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Reflecting on the First Half of 2024: Moments of Growth and Joy

Halfway through 2024, it's the perfect time to pause, reflect, and appreciate how far we've come. The first six months of this year have been filled with memorable moments, personal achievements, and a few bumps along the way. I'm grateful and proud of myself for navigating this eventful period, and I want to share some of these experiences with you. My hope is that my journey will inspire you to reflect on your own path, realize how much you have accomplished, and understand that it's not too late to keep pushing to make your dreams come true.

Family Strategy Retreat: A Time for Connection and Goal Setting

One of the highlights of this year so far was our annual Family Strategy Retreat in Miramar Beach, FL. This retreat is a cherished tradition where we come together to update and revise our family values and set our goals for the year. It's a time for deep connection, honest conversations, and aligning our visions. Usually, April and I would embark on this retreat alone, but this year we decided to include the kids. This made the retreat especially meaningful, as we emerged with a renewed sense of purpose and unity. Taking time to reflect and plan as a family has strengthened our bonds and given us a clear direction for our future.

Embracing the Ups and Downs

Not every plan goes as hoped, and that's okay. For instance, I didn't win the #HGTV Dream Home Giveaway again this year. But who needs a dream home when you have a home filled with love, laughter, and a ton of projects, right? I did build April a new garden with a self-watering system, a project that brought me immense satisfaction and joy. Drop me a message if you want to see the garden; otherwise, enjoy the house!

Spring Break Adventures

Spring Break was a much-needed escape, and we spent it relaxing in Pensacola Beach, FL. The spectacular view, the sound of the waves, the heated pools, the hot tub, and being without a laptop for the first time in three years made it a trip to remember. It was a simple yet perfect way to unwind and recharge, reminding us of what a true break felt like in our busy lives and the importance of enjoying the little moments.

Achieving Academic and Personal Milestones

One of my proudest achievements this year was graduating with my Doctorate. It was a long and challenging journey, but walking across that stage was an indescribable feeling. This accomplishment is a testament to perseverance and hard work, and it has opened new doors for my career and personal growth.

Celebrating the Kids' Birthdays

This year, we opted for a more meaningful celebration for the kids' birthdays. Instead of extravagant parties, we decided to focus on creating lasting memories through experiences. After some discussion, the kids excitedly chose a trip to Disney World as their birthday treat. Trading big parties for a Disney adventure turned out to be the best choice. It's a reminder that sometimes, the most valuable gifts aren't the ones you can wrap, but the experiences you share as a family.

Celebrating My Own Birthday

Celebrating my birthday this year was truly special. I felt blessed to see another year and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from so many people. April planned a perfect staycation, allowing us to relax and enjoy some much-needed downtime together. The warmth and affection I received reminded me how fortunate I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

Disney Trip: A Tale of Magic and Mishaps

Our #Disney Trip was another unforgettable experience. We visited three out of the four parks, creating magical memories as a family. There was a bit of unexpected excitement when I almost got arrested at one of the parks – but that’s a story for another blog post! Seeing the kids' faces light up as they rode all the rides and watched the shows we missed last time made all the planning and effort worth it.

Disney ride

Celebrating Milestones and Building Memories

We celebrated a milestone birthday - April’s 40th - with family in Port St. Joe, FL. It was a wonderful celebration, filled with love and laughter. I did everything I could to make it special, renting out a beach house, hiring a private chef for brunch, and scheduling a beautiful dinner in a scenic location. April didn’t have to lift a finger. These milestones remind us how precious time is and the importance of celebrating our loved ones.

Professional Growth and New Connections

On the professional front, I had the opportunity to present on a topic I’m passionate about: “Cultivating a Positive Staff Experience and Culture in Student Affairs.” Sharing my knowledge and experiences with others was incredibly rewarding. Additionally, I published four impactful blog posts that garnered engagement from a diverse audience. These interactions have allowed me to connect with new people and expand my network in meaningful ways.

Looking Ahead: It’s Never Too Late

As we move into the second half of 2024, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your journey. What have you achieved? What challenges have you overcome? What goals are you still striving towards? Remember, it's never too late to make your dreams and aspirations come true. Whether it’s personal growth, professional development, or family goals, every step forward is a success.

Let's continue to support each other, as you never know what someone may be going through or how your words and actions can uplift them. If you made it this far, thank you for being a part of my journey, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the months to come.

Clap it up for the second half of 2024!


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