web analytics

Bright Autumn Sun » Bright Autumn Sun | Atlanta & North GA Lifestyle Blog | Photography | Lifestyle | Motherhood

Masthead header

Happy New Year and 2017 Resolutions

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year’s Eve celebration. We rung in the New Year pretty quietly with the kids and fell asleep soon after the ball dropped. We were all tired! I had a pretty blissful New Year’s Day as Adrian let me sleep in until 1:30pm! He took the boys out to lunch while I was sleeping. When I woke up, I took a walk through the “Deer Forest” behind our house, which was beautiful, misty, and cold, drank some hot coffee, and wrote a few pages in my journal reflecting on the new year and working on my resolutions.

I always make a point to share my resolutions on the blog, and this will be my seventh year doing so.

I am really excited about 2017 because it holds many changes. In addition to me beginning Yoga Teacher Training this summer, the kids will also be in school together again, as William will be entering Kindergarten come August. We have some fun things planned for the year and are looking forward to a few trips and activities, especially for Zachary with his Cub Scout pack. Not to mention, there will be a total solar eclipse in August that will be viewable from the very northern tip of the state of Georgia! How exciting!

My lucky number is 7 and I have 7 goals for this year.

1. Access creativity often.
2. Be more consistent with my health/fitness/nutrition.
3. Read more books.
4. Reconnect with myself more often through nature and meditation.
5. Speak what you seek. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for” – Oprah Winfrey
6. Don’t trade authenticity for approval. Be yourself.
7. Allow things to happen as they will, without expectation.

I would love to hear about what you’re working on this year!


Look Up © 2017 Karen Ziemkowski

New Year’s Day 2017


My 2016 Year and Resolutions Review

2016 has been a pretty crazy year. I think everyone can agree about that! I debated writing this resolutions and year in review, but it’s such a tradition, that I felt like I had to keep it up!

Personally, the year itself has been a whirlwind of extremes. It has actually been filled with many very happy and amazing moments for me, but some sad ones, too. I completed several major personal goals, of which I’m extremely thrilled about and very proud of, but in August of this year, our family had a huge loss, when my beloved grandmother passed away. I miss her daily.

This year brought many gifts for me. We had our first real snow day with the boys. I started my yoga practice. Adrian and I took the boys on an amazing Memorial Day family trip to Florida. I got to visit with my grandma and capture video of her talking about her life. I completed my first half marathon (13.1mi). I completed my first century bike ride (100mi). I got to see my two best Florida friends a few times this year. I made too many absolutely incredible new and special friends to even name (seriously – I am beyond blessed). Adrian and I did lots and lots of fun activities with the kids. My kids made some nice friends. I bought my first ever brand-new car. I started learning how to paint. Both of our kids are happy and healthy. The kids got to go trick or treating three separate times. I attended an amazing yoga retreat which solidified my decision to apply for teacher training next summer. I started writing for myself again. I made some productive decisions. We had a fun frosty morning at home with the boys on the winter solstice. I got to see many friends this year who came to visit Atlanta from far away, which was so amazing – several of whom I had not seen in a very, very long time. I successfully completed my very first 366 day photo-a-day project, of which I am very proud. We had a beautiful 8th night of Hanukkah menorah filled with light and love and wishes for our next year. And finally, my last gift is my husband Adrian, who is so supportive of all of my endeavors – and many of the above would not have been possible without him. May 2017 be just as memorable and blessed.

Hanukkah 2016, Eighth Night

Last year, I only made seven resolutions/goals for 2016, and I think I did fairly well with them. Let’s see how that went…

Restart my photography business and enjoy the opportunity to be creative again.

While I never got back to full time status (and never intended to), I did take on several photographic jobs this year including one wedding! While I did enjoy photographing the wedding, I realized that I didn’t care to photograph weddings anymore after over 10 years of wedding-ing, and decided that I’ll be focusing on portraits for any future photography work. I shot some really beautiful sessions, and after a year or so of not feeling the “spark” in my heart when I got behind my camera, I did feel it again, and it felt great! Hoping to photograph some more family portrait sessions in the next year, as well.

Continue my fitness/healthy eating routine – and keep working until I see in the mirror what I see in my head. Then maintain!

I did keep up with my routine, but I did not reach my goal yet. I had gotten to a very fit point by about the middle of the year, but later in the summer, I slipped a bit due to my back injury. But, this process is a journey for life, not just a new year’s resolution. In 2017, I plan to get more consistent with my workouts. My life is going to become a bit busier in the next year, as I add on more activities, and I want to make sure I focus on getting my workouts in like I was in the beginning of the year.

Spend more time being outdoors, riding my awesome bike and having adventures. Live in the sun!

I achieved two huge personal goals this year – I completed a century bike ride and a half marathon – both with my friend Shelle! I am so proud of myself for having done both of these and they are huge accomplishments for me. I also bought a mountain bike and had some fun riding trails. I wish I’d gotten more bike time this year, but I’m glad that I was able to ride as much as I did. I really love to ride and I am so glad I got into cycling!

