Monday, December 27, 2021

the beauty will outweigh the pain || a letter to 2021



can be beautiful and scary at the

same time. 

you can be hurting and

wondering what tomorrow will

bring, but you can also be healing

and happy.

sometimes it's best not to

question why you're feeling this

way, but instead experience all of

the emotions change may bring...

change can be a beautiful, but

 scary process.

D e a r   T w e n t y - t w e n t y - o n e,

 How do you write a letter to a year, such as you were? 

People were always talking about how crazy 2020 was, and I won't deny falling into that trap. 2020 was nuts, not gonna lie. But, wow, 2021, you. You were a lot to take in.

 Where do I even begin?

You started out great. You came along, and I was at the beach along with my sister and the aunts. We had booked a beach house for four nights, so we spent five lovely days there just doing nothing. It was a reset trip. A "time-out" before diving into the year. And it was needed. 

"We started the new year dancing to A Good Run of Bad Luck, so

 whatever that means. Hahaha" (my diary. 01.01.21)

 I was busy with work - cleaning most weekdays, and spending my days off at home doing things around the house, playing with my niece, hanging out with my parents and siblings, and spending Sunday mornings at church with the fam. We got a huge snow storm in February and ended up getting four feet of abnormally fluffy snow. Then came the ice.

"Another day snowed in. Though we haven't gotten any new snow.

 But ice. Trees were falling down like crazy, nobody had power all

 day. It was crazy. We huddled around the fire and played Trivial 

 Pursuit most the day." (my diary. 02.15.21) 

I had my ups and downs, crying often. Most the year it felt like the world was spinning, spinning, and wouldn't stop no matter how much I begged it to. So many nights I cried myself to sleep and wondered if God knew what He was doing. So many prayers begging God to take my pain, my fears, my anxiety. So many prayers begging Him to take it all out of my hands. Because the weight of it all was crushing me. I've always been told I  looked at the world through rose colored glasses. And that's how I've always wanted to be. The girl who could always find something to laugh and smile about, no matter what life throws at her. I did an awful job of that this year. So many times I'd go for drives just to be alone with my music and cry. Death has been running rampage in 2021. It hit hard, and it hit close. Some of the people who have Gone on Before this year I knew well, and some I didn't. But it all hurt. I lost a cousin in July. Dear, fourteen-year-old, Abigail Rose went Home in the night, and left us all feeling lost. 

"I hate the past tense words. Because it means she's actually 

  gone. And we have to go on without her. If this hurts this much

 for me, how must Clarissa and Joey be feeling. I've done a lot

 of crying in the past week. I haven't really slept at all."

 (my diary. 07.20.21) 

  Grief is hard. It always is, it doesn't matter when or how it hits. And it looks different for everyone. Abi wasn't the only loved one we lost this year. One of my mom's best friends passed away only a few days after Thanksgiving. It was devastating, if I'm honest. 

"This can't be real. I keep seeing her smile in my mind. And

hearing her voice. And I hate knowing that'll fade with time.

It won't be so clear. I don't understand why this happened."

(my diary. 11.29.21)

The last few months of 2021 have been hard. It's been hard to get excited for Christmas. But I've gone through the motions the best I've been able to. We got our tree the day after Susie's funeral and have all in all tried to make the best of this time of year. Christmas parties, Christmas music, Christmas movies, light and greenery all over the house. And now, I'm trying to look back on the year and remember the good. Because God has not forsaken us. He's been there all along, blessing my year even when I didn't think it possible.

 In April my dear cousin and best friend got married in Montana, and I stood in the wedding. The trip there was short and absolutely crazy-busy, but such a blessed time. I enjoyed running wedding errands with Kirsten, spending time together before she became a married woman. Mrs. Goodrick. It's still so weird for me to think she's actually married. I had really missed her since she moved to Montana, so that time together was treasured. And then, after the wedding I really enjoyed our time at our aunt and uncle's rental house, laughing and talking with sisters and cousins. I was exhausted by the end of that trip, but it was so worth it. I stood beside by best friend while she said "I do" and started her new life with her husband. I'm so glad I got to do that. 

"I don't know what the rest of the year will bring, but I 

do know that God's got it. He's already there." 

