My Lesson Learned in 2017

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus

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How often do you take a look at your surroundings and feel overwhelmed with gratitude? I have to admit, I don’t do it nearly as often as I should because life and all of its busyness seem to get in the way. But for some reason, every time I read this quote, I’m able to stop in my tracks and really bask in my blessings.

I spent the last several days – months, if I’m being honest – of 2016 hoping for more. Praying I could get pregnant with our second and grow our family. Wishing I could devote my time to something I was passionate about. Longing to spend more time with our daughter at home after feeling like I was already missing out on so much. I still remember the ache and emptiness I felt when ringing in 2017.

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And then 2017 happened. I found out I was pregnant only a few days into the new year. About a week after that, Brett accepted a job offer that allowed me to stay at home and focus on growing my blog and other personal projects. Everything seemed to happen all at once and the sadness I had felt the months prior seemed to vanish.

After spending months of wanting more, God brought me what I had prayed for in 2017. While I’m disappointed in myself for not focusing more on what I had instead of what I didn’t have, I think that longing and sadness allowed me to grow closer to God and spend almost all of 2017 basking in my blessings and being grateful for the season I was in. Not only was I able to focus on recent blessings, I was also able to reflect on the ones I had wished for years ago like my husband, beautiful daughter and our home.

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2017 was the bees knees in many ways. We’re ending the year as a family of four with our clever, imaginative and hilarious Peyton, and our sweet Emmy boy who never ceases to warm our hearts with his infectious smile. My husband is capping off 2017 in a new role at work that not only interests him, but challenges him and I’m so proud of how hard he’s been working and how much he’s been excelling. I’ve been able to spend the whole year at home with our littles while also slowly growing Marina Makes with my first partnership with Night In Boxes.

And with the happy times, came sad times too. I can’t look back on 2017 without mentioning the hardest part of 2017, losing my yiayia in the spring.  This past year was full of moments missing sitting next to her at my parents’ dinner table, seeing her walk up to my house with papou and being in the presence of her larger than life smile. But, with the tears came happy times, like being able to spend more time with my papou and seeing my yiayia laugh and smile in so many dreams. See, focusing on the beauty of what you have now is possible!

So, here’s my hope for you – that no matter what you’ve been through this year, good or bad, happy or sad, that you’re able to ring in the new year focusing on the blessings you have in this moment that you hoped for last year or many years ago.

I can’t thank you enough for continuing to join me along on this journey. Your support of Marina Makes has helped make my dreams a reality and I’m still in awe that you’re making my recipes and find my content relatable. Cheers to the things we had in 2016 and the things we’ll continue to cherish in 2017.

Photos taken by Rebecca Haley Photography

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