I am participating in this month's synchroblog (a blog where numerous bloggers blog on the same topic) which can be found at http://synchroblog.wordpress.com. This month's synchroblog topic is posing this: To kick off the year for the Synchroblog, let’s blog about highlights of the past year, things that stirred us, shaped us, moved us. Things we loved doing and seeing and experiencing. Things that were hard but good. Things that were fun. Things we don’t want to forget. It might be your favorite post from last year or a list of highlights or a specific event. It’s a blank slate, but let’s look back together and remember.
2014 was a year of new beginnings for me. Actually the new journey began in 2013, but towards the end of 2013 so really looking back I feel like 2014 was a year of change for me. In November of 2013, I finished a call to a church, packed up and moved 5 hours away, closer to my momma. (What a gift that has been!)
A year ago, in January of 2014, I found myself living in my very own house. (I rent it but it is so much better than living in an apartment.) It has been such a joy to make this place my own! I slowly found myself adjusting to this new normal. I definitely felt God calling me to this place, but it was also very difficult to leave the relationships I had created over the course of seven years and to make new friendships here. That, for me, was one of the hardest and scariest things that I had to do this past year.
Luckily I had amazing people who introduced me to others. And I cannot even begin to tell you how incredibly blessed I have been this past year with amazing friendships. It still has been hard to say goodbye to those friendships I made while at my last call. I met with my friend CT for the first time last February. We spent close to two hours chatting and only quit because she had to go pick up her daughter. We met again the next Monday and spent another hour plus talking. And when I was on vacation in August, they let me camp out at their house since I live so close to the church.
Along with CT, I have gotten to know KG, EG, KW and SH. These girls are in so many ways my soul sisters. I love them to pieces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I think you get the point!) I also got to know MW as well. MW and KW moved last Spring and we have missed them every day since.
Throughout 2014, I continued to find my new normal. And feel like this place is finally home for me! I love my call. And have been blessed to serve among amazing colleagues and individuals. God indeed guided me to this place. I was completely overwhelmed this last month during the holiday season by the many who blessed me with cards and so much more. It truly is hard to put into words how much this means to me.
Being closer to my mom has meant getting to spend so much more time with her. She lives less than an hour away so I can drive to her events. For the last two Christmas parties at the nursing home, I have been able to attend them with her. What a joy that has been! Mom even is able to ride the city bus to my town a few times. It's great because the bus driver will drop her off and pick her up wherever that needs to be. My mom, sister, and I even got to spend a day together at the North Dakota State Fair this summer.
The ND State Fair was a fun time! My sister stayed with me and we had so much fun. Racing pigs, cotton candy, country music, and so much more. We even got to see some of our favorite musicians Florida Georgia Line and Brad Paisley. (One of the highlights in 2015 will be going on a sisters trip to Nashville together! My sister surprised me at Christmas!)
In October, I got to go to the Pacific Northwest for the first time for the ELCA Diaconal Ministry gathering. It was so much fun and I treasure the time I get to spend with my dear diaconal brothers and sisters. Also in October, I participated for the first time in the #write31 days challenge as well as in my first synchroblog. I chose to blog about Mental Illness and my families journey with mental illness. It was something that was extremely scary but also is something that I knew I needed to do. I am glad to say that I completed that challenge and was blessed by it in so many ways. I even had the opportunity to guest post on several new blogging friends blogs.
The end of the year brought about some vacation time which was wonderful. I even got to preach at my home congregation on Christmas Day. It was such a joy to spend time with my family. I hadn't been home since last Christmas. And New Years was also spent with the family. My Dad, sister, and I went on a movie date and saw Unbroken. New Years Day was also spent with the family playing our favorite card game Rook.
Wow!!! What a year 2014 has been! It definitely was a year of change and new beginnings. It also was a year in which I grew into my #oneword365 for 2014 "gentle." As I look back, I know that I am a much gentler person than I was a year ago. I also know that I was blessed in so many ways in 2014. So looking back and now looking forward, I know that God is with me every step of the way. My oneword365 for 2015 is brave (I shake in my boots every time I type that word) but I pray for God to guide and bless 2015 as I live into that word for this year.
This blog was written in conjunction with a SynchroBlog on the topic "Looking Back, Looking Forward." Bloggers looking back and looking forward this month: