2012, You're For the Books!

I am glad I made it through you, because you were quite a year to remember... and forget.

As far as memorable experiences, I feel that most of them occurred from August up until now. The two that are great memories which happened before August were my trip to Chicago to visit my friend, Andrea and completing my first half marathon!

The trip was a blast, especially since the timing was during St. Patrick's Day with a lot of festivities with Andrea, and her friends. This will go down as a highlight for the year.
Andrea and I :)

Running the Oklahoma City Memorial {half} Marathon with my friend, Quincee, was quite the experience. Training was fun and kept me in shape to prepare for the 13.1 miles, running the actual marathon was really fun! There was a lot of entertainment, which made the run more enjoyable and time flew by! Unfortunately, still to this day, my left knee is not the same, but maybe some day I can complete the challenge again!
Quincee and I right after we cross the finish line!

I hate to complain or write about my not-so-great moments/memories, but there were some really tough times this year that I hope to never revisit. These times tested my belief in God and myself. I think we all have to go through these times to get back on track and it's almost like God saying... "STOP! What on earth are you doing?! Why are you doing this? Remember what I told you?? I got this! Keep moving forward WITH ME!" So, I got the point.

Fast forward to August. My cousin, Cris, is one of my best friends. I could hardly wait to visit him again in Grenada {West Indies} so I couldn't think of a better time to go than during Carnival! I have never had so much fun! Carnival was mad chaos that no one would ever experience in the states. It was great reuniting with old friends, meeting new ones and spending quality time with Cris and his wife, Tammy, for 10 wonderful days. I truly cannot wait until my next visit and adventure to the beautiful Island of Spice :)
 Cris and I
 Me and Tammy
 Me in the Carnival Costume!
Me and Cris after Jouvet Morning

This last semester, I've had a really awesome last "college" experience and I have to thank my friends and family. I had a light class load this semester, which gave me the opportunity to learn, see my friends in class, and to also have some fun on the weekends without the heavy stress with papers and reading to complete all the time. I've met a lot of new friends this semester who are a blessing and have really made a difference in my life. They keep me going :)

After almost waiting three years, on October 18, my brother and sister-in-law received a call from their adoption caseworker asking them if they would accept their referral for a 6-month old little girl, whom they chose the name Myla Omega. Of course, without hesitating, they said YES! We've been receiving pictures from the agency every month and some from my brother's friends who are also adopting. I can tell you now, they won the jackpot! She is as adorable as can be and really healthy. They couldn't have asked for a better match! 
This past Monday, they received another call telling them that their first {out of two} court dates was on December 26th and they will meet their 8 -month old baby girl for the first time on Christmas Eve!!!! Things happen for a reason and this could not have happened at a better time :)
First DuFran Family Christmas photo! {Altogether in Ethiopia!}
 I'm so excited for them and I can't wait to hold her in my arms and show her how much she is loved.

GRADUATION!! On December 14th, I walked for the last time from the University of Oklahoma with my master's degree in human relations! I'm so glad my major education is out of the way so I can really focus on my future and fulfill my dreams!
Matt and I before convocation. We graduated high school together, and again six years later!

You are like a big mystery book to me. I'm excited, I'm happy, I'm scared, I'm nervous, I'm curious... But I know you'll be a good one. Like most who make a New Years Resolution, I think for this year, my goal is going to "volunteer more." I no longer have an excuse to say that I have a paper to write or a reading assignment to fill my after-work evening hours. My main goal in life is to help as many people in the world have a better life, so why not start in my home town while I wait for other opportunities to come! 

"As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others." - Aubrey Hepburn


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