Monday, December 31, 2012


*I'm dating this post December 31st, 2012 - my last one of the year.  I've got many memories to look back on and so many blessings and lessons to reflect upon in the coming weeks. 
2012 - thank you...

"Hallelujah" - K.D. Lang

There is this peace - this contentedness that has consumed every part of me in the past week...
It's grown with each waking day.  It's made for late nights filled with long talks and deep thoughts.
Many times, I found myself choked up and ultra weepy as I took a good, hard look at where I'm at
and where I've been.

Where I'm at and where I've been - it all blends together...
creating such an intensely satisfying comfort.

I'm feeling blessed beyond words.   
Because our dreams have finally come true - yes.

But then there's that other good stuff - the stuff that stirs deep within.  I carry it with me - it serving as a reminder to always be thankful, always be mindful and always have faith.
There's this place I've always gone to when I felt fear creeping in - A place 
 where all the trials, crazy wonderful messes, terrifying moments and beautiful experiences all fuse together.  I take them all in.  And not only do I feel so very blessed but... 

I feel so alive. 

2012 - Some days, I prayed for night to come and bring me even a small bit of peace.  Some nights, I prayed for even an hour or two of sleep. And now, I sit here in awe of all the life and love that was packed into the past year.

Yesterday, my mom and I spent the day together.  After lots of bargain shopping, we headed back to her house.  We sat until about midnight, talking, sipping hot tea and eating her famous Christmas cookies.

  A year ago, today, her mother - my nani, passed away.  It doesn't seem that far away to me.  And I know, for my mother, it all still feels so very fresh at times.  
Over the years, my mom and I have learned a fair share about loving and losing.  It certainly isn't easy.  But it teaches you.  You learn more about yourself than you can imagine.  A new kind of strength enables you to not only keep going,
but to live wiser and love greater.

"I've found you find strength in your moments of weakness.  For once I'm at peace with myself." - Rascal Flatts - "I'm Moving On"

I've always loved those words.
  And now, they ring so incredibly true.

2012, I'll always remember and be thankful for you.
I'll come back and visit.  Don't you worry.

 Thank you.

The day before New Year's Eve with the Mr...

A day of celebration.  Just the two of us.  We bundled up and took a pretty drive.

To one of our favorite spots to visit in the winter.

 Snow covered the ground, roofs and trees around us.  The air was crisp and people everywhere were smiling and happy - Christmas was still in the air.

We walked, keeping close to one another as we took in the sites of the village.
We found sweet pieces for baby girl's nursery in one of our favorite shops.  And got teary (yet again) at just how perfect they were and how amazing it all felt.

We checked out these creations in the little gingerbread hut...

And even spotted an angry yeti!

Leaving the hut, we came out to the sky lit up with magic.

We had dinner at a place we've been wanting to try for years.
It was charming and beautiful - a gorgeous church converted into a restaurant.

December 30th - 28 weeks
I officially entered the third trimester.

The last photo I took that day - a hand-painted bench outside a funky, little shop on our walk back to the car...

Couldn't sum up my thoughts on 2012 any better - Love does save the day.  Always.

And to that, I say...

Happy New Year.  Happy New Lessons.  Happy New Begninnings.

I'll be back later this weekend with more reflection and photos from our end of the year and new year.

New Lovin',


Whitney said...

Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! That place looks like a Christmas winter wonderland! Staying up late talking with your mom sounds so special. And how lucky you got to snack on her famous Christmas cookies, YUM! I am glad you had a rough, but good, 2012. 2013 is going to be so exciting for y'all and baby girl!

E and R said...

Happy New Year! I know that 2013 will be one of the best yet for you!!

Judy Haughton-James said...

Hi there Maria,
I am so happy for all the wonderful moments you had in 2012! Oh, how I love that quote about strength. Isn't it amazing the strength we exhibit through life's challenges and trials?! When we overcome what a joy! Wow! I am in awe by all the beautiful pictures. It must have been such a thrill to be driving along and seeing all those awesome sights and visiting these places. Your mom's cookies look so delicious! The year 2012 ended in a very special way for you and 2013 is going to be even better! My prayers and thoughts are with you, Steve and Beano. Have an extra special 2013! Yes, it is going to be so for sure! Lots of Love, friendship and best wishes always!

Rebecca said...

Congrats on the third tri! You are so close!!!!

Kari said...

Third tri already?! Girlfriend how is this even possible? :)

Beautiful pictures as always!! Hope you had a great New Year's!!


Natalia Oh! said...

'Live wiser and love greater' - words to live by. Such a heartwarming and sentimental post, you're an amazing writer.

I'm a new follower and I just wish you all you could ever wish or and then some for the year ahead! Good luck in your third trimester!


