I promised myself I would be better at blogging in the New Year and to be quite honest, I feel like that’s a recipe for disaster considering the journey I’m about to embark on. But, regardless, here is my feeble attempt at keeping that “resolution” to myself (at least until I have a new hobby…).

It’s been a while since I shared about the year that changed my life in a million ways. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever written about 2014 on the TSR blog. It was a trying year to say the least. My undergraduate days were coming to an end, a “real” job was looming, and the number of softball games left in my career was quickly dwindling. We won the AMC conference to extend our season post-graduation — truly, every athlete’s dream. All game, no school. We walked the stage, I made a phone call to my Papa & MeMa (unable to attend) to let them know I had done it, and loaded the bus for Michigan and the first round of Nationals. We played well but to summarize: we lost. I would never lace my cleats again. I would never throw another pitch. Ouch. Total and complete heartbreak.

But, nothing would top the news I would get when we got back to our hotel. Coach asked me to stay on the bus after returned. I was sure it was to have a heart-to-heart about the season or maybe even pick where we’d eat that night. I looked up and saw my parents crossing the parking lot in tears. My heart dropped to my stomach. Something terrible had happened. My Papa had taken his last earthly breath – just days after I had spoken to him. I was in no way prepared for that hit to my heart and immediately forgot that we had even lost. The days surrounding that one were a blur of emotions – happiness as we reflected on the memories and utter sadness as we mourned the loss of an amazing man. A mere 10 days later, my Grandpa Tom passed away. He had been locked-in for six years (more on that here) and was finally a “free” man. Let me just tell you, life post-graduation was absolutely NOT what I had envisioned.

I spent that summer grieving these losses and fighting to navigate a completely new life. The grandkids took turns staying with our MeMa who was struggling without “her man.” We soaked up as many good times as we could with her before she too left us in August of 2014 for the streets of gold. What. A. Year.

I get choked up thinking about it often and ache to hear their voices just one more time. By the end of 2014, I had entered the “anger” stage of grief, quickly followed by the “depression” stage. I used 2015 and early 2016 to “find myself” and once I *thought* I had that down and was “fine on my own”….well, here comes Tyler to shake things up! As I look back on the last five years post-graduation, I can’t help but smile at how God intervened every time I was about to give up, how he always provided, and how when I let HIM make the plan, it played out much better than when I tried to create my own. It’s no doubt that 2019 is about to be my favorite year ever as Tyler and I tackle this whole “new-parent-thing.” So, here’s to always reflecting on the past and hardships while looking ahead at the brighter days ahead. I know someone reading this may be in their very own version of my “2014” and I just wish I had read something then to remind me that God is so good – even in the darkness. Cheers to a bright and amazing 2019! We got this!