The Best of 2014

The last few years have been, for me, at least, a perfect storm. Circumstances have conspired to create the most challenging years of my life.  So much so, that there have been times I have almost had to laugh at the continuing onslaught.  Although 2014 has been a year of challenge, there have been moments of joy and signs of better times coming. What we learn during the bad times is that there can be no light without the dark, no true happiness without deepest sorrow. As trite as that sounds, it is the truth. I have high hopes for 2015, and plan to do my best in continuing cultivation of a positive, and optimistic, outlook. For now, I wish to share with you the best moments of 2014, it has certainly been one hell of a year!

Randy’s remarkable recovery from a double lung transplant in September 2013 continues! The story is HERE.

In January 2014, friends from around the country came to celebrate Randy's recovery.

In January 2014, friends of Randy’s from around the country came to celebrate Randy’s incredible continuing recovery from a double lung transplant, September 2013.

xmas eve 13 greg and randy xmas eve 13 randy and mark

My cousin Kathy and I took a quick trip to the Exumas to swim with feral swimming pigs! DCIM100GOPRO

I took a dive trip to Thailand, and was joined by my daughter! It was an incredible trip for us both.

Phang Nga, James Bond Island.

Phang Nga, James Bond Island.

Volunteering at an elephant sanctuary

Volunteering at an elephant sanctuary

Engagement! My son, Wes, and his fiance, Carisa, with their animal family!

xmas eve 13 wes layla carisa gibson

Randy’s first trip out of Dallas since his transplant, we headed to the Texas Hill Country.

The Hill Country is beautiful

The Hill Country is beautiful

In June of 2014 Randy and I took a glorious drive on the Pacific Coast Highway, all the way north to Shelter Cove, CA. Then we met up with friends in Tahoe. This trip really pushed Randy to a whole new level in his recovery. Since then, he has gone up, up, up.

Incredible view from the hills of Santa Barbara

Incredible view from the hills of Santa Barbara

spending a day with my niece and her children in Santa Barbara

spending a day with my niece and her children in Santa Barbara

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

Big Sur's elephant seals!

Big Sur’s elephant seals!

Randy in the redwoods

Randy in the redwoods

Black Sand beach in Shelter Cove

Black Sand beach in Shelter Cove

and Lake Tahoe with friends we hadn’t seen in 15 years!

t 14 jill don tam ran

Enjoying good friends.

t 14 emerald bay

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, has to be one of the most beautiful spots on the face of the planet.

I had a chance to go to Cozumel in August, and met up with an old friend I volunteered with in Mozambique, Leslie. Of course, she’s young enough to be my daughter, and many people thought shewas!  A couple of my yoga buddies came along as well! pal gar 14 tam and les2

 

In August, my daughter, Alexandra, became engaged to be married!  She and her fiance, Mike, plan on an October 2015 wedding.

Alexandra and Mike

Alexandra and Mike

Then, in September, I went on a volunteer science expedition with Marine Megafauna Foundation. Off the coast of Ecuador 3 currents converge at a small island called Isla de la Plata, and with those currents come Giant Manta Rays and other pelagic sea life. I volunteered to dive and photograph the animals. It was a very physically demanding trip, but I loved every minute.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The wonder of these graceful, beautiful animals is beyond words.

Rescuing a sea turtle from fishing line

Rescuing a sea turtle from fishing line

Meeting up with Marine Megafauna and volunteers

Meeting up with Marine Megafauna and volunteers, some of whom I’d been with in Africa.

Then, a one year “Re-Birthday” celebration for Randy….one year post double lung transplant.  An important milestone, and just the first of many I know he will reach!

Celebratory brunch at Lark on the Park.

Celebratory brunch at Lark on the Park.

Next, a wedding and Randy’s 40th High School Reunion.  What an incredible night it was, we were all so thankful that he was able to be there.

High School Reunion

High School Reunion

I visited my family and friends in Ohio in October, which was wonderful, and I even went on a hayride with my sistah Holly’s granddaughter, Becca.  Then, off to Kentucky for my cousin Brittane’s wedding!

I hadn't seen an Ohio autumn in 20 years, at least!

I hadn’t seen an Ohio autumn in 20 years, at least!

High school friends meeting for a great dinner!

High school friends meeting for a great dinner!

Randy and the bride

Randy and the bride

My daughter, Ally, was Brittane's Maid of Honor

My daughter, Ally, was Brittane’s Maid of Honor, doing the Cotton Eyed Joe!

My cousin Lisa and her daughter Brittane

My cousin Lisa and her daughter Brittane

My son performed the music at the wedding.

My son performed the music at the wedding.

A quick, and successful, trip to Vegas!

vegas 14 balloon

How I love it when I hit Aces!

How I love it when I hit Aces!

Then, time spent with family and friends during the holidays.

My brother helps with decorating

My brother helps with decorating

Ally and Carisa with their dogs at the Turkey Trot 5K

Ally and Carisa with their dogs at the Turkey Trot 5K

xmas 14 tam bodie sofia

Watching Lyn’s grandchildren opening gifts.

Poker for Christmas, Mintons and Greenbergs

Poker on Christmas Eve with the Mintons and Greenbergs

I do believe the signs for 2015 are looking good!  Two weddings coming up should give us plenty to celebrate!

Happy New Year to you and yours!  Let’s all look forward with joy.

 

 

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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at travelswithtam@gmail.com

Comments (6)

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  1. Lots of beautiful family members and lovely sea creatures. What an image-rich year you had. All my best for a spectacular 2015.
    Karen D. Austin recently posted…Happy 3rd Blogoversary to TGAMMy Profile

  2. An eventful year and a joyful one. Happy new year to you!
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Remember the every-day courageousMy Profile

  3. What a busy year! Love all the photos and stories, and can’t wait to see where you go in 2015! Happy New Year!
    Lois Alter Mark recently posted…my word for 2015My Profile

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