What in THEEEE hell is going on, you guys? Dead serious, I’m looking back at 2019 like, “WHYHOWWHENWHEREWHAT!?!?!” Seems like it was just 2 days ago that we were ringing in 2019 and now we’re over here checking for a whole new decade!?!?
Since there’s no stopping the inevitable, I want to take a look back on 2019 and see what happened. Clearly I was asleep for most it, so I might as well.
2019 Professional Achievements
Because I’m a pessimist by nature I tend to look at the negative side of things first. In the future, I plan to change that, so I’m beginning now- let’s start with my wins.
Biggest blog win: I was asked to audition for- and made it to the contract stage of- a major, nationally syndicated cooking competition. In February I found out I wasn’t going to be on the show.
Why would that be among my blog wins?
Because, in the process, I found my mettle. I discovered that selling myself out for the chance at fame wasn’t in my DNA. Let’s just say, they wanted more from me than I was willing to give of my self-worth. I walked away. So, while most people wouldn’t consider it a win, I most certainly did.
Top performing post:
My top performing post is still this Medicine Bomb Chicken Soup.
This cure in a bowl is ranking number one on Google *knock wood*. Tons of people comment on how amazing it tastes, but more importantly, how well it works to knock out colds. So, more than the search engine rankings, I’m proud because it’s actually helping people.
Most visited post:
What can I say? I’m bringing a wee-bit of my culture to people through booze.
I’m super proud of the partnerships I’ve formed with brands over this past year.
Nounós and I are a new couple. I’m excited to announce that they’ve recently selected me to be one of their brand ambassadors. Creating recipes like this Mint Chocolate Chip Banana Bread– using their low-fat Greek yogurt- has been a blast.
Kuhlman Cellars and I worked together to provide you with quality recipes to serve alongside their impeccable wines. I have another great recipe coming shortly that uses their merlot, so don’t stray too far.
…and, of course
I would be remiss if I forgot my Simply Recipes crew. 2019 was my 3rd year as a contributor and recipe tester for them. It was also the year I traveled to Palm Springs for our first SR retreat. I was able to connect with my co-workers and editors and develop professionally. Something I needed and valued.
The recipes I’ve written for SR- like this Pastelón recipe and this Banoffee Cheesecake recipe- have been well-received and exciting to create. Be sure to swing by and give my recipes some love over there, too.
2019 Life Changes
2019 was certainly the year of transitions for our family! A celebration- a few in fact- HUGE milestones and tears (plenty of them) walked with us throughout the year.
I became a “retiree’s” wife in 2019!
After serving his country honorably (no, not everyone can emphasize that), Hector retired from the Army after 26 years of service.
How can I be old enough to be married to a retiree?!?! I know, I know- I’m just as shocked as you are. But, I am.
The transition from active duty Army family to retiree was a little sketchy at first. Hector didn’t have a job lined up until we were down to last wire. In fact, things were so up in the air that he even considered going to Afghanistan as a contractor to pay the bills. Thank God we didn’t have to resort to that as he ended up landing a job he absolutely loves in the city where we wanted to be.
But, that also meant we had to sell our home in Harker Heights, Texas (just outside of Fort Hood). We put the house on the market and…
We sold our house in 1 1/2 hours!
Let me humble-brag for a quick minute. I put a LOT of love and work into that house, which made it a home. A beautiful home. I had no doubt in my mind that we’d sell our house for full asking price. That we sold it in an hour and a half? Yeah, that was a surprise.
We lived in that house for a little over four years. Two deployments, lots of gatherings with Hector’s soldiers, and many memories, and it was now time for another Army family to call it home.
A home we had to be out of in two weeks. Oh, wait. Oh, crap!
San Antonio became my new hometown
We had to get the lead out and finish up last-minute details on the home we’d just sold. It wasn’t too difficult. My OCD meant we lived everyday as if we were selling our home. But, we did need to find a new place in San Antonio- 2 1/2 hours south.
We had planned to retire in San Antonio about 5 years ago. You’d think we would’ve actually planned things out better, but we didn’t. It would come back to kick us in the tush.
Hector had his new job at 3Sixty in San Antonio so one- important- worry was taken care of. But, we didn’t have a place to live. We were going to build a forever home, that much was certain. In the meantime, we wanted a break from maintaining a home (rented or purchased).
We opted for an apartment. And then this Nightmare Move happened.
I can honestly tell you, I haven’t cried this much since my mother died. But, the silver lining in this transition was:
We bought a piece of dirt in 2019
You’re looking at the homestead of the future Case de Rivera. We closed on this gorgeous piece of land two weeks ago.
Stay tuned for updates- filled with more tears, I’m sure- on the building process of our forever home.
2019 Family Updates
My family is- by far– my pride and joy. I am a blessed woman and the privilege of being a wife to Hector and mother to my Twinkers is not something I take for granted.
2019 has been tough on us as a family unit, though. We’ve experience 2 of the major life stressors in our move and Hector’s retirement. But, in all of that, we’ve also experienced some amazing milestones.
The “babies” turned FOURTEEN
My son is 6’4″. The girl child is 5’11”. They just turned 14 in July. Since they’re my babies, I will always refer to them as such- height be damned.
Our twins are so freaking fantastic. They’ve excelled in school- in case you’ve forgotten, we homeschool- and are a grade ahead.
My daughter decided this year that she wants to become a geneticist so she can find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. This disease has ravaged our family and taken the lives of my mother and her two sisters. My sister and I are the two family members who currently live with MS.
My son said he wants to become a mechanical engineer and design products and systems to make life easier. A hero we all need, right?
They both are loving and generous human beings- constantly offering a kind word or hugs to people when they feel they need one. They’ve been rockstars through our transition. I honestly couldn’t be prouder of them.
20 years?!?! How’d that happen?!?
Do we look like we’ve been married for 20 years? I can tell you we damn sure feel like we have. Fifty years, in fact.
Hector and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary in September. Twenty years of arguments, anger, tears, threats, and heartbreak…but also love, laughter, sacrifice, memories, and adventures.
He’s my friend and my partner. In the Army they’re referred to as a Battle Buddy. Hector’s my Battle Buddy and, Lord! Have we faced some battles.
2019 has been tougher than previous years, it really has. I’ve struggled with emotional and mental health. We’ve struggled with staying focused. But, we’re here. I want us to be “here” tomorrow and the day after and the day after and…well, you get it.
Lessons learned in 2019
So, what have I learned in 2019?
First: I need to rest
I mentioned earlier that I struggled this year with my mental health. As someone who has attempted suicide once in the past, I learned that I need to let go of things that I can’t control.
My biggest handicap is holding onto things and internalizing them so much that I begin to lose what little control I do have. Once that lack of control happens I begin to retreat into myself and isolate my friends and family. That just leads to more depression and feelings of hopelessness.
So, I’ve learned to focus on things I can do something about and let God handle the rest. I’ve learned that my family and friends want me to share my fears and doubts with them. I need to be better about doing so.
But, what I need most is to learn to take a break and rest. I don’t always need to be busy or productive. Rest is productive when you battle fragile mental health.
Second: planning can never happen too soon
I mentioned that five years ago we decided San Antonio would be where we would retire. What we also should’ve decided is where we wanted to live and begin the process of buying land to build our future home on. Well, hindsight is still 20/20. We didn’t do that and as a result, we’re stuck in a 2 bedroom apartment for a lot longer than we’d planned.
Sure, we have the land now- and it’s in a better neighborhood (WHACK HOA, though) with a killer view, but it would’ve been helpful to have it sooner.
If you’re retiring any time soon, begin looking at where you’re hoping to land. If you’re in the position to, buy your property now so you’re not left in limbo.
Third: spend more time with the people you love
There have been 3 deaths in our lives this year. War, freak accidents, and illnesses have taken some pretty special people from us in 2019.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve told my friends, “Let’s get together this weekend!” Only to have “this weekend” turn into “two months ago”. I want to make time to love on and enjoy the presence of my friends and family. That needs to happen.
Fourth: friends can keep you sane
I have a couple of friends who have consistently invited Hector and the twins and I into their homes. They know our living arrangements- how we’re stuck in this small space. Without fail they invite us to dinner, out for drinks, or over to their homes to celebrate the holidays. We’ve spent three major holidays at Yolanda and Andre’s house and have been invited to dinners and countless other events at our other friends’ houses. I’ve learned not to take friendships for granted.
Resolutions GOALS for 2020
So!! What’s in store for 2020 here at Sense & Edibility?!?! Because I think resolutions are bunk, I set yearly goals. Sometimes I achieve them, sometimes I don’t.
So, what are my goals for 2020? I’m glad you asked because…
…I want to grow my audience and expand my skills.
VIDEO is my word for 2020! I want to do more tutorial and recipe videos. People are always telling me that I need to be in front of the camera, so I’m going to take their advice.
I also want to attend more classes on how to grow as a food photographer and writer.
Growing my partnerships and helping my partners grow is my ultimate goal for 2020. I want to prove to those who have placed their trust in me that it’s not in vain. Winning is the name of the game for me and my crew this coming year.
…I want to learn more about why I am the way I am.
Why do I internalize so many of my circumstances? Why am I afraid of so much going wrong?
I need to do some soul-searching in order to overcome a lot of my anxieties.
Working out is something I need to make a priority. My fitness sucks, point blank. With the amount of diseases that run in my family, I need to be better about taking care of myself.
And water. I need to drink more water.
I want Hector and I to grow closer. This transition has thrown us for a loop. We’ve settled into a rut. We wake up, work, eat, sleep, and repeat.
Maybe a honeymoon trip- yes, we still haven’t taken one- is on the horizon. Maybe.
Continue to educate the children, of course, but I want them to branch out and attend college courses in the coming year. As much as I don’t want to admit it, college is looming and I want them to feel confident in going to classes on their own.
A trip to Europe for their 15th birthday is in the works, but that’s all dependant on the home building process.
Oh, we’ve gotta get our home built so we can get the hell out of this traphouse! PLEASE, JESUS! Hear our prayer!
I want to wish you the happiest 2020 you can handle. I don’t take it lightly that you join me every week. You make things so worth the effort I put into all of my images and recipes and writing. Happy New Year, my friend!