goodbye, nineteen

Today is my last day as a teenager. Tomorrow, I turn twenty and a new season of life will begin. I’ll enter my decade as a twenty-something. Nineteen has been a momentous year and, even though I didn’t accomplish everything I had hoped, I am content. Previously, I had wanted to find an epic way to spend this last and final week but plans have a way of changing. So, instead, my week was a quiet one in which I went puddle-jumping in the rain, read for hours, explored my favorite childhood bookstore, and had my ankle and knee fixed by my chiropractor. The past six years, from ages thirteen through nineteen, have been filled with challenges and blessings, trials and success, sorrows and joys. There have been so many beautiful moments – just like the ones that this last week has been filled with. God called me His own and I gave my life to Him. I graduated from college. I read more books than I can count. I made deep and lasting friendships. I gained two sisters. I traveled and explored. I met the love of my life and said “yes” to spending my future with him. The experiences and opportunities that I had during my teenage years are ones that I wouldn’t have traded for anything. They shaped me into who I am today and I am so thankful.

Here’s to tomorrow and whatever twenty brings.

conferences, cookware, and other shenanigans

In October, our friends Jenn and Josh came to spend almost two weeks with us. Originally, they were planning to make the trek from Virginia to California with their parents for the annual Association of Certified Biblical Counselors conference. Thankfully, we were able to convince them to extend their visit and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

While they were here, we had a grand time. Shopping for beautiful cookware, attending the conference, playing games, and going to the Getty art museum. Jenn and Josh are pretty much the most fantastic houseguests ever. They fit right into our everyday lives and it was amazing having them around. Even at the end of two weeks, we were begging for them to stay longer. The conference was such a refreshing and educational time and when it ended, we all had our excitement and fervor renewed to pursue ACBC certification. Coming home with notebooks filled with pages of rapidly-written notes and bags full of new books to make room on our shelves for. Days of long walks and evenings of cooking together in cheerfully red cookware. Discussing theology over breakfast and watching Lost at night. Inside jokes and conversations about nutrition, health, counseling, family, and Shakespeare. Shenanigans and craziness and laughing. Those two weeks spent with some of the dearest of friends were a highlight of my year and I cannot wait until I can see them again.

the reality of what being engaged long-distance actually feels like

Being engaged long-distance is tough, I’m not gonna lie. Don’t get me wrong, though. Because I absolutely love being engaged and it’s a huge improvement over long-distance-and-not-engaged-yet. (Having a date to countdown until helps – 146 days, peoples!) Still, knowing that I haven’t seen him in two months and that I still have another three months until I seem him again isn’t the most joy-filled reality. Even though that’s a challenge, the hardest part of being in a long-distance engagement is actually the realization that, for me, getting married means moving away from everything I’ve ever known. I love my fiancé and I absolutely want to spend the rest of my life with him, but my roots are deep here in Los Angeles. I’m excited to move to Chicago, but I don’t want to leave at the same time. I want to be with Austin, but I don’t want to leave my family. I miss him now, but I’ll miss my family after the wedding. My family, my friends, my job, my church are all here, but my future husband is there. I want to get married and move to Illinois, but I don’t want to leave the place that I have called home for my entire life. As my fantastically astute brother, Connor, pointed out, (in his Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert voice, of course … whether or not he was doing his smolder will not be disclosed at this time)

“You know, I can’t help but notice you seem a little at war with yourself here.”

Yeah, just like that.

That’s the moment I realized that being in long-distance engagement while dealing with a bombardment of emotions feels a lot like when Rapunzel left her tower for the first time. I’m currently sorting through the convoluted emotions of missing Austin, trepidation about the change that is coming, wanting to spend as much time with my family as possible, realizing that I’m leaving them, missing Austin more, figuring out how to do this whole we’re-engaged-thing, understanding that all my friends are here and not there, not knowing what to expect, excitement for what is to come… Anyway, it looks a lot like this…

Oh wow. I’m engaged!

Oh my gosh. I’m actually engaged.

I get to plan a wedding!

Oh… I need to plan a wedding.

Wait. What’s my logical basis for this decision?

Why am I even asking that? Of course getting married is the right decision. Duh. End of discussion.

But… but… but… that means leaving.

I get to leave and go on an adventure!

California is my home. Here. I am never moving.

Yay! In just a few months I get to move!

Being engaged is the most terrible time of being stuck waiting in-between.

Being engaged is the Best. Thing. Ever!

 Why isn’t this easy?

Hey … maybe it’s not supposed to be easy.

But, you know what? It’s all going to be worth it.