It’s that time of year again…a time for family and joy, a time for reflection and assessment on the past year… and a time to sit back and think about the wonderful events that made up the past 365 days. I have compiled a list (you know I love a good list) of my top 12 Highlights of 2012.
1. Time with Jane & Kristin
There isn’t one exact moment that I can pinpoint as the top highlight of the year, but I know it involves Kristin and Jane. That sweet baby Jane follows me around the house saying “DaDa” and loves to play with me any chance she gets. There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting on the couch and watching Kristin and Jane play together. A friend told me that having a child meant finding a new capacity for love…now that I am a father, I understand this whole-heartedly. No trip, experience, or workshop has enriched my life more than my time with my two girls.
2. Brazil 20
Man…what a trip. I never got around to blogging about my experience in Brazil, but it truly was a trip of a lifetime. Jerrod the Personal Assistant, A-Mo, myself, and seven others spent a week learning from some of the greatest people we’ve ever met. From Garo and Jordania, to Sabrina and Gabe, to Bruna and Vinnie…and all the orphans and students…they all changed our lives and we will never forget you! I also ate at a Brazilian Steakhouse, went to the Christ the Redeemer Statue, and even saw a Japanese Man take a picture with the Russian Prime Minister.
3. Road Trip with My Dad
I went to South Dakota twice this year (see number 10), but my first trip was the most impactful. I finally took my dad on a road trip to Mt. Rushmore, the one I had promised him when he graduated with his Master’s Degree a year ago. If you know me, you know I love my dad. We have a ton in common, and most of my better traits I learned from watching him. We took the 12 hour drive to Mt. Rushmore and back in less than three days during the dead heat of August. Needless to say there weren’t any dull moments where we searched for things to talk about. This was a trip I will always treasure and I hope to make a yearly event.
4. Let’s Ask America
I would have never guessed in 100 years that 2012 would be the year I was on a game show. The fine folks at Let’s Ask America asked me to be on their show, and they even paid me for winning it (little did they know that I would have done it for free..hahahaha). It was an amazing experience and I am so fortunate that it worked out in my favor.
5. 20 Camp
I love the 20! This was our fifth 20 Camp, and it was the best! 20 Camp is a great opportunity for me to meet the future leaders in this state and for me to practice my craft. After each 20 Camp I am refreshed spiritually, professionally, and personally…it is a priority on my schedule every year.
6. NSUBA ETS
This was my first full year on the NSU Broken Arrow Campus with Educational Talent Search. I have had a great time with new coworkers and student workers, I have loved getting to know my new students, and enjoyed all of the trips and summer camps we took this year. It has been a year of new friendships, new environments, and both personal and professional growth.
7. Project Adventure
Jerrod the Personal Assistant and I went to Massachusetts to attend a Project Adventure training. I met Nate, the best trainer I have ever worked with, and even went to seven states (six new states). I enjoyed it so much that I am planning on going again in 2013.
8. Expanding Family
This year saw the Eller family grow with new babies everywhere. My sister had sweet baby Audrey, my Cousin Kyle had little Trigg, and Cousin Chad helped bring baby Bentli into the world. There was four grandbabies at Mom and Dad’s house on Christmas, and seven great-grandbabies at Ma and Pa’s house on Christmas. I love my family and can’t wait for it to continue to grow.
9. Branson Half-Ironman
10. SWASAP & MAEOPP
2012 brought some new professional opportunities as I exhibited Paradigm Shift at MAEOPP and SWASAP. These conferences opened up numerous opportunities and introduced me to thousands of TRiO professionals from 15 states.
11. Man Trip
Long story short…Jerrod, AMo, Old Man Ott, and I went to 10 states in 54 hours. Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska…in less than three days. We visited Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the best fossil beds this side of the Mississippi.
I am in the midst of this trip…and I love it!