2017. Moving. Creating. Dreaming.
It's already come and already gone, can you even believe it? It's absolutely insane. Had my 15-year-old self had a peak into our 2017, she wouldn't have believed it. Man, my 25-year-old self wouldn't have believed it. When I think about 2017, it's easy for me to quickly say, "2k17 was a good year, an average year, but a good year." Which is ridiculous. 2k17 was NOT an average year. How quickly we forget. It was one for the books (maybe someday, right?).
We started out 2017 living in our perfect (not actually perfect but we were in love with it to say the least) home in town, still hosting our Cameroonian exchange student, loving our church just a few miles away, housing my brother and sister, and seriously enjoying the crazy, amazing, frustrating, full-house chapter, even if we were running on fumes. Nate was still working full-time as a social worker and also doing his Master degree of Social Work full time as well, and I was starting out my first calendar year as a freelance interpreter. Change, change, and more change.
January and February were filled with anticipation and terror as we decided to put our house on the market for the chance of a lifetime. We held birthday celebrations and surprise parties and laughed and cried and prayed. What was this opportunity going to become? Is this really a good idea? Could we really sell our house? Are we actually ready for this? (who knows, who knows, yes, and probably not - haha)
Well, by March we had come to sell our wonderful, perfect, quirky, practical, 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bathroom home. We were officially insane at that moment. We packed up all of our things, our exchange student, and our pups and took out to the country. We stayed with Nate's grandparents for a total of 10 weeks. Then, in the month of May, we moved into our 2 acre farm wonderland. I have to be honest, walking down that driveway was as thrilling as it was daunting. This was a huge step, and it felt like it had been plopped in our hands -- far earlier than we were ever expecting. And to be honest again, I have had to grieve a good chapter ending early.
Moving out to the farm was beautiful and magical and terrifying and risky. "What IF?" What if we can't find a lawn mower before the grass is up to our knees? A couple of square ft to a couple of acres was quite a change. What if our friends don't want to make the beautiful scenic route to our place? A couple of blocks to a 20 minute drive was quite a change. What if we can't keep up with the maintenance? A house and a shed to an old farmhouse with a barn and couple of out buildings and acres was quite a change. What if. What if? What IF?! Yeah, I went through a grieving and doubting stage for a hot minute.
But May ended quickly and with that, we broke in our 1886 barn with a graduating/going away party for Odilia, our exchange student. By the end of June we found ourselves deep into unpacking, and home and farm projects and loving each second we had. July and August were two of our most beautiful months. Nate finished his 11-month MSW program and we waited for graduation day (November). We spent a week at family camp, ran a 5k, made day trips and weekend trips, and went away spontaneously. And at the end of summer, we found ourselves sun scorched and grateful to have started our life on this little farm-in-the-making. Just two folks trying to make all those dreams a true reality.
Fall 2k17 was probably the climax of this monumental year. We hosted our annual fall party in our own barn for the first time. It was beautiful and it was what I can imagine the Lord smiles about - people, together. Fall is such a beautiful season and it always comes to an end too quickly, doesn't it?
Along with starting our farm journey in May, November was the biggest moment for 2k17. I was able, with our closest family, to sit in an auditorium and witness what many (or most) thought unattainable or impossible. Even 15-year-old or 25-year-old Nate would have told you that it wouldn't happen. Alas, Nathaniel J. walked across that stage and was awarded a Master degree of Social Work, and we were all elated. With a new job and degree, Nate rounded out 2k17 with a refreshed gratitude for hope, support systems, and dreams coming true.
November ended with Thanksgiving around our table, and the holiday season started just like that. We celebrated life and hope and home and family. With mostly homemade/handmade Christmas gifting, we spent chilly nights in crafting up ideas in the kitchen, at the table, and in the workshop. In our home and down the road, we made memories and held hands, and felt a deep gratitude for Christ in us and with us and around us.
May you look back at 2k17 with a lens of gratitude and thankfulness, even if the year wasn't monumental. And if you've felt any amount of time in darkness or in deep struggle, know this -- you are not alone. And your pain felt alone is a heavy burden. Don't go it alone. While our year, typed up nicely on this here blog, was the most beautiful year with the biggest accomplishments, it was also probably my darkest and loneliest year yet. I don't feel I can publish this post without at least acknowledging the battle that was 2017. Still, I know that in my struggle, God is still good and Love always wins. Still, in my doubts and unbelief and fear and self-made isolation, I know that I'm actually never alone or abandoned or forgotten or unimportant or unwanted. The same goes for you too, friend. So while I look back at 2k17 with much joy and gratitude, the sting of the struggle is raw and real.
May Hope and Love and Joy and Peace refresh your hearts and minds today and this year. May you find Rest and may you, by Him, be blessed.