two-thousand seventeen in retrospect

What a year it has been. Definitely one of the craziest years of my life, I have to say.

I hardly know where to begin. God has been so good. He has proven Himself faithful over and over, even though I fail in my faithfulness to Him.

This time last year, marriage seemed very far away, we had no idea what church we would be going to since God was removing us from our previous church, and, obviously, the year was full of new things and uncertainty. I am grateful that God knows the end from the beginning. Even now, 2018 is but a fleeting moment for our wonderful Creator. He holds tomorrow! And He held every moment of 2017 as well.

At the beginning of this year, we knew it was time to leave our former church. God made it very obvious that it was no longer our place to stay. I was angry and frustrated and didn’t understand. It was my home. I had been there for seventeen years. I knew and loved the people there. My wedding was in two months and I didn’t want to have to change anything at that point. But God closed the door and we continued to pray. Joshua and I went to the church I went to as a young child for a few months in the waiting period; but in late spring, we found a church much closer to our home and have been there ever since. We are excited to see how God will use us there in the coming year.

Obviously, the best day of the year was our wedding day. From start to finish it was an amazing, beautiful, fun, long-awaited day. I still can’t get over how perfect everything was, and it was over nine months ago! Our life since the wedding has been wonderful as we figure each other out, learn how to best serve one another, and put our own selfishness aside. Every day I am amazed at the husband God has given me. I am so blessed to have him as my partner for life, my best friend, and my adventure buddy! We were able to take a few trips this year, including a day trip to Baltimore for my birthday where we got to act like tourists, our honeymoon in the Poconos, a weekend trip to the Wilds (where we met and worked together two summers), day trip to NYC, Bethany Beach for the day, counseling at a weekend retreat for teens, and spending Christmas with his family in Mississippi! I’m thankful for God’s protection and provision as we traveled this year; and pray for both to continue as we have many things planned for next year!

Speaking of God’s protection, I have to mention our car accident. Right at two months of marriage, I had a moment of terror when I thought I was going to lose my husband. As we drove home from my parents’ house one Saturday in May, we were in a head-on collision. The moment when I realized, “This is it. One or both of us is going to die. We are about to be hit,” was, as far as I can recall, the most frightening moment of my life. But we were okay! Our car was totaled–really it was mangled and horribly smashed–but we were both basically fine. Thinking about what could have happened, and neither of us had any broken bones or serious injuries, I know that we are so blessed. It was a long night at the ER with x-rays and blood work and a CAT scan, and it’s been a battle with the other person’s insurance to make sure everything is covered, but we praise the Lord for protecting us that night and providing us with a new car.

Another change this year was both of us getting new jobs! In July I was contacted by a local family on care.com to become a nanny for their newborn. Although I initially said no because I would be getting far less hours than I was at the job I then held, they reached back out and offered more hours right away! I started working for them in September and it has been a great experience. The little one is now almost seven months old, and my days with him are full of drool, smiles, messy meals, teaching him how to high-five and crawl, and playtime. I also get to wear sweatpants to work, and read while he naps. What a blessing! Joshua started a new job with a marketing firm in October. He is finally able to use his degree, and he is loving it!

As you can see, it’s been quite a busy year. I feel much more like an adult now than I did last year. And while many people my age (and sometimes also me, I’ll admit) make jokes about and shy away from “adulting,” I’m thankful for the opportunities God has given us to grow and mature as individuals and as a couple.

 

Here are some of my “top 5’s” of 2017! These are all things that were new to me this year.

 

Top 5 Restaurants:

  1. Kona Grill in Baltimore, MD – Joshua found this place while researching for our day trip for my birthday. The ambiance is very chic yet relaxed. Menu is New American style cuisine, including a sushi bar. We both ordered sandwiches but they were more than your typical cafe subs. Mine was herb-y and delicious and Josh raved about his as well. Also I highly recommend the smoked gouda fondue as an appetizer. Hubby says this was his favorite of the year, but I can’t decide between this one or #2 . . .
  2. Trattoria 903 in Jim Thorpe, PA – First of all, we are not pasta people. Italian restaurants are not our first choice when deciding where to eat. But while honeymooning, we asked the director of the lodge for a really nice place where we could have a “formal” date, and she told us about Trattoria 903. Holy smokes. We had fried mozzarella as an appetizer. Delish. Then our entrees came and they were huge! Mine involved prosciutto, crab, asparagus, and a “blush” sauce over pasta. Josh can’t remember what he got but he said it was really, really good. Again: not really pasta people, Josh even less than me. But this place was the bomb.com and we had enough leftovers for an entire meal the next day.
  3. Chilangos in Lititz, PA – Mexican food, however, is always our first choice for eating out. When we went to see Tim Hawkins for Josh’s birthday and I asked him what he wanted for dinner, I just had to hunt down the best local Mexican restaurant. And we found it. Chilangos is a hole in the wall in a slightly sketchy part of Lititz, but the food is fantastic! Super authentic, and all the chips and salsa your heart could desire.
  4. The Plaza Food Hall in New York City, New York – This place is so posh and so trendy, even if you don’t order any food it’s worth it just to walk inside and admire the fast-paced cooks and rows of glass cases of chocolate. But I would encourage you to grab a bite! We stopped here for lunch while visiting NYC and it was hopping. I had a ham, cheese, and potato crepe, and Josh got a unique sandwich. That’s part of the beauty of this place: there are so many different vendors and food types that there is something for everyone! There are places to sit and eat inside, but we opted to sit outside of the Plaza Hotel by Central Park and people-watch.
  5. Sam’s Deli in Havre de Grace, MD – Sam’s is another hole-in-the-wall place that only the locals know about (or those of you who read my blog about stuff to do around HdG); but everyone agrees they have the best subs around. Although we went for the first time in 2017, unlike the above mentioned places, we have been able to go a few times since then. The portions are great, the bread is divine, and the ingredients are fresh. Located on Erie Street.

