Friday, January 17, 2014

100 Posts.. and A Year in Review

So, I guess 2013 breezed by without a peep from me, huh? I glanced at my blog the other day and couldn't believe what I saw. No posts since November 2012? How can that be!? So much has happened!

Let's see if I can summarize a bit:

A great day of smiles near the end of the hospital visit.
December 2012 - My friends Amy and Hallie and I moved into a house (actually mid-November) in downtown Raleigh. After a year in a Garner apartment, it was nice to be back "in town" and around familiar surroundings again. And YAY for not having to climb to the third story every day! That was tough since I was still healing from my leg break over the summer.  I traveled to Louisiana over Christmas to see Damion and celebrate with his family.  It was fun to do that together, but I had a few teary moments on Christmas day since it was my first one away from home.  I had planned to stay until New Year's Day or so (I think I was originally supposed to fly home on the 1st or 2nd), but plans quickly changed after some devastating events.  Damion and I were watching the New Year's Eve television specials at his house, waiting for the ball to drop at midnight.  It was cozy and nice to be together.  About 15 minutes after midnight, his mom and dad came out of their room, trying to rush outside.  For a couple of days, Damion's mom had been experiencing a pretty severe headache, and had even been to urgent care.  They thought she had just pulled a muscle in her neck, but she couldn't ever get any relief.  It turned out to be much worse! They were able to find that she had some bleeding from her brain.  After a couple of days of tests, pokes, prods, pain medicine and lots of worry and prayer, they determined that she had had an aneurism. There was a blood clot on her brain and she was in severe pain.  The next few days were hard. It was scary to watch all of this going on, and to sit together basically having to wait and see what would happen.
Emily's car window drawing during a hospital trip visit
She's definitely a fighter, though! And we are thankful that God saw fit to rescue her from that! It took a while for things to start working out altogether, but her life was spared!  I had to travel back to Raleigh before I wanted to, but I'm thankful that I was able to stay when it all first happened and be beside Damion through such a rough event!

January 2013 - A new year! Things at work started to really gear up for one of my big annual projects, and that kept me really busy.  My roommate Hallie was working out of state (since Thanksgiving), so it was pretty quiet at home with just myself and Amy there.  Damion and I were planning our next visit together.  Both of us knew that continuing to be apart, 1000 miles or so between us, was very difficult and trying.  So, after many discussions and planning, it was decided...

That's the plane in the center!
February 2013 - He flew up on a one-way ticket to Raleigh on the 2nd.  And thankfully, he's still here. ;o)  The first couple of weeks, he was able to stay with me and Amy (since Hallie was still gone), but we knew that was only temporary.  While he was here, he started looking for work.  TCC came through for us again! 
My friend Akasio had a place for Damion to live, sharing in the "boys place" in downtown, where lots of guys from TCC have passed through over the years, and Estella at church told him about a job at the hotel where she works as a chef.  We did get some snow when he first got here, which was fun. He didn't have much of that growing up in the deep south.  We were also able to let him finally use a Christmas gift I had given him in 2011! He got to fly a plane!

New job in Raleigh!
March-April 2013 - We were getting settled into life in the same city together, and I loved it! He started his new job, and the Spring came, bringing lots of warm sunshine... and a whole lot of new allergens for him. They bother me every year anyway, but we were able to struggle through the pollen together. My nephew, Reece, turned 3!

Reece turns 3!

Community Group Fun!
May 2013 - The community group we were attending at TCC had grown to be a little too big, so we multiplied.  The final time meeting together was a fun outdoor grilling with lots of space for the kids to play and run around.  It's been really nice to have fellowship with the church together! Also, I got to the one-year mark of my leg break/surgery! Yay! Really started noticing less and less of a limp, FINALLY!

June 2013 - Both of our birthdays are in June.  They were both pretty low-key, but on the actual day of my birthday, we took off in my parents' big red pickup truck for a long road trip to Louisiana.  Since he moved here with just a suitcase or two of clothes and belongings, there were some other things to bring back to help make his space in his apartment more like home.  It was a LONG drive, but we "trucked" along and finally pulled into Ragley about 16 hours later. We were able to spend a few days with his family and get some of his stuff, and then we were back on the road! (P.S. - My little Jetta hit 100K miles, too!) We were also able to go to my family reunion and my niece's dance recital.

Rhylee loves popcorn (and her daddy!)
July-August 2013 - We had a busy summer! Work, hitting the beach for a couple of days with some friends, and a little bit of traveling with family.

Happy 5th Birthday, Asher!

August is also the time when I try to take time to honor the memory of my friends' son, Asher.  You can read my blog about him here.  I'm thankful that I was able to share that time with Damion this year.  He showed kindness and gentleness, both toward me and our time by the grave site. 

God is Able! TCC's First Service in the new building!

At the end of August, TCC was able to move into our new building! I've been attending this church since it started in May of 2006. We've moved a LOT, and seen so much! It was such a moving service for me!

September 2013 - Finally! Fall is here! I got some fun new darker hair, thanks to my sweet friend Kathleen.  My family was able to get away for a few days, too.  We usually try to do something together in September each year to celebrate my two nieces' birthdays.  This year, they were 10 and 7! I can hardly believe it!  We spent a relaxing and BEAUTIFUL weekend in Gatlinburg.  Great fun!
Hot Tub Fun!

The beautiful morning view!

October 2013 - October 1st brought some interesting changes in my work life.  Near the end of my work day, I found out that since my position within the state office where I work is fully federally funded, I was being furloughed.  There hadn't been a budget agreement made between the Senate and the House to begin the new Federal Fiscal Year (which runs Oct 1 - Sept 30), so everything had to "stop."  I was pretty shaken up, at first.  Especially when things didn't get resolved over the first couple of days, like we had expected.  Thankfully, an agreement was made just one day before I would have had a lapse in benefits. I returned to work on October 17.  There was MUCH to do to catch up, especially regarding my big annual project that begins in October each year. (The same one I'm still working on into the new year each year.)  We got to hang out with some great friends one Saturday, including a fun tee-ball game and an incredible homemade breakfast spread.  A little time with Mario was fun, too. :o) We carved pumpkins together and celebrated our 2nd Anniversary, as well!  My little cousins were in little league football tournaments, so we got a lot of kid sports time in October!  My mom turned 55, and we had yummy cake for that!

Brother Love :)
Beautiful Lake Lure
November 2013 - My family celebrates Thanksgiving early each year because of my parents' work schedule, so over the Veteran's Day weekend, we went back to the mountain for a weekend of great eating and time with family.  During the real Thanksgiving holiday, Damion's little brother, Dustin, was able to fly up and hang out for a week.  I don't know that he really loved Raleigh as much as we do, but that's okay. While he was visiting, we went back to the mountains again so he could meet some of my family and see some of the places where I grew up.  We visited Chimney Rock Park and Lake Lure.

December 2013 - The holidays are really fun! It gets busy, though! Two families, parties, etc. We had a fun time decorating a gingerbread house.  I had never done one before!  We laughed a lot during that!  We left on the 20th to go to Hickory, and we spent that weekend with my family.  Lot of gifts and laughter and of course, more yummy food.  On Monday morning, we took off in my car for another road trip to Louisiana! This time, it "only" took us about 13 hours.  Much better!  Sadly, I ended up spending several days (including our drive back) with the stomach virus, but we loved getting to hang out all week with our families and start making plans for our future together. :o)

Lots of exciting things to come in 2014, that's for sure! (And thanks for making it through such a long post!)