(my diary. 03.27.21)

Also in April, I got to meet my cousin's girlfriend and had a lovely weekend hanging out with them and was sad when their visit ended. But didn't have long to dwell on it because before I knew it, I was flying off on another adventure. I flew to New Hampshire with my sisters, bro-in-law, and niece. We spent two weeks there, with family. I, along with my sister, stayed at our grandparents wonderful house for what we didn't know would be our last time. While we were playing video games in the basement with cousins, making food in the kitchen, and visiting in the living room, we had no idea that Grandpa and Grandma would sell the house and move out before the year's end. I'm glad we didn't know. Because we got to just enjoy our time there without being sad about never going back. (though part of me wishes I got to say goodbye to the last link to my childhood. part of me died inside when I heard the house was no longer going to be in my life) That trip turned out to be my favorite. Over the past 7 years I have visited my grandparents five times, so that's saying a lot. Longboarding, coffees, ice cream, late night chats... and by the time we got home, it was May. 

A dear friend and cousin (from NH) visited us not long after we got home, and we had a wonderful time with her before she left to Alaska for the summer. And then, we decided (extremely last minute) to go to the campout our church always has every Memorial Day. I drove my sisters and I up there, and it was my first time driving through the city. Crazy, because I drove through there so many times this year. We only stayed at the campout one night, but it was a good time. 

 May and June flew by with nothing worth noting, but in July my world changed forever. For that was when my darling cousin, Abi went Home. (as I've already said) Though I hadn't seen her in a few years, her passing left me world shattered. And the weeks so come were hard. But God seen me through, and it was because of those hard weeks that I felt the need to go to my cousin's wedding in South Dakota. At the end of July, I ended up going to a wedding seven hours away from our home, along with my sister and brother. Though we were all going through tough times, that sibling trip is one of my favorite memories of you, 2021. And it was seeing my cousin at that wedding that really made me want to be at his. 

So, near the end of August, headed out to a state I'd never been to before, where I knew nobody. I really had no idea what to expect from this trip, but something in me said my world was about to change, and this time for the better. It still blows my mind to think what a difference just a few days can make. God was working in my life and I had no idea what He was doing. But he brought me to South Dakota, where I found the dearest friend in the world, and He pulled me from the pit I had been in ever since that day in July. On top of grief, I was struggling to believe anyone could ever love me. I was struggling with how "friendless" I had been. (I am so beyond thankful for the friends who have always been there for me. I, in no way, want them to think I have not noticed all they've done for me. This is just how I'd been feeling) I don't even know how it happened - one day I was scared to death of everyone in South Dakota, and the next I wanted those girls to be a part of my life forever. The wedding was beautiful and the trip was so beyond blessed. I even got to connect with an old friend, and that was sooo needed. It's like God was telling me that I was very much loveable. (would it be weird for me to say that God is sweet?) We only spent four days there in South Dakota, but I left there with a light heart, a new friend (plus her darling sisters), and a rekindled friendship. I left there with the song Brand New playing in my mind. 

"I feel like for the first time in a long time, I am not afraid"

(Brand New. Ben Rector) 

(oh where has that brand new feeling gone?)

"Oh my, so much emotions. My heart is so full - it burst.

 I have found a true friend who I hope will be there forever.

 So much laughter. So many tears. So many thoughts. It's 

after midnight and my heart is... full. I don't know any other

way to say it." (my diary. 08.29.21) 


Back at home, I dove back into life, but now with a friend to talk to. Those first few weeks of getting to know Brynna more was such fun. Our text conversations are still so dear to me, and I go back and read them often. September came and life moved on. Janeya stopped by on her way home from Alaska, and it was so nice to get caught up with her. I think it was during this time that I was the happiest I had been in a long time. Life was just so good, even though things were still going wrong at times - I guess I was in a place where they were able to just slide off my shoulders. 

 Soon I was planning yet another trip to South Dakota, but this time just to visit Brynna. On October 14th I turned 22, and the next day we headed out to South Dakota. This time I traveled with my sisters, brother, and a couple West cousins. That trip was so good. It felt so good to hug Brynna and her sisters again. It felt good to have an entire week to laugh and talk and go on adventures and sit "on each others heads". And goodbye was so hard. We hugged and cried and hugged and cried some more. But I wouldn't have missed that trip for the world. Even though it seems like I've just been muddling through ever since. While on our trip, I started to cough, and I still am - though it is much, much better. 

