Happy (almost) NEW YEAR!
We're still up here in Washington enjoying some time with our family and it's a cold, gloomy, rainy Seattle day so I thought what better time than a few days shy of 2018 to sit and reflect on this past year - 2017 was truly a year full of love and blessings.
We have been abundantly blessed with new nieces and nephews, amazing vacations, a cross country move and so much more.
If there is one word that I'd use to describe 2017, it'd be grateful.
I've been browsing Facebook and Instagram, watching the news and catching glimpses of magazine headlines and the one headline that I keep seeing is that 2017 is being called the year of anxiety and tragedy.
Yes, there was a lot of tragedy this year and perhaps a lot of anxiety as well - but what I think is even sadder than both of those things is the fact that as we reflect on one whole year, 12 months and 365 days, we choose the words tragedy and anxiety to describe 2017 OVERALL.
I think that is is perhaps part of whats wrong with our country today - our perspective on life is all wrong.
It's easy to see the negative and focus on tragedy - it's easy to be angry and hurt by those who hurt us and by societies standards it is far easier to be angry, seek revenge or be bitter rather than seeking forgiveness and forgiving those we've been hurt so deeply by.
Our society is one that has not taught true forgiveness, nor has it taught us unconditional love.
So many people speak of love and how as a society all we need is love, but that love is often conditional - it's all we need is love, BUT . . . and well that isn't the kind of love that is going to bring us peace.
I think back to mine and Taylor's marriage prep class when our priest asked us if we understood what unconditional love was and just like so many people today, we said yep! But I'll tell you right now that we were so wrong - unconditional love is loving someone despite everything. It is forgiving them when they hurt us most and it is loving others as Jesus has loved us.
This year our country has been hurt deeply, BUT each of us has a choice and by what I am seeing on the magazine stands, news and throughout social media it seems that we have chosen to seek the negative and reflect on all of the hurt that we've been hit with in 2017 instead of seeking forgiveness and choosing JOY despite all of the hurt.
One of the biggest lessons that I took away from our marriage course was that even if your spouse does almost everything wrong, seek out the GOOD that they did, even if it is barely anything - I think we should begin doing the same in our country and in our everyday life. We are so quick to react with our feelings and pick out all that is wrong and all that is bad - but that is the shift that we need as we go into 2018.
We all need a shift in perspective - as we go in 2018 let us seek Joy through our pain and let us seek the good, even the littlest bit, among all of the bad.
With all of the pain and hurt that surrounded so many this past year, I pray that they can look back at this year with gratitude and blessings.
If you haven't yet seen the movie The Shack, it is one of our favorites and I encourage you to watch it - it's a story of a man's journey to seeking forgiveness and joy after an unspeakable tragedy. If you watch it comment below and let me know your thoughts!
Now with that being said, I'm SO excited to reflect on 2017, a year that brought us so much love, blessings and gratitude . . . plus some other not so fun things too, ha!
Among all of the blessings, 2017 was also full of some not so fun stuff - it was a year of what felt like a million DENTIST appointments and also our CAR being STOLEN . . .
But enough of that . . . let's get to the GOOD stuff, like VACATION!
We were fortunate to go on two pretty big vacations this year - one to Boston, MA and one to Napa Valley, CA.
Both were AMAZING.
Our trip to Boston was to see my dad's graduation - he decided to go back to school a few years back and earn his bachelors degree. He graduated from the New England College of Business and Finance in May 2017 and we couldn't have been any more proud of him - plus Boston was AMAZING!!! It quickly became one of my FAVORITE cities.
In June we went to Napa Valley - this was actually our honeymoon that we took a few months after our wedding and it was fabulous.
We decided to make a road trip out of it and drive down to Napa - on our way back to Washington we decided to drive along the coast and the funny thing is that we went 3 hours out of our way to see the coast and ended up only seeing about 1 mile of coast line - ha!
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Taylor & I decided to buy a Seattle City Pass and essentially be a tourist in our own city and we LOVED IT!
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We had TWO graduations this year - My DAD and I both graduated with our Bachelors. WOO!
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2017 brought us a baby niece AND a baby nephew!
Baby Bentley was born in June + Baby Austen was born in August
I mean C'MON! Are they not the cutest little things you've ever seen???
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In June we took a little weekend trip up to northern Washington to Semiahmoo, a beautiful resort on the Canadian/Washington border, and it was just the BEST little getaway #takemeback #prettyplease
And also in June, we found out that Taylor had been accepted into Physical Therapy School!
So insanely proud of him!!!
In July my sweet parents came out and visited us for a week - they were here for the 4th of July, which just so happens to be my second favorite holiday!
In August I started this little blog!!!!
I can't believe that it has been 5 MONTHS since With Love From Texas was born and I started this little blogging journey (insert all the heart eyes here!!!)
Taylor's acceptance into PT School is what prompted our move to Texas and led to an almost three week cross country journey from Washington to Texas #roadtrippingpros
We left for Texas on August 29th.
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We were really blessed in 2017 with our apartment - we LOVED our little apartment on the hill.
- A4 was our first apartment together and it'll always hold a special place in our hearts -
And because I'm me, I made us take pictures in front of our beloved little home
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And perhaps one of the biggest parts of 2017 for me was this precious girl
I nannied this sweet girl for a majority of our time in Washington and we completely adored her.
Outside of our family she was one of the hardest parts about about leaving.
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And then it was time to MOVE
This baby was PACKED and ready to roll #texasherewecome #lowridin'
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Well y'all, half of 2017 was spent in Washington and the other half has been spent in Texas - crazy how that happens! But in honor of that I wanted to break up this post into two parts - Check back on Monday (NEW YEARS!) for my reflection on the second half of our year - lots of good stuff still to come!
We were so abundantly blessed in Washington and to be honest with you, as I sit here and reflect on our time there I am moved to tears - we had the best little apartment, family nearby, great jobs and it was just a fun year overall.
I was honestly excited to move to Texas but I was so sad to leave - walking away from our apartment was so hard for me, because I really did adore it. I didn't want to leave, but I knew that this was what we were meant to do and where we were meant to go and just knowing that gave me peace.
I was nervous for the big move, but I'm here to tell you that it was worth it and I again feel so blessed, perhaps even more so than I did in Washington - funny how that happens.
Stay tuned to hear my reflection on the second half of 2017.
Happy New Years dear friends!
Stay safe + have fun
- XO -
I'm Emilee. 26. Homebody. Believer in a simple + intentional life. Daughter of the King. Living in Austin with my hubs.
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