Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Year in Review

2016 was one of those years for me.  It was a pulling & stretching year full of new things, surprises {or almost surprises}, & deep changes that, if I'm totally transparent, are still pretty tough for me.  There were tears upon tears & also laughter upon laughter.  Both joy & heartache deeper than I'd felt in many a year.  There was also doubt & insecurity - way too much, I admit - & I feel I almost drowned in it at times.  Looking back, I know God was with me through every single moment of that now past 365, because I know I couldn't have made it on my own.  I still know that, by the way.  It's a daily truth I feel deep.  Here's a few highlights from 2016...

🔻 Dan asks me for my ring size!  He tries to play it off like it's for the possible/maybe far off future - if it comes to that - he'll have it tucked away kinda thing.  Every girl knows if the ring size is asked, it's pretty serious stuff.  We were at a restaurant at the time, & a few moments after the asking was done, I quietly excused myself to the restroom to do the crazy what-just-happened prayer & silly uncontrollable grinning, slightly hyperventilating scared-out-of-my-wits thing.

🔻 I get a month long sub job as a librarian at a school deep in the hood.  P.S.: It was rough & tough at times, but I survive just fine!

🔻 Dan & I celebrate our 1st boyfriend/girlfriend Valentine's Day!  We have a fancy dress-up dinner date {I wear the most amazing red dress I snagged at a consignment sale for next to nothing}, & then we go star gazing on the mountain where he carved our names the previous Oct. {note this mountain is important later on in the year, too}.

🔻 Dan & I serve together packaging up bags of rice {to send overseas} at my church, & I feel like I could serve Christ with this man my whole life.

🔻 I get my braces off & enjoy my crowd-free straight smile!  Oh, I didn't mention I had braces this whole time?  I did.  I was one of those get braces as an adult people.  It does make you take care of them better when it's your own $ paying for it, by the way.  Dan took probably over a half hour to even notice they were off when I visited next, but maybe he was nervous because...

🔻 Dan proposes for our 1 year boyfriend/girlfriend anniversary on the mountain in front of the tree where he carved our names encompassed by the heart!  {I said yes, but I guess you knew that by now.}

🔻 This was the start of a very rough season where my doubts, anxiety, & insecurities nearly drove me from those I loved most.

🔻 I kill my sweet car in a wreck.  Thankfully no one else was hurt.

May - June:
🔻 Wedding planning with intermittent hyperventilating & such.

🔻 Packing up to move to Georgia & to an apartment I'd only seen in photos.

🔻 Dan drove through the night to come on an unplanned visit because I needed him.  I knew after that visit that he would protect my heart always.

🔻 I make the big move south with 2 cars + a U-haul.

🔻 I join a church down here & become a member.

🔻 We explore an abandoned house together.  Pretty creepy {& so fun}!  Pretty thankful nobody got arrested!

🔻 I marry my best friend outside while butterflies flit past us.

🔻 We honeymoon in Orlando & visit Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, & Hollywood Studios!

October - December:
🔻 We work on this amazing & hard adventure called "marriage."

🔻 I land a long term sub position as an elementary school's librarian - &, oh man, do I thank God for it!

🔻 We enjoy our 1st "married" holidays {because we were dating long distance, we hadn't been together on any actual fall/winter holidays before}!  We pass out candy on Halloween & watch nostalgic Halloween specials, enjoy 2 Thanksgiving dinners, & Christmas with his family then mine.

🔻 We start new Christmas traditions, put up my 1st real tree, visit both Rock City's & Callaway Garden's light shows, eat Kilwin's ice cream on Christmas Eve, & go see the broadway version of The Little Mermaid {it was one of my Christmas gifts}!

Whoa, what a year!  Really & truly it has been a mad whirlwind of change/growth, craziness, & countless blessings.  Thank You, Lord, for your patience & limitless love You bestowed again & again on your mess of a daughter this year!  I can't wait to see what adventures You have in store for us in 2017!

Happy {almost} New Year's!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Eve at Kilwins

What do you do when the weather thinks it's springtime & it's actually December 24th {that's Georgia for you, by the way}?  You get ice cream!  Actually, this girl would get ice cream if it was 20 below & I had to hike to the shop wearing snowshoes!  It's true, I'm an ice cream fanatic.

Dan & I highly recommend Kilwins {if you happen to live near one}.  It's another added bonus of living in my new city!  

P.S.: Their peppermint ice cream is heavenly!

 Praying you had a blessed & very merry Christmas 2016!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmastime Snapshots

Thankful Dan & I are continuing to use this DIY scripture advent calendar I made back when I was single.  I ❤ traditions!

We made our wreath this year from a couple straggly branches we had to cut from the bottom of our Christmas tree.

Enjoying Christmas festivities around town.  It's my 1st Christmas in Georgia!

It's my 1st ever real tree & I'm personalizing it with mini ornament frames & tiny pics of us.

Merry {almost} Christmas!

"...For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people."
-Luke 2:10

Saturday, December 17, 2016

O Christmas Tree!

This is the story of a fake tree girl getting her first real one.  Yes, she was hesitant &, dare I say, {unbeknownst to her husband} silently {or, okay, not so silently} protesting.  But marriage is a give & take, so this wife gave her husband the gift of a real tree.

And this is how it went...

We miraculously stuffed the around 7-8 foot Fraser fir into my little hatchback.  Dan's knees were brushing the glove compartment door, & the tree, well it was loosing all its little needle things all over the place.  Just keeping it real, not a good start in scoring points for the real tree team.

By the time we got it home, I confess I had cozied up to it a lot more {they say close proximity will do that to ya}.  After vacuuming sheddings up several times over, & it literally nearly falling over when Dan put on the star {which led to more readjustments}, I must say...

Not bad.  Not bad at all.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

True Tunes

JJ Heller is one of my favorites!  All of these came from her new Christmas album Unto Us {listen to more here}.