January In Review

We Time

This past month we traveled to Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina to celebrate Malcolm’s birthday at a beautiful Montage resort. This part of coastal SC is called ‘low country’ and you understand why as soon as you turn east off of I95. Miles and miles of marshy, low-lying wetlands are mesmerizing.

The photo on the left is typical of the views in this nature-rich environment. It is not uncommon to see alligators sunning themselves in fresh-water ponds, or egrets wading through the marsh in search of food.

We enjoyed five lazy days here, riding our bikes and walking throughout the property making discoveries around every corner. Montage offers elegant accommodations, a couple of nice restaurants, plenty of activities, beautiful vistas, and lots of tranquility.

Family Time

We devoted two nights of this road trip to visiting my brother in North Florida. His home is a bit out of the way, but I haven’t seen my family in more than two years, so why not take a small (three-hour) detour. Getting the family together for dinner was a highlight for us. Eating fresh-shucked oysters outside on a cold night by the fire while reminiscing with everyone was perfect. And then this happened.

My nephew was in charge of feeding the fire, and I was watching the embers spark each time he added a new log. It was pretty, so I grabbed my cellphone and started snapping. When I scrolled back through the ten or so photographs I took this is what I saw. So, what do you think, bad omen or incredible coincidence?

Time With Friends

While we were in Palmetto Bluff, I received a call from a dear friend who invited me to visit with her in Key Largo. After a week of sweaters and close-toed shoes, I was ready for a beach break, and the opportunity to spend ‘girl time’ with my friend, so I accepted the invitation.

Key Largo is the first of the Florida Keys and just 2 1/2 hours south of my home. However, it couldn’t be more different, in terms of environment and (right now) temperature from where we live. If your mind jumps to a Jimmy Buffet song, you’ve got the right image. It is colorful, quirky, individual, artsy, and insanely unique. People all over the world are attracted here, some are lured by the sea, and others because of its ‘no worries’ vibe and lifestyle.

We spent our time lounging by the pool, taking long walks, getting our toes wet in the gulf, and enjoying sunsets and cool breezes. You don’t have to work hard to relax here, just be open to ‘whatever’ and let it happen.

Anne’s Beach – Key Largo, Florida


My WOTY (word of the year) is MORE. The events of January exemplify what I had in mind when I chose that word. I felt like what had been missing in the previous months were quiet, purposeful moments that help maintain balance in my life. Busy is different from intentional and purposeful, and I had been so busy moving, adjusting, celebrating holidays, and forcing a sense of normalcy, that I lost track of just BEING. This month provided many restorative moments that reminded me of what truly feeds my soul. Me time, time with friends and family, celebrations, experiencing nature, simple pleasures, and even a quirky fire filled me up with renewed energy.

Linked to Retirement Reflections, a blog hosted by Donna, who is a co-contributor to WOTY Reflections, a monthly blog wrap-up. If you would like to join the discussion, please visit Donna, or one of the other hosts, Jo, Debbie, and Sue.

If you would like to read more about my WOTY, read this post. Let’s Talk About the R Word.

I am also sharing this post with Terri’s Sunday Stills whose subject this week is “The Elements.” This post includes the elements of fire and water – both have the power to destroy as well as to heal and reveal new life. If you have looked at my Instagram feed, it’s hard to miss my fascination with water, but fire isn’t something I witness with frequency. Maybe I should take a closer look.

Also shared with Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share.

55 thoughts on “January In Review

  1. Pingback: Sunday Stills: The Power of the #Elements – Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

  2. This is a wonderful post, Suzanne! You included the elements and your WOTY, I love how great minds think alike πŸ˜‰ More is a great word and more travel for you is just the ticket! Your excursion to Key Largo is worthy of my green envy, especially as we are having more snow today. I hope you never have to experience fire in wildfire form close-up. It’s scary and devastating! Have a fabulous week and thanks for linking up!


  3. Glad to hear you were able to have some wonderful retreats. Both the low country and the Florida Keys are places I love. I know exactly what you mean by not having to work hard to relax in the keys. I hope you have a great February!


  4. Spooky fire. I’m going to assume the camera just happened to catch it!! Your month sounds wonderful, especially the Key Largo part. After the lows here today, I’m ready for some warm Florida weather. At least the sun is shining and the wind has died down. But I’m craving some pool time. I think I’ve chosen my word for the year, but I’ve yet to write about it. Maybe soon, if I can fit it into my busy schedule!


    1. Linda, that fire is spooky, right? I still can’t believe that the image appeared out of the embers at just the right time and the lens caught it. I hope your time doesn’t run out before we get some good weather. Today was pretty awesome though. Sunny and cool is what we hope for this time of year. Maybe just a few degrees warmer….Looking forward to your WOTY. Take care.


  5. Suzanne, I so enjoyed reading your post. I’m glad you’ve had many restorative and joyful moments in January. Your photo at Anne’s beach made me feel like I’m on vacation. I hope you have more of what you’re looking for in February. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.


  6. Sounds like a fabulous month with MORE reflection, peace, enjoyment, and family and friends time! I love your fire shots. Mesmerizing indeed. I think it’s a very cool flame configuration you caught. Not a bad omen at all. Happy belated birthday to Malcolm!


  7. Hi, Suzanne – I am delighted to read that your WOTY has already been leading you to the quiet, purposeful moments that help maintain balance in your life. I’m new to having a WOTY and am truly surprised how powerful they can be. I agree with Liesbet about that cool fire arrangment your camera caught. I believe it’s the sign of a great photographer and not a bad omen at all. Happy belated birthday to Malcolm!
    Thank you for the linkup. I greatly appreciate it.