 

Top 5 Movies:

  1. The Greatest Showman – Maybe I’m partial because I just saw it a week ago and I’ve had the soundtrack on repeat, but seriously it was fantastic. It is a musical, but it’s not music set to the time period. Typically I would be mistrusting of something like that, but you just have to see to believe. It is also very clean, with only two swear words (as far as I know–and they are in a song so they’re hard to catch) and no sexuality except some low-cut tops on a few ladies. Starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, and Zendaya to name a few. I can promise you’ll be singing the songs for weeks after seeing the movie.
  2. Beauty and the Beast – This was just beautiful. It was. Again, musicals are usually a winner for me. I also have the soundtrack for this and know all the words to
    “Forevermore” and “Days in the Sun”. (I was obsessing with “Forevermore” by Josh Groban weeks before I saw the movie.) And the cast was brilliant! This movie always reminds me of our honeymoon because that’s when we saw it, and in a dinner theater! Such fun.
  3. Passengers – Okay, I do have to put a disclaimer with this one, because there are some inappropriate scenes. But you can always tell when they’re coming so make sure you keep the remote close by to hit fast-forward. The movie itself is breathtaking. Amazing story, great acting, simple yet beautiful soundtrack, thought-provoking concepts.
  4. Thor: Ragnarok – The third and final Thor movie is hilarious and has all the Thor/Loki banter we love, with a great ending. By now, everyone knows and loves these characters which makes the movie and “inside jokes” even more comical. Unfortunately, there is more language and innuendo than previous Thor movies; and we do see one shot of a non-human’s backside. Just an FYI.
  5. Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Josh heard of this one while listening to an Aussie podcast. I doubt we would’ve thought to watch it otherwise since it’s an indie film from New Zealand. But also, it’s an indie film from New Zealand. So I’m glad we heard about it. Wilderpeople actually came out in early 2016, but since we had never heard of it or watched it until this year it made it onto the Top 5 list. Such a sweet story with lovable characters that takes place in the woods. You hear the “s” word pretty frequently in this one since the word is more commonplace there, and there is one spot where the conversation is not supposed to be about something inappropriate but it is perceived that way.

(Bonus movie: I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty this year and even though it’s a few years old, it’s officially on my list of favorite movies! Also the soundtrack. Indie music for days.)

 

Top 5 Albums:

  1. The Greatest Showman Soundtrack – Again, this is probably just because I’ve been addicted for a week. But I’m still not removing it from the #1 spot. I don’t think I could pick a favorite song, but if you forced me it would probably be “Come Alive.” Or “Tightrope.” Or “A Million Dreams.” Well, you get it.
  2. Then Sings My Soul by the Wilds – We snatched up this CD when we visited camp over the summer. The songs have been such an encouragement! My favorites are “Saved By Grace Alone,” “And Can It Be,” and “Christ is Sufficient.”
  3. Many Beautiful Things by Sleeping at Last – I literally just (as in, two minutes ago) found out that this is an actual soundtrack to a historical documentary with the same title. The music has been my soundtrack for reading, writing, researching, or just relaxing for months. If you’re looking for a new album to play as background music for anything, this is it.
  4. Wanderlust by Hollow Coves – Hollow Coves is one of those groups you just stumble upon and then become immediately thankful you did. They are also one of those groups I want to call up and ask, “Why on earth do you only have a handful of songs released when y’all are so stinking brilliant?” Not everyone likes folk music so this may not be your cup of tea. But I will say that it’s more chill and relaxing than your typical folk music. I listen to this on repeat.
  5. Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack – Whoops. Obviously I’m really into soundtracks. But can you blame me? I thought of several other albums I’ve listened to a great deal this past year but they were all released before now and I was trying to stick with my “released in 2017” description.

 

Well, that about summarizes it. All in all, I have been blown away by God’s goodness and blessings in our lives. There were hard times, like when my grandfather went to be with the Heavenly Father. There were scary times, like the car accident. There were big decisions that we had to make, about buying a car and changing jobs and churches. But God has not left us. He never will!

Bring on 2018!

 

What was your best moment of 2017, and what are some of your goals for 2018?

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