Tonya Damron
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Tonya Damron Photography

2021 …. You Were A Lesson, Not A Loss! -Year End Review

2021,  you have brought seasons of plenty and seasons of drought. You have brought days that left me feeling like I was on top of the world and nights that left me feeling as if I had been robbed of it all. You have spoken the most beautiful words and lies all in the same breath. You have been meek and you have been fierce…….BUT the one thing I can say without a doubt, NOTHING has been wasted! NOTHING! You have been a lesson, not a loss!

Stable was my word for the year. My scripture was …. “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

This was the photo I paired with my word. It’s a tree I photographed in January in Yellowstone National Park in the middle of a snowstorm. It was a perfect visual of what my scripture represented….Growth and Strenght, even in the middle of a storm!

Little did I know this year both my word and scripture would be a testimony to 2021.

This year was stable and unstable all in one. In both personal and business there was tremendous growth. In seasons of plenty and season of little, there was growth. There’s a lot I’m taking away from 2021.

  1. Growth is inevitable. If you aren’t willing to learn and grow…. life will destroy you and have no mercy doing so. Growth can feel like a bad thing most of the time, but I’m learning that it is a MUST in ALL things ALWAYS!
  2. Boundaries. Set them, use them, protect them and repeat.
  3. No one is coming for you. It is up to YOU to do all the things for YOU.
  4. Guard your heart. The bible speaks clearly on doing this because life flows from it.
  5. Forgiveness may not look like what you think, do it anyway.
  6. Take the trip, ALWAYS!
  7. Want results? Put in the work and a lot of it.
  8. Keep talking to random strangers. Your worldview will grow and so will your heart.
  9. Give away more than you keep. Money, time, love…
  10. Learn to stop doing things that trigger you. LET IT GO, SIS…LET IT GO!

2021 Highlights

Travel

I started out the year for 10 days in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park. I flew into Bozeman, enjoy some hot springs, and then drove down to West Yellowstone. I did every winter activity I could. Skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and photographing wildlife. The park is closed in the winter other than for paid tours and it was an amazing experience to see Yellowstone almost untouched.

I drove cross country with Bailey my pup. (see map below) We stopped at several national parks (Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Glacier, Theodore Roosevelt). We stayed a while in Glacier National Park at a client’s house where a few friends joined us and then I head back East solo with him. This trip brought some crazy unexpected things, but I’m happy I did it.

I booked a last-minute trip to Spain (thanks for the free flight Delta) and met up with a friend who was there already. It was my first time traveling internationally solo for a true vacation. (not my first time traveling international solo)

I took a trip to Denver and Arches National park and didn’t tell a soul and met another friend and camped in an RV.

I took several smaller trips for pleasure and business as well.

Personal

I …

took a few college courses.

remodeled the flooring in my house, which has rolled into more house projects.

paid off my SUV.

shaved off several years on my mortgage thanks to some smart business advice.

hiked a lot solo, with friends, and with the pups.

became a lake junkie.

had my eyebrows microbladed (yes blog-worthy lol)

thought my niece how to ride her bike with no training wheels. (also blog-worthy)

grew the business by 37%.

hung out with family and friends every chance I could.

talked to as many strangers as I could.

took Bailey on many trips.

bought Bailey a sister, Stella. (he’s still not forgiven me)

learned how to paddleboard and did it several times weekly with my sidekick pups Storm/Kobe.

kept running.

got my Smoky Mountains National Park photographer’s permit.

served a church and explore some new avenues there.

read some good books, listen to some good podcasts.

was intentional on learning to listen better.

And there’s more

There’s a lot of goals I hit, there’s, even more, I didn’t. I’ve gotten my priorities out of alignment more than a million times. I have had to reroute my course and even abandon ship more than once. There’s a lot I did well and there’s a lot I failed at miserably. There has been love and heartache all rolled into one. All in all, I’m still here and I’m still growing. Most of you see me as living life big, but I see it as there’s still so much I’ve been holding myself back on….that has stopped! No more selling myself short or playing small! No more letting people take up room in my life that aren’t as all in as I am. I’ve found a new lease on loving myself!

I’m going over goals for 2022. I’m working on a lot, it’s a continual effort. Loving myself enough to take care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually is one of my top goals. I’ll share some more of those goals here this week!

Until then CHEERS 2021! You have been a year of great growth. I take my bow to you kindly and exit stage left!

Tonya