Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: The Year This Nerd Saw Blessings During Trials

The original title to this post was "2015: The Year This Nerd Survived!"... until I got to the end of the post and I realized how blessed I was during the year of crazy... because this year was craziness. Yes, the title seems a bit dramatic but I seriously couldn't think of any other way to describe my year. I survived... and I thrived (in a way)! lol.

Boy, it's been quite the year. Even though it seems like the bad has outweighed the good, I feel like it was quite the opposite. Don't believe me? Keep on reading. ;)

January: There were a few changes to this blog during the first month of the year. First, I decided to no longer use memes or .gifs that had copyrighted material. To my knowledge, I was one of the first Catholic blogs who started using these memes and .gifs before it caught on. I stand by my decision to use stock photos that are royalty free as well as .gifs of web series' and films that either allow the use of .gifs or are free domain. I also had two major breakthrough moments: I drove to the Cathedral despite the downtown area being panic attack inducing (without having panic attack) and I began the road to learning to love myself as I am. I believe these two helped me get through the rest of the year with as little anxiety as possible (seriously, I have minimal anxiety this year). Oh yeah, and I accepted to Christendom College for graduate school.

February: My big brother came to visit from Texas and it was the first time I'd seen him since my undergraduate graduation ceremony in 2012. Those who know me personally know how his departure to Dallas has been a hard transition since he assumed the role as "man of the house" after dad passed away but his return only helped us realized that we've been able to do very well on our own. Mama G and I are independent women. lol. I also answered some questions regarding the Will and Lina series (undoubtedly due to the release of the paperbacks) and made big steps to wean myself off of social media during Lent and had some success. I really enjoyed the simpler life without much technology and have just decided to make a new goal for me in 2016. I backslid quite a bit after Lent. Like, a lot. It's not as bad as previous years but still not where I'd like to be. lol. For those of you wondering how I am doing following my admission to having mild depression, I'm doing much better, thank you. :)

March: I started my favorite month of the year by reflecting on Spiritual Motherhood (my second most popular post of the year), which led to a deeper serenity regarding my vocation. I learned to actually like silence (which I struggled with before). I was accepted to both Franciscan University of Steubenville and John Paul the Great University, the latter being where I currently attend grad school. St. Therese helped get me through the dry spells during the Lenten season, Also, who would've predicted that the year that I finally felt a connection to the ever elusive St. Joseph (who taught me great lessons this year) would also be the year that he was voted my patron saint for the following year?

One of the biggest trials of the year came when I had to say "goodbye" to one of my best and oldest friends. That was, by far, one of the more difficult lessons I learned this year. Sometimes you have to let go of people or situations that do you more harm than good. They may be wonderful but if you find yourself being pulled away from God, you know it's time to walk away. I still pray for her and I wish her nothing but the best.

April: One of my best friends came to visit from Indiana towards the end of the month. We ended up celebrating my birthday a month early, which was fine by me. lol. We also ended up meeting a number of incredibly inspiring Catholic lady bloggers when we all went to watch Little Boy at a local cinema. I also shared some of the lecture notes from my CINO (Catholic in Name Only) alma mater. Yes, all that was really said.

My most popular blog post of the year (about 3x as many hits as the rest) was the one on romantic disappointments. I guess a lot of people were able to relate to it on some level. I think that's the most open I've ever been regarding my personal life, which y'all have probably noticed is a topic I rarely talk about on the blog. I'm happy to report that I'm in a good place in regards to my personal life. Yes, I'm still single but I'm very at peace with my current state of life because I know God is still preparing me for my future fella. In fact, I feel like everything bad that I endured this year all helped prepare me for the future by showing me that I am capable of handling really hard situations without being reduced to panic attacks. Admittedly, I went through a couple of toads earlier this year but it also helped me realize that my priorities when it comes to my vocation and my future fella are in the right place. :)

May: I said goodbye to my 20s and celebrated my 30th birthday. Yes, I know; I don't look or act 30. Sorry? lol. I went through a period where I felt a pressure to re-discern my vocation which was not an easy thing to endure. It caused a lot of confusion for a while. I know people meant well but, if anything, it helped reinforce my certainty regarding my vocation so I thank everyone for that!