Further develop the friendships I’ve made in GA, and spend more time with family.

I have made some incredible friends here in Georgia, and I’m so grateful for that. Some that I would even call some of my best friends, now. I started practicing yoga in January and had no idea that some of my closest friendships would be those that I made at the studio. You never know where you might meet people these days – I met one of my friends, Lindsay, at Target, and we bonded over purple hair and Lularoe leggings, and now our kids are friends, too! My friend Shelle and I met randomly through someone we both know, and we became the best of friends this year! As far as family goes, I’ve had a lot of fun times with the kids this year and feel like we have spent a lot of quality time together!

Try not to get any more sports related injuries. LOL. Stay healthy!

LOL – let’s not discuss this one. I’m sick of talking about my back problems! 2017 will be better!

Do at least one family “adventure” each month.

I’m not sure if things happened on a once a month schedule, but we did have a lot of adventures! We went to Warbington Farms, Coca-Cola World, Amicalola Falls, Autrey Mill Nature Centure, Lego Land Discovery Center, went to the Alpharetta 4th of July celebration at Wills Park, hiked the Deer Forest behind our house, Zachary and I went Pokémon Hunting at Caney Creek Preserve, I went on Will’s field trip to the Art Barn out in Canton, went to the Touch a Truck with Will, we took a tour at Historic Oakland Cemetery, we saw the holiday lights at Lake Lanier Islands, and we went to South Florida over the summer for a week! It was a great year!!

Be happy. :)

I am!

Here are a few awesome moments from this year:

Top row: me and Shelle before the century ride, me doing tree pose in front of the tree at the studio – a far cry from last year, when I swore I would not even try yoga, my family in Florida in May at my favorite beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Middle row: my adorable boys on Zachary’s 8th birthday, me wearing a beautiful hat made by my amazing BFF Amy, the boys trick or treating on Halloween in our neighborhood

Bottom row: our family at Amicalola Falls – one of our favorite GA state parks, grandmother hemlock tree at Elohee where I attended a yoga retreat this year, me with my half marathon magnet – so proud!!



“It’s not who you are that holds you back – it’s who you think you’re not.”

During my yoga class yesterday morning — which honestly was a lovely class — there were, of course, several postures that I had to modify – several that I flat-out could not do – and some that I did, even though they hurt, because I just wanted to be able to do them.

I’m sick of the voices in my head that constantly berate me for what I can’t do. “Accept – Accept – Accept” is a repeating track over and over in my mind, yet the more I tell myself to do it, the more I try to prove I can – the more I find that I am struggling HARD with being unable to accept the fact that my body (which I’ve worked so hard the last few years to get into shape) is turning on me. The word is giving me a headache from shouting it to myself so much.

And the voices in my head were loud this morning:

“You’ll never be able to do that.”

“You don’t deserve to be in this room.”

“You’re the only one who can’t…”

There was more, but that’s the highlight reel. How often do we talk to ourselves in this manner, and why is it acceptable? I would never, ever say something like this to a friend. Instead, I would say that I made the right choices to serve what my body needs, I still showed up for practice, and that sometimes it takes more strength to hold back and do the right thing than it does to push through.

So, why can’t I believe that?

My body is what it is, failing on me or not, and I need to move past that if I’m going to move forward.

However, it is, admittedly, a disappointing, even a lonely feeling, to modify as much as I do in an intermediate class. When I practice alone, I obviously do what I love and what makes me feel good, and it’s not always a huge challenge as I avoid anything that causes even a twinge in my lower back. In a class, it feels like I’m shining a huge Bat-Signal type spotlight on everything that I need to change to accommodate for my issues. Like I’m the odd one out. Even though I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who is thinking of myself that way…

I’m fit enough.. I’m strong enough… I AM ENOUGH… but my bones and muscles and other inside bits often are not. Sometimes I have to deeply inhale, set my teeth, and move on to the next posture, letting as many of the feelings as possible float away on the exhale.

I have to believe that there’s a reason for the struggle. When it all comes down to it, we are all made from the same stuff as the stars – the same universal perfection – we are as perfect as we should be, no matter what is going on inside of our heads telling us otherwise. So, maybe all of this pain and frustration can one day be translated into knowledge and guidance. Maybe… just maybe, I’m meant to help others, who need MY yoga to be THEIR yoga, too… Only time will tell.

As difficult as it is sometimes, and as much as I sometimes want to give in, I am fighting back against the nasty lies that my inner voice says about me when I’m feeling weak. Carlos Castaneda said it best: “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

JudyNovember 20, 2016 - 1:25 pm

Karen, You are amazing! I sometimes feel as though all my joints need to be oiled. I started out feeling like The Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz.” But, through your encouragement I am trying my best. I can see that the effort is my reward. Just reaching for the next challenge is my goal. 💕