Well, it’s December 20, and I’ve only just begun addressing Christmas cards. At this point, we may as well call them New Year’s cards.
There have been many points throughout 2022 when I wished for nothing more than that — a new year. And I’d be lying if I said I’m not still eager to turn the page to 2023, for that sweet, proverbial fresh start.
Yet, as we come closer to the moment of metaphorically closing the door on 2022, I’ve been able to look back on this year with something closer to gentleness.
2022 has been full in many ways. It often felt like we were just plowing through major life experiences with little time to process the last one before the next one came around. (It still feels like that a bit, if I’m being honest.)
Early this year, I spoke with several professional acquaintances about what I hoped 2022 would look like from a business stance.
“I’m taking a more relaxed approach this year,” I remember saying confidently, feeling called to move slower and with more intention, compared to the previous year which was full of steady growth and updates in my business.
Looking back, I could easily roll my eyes at the way “slow, intentional time on my business” flew out the window as life came flooding in. But today, I fully appreciate the flexibility self-employment allowed as personal life took its rightful precedence.
As I reflect on all that has happened this year, I just keep coming back to that word, full.
Whether it was excitement, frustration, joy, anger or grief, I felt all of it completely, it was all-consuming. In many ways, that was exhausting, but it also gave me a sense of true gratitude for the people and experiences I care so deeply about.
Though I’m praying for fewer roadblocks in 2023, I hope to maintain the fullness and gratitude. With all we have coming our way, I anticipate that won’t be too hard… 🤍 (If you managed to stumble onto this post via something other than my social media announcement or Christmas card, the biggest news around here is that we’re expecting our first baby in June!)
Anyway, if you’re interested in a month-by-month rundown of everything we’ve been up to this year, just keep on scrolling.
January was slow, relaxing and relatively uneventful — the last time things felt that way for a good, long stretch. We stayed cozy at home in our apartment, and began a casual, unhurried search for a home.
Come February, the big event was a two-week trip to Florida. I visited Disney World for the first time and semi-reluctantly admitted it was a really fun time, even as an adult. From there, we met up with my mom and aunt in Key West for a few days and also drove up the coast to St. Augustine. Mason flew home from there, so as not to completely drain his PTO that early in the year, and I drove the rest of the way home (yes, all the way to South Dakota…) with my mom and aunt, stopping for a few days in Savannah, Georgia along the way. It was a wonderful, warm escape.
In March, we amped up the house search and also began battling a mouse infestation in our apartment. If we chatted at all in person this spring, I’m sure you heard about the mice. We can laugh about it now…
We toured a house and had that inexplicable feeling of it being “the one.” It had endless quirks — “interesting” paint colors, some ooooold carpet, plenty of boring and annoying maintenance fixes and an abundance of sparkly angel figurines left behind by the elderly, previous owner. Still, it just felt like it could be home. We made an offer, were accepted and closed at the end of April. Though we haven’t come close to making all the changes we want to, we’re making progress, and it’s cozy — all that really matters in my book.
We didn’t move in until mid-way through May, and in the midst of that process, we came down with COVID, and Sioux Falls experienced a derecho — sort of a scary hurricane/tornado hybrid. I was home alone at the time and had never seen a storm roll in that quickly and intensely. Our apartment didn’t have a great basement setup, so I huddled in the downstairs entryway for awhile and watched a tree across the street be uprooted.
When things calmed a bit, I stepped outside, only to discover a different tree had landed on my car. 🙃 Across town, the wind had also managed to blow out the entire back window of Mason’s car. We were virtually transportation-less for three weeks, right in the middle of moving, and ultimately ended up totaling my car (which had been purchased just a few months prior, after our last car was totaled in a fender bender). No new cars for a while, please!
After sorting out the cars and settling into the house, we let out a collective sigh of relief and looked forward to a more relaxed June and beyond. We hung out with friends and celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in the Black Hills on the 23rd.
But on June 30, I got the call from my mom that my dad had died. I’ll never forget the way my stomach dropped in that moment, and from then on, 2022 was a different animal. If you’ve lost a close loved one, you understand the way it changes you. Grief has been a thing to grapple with and settle into, and it has altered my perspective forever. Though it feels strange to connect any gratitude to the situation, I also know it’s an experience that has sharpened and bettered me.
July was the lowest, blurriest time — from the funeral to the burial and everything in between. Despite the circumstances, I was grateful to spend some concentrated time with my older sisters, whom I rarely get to see.
The rest of summer was more of the same, though smiles and laughter began to come easier. I learned to accept the moments of joy and not feel guilty about them. Tears will still come. In the downtime, our friends continued to be our rocks. I’ll never forget the many ways they’ve supported us this year.
Despite it all, we still found moments to enjoy our house (and Nessie’s backyard).
In August, I celebrated with one of my wonderful clients, Becky Blue, as her book, Turning: The Magic and Mystery of More Days, finally arrived in print. Editing this book and walking alongside Becky through the publishing process has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve worked on.
On October 4, we received the greatest form of cheer in finding out we were expecting a baby! With the exception of a few people we told early, we reveled in our cozy little bubble of joy. My first trimester was relatively blissful, with next to no morning sickness or symptoms other than extreme fatigue. Naps occurred several times per day, and my previous average bedtime of midnight shifted sharply to 9 p.m.
We told our families on Thanksgiving and our friends shortly thereafter. We’ve all laughed at the fact that we had to squeeze one more major life change into this already-packed year, but in so many ways, the timing has felt just right.
Worrying comes second-nature to me, but I have felt an overwhelming sense of calm in this pregnancy. There are questions and fears and endless wonders, but above all, I know it is in God’s hands. We cannot wait to meet this baby in June, and we’re already so grateful for and encouraged by the supportive community which has swelled around us throughout all of the ups and downs this year. We of course welcome all of your prayers and wishes for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. 🤍
In a final twist of fateful timing, my mom made an official decision to sell her house in Minneapolis and move to Sioux Falls on October 3 (just one day before we found out we were expecting!). I think we have to admit that God knew what he was doing there. She should be settled into a rental by the end of January, and we’re looking forward to many summer walks with her, Nessie and our sweet little babe come June.
Of course, her moving here also means saying goodbye to her home of 32 years, and there’s a heavy portion of grief and nostalgia attached to that, particularly so fresh in the wake of my dad’s passing. She hosted one last Thanksgiving this year, where we gathered with family and dear friends and neighbors — and all shed a few tears while going around saying what we were grateful for. This weekend, we will come together for one last Christmas Eve at home — it’s always been my favorite holiday and the coziest the house ever feels. I believe I’ve spent 25 of my 26 Christmas Eves in that house, and I’m deeply grateful, if a bit teary, to have one last Christmas at home.
A year ago, I never would have guessed how different life would look today. Now, I look forward expectantly, trusting that no matter what happens, there will be support and love to carry us through it. In many ways, I’ve learned to hold things a bit more loosely, while simultaneously hugging so much tighter and finding gratitude in things both great and small.
Finally, a few bullets I forgot to weave in above 🙂
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. We could not be more grateful to have you in our lives, and we look forward to more time spent together in 2023. Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a joyful New Year!
What do you love? For me, it's hearing a good story, working in my garden (during the few warm months we get here in South Dakota), cozying up to watch a movie, and hanging out with my husband, my friends, and my cuddly pup, Nessie.
Oh, and I'd love to meet you, too!