June: This was the last calm month I had this year before things went crazy. I wrote about why I remain Catholic, why I decided to pray like a child, and I took issue with all the shade throwing I saw on social media. I also admitted to having a social media addiction and had made great progress... until the crazy that was the second half of the year began and threw those goals out the window.

July: Before the craziness began, I talked about why I had no problem living at home at my age. Then life went bananas. It started with a walk through a pretty intense spiritual desert. On the bright side, it helped me learn to entrust my loneliness to God and made the rest of the year easier in regards to those aches of loneliness single people feel. I was officially burnt out on social media at the end of the month but little did I know that intense attacks would bring me back to it. The silver lining to this was that I accepted the fact that self-care was not laziness or indulgence. At the end of the month I had an interesting reflection on vanity during my first ER trip that summer.

August: This month was slow for me because I had a couple of surgical procedures done during the month and had to rest for a couple of weeks. My faith and learning to trust in beginning of trials was something that I believe kept me going through the domino effect of "bad luck" that continued through this month. I admitted my past academic pride as I prepared myself for the start of grad school. I also answered and commented on the most frequently asked questions and remarks made when I meet someone offline. That was fun!

September: I started the month with nothing but gratitude. I gave Mama Mary a birthday shoutout for everything she's done for me since I felt (and still feel) like I survived the year thanks to her consistent intercessions. My third post popular post was my rant on why guys should cool it with the whole "friend zone" thing. For fun, I posted 10 facts you probably didn't (but now do) know about me. A weekend trip down memory lane helped me realize that I was on the right path in life. On the last day of the month, I began grad school on an intense note that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the quarter.

October: My first car accident as a driver was kind of crazy. Have I used that word enough yet? It unfortunately began a second domino effect in which I saw my health and my schoolwork affected. I'm actually still trying to get all of that in order to this day. I wrote about why I'm not ashamed to cry, especially after everything I endured. On the bright side: I saw my handsome little godson celebrate his first birthday. I love my little man so much. :)

November: The "bad luck" continued into November. Thankfully I'm not superstitious like I used to be. This was the month in which I began having doubts about grad school due to everything that happened. I shared why I left the Church as a teenager which was a story not many people knew about. Towards the end of the month I found myself without a spiritual director which I took very hard. I'm okay without one for now though I know I will need one in the future.

This month began with a crazy week in which I saw my personal safety (where I live) threatened. This is still not resolved because our new building manager is not a nice person. That's the most charitable way I can put it and I'm going to leave it at that. I survived a crazy first quarter of graduate school. I ended up failing my final Theology exam because of everything that happened in the weeks leading up to it. Thankfully my professor was merciful and I passed the class well enough to be able to stay in the program though I will have to retake the course possibly next autumn. After two months of confusion, doubts, and tears, I received my moment of clarity (thanks to the Christmas novena) that helped me decide to return to grad school after taking the winter quarter off.

There you have it: my crazy, busy, hectic, trial-filled year. I could sit here and lament about all the bad that I went through but more good came of it than bad. I was able to make it to the end of the year with little anxiety and with my faith stronger than ever. I've felt an immense peace regarding my vocation (as a wife and mother) and my career (at least in the academic sense, for now) that I'd never felt before. I feel like I'm a strong, more confident person because of everything that I went through. Yes, the year was arguably my worst year of my life thus far but even in those trials I was able to see all the blessings and for that I'm so grateful.

I hope y'all had a better year than I did, lol. Let's put this year behind us and remember that with God, we're able to get through some of the worst times. Have hope, don't forget to pray, and don't forget to love when when you're grumpy. ;)

As always, thank you for reading and God bless! :D

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