And only a few days after Thanksgiving, my mom's friend went Home. Like I've already said, the last couple months of 2021 have been hard. But there's been one light - Gideon Karl. My darling nephew, who made me an auntie two times over. He was born on December 10th, bringing sunshine to our very gray world. And Kate. She's two now and just as much of a joy. I am so blessed to be their auntie. 

  And now we're here. Ending yet another hard year. 

I'm not sure how to end this. How to say goodbye. I'd like to say 2021 has been good to me, but it hasn't. But you know who has been? God has been so good to me this year. And He's still got this.

"And as they sang, the fear and the suffering of the long 

winter seemed to rise like a dark cloud and float away on 

the music. Spring had come. The sun was shining warm, the

winds were soft, and the green grass growing."

(Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Long Winter) 

G O O D B Y E   2 0 2 1,


I'm just doing the best I can

I'm just living the life I have

I'm confused but I'm fine with that

The beauty will outweigh the pain

(Reasons to Stay. Kate Vogel)

S O N G S   T H A T   G O T   M E   T H R O U G H :

(linked so you can listen and get to know my year in songs)

Trying My Best 

Reason to Stay

Steering Wheel Prayers

Takin' Me a Heartbreak 

Sing It Now

Keep Me in the Moment 

Out of My Hands


By Your Grace

H a p p y   N e w   Y e a r!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

h a p p y

 "Sometimes you meet a person and you 

just click -- you're comfortable with 

them, like you've known them your 

whole life, and you don't have to 

pretend to be anyone 

or anything."

South Dakota. Oct. 2021.

Friday, October 1, 2021

o c t o b e r ' 2 1

"This is my favorite time of year, just before the holidays start. I love that feeling when everything is new, that anything can happen feeling" 
~ I z z y   P e t t i b o n e,  R o a d   t o   A v o n l e a ~

O C T O B E R .

 The month all the fall things begin. The month of sweaters, and leaves, and yummy pumpkin things, such as candles, coffees, pies... We've made it to another October, folks. It's been a whole year since last time we were here. And, wow, has a lot happened. I don't even know where to start this update. Good things happened. And some not-so-good things. But, through it all God has been there with me. I can't say it's been my favorite year, but you know - twenty-one was good to me. 

 Am I ready for twenty-two? No. That just sounds so ... old. Old for me, anyone (xP). I still have to remind myself I'm not eighteen anymore, ok? Twenty-two just seems like an old grandma at this point. Haha. But hey, the 14th will come and go, and just like that - I'll be an "old grandma" *winks*

 Took a lot of trips this year - most of them not planned. (I guess we were making up for our very tripless 2020 xP) First, LaKaysha and I spent New Years in a beach house with "the aunts" - five days of zero plans, good food, and relaxation. We all needed it. We went for walks on the beach, took 45 minute showers because we could, played games, and just had a wonderful time. Took a few trips to the desert to visit Auntie A and her fam. Kaaren's bed is a wonderful place to sleep, let me tell you. And Italian Sodas in the sauna? Yes, please. 

 Two day trips to the beach - and both we were needed for sure. Just to lay on a blanket on the warm sand, and sipping an iced coffee. In those few hours, everything in my world was okay. Because this was after Abi... I still hate to say it - or even type it. I hate that she's gone. I hate the past tense used when talking about her. It sucks. If you've never felt the pain of losing a loved one ... well, I hope you never have to go through that. 

 When Abi went Home to Heaven... That was hardest thing I've ever had to go through. And, through the years, I've been through a lot. Losing Grandma was hard - not EVER going to take away from that. But the grieving came later because I was so young when it happened. But this. This was fresh. And it sucked. It was the day after that it really hit me. People were expecting me to just go to work like nothing happened - and I did... one day. And I just cried the entire time I was cleaning. I couldn't stop, even when I got home. I think I cried most of that day. It was awful. So I had to do some texting and just tell people that I simply couldn't pretend like I was okay - I wasn't. And I spent the next week just being with family. And that helped. A lot.

