2018 is officially over and I’ve begun to reflect on the blessings I’ve received, lessons I’ve learned, and the growth I’ve made.
January was a BIG month for me. Finally, after a month of apartment hunting, getting finances in order, and finding a car shipment company I was able to move to California and be with Joey! This is the first time I’ve moved out of New York and away from family. I packed one suitcase, a carry on, grabbed my cat, and flew to California. After 5 flights and one VERY annoyed/upset kitty, I made it to Monterey. Our two-bedroom apartment was pretty much empty (we had bean bag chairs in the living room, our t.v. was set up on stools, and we slept on an air mattress… until our cat popped it) but, I still loved our first home together and it was filled with love. It was our first time having a place to call our own. God provided so many open doors for us this entire month!
I spent most of February getting settled into the apartment, shopping for essentials since we didn’t have anything besides wedding gifts, and exploring Monterey. Let me tell you, it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. It was hard to take in that I was actually living there and I felt so blessed. I never imagined that I would live in California. I also started working at the CVS down the road from our apartment. I was never able to walk to work before, so this was a nice change (also necessary change because we only had one car and Joey had to take the car to base). Getting up early in the morning and spending some time with God while I walked to work was exactly what my heart needed. Our apartment slowly began to feel more homey and we got settled into a weekly routine.
Well, our feeling of routine and stability did not last for long (thanks Navy). We found out that Joey would be switching rates (his job), which meant that he would be leaving for new schooling in a new state, Virginia. Yep, we found out that he would be going back to the east coast. Our biggest question was whether or not I would be able to come with him. If I could, then obviously I was going to go with him. If not, we didn’t know if I would stay in Monterey or move back home to New York with family. He didn’t have a lot of answers because he didn’t get his orders right away. So, most of March was spent wondering what would happen next. It was a great period learning to trust God’s plan and have patience.
Joey finally got his orders… he would be going to Virginia alone. Since his A school (first part of schooling) wasn’t longer than 6 months, I was not allowed to move with him. We suspected this but, we still hoped that I would be able to go with him. Next we had to decide whether or not I would be staying in California by myself or moving home to NY. Both options had pros and cons but, we came to the conclusion that it would be best for me to move back to NY. ANOTHER move across the country. Before Joey left for schooling, we flew back to NY so he could see family. That was a nice trip because it was also our chance to get in a few more adventures and dates before he had to leave. At the end of the month, we said goodbye. He went to Virginia and I went back to California to start packing up the apartment. The stress and anxiety was really starting to build but, we had to remember that God was in control.
This was a very chaotic month. I had to end the lease on our apartment, pack up all of our things, figure out how I was getting home, rent a U-Box from U-Haul to ship our stuff back to NY, and deep clean the apartment before I left. I wanted to get back to NY as soon as possible. I loved Monterey but, without Joey or family there it just wasn’t a place I wanted to be anymore. Towards the middle of the month, my brother-in-law flew out and we started our trek across the U.S. Our drive took 4 days with a lot of stops in between! We got to drive on route 66 for a little bit which was really cool. The entire was enjoyable and we both got to see new sights. 3 days after I got home I took my first trip down to Virginia Beach. So, after a 9.5-hour drive (11 hours with stops) Joey and I spent Memorial Day weekend together. He planned it so well! He ended up getting us a hotel room right on the broad walk and we got walk right out door to the beach. Even though I was exhausted from a 44-hour drive from CA to NY, the weekend was incredible. I can’t thank God enough for giving me such a gracious family that is willing to help me move cross country and a loving husband that continues to surprise me.
June, July, & August
These 3 months were spent just enjoying time with family and soaking up summer. I attended a few community festivals, sat around a few fires, and laughed so many times that I lost count. In June, my younger brother graduated high school. My siblings and I are officially all grown up. Joey and I also adopted another kitty in June, Cali now has a brother named Percy. In July, Joey graduated A school and he got orders to Florida! It was time to start planning our move! We also found out he would be deploying shortly after we arrived in Florida so, we had to prepare for that as well. In August, I turned 21 and the day was filled with love from family and friends. During these months, God really showed me that the little moments truly matter the most.
In the start of the month, Joey graduated C school and the adventure really began. After graduation, he was able to come to NY to see family before we started our move to Florida. This time was spent seeing family and friends as much as we could. On September 19th, we arrived in Florida after a 2-day trip. However, we didn’t move into the apartment until the next day because we weren’t able to get the keys right away. For the next 3 weeks or so, Joey and I explored our new home and get as much time together before he left as possible. Even though the shadow of deployment was lingering over everything we did, we were still able to make memories, smile, and laugh. For that I am truly thankful because we didn’t spend our time being sad about what was coming.
This month….. was hard, to say the least. But, it also was a time of growth. Joey left for his first deployment. I was absolutely terrified. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know how i would handle all of the nights alone, quiet apartment, eating meals alone, etc etc etc. When we left, he took part of me with him just like every other time we have had to say goodbye. The whole month wasn’t all doom and gloom though. I met a great friend and she definitely helped me get through the first month. Slowly but surely I got into a routine and was able to keep myself distracted. This is the month that I actually started taking my health seriously too. I made a goal to lose 40 pounds while Joey was away. It has become an excellent escape. This month showed me how strong I really can be when I lean on God.
The start of the holiday season seemed daunting. It would be the first holidays Joey and I would spend apart. But, again my brother in law was able to help and he drove 5 hours to spend Thanksgiving weekend with me at the apartment. I am so thankful that I did not have to spend the day alone. My friend also joined us for dinner and Black Friday shopping. I missed my husband but, they made the holiday easier to get through. I am truly blessed with the people that have been placed in my life.
This month was definitely easier than then previous two. Time started to speed up and the days ticked by. Every day is another day closer to homecoming. Besides that, God opened yet another door for me. I was able to get a job on base at the child development center. The job was basically placed in my lap after a lot of praying. This new job will be so good for me. On top of that, I got to go back to NY for Christmas and spend it with family. Even though, Joey and I missed our first anniversary and Christmas, our family made sure I was surrounded with love.
Overall, this year has been a wild ride. Highs and lows. Ups and downs. But, I am so much stronger and have grown so much throughout all of the trials and triumphs. For 2019 I chose the word joy. I will find joy in every situation that I face; good or bad.
Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Here’s to 2019!