Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Highlights

A lot happened this year, which is part of the reason why I haven’t written as frequently as I usually do. (Sorry! I promise I am healthy and all is well in life and love.)

With that said, I decided to take a look back at 2012 and pick my top 10 highlights.

10. Woolif Fotog
Matt took his photography to a new level this year launching Woolif Fotog. I am so proud of him. For as long as I have known him, he has been passionate about his photography and also ending homelessness. He has started his powerful photo documentary to bring attention to the cause. For more information or to view his portfolio visit his website http://www.wooliffotog.com/.

9. 6 lb 9 oz Healthy Baby Boy 
That’s right, our sweet little Chihuahua Jasper is full grown now at 6 lbs 9 ozs. He turned three years old this November and continues to be the love of our lives. I don’t know what we did with ourselves before Jasper. He is our whole world and we love him dearly.

8. Refocusing on My Thesis 
Now that my life has settled down a little bit, I can resume my Masters degree. I was one of nine students accepted into the Journalism School at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2006. I finished the academic portion of my degree in just two years. It was in 2008 that I started my thesis and was diagnosed with stage-III breast cancer. I could not work on my thesis and focus on my health at the same time. Now that I am healthy and happy, it’s time to finish that thesis and obtain my degree. I can’t wait to cross this accomplishment off my bucket list.

7. Going International 
In June, I had the opportunity to take on a new position at work that I am loving.

I have been at Verisign for over two years now. For a year and eight months, I worked as a Digital Marketing Producer managing the content strategy and project management for VerisignInc.com, watch.tv, makea.name and verisignlabs.com, and maintained the Web presence that supported both end-user and business needs. I drove strategy and implementation of new product features on the websites based on research, user feedback, stakeholder/business requirements and performance analytics.

In June, I had a chance to grow my portfolio and move into a more strategic role leading the strategic implementation of localized content for 26 country sites of VerisignInc.com (in 15 languages) and the management of the content localization and translation processes. I am loving this new role and am learning so much.

6. Matt’s New Jobs 
This year Matt finished his internship at CACI in Chantilly when he graduated from George Mason University. He joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a Consultant, but quickly realized the work wasn’t something he enjoyed. After six month at BAH, he took an offer with Aol as a NOC Analyst which he is enjoying greatly.

We are so blessed to be in a location where the job market has not been impacted as hard as some other places. I think sometimes it is just as important to know what you don’t like doing and what doesn’t work, so that you can validate what you do love. We are thankful for Matt’s new job at Aol and hope he will have a long and successful career there.

5. Four-Years Cancer-Free 
I celebrated my four year anniversary this year of being cancer-free. I have one more year on the Tamoxifen, which suppresses the estrogen in my body, since my cancer was estrogen positive. Once I complete the Tamoxifen, Matt and I will have the opportunity to try and have a baby.

I also had the BRACAnalysis® Rearrangement Test (BART) genetic test done this year. When I was diagnosed with stage-III breast cancer in January 2008, there were only two breast cancer genes that had been identified that I could be tested for. I was negative for both BRCA1 and BRCA2, which means I don’t carry the breast cancer gene. There is a new test called BART, which detects rare, large cancer-associated rearrangements of the DNA in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which were previously undetected by standard genetic testing called comprehensive BRACAnalysis®. This test also came back negative, which was good news for Matt and I since we’d like to try and have a family. Good news all around for us!

4. Joey Enrolled Back into College 
One of the most exciting things that happened this year, is that I helped encourage my brother to enroll back in college to finish his college degree. He is just a few credits shy of getting his bachelor’s degree and after several months of analyzing his credits and looking at schools, he found his program at Strayer University. His first class was on comparative religion and on his final paper he got an A. He finished the class in December with a very honorable B. Here’s to a successful academic year in 2013. I’m so proud of you, Joey! Remember, it’s never too late.

3. Jenn is Cancer-Free 
My cousin and bestfriend, Jenn, was diagnosed with stage-IV breast cancer in 2012 (four years to the exact day of my diagnosis). You can read more about her journey on her blog: Not Jenn's Cup of Tea.

Jenn's diagnosis rocked my world emotionally. I stood by Jenn every step of the way as she went through chemo, radiation and surgeries. By doing this, I was reliving my own experience and had some very real post traumatic stress. I had no idea that there was a lot of emotional pain and grieving that I had not dealt with. Jenn gave me the gift of grief and in doing that, she and I were both able to heal together.

She continues to miraculously be cancer-free. Her team of doctors keep watching her closely to ensure she stays that way. She and I knew our lives were intertwined, but we never knew our bond would be this strong. She is one person in my life who can truly understand my thoughts and feelings, as strange as they might sound to others.

2. Matt Graduated from George Mason University 
When Matt and I started dating back in 2009, he was enrolled at George Mason University, trying to finish his bachelor’s degree. For his birthday that year, I purchased a diploma frame and hand wrote a letter inside telling him that his degree would be our number one priority and goal and that together he would finish. The letter said that once he got his diploma that we would hang it beside mine in our office. Three years later, we were able to hang our diplomas side-by-side. This is one achievement that is his, and his alone. No one can ever take this away from him. Education is one of the most important things for self development and I am so proud of him for finishing his schooling. It was a long road, but one that was worth the effort and patience.

1. From Miss to Mrs. 
MATT AND I GOT MARRIED!!! On Sunday, September 23, 2012 at Historic Whitehall Manor in Bluemont, Virginia, Matt and I said “I do” in the presence of our amazingly supportive and loving friends and family. There wasn’t a dry eye as we read our written vows to one another. It was such a beautiful and really emotionally powerful moment for me. We are so happy!

Not only did I get a husband, but I have a brand new family that I love dearly. Matt’s father, Philip and his girlfriend Jan, Matt’s three brothers: Steve, Jeff and Chris, two sisters-in-law: Amy and Wendy, five beautiful nieces: Rachael, Sydney, Brynn, Ainsley and Zoey and a handsome little nephew, Casey. I adore my new, extended family that has been so loving and welcoming to me.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy for you! It's so nice to read your blog now and see that you are SO happy and enjoying your