Karen said...

Hallelujah! You are blessed. Happy New Year to you Maria! 3rd trimester!!!!! Yes!!!!

Our Journey Through This Lovely Life said...

Happy New Year! Your post is beautiful and you look so adorable! I can hardly believe your already to your third trimester! It's so very exciting! Much love to you Steve and baby!

Irish Italian Blessings said...

THIS might be my absolute favorite post of yours! It is filled with positivity and beautiful thoughts. Thank you for sharing it, I needed to read it today. You are just gorgeous and look SO darling in that black dress. Loved the pics too, the snow makes it look perfect. <3

ErinMSW said...

You look so great - yay 3rd trimester! Is it totally weird that I LOVE churches converted to restaurants? My very favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh (and maybe ever) is a big old church converted to a brewery/restaurant - they still use the pews for seating, and the alter is where the brewing tanks are. It's so cool.

JP said...

Oh may goodness, that village is stunning. It looks as if it is made from gingerbread!
What a fun date. I can't wait to see what treasures are in store for baby girl's nursery.
Happy New Year!

Heather said...

That village looks like such a fun (and beautiful) place to go! And the gingerbread houses? Holy amazing! Yay for third tri - and entering into what will be an amazing 2013.

Ashley at flats to flip flops said...

Happy New Year Maria! Can't wait for all 2013 has in store for you!! And p.s. no one should be that cute pregnant!!!
Ashley:) said...

You look so beautiful pregnant, it brings tears to my eyes every time I visit your page, I am so happy for you.
Big hugs to you and Steve.

jenicini said...

You look amazing. Simply happy and filled with joy. Happy New Year! I think this will be the best one yet!

Chelsee @ Southern Beauty Guide said...

Hey! I am stopping by from the blog hop and your newest follower! I think you blog is too cute, I love the country theme! If you get a chance please follow me back!

Happy Friday,
Chelsee @ Southern Beauty Guide

Kara and Mary said...

Happy New Year Maria and Steve! I love the special relationship you have with your mother. It seems so precious and I am sure you treasure every moment you get to spend with her. Congrats on the 3rd trimester. I am sure it is going so fast for you!

Rachel said...

Hi there - new follower from the blog hop! Love your blog and can't wait to read more! Hope you have a great day! :)

Stephanie @ Blonde Highlights said...

Pretty girl! I am so so so so happy for you, the hubs, the kitties and baby girl! You look absolutely fabulous and glowing! I'm so happy 2012 made so many of your dreams come true! I can't wait to reign in all the happiness of 2013 with you! :)

Also, those pics are fabulous! I wish we had winter wonderlands in Louisiana... although it would be impossible because everyone would be sweating to death instead of freezing to death!

XOXOXO... what a great year to celebrate and another great year ahead!

LOVE MELISSA:) said...

Oh Maria. I love all the pictures. I am sorry about your Nani- but I bet she is looking down waiting to see her new granddaughter! I wish you nothing but the best for 2013. This is your and Steve year my friend!! xo

Irish Carter said...

Happy New Year Maria. I loved the chair/bench with the appropriate and meaningful.

Best of everything in 203.


Miki said...

Happy 2013, Maria! ;D I love the way you wrapped up this post, by the way. I was a tad sad about putting our Christmas tree away today, but you're so right, a new year means learning new lessons and also new beginnings :p. You've lifted my mood! Thanks!

And oh, my! The landscape and the village are so beautiful! I so want to see snow! I guess I'll have to talk the husband into taking a ride to the mountains before the snow melts, hehe.

Have a wonderful week and an awesome 2013! ;D There's no doubt this one will be one you'll never forget :P!

Tight hugs!

Erin said...

Maria, you are absolutely radiant! I rejoice with you!! I can't wait to see your pure joy at all that 2013 is going to bring you!!

Love you, sister!

Tami said...

Was that Christmas Village?
Happy New Year to you, hubby and baby girl!
I'm looking forward to getting to know you better this new year!

Melissa McCoy said...

The Christmas lights, the gingerbread houses, and your bangs are amazing! Anyway, I found you on the blog hop and am your newest follower. Check out our blog and feel free to follow back if you'd like :)
The Real McCoy(s)

Cami said...

BEAUTIFUL snow pics and beautiful baby bump <3

Lenetta Carnes said...

Hi, Great post. I found you through the blog hop. Now following you.Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance.
Be sure and check out my new Blog Hop that we just started, It's Weekly Goals Link Up. It's a great way to stay on track. Have a great day. :) Here's the link in case you want to check it out. Thanks again.

Ashley said...

You look so beautiful and you are absolutely glowing! Yeah for the third trimester. She will be here before you know it. :) Love the little village and all the lights.

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