chronological order:

–saw the Avett Brothers in concert (best.concert.ever.)
–stayed in a cabin in Bryson City, North Carolina and hiked on the Appalachian Trail
–shot a semiautomatic rifle and milked a cow in Alabama
–ran a quarter marathon Winona Lake trail race
–solo-road-tripped to Wausau, Wisconsin to visit my sister
–baked several piecakens
climbed to the top of Mount Yale, my first 14er
–spent a weekend in Mesick, Michigan (just on the border of Manistee National Forest), fishing, cooking over campfires, canoeing, and practicing archery
–saw Josh Turner in concert
–celebrated Hobbit Day with an apple pierateship
–saw Mumford & Sons in concert (!)
ran a 50k relay in Door County, Wisconsin (and medaled!)
–ran a Tough Mudder with my brother
placed 2nd in a poetry contest
–saw A Christmas Carol at the Indiana Repertory Theater and ate at Hard Rock Cafe
-finished 19 books and started many more

All of these things were made possible by friends, family, and a little dose of stubbornness on my part to take every opportunity and live life to the fullest. I am grateful.

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