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2016 wrap up

Joining Helene and friends today to share my 2016 wrap up.  I did a 2015 wrap up, and it was actually very therapeutic for me to look back on a really terrible year and remember all the amazing things that did happen… I had hoped to get this done last week, but I didn’t.

journey of doing - 2016 wrap upP I N I T

2016 Wrap Up – All the Good Moments


The first month of the year brought the end of 2015 sadness when I was able to give a beautiful eulogy and tribute to Julie Fonner, one of my dad’s best friends, who passed away right before Christmas.  Being able to do that for her sons, who are the closest thing I have to brothers, was especially rewarding.  It also brought about  the last all-nighters for us for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program as 2016 was the last cohort under the current program.  We had so many amazing kiddos apply.



We made the trip to Copperas Cove to celebrate my nephew’s Signing Day.  While he’s no longer a Baylor Bear, we are proud that he is a UT Longhorn.  I surprised my grandmother with some tasty red velvet chocolate chip cookies for Valentine’s Day… which she decided to share with her friends.

journey of doing - Red Velvet White Chocolate CookiesP I N I T


One of my kiddo’s mom’s convinced me to spend a long weekend with her in Boston… so, after seeing 6 of our amazing kiddos become TCU Community Scholars, I jetted off for a few days at The Charles Hotel, eating delicious meals, and pretending I was still a college student.  We also got our first green tags on the renovation (that was supposed to take 12 weeks at most… but ended up taking 9 months).



I nailed another TACAC presentation with my favorite group of people before immediately heading back to Dallas and boarding a plane for Europe for most of the month.  We had an amazing time traipsing around Italy again (and learned why you need to stay in Cinque Terre), and we fell in love with Budapest and Prague.

journey of doing - manarola cinque terre photosP I N I T


We came back from Europe to find out that my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, but she came through surgery in May with flying colors.  I headed to DC for a few days with the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success and found myself encouraged by the commitment of the college leaders I spent time with.  JP graduated, Julian got promoted, and I hosted a co-ed baby shower for my in-laws IN OUR HOUSE and we finally moved home.



After being out of my house for the entire school year, the realizations at the end of the school year brought me to my knees as I realized how grateful I was for my communities and villages – and all the people that make my life better by being in it.


Principal’s Presentation consumed July more than usual because of new requirements… but true to form, I rocked it out… because I learned to embrace the idea that there’s no day but today to make a difference.

journey of doing - 2016 wrap upP I N I T


The realization that we had 20 schools left me hiring furiously… before starting two weeks of intensive training that one of my staff members took the reins on organizing.  I had the privilege of visiting Smith College and finding an incredible value in single-sex college educations for girls.


We celebrated our third anniversary with a northeast road trip… and it was amazing.  I fell in love with Hanover, fell in love with Yale, and finally got to experience Boston with my husband.  From there, I headed to Michigan and Ohio for TWO national conference presentations and WON a national college access award… and then boarded a flight to China for work for a grand total of six days.  It was exhausting, intense, and absolutely exhilarating.



I showed little interest in trying to fight jet lag and flew to Chicago twice for college access related activities…  On the first trip, I impulsively bought a journal and tried to convince myself that everything was going to be okay… even though I wasn’t sure it would be.  On the second trip, I found myself inspired by meeting some of the people read and awarded our students the Gates Millennium Scholarship.


At the end of the month, Tom, my mom and I boarded a plane to Germany for a European Christmas market extravaganza…  that was certainly the high point of November, lol.

journey of doing - budapest at nightP I N I T


We retraced our steps from earlier this spring (and added some new ones) through Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.  I spent my birthday in Budapest.   I ended up getting to semi-host Christmas though I didn’t end up using my holiday table settings.   True to form, I sent out a Christmas card that captured one of my favorite cities in the world – and a wish for peace, love, and joy for 2017.


2016 Wrap Up

Whew.  This past year was oh so many things… but it helps to take the good with the bad.  And, if I may quote my 2015 wrap up:

“I have been through a lot and have suffered a great deal. But I have had lots of happy moments, as well. Every moment one lives is different from the other. The good, the bad, hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love, and happiness are all interwoven into one single, indescribable whole that is called life. You cannot separate the good from the bad. And perhaps there is no need to do so, either.”

— Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis


Helene in Between
  • Hena Tayeb - Wow what a wonderful year.. Germany for Christmas sounds perfect.
    Hope your mom is well. Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Scorzafava - Sounds like a great year!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - I’m still amazed by all of your travels this year!! I’m glad everything turned out well for your mom and I hope it will for your friend as well. Many hopes & prayers that 2017 will have even happier moments than 2016!ReplyCancel

  • Biana - It was a trying year for you and your family, but I’m so hopeful that 2017 is filled with only the best!! xo, Biana – BlovedBostonReplyCancel

  • Amanda - You had quite the year! So glad to hear your mom is okay. And wow – you traveled so much! Exhausting for sure, but totally worth it! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Jessica Bradshaw (@loveyoumoretoo) - The Cinque Terre is one of my favorite places I have visited. It sounds like this was a much better year than 2015. 🙂 Lots of great moments!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Elizabeth - What a full year! I love how much success your students and organization achieved this year! I am in awe of the immense amount of travel you balanced this year with everything else. Here’s hoping 2017 is full of continued success and deep joy!ReplyCancel