another trip around the sun

Folks, we've successfully made another trip around the sun. Some of us have had easier trips than others. Some of our trips have been absolutely nuts. For the past couple of years I've not been sorry to see the current year go. I know that January 1 is technically just another day. There's nothing inherently special about it. But it still feels like a fresh start, and I like those.  

Sometimes when I've sat down to reflect on this year my brain will stall. Kind of like when the Blendtec guy at Costco sticks the hammer in the blender and turns it on. You've seen that, right? No? Moving on...

Anyways. Below I did my very best to recap my 2015. Not that anyone else really cares, but the exercise was beneficial to me and I also personally love reading the recaps of others. So if that's you too, enjoy :)

JANUARY / I turned 21 and made a red wine chocolate cake and got to celebrate with my family and Meegan, who just so happened to be a house guest at the time! There was also a day trip with Ruth to Kansas City. If I remember correctly, I baked a lot and also made mucho ice cream. 

FEBRUARY / More of the same (read: baking, ice cream), minus the birthday. Meegan and I celebrated Singles Awareness Day (aka Valentine's Day) with a day trip to an unfamiliar city. If I remember correctly, February was very chilly. 

MARCH / In March I played a lot of tennis (a lot of tennis) and guitar. I baked a lot. Made ice cream. Meegan and  I explored a cool art museum while the Van Gogh to Rothko exhibit was showing. In general, I spent a lot of time at the coffee shop- either with my laptop, or with Meegan, or Ruth, or some combination of the three. There were also quite a few photo adventures and bike rides. Sunshine, too, which is always good :) 

APRIL / April. This is where things took a turn. (One word to describe this year would be "curveballs." I was thrown many.) Just after my aunt and cousins came to visit us, we learned that my dad got a 6-week project to do in San Francisco. So in April I arrived home and got busy enjoying everyone/everything here while I had the chance. (I also went on a roller coaster with a loop for the first time ever.)

MAY / I kind of split my time between the valley and the Bay Area, where the rest of my family was. Notably, Micah and I celebrated Cinco de Mayo together in the city (with taqueria, obviously). I also got to work at two beautiful weddings in SF with Gemma & Murray, the best caterers! 

JUNE / In June I shot my first ever engagement session! The highlight of the month by far though was definitely a day trip to Santa Cruz and Aptos with some great chums. Notably, this was my last summer month as a carefree, unemployed young person. Never again will I be all of those things at once.                                                       

JULY / I started a full-time job. Bought my first car. Officially "moved" home to California (even though in my mind i never really left). July was crazy. July was exciting. The end of July was mostly terrible due to crummy circumstances outside of my control. July was the epitome of the word that I would later use to summarize all of 2015: tension. Tension between wonderful and horrible. Joy and sorrow. Despair and hope.

AUGUST / In August work weeks were punctuated with Sunday trips to the city. August had a very predictable rhythm.

SEPTEMBER / More of the same. September was seriously monotone. I think the highlights were a sushi date with Grammy at our favorite place and my brother's birthday! 

OCTOBER / More of the same. I also saw a Ben Howard and Daughter concert in Berkeley with some of my best friends. October's highlight by far. 

NOVEMBER / In november I resumed Sundays in the city after an 8-week break. We spent our first Thanksgiving back in town with all of our family! Also, I went ice skating for the first time and didn't fall or break any bones. 

DECEMBER / For the first time in my life I really grasped/observed Advent and all that it represents. It was so valuable, and something I could fully identify with at this particular time in my life and all of the situations surrounding it. I could identify with the darkness. Identify with the waiting for Messiah. The longing for Christ to appear and make things new. In December, though it's been icky at times and hard, I regained lost hope. And hope is a wonderful thing to enter into a brand new year with.   

"Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing:

the Lord's unfailing love and mercy still continue,

fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.

The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope."

Lamentations 3:21-24 (GNT)