2014 has been a big year for me. Yes, I got married. And that's probably the biggest thing, but there's more to it than that. I've remarked to people before about how graduating college was always the last thing on my horizon. Not that I didn't have hopes for life afterwards, but I just had no concept about what was beyond May 2011. I spent my life looking forward to milestones that I could plan. In a sense, I had always known what to expect. And then upon leaving BU, the world was my oyster (as they say). And since then, it literally has been a whirlwind. Life has not slowed down or gotten less exciting, as I would have assumed it would. In fact, the past 3 1/2 years have been incredibly full with high's and low's, consolations and desolations, weddings and funerals, joy and sorrow. Now coming into 2014, I had an idea of how it would go since most of it revolved around planning our wedding. But it's fun to look back on all the moments that have made up this year. So let's get to it: I truly can't remember much that occurred in January except for a really cold winter. Oh...and I read the Hunger Games during a few snowy days early in the year. I still can't decide if this was a big mistake or not. It probably was. I was bed ridden from these horrifying books for days and it consumed my mind for weeks. One day I'll have enough clarity to explain what kind of experience I had.
Dear Lonnie was a part of my life. Any close friend of mine knows about Lonnie. The hotel I worked at had a hard time hiring an HR Director for a while, so instead of leaving the office to just me (which would have been just a blast...not), we brought in (for a second time) Lonnie: a retired HRD for the company who does task-force and was born & raised in Minnesota but lives in Sonoma, CA. This woman made so much of my work life bearable. The pair of us had SO many laughs, plenty of cries (you would too if you dealt with some of what went on), and a lot of deep life talks. I can say that I would not have made it through as much as I did in that place without her presence.
Who can forget YOLVO? You only Las Vegas Once...ish. My older sister planned my bachelorette pary in Vegas. This started out as a joke (because I'm not really a Vegas person), but it's always been my life dream to see Celine Dion live. So off to Vegas we went. My older sister (sorry Kerry, 21's only), my three best friends from home, and my four best friends from college. I was a bit nervous for this trip, but it turned out alright. Despite Celine being on holiday the one weekend I make it out (sad face x 100), we avoided the craziness of that city and just enjoyed some nice time together away from the negative degree parts of the country.
Jenan became my sister when she married Keith on March 8th. Yes, just two months before me and Kevin. My parents deserve an award. They got married at the same church we did, and it was a truly remarkable time. Lots of joy and some really awesome photos. I love my family.
Moments in Priscilla. Moving into married life, especially understanding it as a Vocation, means a lot of change. I savored the moments with my roommates. Since senior year in college, my roommates have been a big part of my life. It's always been women I knew from the Catholic Center at BU, and my last house with them is still the home to many women I know. And one of our roommates entered religious life the day after my wedding, so those last few months were ones of big preparation!
In April, I got a new job. Despite the way I might feel about the way work is going, God truly had a hand in this change. Lonnie and I both left the hotel within the same week: her for California to enjoy life back at the winery and me for a new position trying out a different industry. The timing was impeccable as it meant I had off all of holy week, and I'd still be able to take all the wedding time off. And there are a number of other factors that made this a better opportunity now that I'd be getting married.
EASTER IN DETROIT. This was another grace of changing jobs. I had planned a trip to see my dear friend Elise for Easter on a whim one night, since I didn't envision me and Kevin really making it out there once we got married (and Kevin would be in Duluth for this Easter), and was able to extend it a couple of days. This trip had a profound effect on me. We went to Christ the King parish in Ann Arbour, MI and all I can say is it was powerful. The whole trip was wrapped up in deep spiritual talks, visiting holy places, driving on 8 Mile (obviously), and just enjoying some of my last unmarried time with such a good friend. As we liked to say, we were bringing Easter Sunday to the city of perpetual holy Saturday.
There were a few last events before the wedding that Kevin and I shared with each other and with friends. The marathon in Providence was a festive day with my roommates plus some. Our day trip to Rockport was a lovely last hoorah as engaged people. Random bachelorette and bridal shower things with my friends. Packing up my room and finding keys from my last 3 apartments (oops).
I've enjoyed learning the ways of marriage and being a wife. In addition to the big things like growing in virtue and learning to sacrifice more, I've also learned how to cook spaghetti squash a number of ways, make my homemade coffee creamer, entertain large groups of friends with my single waffle maker, create a variety of meatless Friday meals that are also super tasty, crochet (sorta), plant an herb garden on our balcony (and endure the failures), and turn our small apartment into a cozy home.
I've attended three weddings from August to November (was a bridesmaid in one), and they were all wonderful. It was fun going to a wedding as a married person and being on the other side of it.
One of my closest friends, Ashlie & Josh, had a baby in November! Sarah and I were blessed to be able to throw her a shower at Josh's parent's home in Albany, NY. It was so great seeing her 8 months pregnant knowing that so soon they'd bring their first child into the world. And now he is here! John Paul! He is adorable. And I just know that they are doing a wonderful job, as hard as it can be not being very near family or close friends.
We enjoyed a Pennsylvania Thanksgiving this year with the whole family, shortly followed by a Philadelphia Eagles football game in DC, and annual tradition that we opened up to extended family this year since so many wouldn't be home for Christmas. We stayed in my sister and brother-in-law's house in Alexandria, VA and it was a blast.
And now I am in Duluth, celebrating the Christmas season! It's been a real blessing being here. I've only been once before a year and a half ago, but it was a quick two days with lots of packed events. This time we're able to take it slow. And we've gotten in some good quality time with his mom, brother, and uncle as well as some close friends.
It's crazy to think that those have been the big things. Kevin and I have experienced quite a bit of life in 2014. God is blessing us abundantly as we continue to find the rhythm of our day-to-day. There have been some trials, but we're learning to trust the Lord in new ways. We've felt an outpouring of grace especially in these last couple of months as we try to look ahead to this next year. I have a feeling 2015 will be just as full of a year, but in a much different way. We will have many big life decisions to make and we pray God continues to be generous to us and that He will guide us to where he wants us. And we hope that we can continue to be generous in return; we truly have so much to be grateful for.