The Wonderful Joys of 2013

As 2013 comes to an end, it is always an important time to reflect and be grateful for another joyous year on this amazing planet. 2013 brought many special joyful moments but most of all, the moments that stood out above the rest were all the times I was together with my family. I am incredibly thankful to share my life with an amazing husband, two loving children and a fantastic extended family. The love and joy I receive from them brings me the most happiness of all.

Here are some highlights from the joys of 2013.


Children of La Ceiba Honduras

Children at a day care center in Honduras where I volunteered last January.

Volunteer trip to Honduras

Related post: Love and Heartbreak in a Honduran Day Care


photo (3)

Heading up on lift 9 to the top. Look at the wind blow off the crest of the Continental Divide. Wow!

Ski trip with my dad and brother to Colorado.

Related post: Unforgettable day



Family trip to Big Sky, Montana

Related post: Moonlighting at Moonlight Basin


Gordes France

First sight of the perched village of Gordes.

Special trip to France with my mother and sister. I will never forget that amazing day we took touring the Perched Villages of Luberon. The laughs and tears of joy we shared together were priceless.

Related post: The Perched Villages of Luberon: Gordes



When we entered the school, we were told to be quiet because the girls were praying and meditating. It was a beautiful sight. They looked so peaceful.

Social Good Blogging trip to India where I toured NGO partners work on the ground in the slums of Delhi. I left a piece of my heart there with these children.

Related post: Protsahan: Giving Hope to India’s Children



Looking down from the CN Tower in Toronto during TBEX.

First trip to TBEX, a travel blogging conference in Toronto. I learned a lot there about my hopes and dreams, and reminded myself to be true to myself and never give up or change to become someone I’m not.

Related post: Reflections on TBEX and the Lone Life of a Travel Blogger


For four years, we have going to lovely Roy Lake in Nisswa, Minnesota and staying at a little red cabin as part of the Grand View Lodge. It is our week as a family to unwind, create memories, and enjoy the lakes, nature and sunsets. It is a tradition that we all look forward to each Fourth of July week.


A time meant to unwind and forget about life for awhile. A time to relax, refresh and smile.


Family summer trip to Northern Minnesota

Related post: Summer Memories at a Lake in Minnesota


The kids with their cousins in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

The kids with their cousins in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

More family time with a visit out East.

Related post: Country Roads


Sophia and Max - Fall 2013

Sophia and Max – Fall 2013

Kids go back to school and my youngest starts first grade and my son starts third grade. It has been a joy to see their eyes light up to learn. 


Sunset on the York River

Visit to Virginia to see my sister and in-laws. This is the gorgeous view from my sister’s house off the York River in Virginia. I love spending time with my family!

Related post: Exploring the Beauty of Virginia’s York River  


Max's 9th Birthday

Max’s 9th Birthday

Sophia turns 7

Sophia turns 7

The kid’s birthdays and Thanksgiving in Arizona with my parents


My sister's family and my family together at Disneyland

My sister’s family and my family together at Disneyland

Sophia and her cousin Hanna in Belize

Sophia and her cousin Hanna in Belize


Family trip to Disneyland, cruise to Belize and Mexico, and ringing in the New Year in Tucson, Arizona with my parents.

It has been quite a year! Of course with every life, there are the good and the bad but I always remember this quote and it inspires me to enjoy life to the fullest.

“Every day is a gift. That is why it is called the present”

Sunset over Mexico

Sunset over Mexico

Looking forward to 2014 and wishing you all a Happy New Year!

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge “Joy”. To see more entries, click here. 


    • Me too Jennifer! You are a wonderful friend. So glad I’ve gotten to know you and I know we will get to see each other more in 2014! 🙂 Happy New Year!

  1. Pingback: Joy – Supper in red | Words 'n Pics...

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy (2) | What's (in) the picture?

  3. Pure joy in the faces of your lovely children- that’s what stands out, Nicole. It’s wonderful to watch them grow, and you’re a great Mom. Heaps more joy to come in 2014 🙂

    • It has been such a bittersweet year Jo. Hard to watch someone you love go through chemo. But remembering to stay positive and realize how utterly grateful I am for such a loving family.

  4. Pingback: Photo Project “52 Bolivian Sundays” ['Joy'], for the last Sunday of 2013! | 3rdculturechildren

  5. Pingback: Best of the Blog 2013: Your Top 10 Faves | GALLIVANCE

  6. Nicole, what an incredible year you have had – not only with your amazing family, but also with the volunteer programs you support. Your energy and dedication leave the rest of us in the dust. 🙂 We love your 2013 retrospective and highlighted it on our Best of the Blog 2013 post. We wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to more of your adventures. ~Terri & James

    • Thank you so much of thinking of me and my blog Terri and James! It has been a joyous year but not without heartache which I have kept off this blog. Someone I love dearly is fighting cancer and it has been extremely difficult. In fact I’m with him now visiting in AZ as they weren’t able to go on our big family cruise due to chemo. So it has been one of those bittersweet years which I’m praying dearly that 2014 is bright, full of recovery and excellent health…with a few adventures along the way! 🙂 Happy New Year! I do love your blog and enjoy reading it! Best, nicole

      • Nicole, I’m so very sorry to hear that your loved one is battling cancer – I know the scenario all too well. And what I do know is that he’s one lucky and blessed guy to have you fighting in his corner. Here’s wishing that 2014 is bright and full of recovery and excellent health for your family. All the very best, Terri

      • Thanks Terri. It has been really hard as I’m very close to my family. Thankfully I’ve been able to visit Tucson every month or so to see my parents and give support. My dad still has four-five more months of chemo. He is my traveling partner.

  7. Pingback: One crisp moment, filled with Joy! | Words 'n Pics...

  8. Pingback: Joy « blogagaini

  9. You have had some wonderful adventures this year Nicole but I know it has not been without its struggles. My wish for you and your family is for the gift of beautiful health, abundant joy, much laughter, great travel adventures, heartwarming advocacy work, and memories that will keep a smile on your face the entire year! 🙂

    • Thanks LuAnn. Yes it has been a very difficult year. I feel like I’ve changed because of it and still haven’t gotten out of the fog of it all yet. But that will take time. Let’s hope for the best!

      • I think there are many across the country who are having cabin fever right now. I am feeling it with no desire to blog. There is not much to write about when you are in a beach community with temps in the 20’s and 30’s, and no sunsets to boot! Hope we all experience warmer weather soon. I am betting moods will be brightened! 🙂

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: