2015 ||| DEO GRATIAS

As yet another year comes to it's sweet end, I, like most others, am astonished by all that has occurred over the course of 365 days. Truly, more lessons and moments than I can recall and consequently even fully offer my gratitude towards. For me, this phenomenon illumines the necessity of breathing in life as it is given: to inhale every ray of goodness and make every exhaling breath one of thanksgiving. Even this small act could never give the Creator the gratitude due, but would be a start nonetheless.

Though, regretfully, I cannot claim myself to have been fully present in every moment, those in which I was are the few I reflect on now. These being ones exemplary in richness--be that of sorrow or great joy. While having failed in being grateful for every gift given, the following are the more significant moments, lessons and gifts that I am so thankful for. (Warning: This is a long post. Since I can't grant you any indulgences for reading the entire thing, feel free to just look at the pictures. ;) ) 

L: Throughout the terrifying process of tests and college apps, I was comforted by the ever-so-simple words of John Paul II: BE NOT AFRAID + found that all that was necessary would always be provided. Everything needed for me to get into UMary (including an attitude adjustment) was given and that was a blessing beyond measure.

R: My now sister-in-law was brought into the Catholic Church on Easter Vigil. Being given the opportunity to celebrate that Mass by her side along with my family + best friend. God desires nothing but to bring us to himself, and this was an example of that.

L: The spring season brought the joyous news that yet another sweet baby was on the way, followed by learning soon after that his earthly life had ended and he then had to be entrusted to God's mercy. Crushed and nearly helpless, I first clung to the words of Christ found in John, APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING + then made every effort to cling to Christ himself. Though painful beyond explanation, much grace was granted in that time + never had I been so grateful for Christ's presence in the Eucharist. Deo gratias.

R: I hate cats, but these kittens were a precious addition to our farm and were given at such a time that they provided a smidgen of comfort to aching hearts. Again, God always provides what is necessary. Sometimes, what is necessary is a tiny little purring creature that pees on your floor. Idk. Providence.

L: I was given the opportunity to visit a few dear friends met through instagram in July. Delicious food, gross froyo, church touring and much sarcasm was shared between us, which alone would have been enough to make a trip good. However, it was their love of Christ and deep desire to become saints that influenced me and made the trip something beautiful. Even if it's distant and through little more than occasional pictures, I'm so grateful for their presence in my life. (Shout out to Emma | Sophie | Josh | Rachel | Lizzy ♥ )

R: My 21st Birthday brought a certain Omahomie to town along with many adventures involving icecream, art mishaps and police officers. Alcohol wasn't even involved in anyway. We just happen to be an interesting pair +  I wouldn't have wanted to spend it with anyone else. Some friendships are wonderful simply by their innate weirdness. The best part is, despite knowing each other for 3 years now, I only just recently learned that I've been pronouncing her name wrong. Sorry girl. ;)

L + R: Having left my job, I had a few weeks before school to simply b r e a t h e. What a gift times of rest are! Soaking in what would soon be things left behind, I embraced baby cuddles, simple farm life, Masses at my parish, mom's food + other quiet, little blessings. St. Francis regarded all as a gift + I tried to encompass this attitude as well, though letting go of these things proved to be painful later on.

L: Eric + Heather were married in August, an occasion that I met with many, many tears. The reality of the sacrament's goodness began to sink in, I'm so grateful for the opportunity to watch the beauty unfold. My MOH speech included St. Therese' words LET US LOVE, SINCE THAT IS ALL OUR HEARTS WERE MADE FOR + by their example, I saw a little more that love + marriage involved much more than a pinterest wedding or perfection between persons.

R: I left for college shortly after the wedding, the several weeks following were brutal in ways more severe than anticipated. They were days of humility as my world was rocked + so many comforts lost. A few heroic souls kept me from utter despair however, and Melina was among them. Unwilling to leave my dorm more than necessary, my dear roommate brought love + joy to where I was at. And then pushed me out of my comfort zone + out of that death trap that was my dorm. She's basically made me not die + I'm grateful for that.

L +R: My family pinched in to bring me home for fall break, providing the opportunity for me to discover that while campus life was tough, it was there that I could study Him whom I love beyond all else...and every difficulty was worth enduring for that reason. Having been given those few precious days with family I delved all the more into my studies and enjoyed it all the more. The discovery + transformation were filled with grace upon graces.

L + R: As UMary became more like home, and those true-to-the-core kind of friends became more like siblings, campus life got brighter still. So of course, I thought it'd be appropriate to share a picture taken in a dark chapel and another taken in a dark pub for a birthday bash. ;) At this same time I learned the consequences of imprudence, the importance of rest + leisure, how even difficult things are to be received as gifts + always hold use, and that rosaries + naps really are a weapons unlike any other.

L+R: Classes came to a close and finals passed shortly after. The former had been a tearful affair, as I reflected on how formative my classes had been + the latter was somehow a gift too. ;) Truly exemplary towards the end of the semester was the effort put in by each individual to be gentle and loving. Some people are simply too marvelous for words. Amidst writing difficult papers and study sessions, any word of encouragement given and meme shared involving finals or Adele's Hello provided so much relief + it was a joy to pass that on further. Additionally, though finals weren't my favorite, John Paul II's words BE NOT AFRAID rung again within + created an underlying peace. I like to control every last thing (bad bad bad), but here I was reminded that in His hands, His Will would be done...and He wills only our well-being.

L+R: Now, for a time, I am reunited with family and eating/sleeping like a normal human. Being alive really is something to be pondered. We're fallen but loved so deeply that the Word became flesh to save us. We're given difficulties to unite us to Christ on the cross + for our purification so we can someday, in God's mercy, enjoy eternity with him. More than that, in every moment we're given all that is needed to become holy. See how He loves us! See what gifts are so mercifully and generously given! The cross may be heavy at times, but is it ever sweet. We each have so much to be grateful for. DEO GRATIAS.


  1. This is so very beautiful. <3 Happy New Year, and God bless you, dear.

  2. Well this is beautifully profound. ♥

  3. Beautiful post!! I was so happy today to see a post pop up from you!


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