  8. Hi Suzanne – I love the expression “We Time” – it sounds like the perfect way to balance “Me Time” and all the other stuff we have in our lives. Being with someone who you enjoy spending time with is such a blessing. You certainly had a great January with plenty of “MORE” in it to keep your #WOTY on track.


  9. Hello Suzanne what a lovely January you had and I know you would like MORE of family and friends. I’ve enjoyed reading what everyone has chosen for their word of the year and you’ve started the year well by putting the focus of MORE on doing things that matter to you. Thank you for joining us at 2022 Word of the Year Link Party and I look forward to reading MORE of what you have done during February. x


  10. Thanks for joining in with your WOTY More, you certainly explore the word and how it can relate to your year and has done already. I also like that you joined Sunday Stills with this post and I love the photo of Anne’s Beach, the tree, the view, the water – all combine perfectly!


    1. Debbie, thanks for complementing the photo. I took that with a cell phone, so I am especially proud of it. I like combining challenges and think it is a great way to promote the blogs of others while not increasing the frequency of my posts. Thanks for hosting the WOTY wrapup.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I loved how you incorporated the Sunday Stills prompt, your WOTY, your picture taking view of life, and your recent travels… all in a relatively short blog post. Quite an accomplishment and clever, too. I definitely need to think about taking more photos… after our trip to the Everglades, I noted I had only about 15 photos for a 2.5 day trip! With 30+ alligator spottings, 2 Life List bird spottings, and amazing environments – from mangrove tunnels to cypress strands to seas of sawgrass, I could have had tons of photos! But I did enjoy it all.


    1. Pat, our blog has always been a bit ‘photo intensive,’ and I like that they tell our story to a large degree. The key for me is to use the best quality photos I have and not go overboard with them to the point that they become boring. I do want people to read the text as well, so it is a fine balance. I understand how you could come away with only 15 photos from your trip. Sometimes experiencing the moment is much more important than capturing it. Have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That looks like a perfect spot for a birthday celebration and your girl time on key Largo sounds wonderful. But I don’t think of Jimmy Buffet, I think of Humphrey Bogart and one of my favourite old films!


  13. Suzanne,
    I loved the time we spent in Key Largo, Marathon, and Key West. I became so loose, you could pour me in a jar after the trip. The Low Country is pretty swell also. I’m intrigued by your Sweet Libation. Is there a name for it? We made it to Phoenix and finally (!) found warm weather. Looks like you found it as well. Enjoy and thanks for sharing. Can’t wait to see how things go at Jekyll. Joe


  14. Great post and great pics – that image in the flames I can’t unsee! Fresh shucked oysters by the fire, family time, and Key Largo and girl time. Fabulous. Love love love the image of the tree at Anne’s Beach. Thanks so much for linking up with us – hope to see you again next month.


  15. What a wonderful beginning to the new year! Your January looked lovely, with three fun, soul-nourishing and relaxing trips. You two know how to celebrate life! We’ve spent a lot of time in the Keys and always enjoy the quirky, tropical vibe. I hope sometime when you’re on the Forgotten Coast that we’ll be able to meet up around our fire pit. No scary fire monsters allowed, lol. πŸ™‚


  16. Laurel, Key Largo certainly attracts a lot of RV visitors. The parks I noticed were very crowded. We have always enjoyed our little road trips, but these days we seem to need them more frequently. I attribute that to too much time on our hands – time for a new project.


    1. Hi Janet, I’m glad you enjoyed my photos. The two destinations are very different from each other, but we love them both for their uniqueness. It was our first time visiting the SC lowcountry. We will go again. Welcome to Picture Retirement. We look forward to visiting with you again.


  17. Key largo looks sublime. What a wonderful way to spend the month. We just got back from Nigeria where we spent the last month. Very lowkey and wonderful. We hardly went online as it was costly so lived in the moment. Keep enjoying.


  18. I enjoyed reading your post, Suzanne. You picked a great WOTY. Like Donna, this is my first year picking a WOTY, too. Your month wrap-up took you to a lot of places while I curated my photos, my home and took care of Vince for a couple of slow weeks. I think your word took you in a much MORE interesting direction. LOL. I hope February goes so well for you.


  19. What great photos, Suzanne. I especially love the spooky fire image and the beautiful tree with the blue sky background. It sounds like you had a lovely month of January. It makes me happy to see people getting out again. We’ve stayed at the Montage in Deer Valley (Utah) before, and it is a beautiful resort.


    1. Christie, I love how the Montage group blends their properties into the environment. The one in Palmetto Bluff is reminiscent of an old southern plantation and exudes southern hospitality. I have seen photos of the one in Deer Valley and would love to visit there too.

      It is nice to be moving about with a little more confidence, but we still have much to overcome. Thanks for stopping by.


  20. Hi Suzanne! I know i’m late to get around to reading this post but I wanted to catch up with you so it reading it was the perfect way to do that. It sounds like you had a wonderful month, got together with great people AND took some lovely photos. Isn’t it nice to be able to get out and connect with others–FINALLY? And also you managed a very creative way to blend your WOTY with a photo challenge. May 2023 bring you plenty “more!” ~Kathy


  21. Pingback: Best of 2022 – Our Year In Pictures – Picture Retirement

  22. Pingback: The WOTY That Wasn’t – Picture Retirement

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