 Only a week after Abi went Home, there was a wedding happening over in Idaho, and we had made plans to go. I almost backed out. I didn't know how I could not only drive the 6-7 hour drive there, but also be with people. Okay, I know that may sound weird, but I guess I just didn't feel ready to go on with my life. I mean - it had only been a WEEK! But. We went. Didn't stay in Idaho, which I know people probably thought was odd, but we stayed at Auntie A's and drove three hours to the wedding. And then, afterwards? We drove three hours back. It was lot of driving - and none of us had gotten much sleep since the week before. We were exhausted. But it turned out to be a very enjoyable weekend. Though I was pretty sad to find out that the young people were gathering at my aunt and uncles after the wedding and we couldn't go because we had to head back to Auntie A's - after all, it was a three hour drive. Funny to think that if we had stayed in Idaho as originally planned I would've met Brynna sooner. xP 

 Speaking of weddings - two of my cousins got married this year. And I stood in one of the weddings! You guys remember "Kirsty", right? *winks* She got married! Crazy, huh?? LaKaysha and I both stood in her Montana wedding, and our family road tripped on down there. That was such a fun trip! The house we rented in Montana was just, gahhh, beautiful! I actually miss that house - crazy, huh? haha! 

 And as for the other wedding - that one was Cody's. He married Shayne in South Dakota. And though I didn't talk much about the wedding in my post, it was beautiful! Cody and Shayne are just the cutest couple ever, and I still can't believe "tiny, baby Cody" is married. (He's 20 - okay. I'll just forever think of him as a tiny baby. lol) Oh, and Shayne's Last Night Out was the most enjoyable last night out I've been to! We went to a lake, and just hung out. And I'm pretty sure I seen a fox! It was far away, so maybe it was something else, idk (xP). 

 I met some great new friends on that trip, as I'm sure you know - and it was just wonderful! But before all that, I went to New Hampshire to be with some old friends. That trip (back in April/May) was one of my favorite trips out there. It was so nice to see family, and hang out, and eat good food, and even falling off the longboard makes for good memories *winks* And not long after getting back from this trip, Janeya followed us home! (on her way to move to Alaska for the summer) The time she spent here was such fun - going out for coffee on rainy days, showing off my grandpa's new house... 

 Cause - OH YEAH! My grandparents finished their new house and I am in LOVE with it. I will forever want to bring all my friends there to show it off (bahaha). I don't know if you remember, but last year my grandpa sold his house. (I say "his house" because it was the house where him and Grandma raised their family - though, yes, when it was sold, it was his and Sue's - not just his) In my post about that I said, "Soon we'll be able to see the joy in the hello." And, yes, we have. Hello to this new, wonderful house where so many new, wonderful memories will be made! (too bad I didn't vlog us moving them in, like I did when they moved out of "Finn Hill". Didn't even think of it till writing this post *facepalm*)

 Now let's see... what else do I have to update you on? 

 Kate! My beautiful niece! What a true joy to have around. Kids are SUCH a blessing. They remind us how simple things are important. How sometimes you just need to giggle. And how little tasks like doing the dishes can be a joy. She's a treasure - my niece. Being her auntie has been hands down my favorite thing I've ever been (sister is great. granddaughter is great. even cousin, and being a niece myself has been great. but "Auntie Inika" is by far the greatest.) And she's going to be a big sister in December! Really!! I'm gonna be an auntie again, and, wow, I can't wait! 

 I'm still single. And it's still lonely. But if this past year has taught me anything it's that God has literally got this! He has a plan for my life - and His timing is PERFECT. That isn't to say the wait isn't hard, cause - boy howdy, it hurts. 

 And now, after a crazy year, we're here - October. This month is going to be another crazy one, and not just because of my birthday. Because, the day after my birthday, I am heading back to South Dakota!! (eep!) I know, it's crazy to be going back again so soon, but I miss Brynna, ok? (xP) Not gonna lie though - nothing in me is excited about another 24 hours straight in a vehicle, haha. But I'm sure time will fly and the next thing I know, I'll be in South Dakota hugging all my new friends and making wonderful memories! 

 As far as the rest of the year goes... Who knows. I have no idea how my life will go from here on out. My book is empty chapters - waiting for God to fill it. 

ps can you believed this is my sixth October Update!? my how time flies.