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It has been months since I last wrote a blog. There are various reasons, but mostly, I needed to do some soul searching. So, today I start again with something I have worked for all year. Developing a sense of gratitude in 2014. On January 1, 2014, I started to write down blessings and put them in a jar that I could open on New Year’s Eve. All too often, I forget the little things, and the big things, that make life more enjoyable. I forget to be grateful. I forget where I came from. Today, I reflected heavily upon the happenings of 2014 as I cracked open that jar.

There are moments that I had completely forgotten about, moments I wish I could forget (yet, try to remain grateful for) and moments that I hope to hold near to me for years to come. Most of the things I had written down on paper involved my friends, my family, recovery and work. It goes to show that for me, those are the top priorities in my life. I don’t plan on making resolutions because for me, change happens daily. New Year’s Resolutions seem to set me up for failure, because let’s face it… I don’t do anything perfectly and 9 times out of 10, I am going to screw it up. I seem to get the end result that was meant to be, not necessarily the one I had hoped for. Anyway, I made a list of the blessings which could not be left aside. The moments I will cherish for always, because they changed me. There is no specific order to the list because after about #1, they all fall equally into my life and my heart… without #1, nothing else would be on this list.

1. I MADE IT ONE YEAR CLEAN & SOBER — An entire year without drugs and alcohol. I thought it was impossible. And for this year, I thank my sponsor, my amazing family and friends and most importantly God.

2. QUALITY TIME WITH MY GRANDMOTHER — Although I do not see my grandma often, the time I spent with her this year has touched my heart for a lifetime. She suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and it is infrequent that she remembers most of who we are. The important thing is that I remember her. I know the woman who made peanut butter cookies, who had the tin cup in her bathroom for years and the woman who gave me the best mother I could ask for. My grandmother is a solid foundation upon which my family is built and I can never thank her enough for providing our family with love and support throughout the years.

3. BABY JACOB — I cannot go into great detail about this precious, special little boy, but what I can say is that I am truly honored and humbled to have met this Angel. My life changed the day I held him and I will know no greater love than that of family.

4. TRICK OR TREAT 5K WITH MY NIECE & NEPHEW — This year, I set out to run at least one 5K. I ran three. The most important one for me was with my niece and nephew. We didn’t run together because, let’s face it, they’re young and I’m well… I have more wisdom. Ha! Being able to run with these kids, to spend time with these kids… it means the world to me. I missed out on their lives for far too long to let anything stand in the way of that anymore.

5. CALIFORNIA — A big part of my life resides in California with my sister, her husband and their kids. Spending time with them this year was incredible. It makes me cherish the little things when I don’t always get to be a part of the big things. It makes me work harder and keep the faith that someday, I may be established enough to venture West for a few years.

6. CLOSURE — My sponsor and I trekked toward Wichita this year to gather the rest of my material belongings and gain some closure on that part of my life. It brought us closer together as we spent 17 hours in a car together and it gave me the trust not only in myself, but in others, to move forward.

7. JOAN JETT — Now, don’t get me wrong… this one sounds a little funny. There is a story behind the madness. Four girls set off to this concert, not wanting to go. We all had bad days. We all felt out of sync with the world. We walked through the doors and ended up having the best time. Had we stayed home and sat on our thrones of self pity, we would have missed out on one of the best bonding experiences we could be blessed with.

8. “YOU’RE DOIN’ GREAT KID” — This man, who I admire greatly, reminded me that it’s ok to be human. On a day that was a struggle, he simply said, “You’re doin’ great kid” and walked away. It kept me sober that day and the days to follow were better.

9. THE CROW POSE — As my sponsor and I, along with some friends, worked toward finding some peace, we did yoga. We didn’t do this gracefully, but we did it. The biggest challenge for us was a pose called The Crow. Well, after practice and determination, and a little help from God, we did it.

10. Cirque Du Soliel — As a Christmas gift, a dear friend took me to Cirque Du Soliel. It was one of the most breath taking experiences and reminded me how blessed I am to live this life today.

11. MINNEAPOLIS — Again, my sponsor and I traveled. We went to Minneapolis for an art show, listened to live music, spent hours exploring and walking around, and did some shopping. I fell in love with life again on this trip.

12. 9 MINUTE MILE — When I started running at the beginning of the year, I could not get past a 12 minute mile. I was out of shape, my lungs were burning and I was angry. By mid-summer, I ran a 9 minute mile. I’ve never done it again, but that was the push I needed to keep me motivated.

13. I WROTE MY FIRST BLOG — I’ve always had a passion for writing. I was stuck in a slump and my sponsor suggested I write a blog. It was one of the best suggestions to date, and I’m so grateful I did.

Cheers to 2015. May it be filled with more blessings than heartache.

-Kylee Christoffels

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