Perhaps I have been avoiding writing about turning 25, or maybe I have been busy with family and friends this past long weekend. Perhaps both. Avoidance, because turning another year older is bittersweet. Especially when this year may not have included all I had hoped or wished. All of this to say, though there are bitter parts to getting older, I am choosing to focus on and share the sweet. The thankful. The blessings. The happy. The love. 

For starters, I am so thankful that Andrew had my birthday weekend off from his current rotation. Not seeing one another but maybe once per week is not my ideal way of living the married life. But- that being said, a very short time remains until my man comes back home again. Cannot wait. A weekend together was enough of a birthday gift. We were finally able to catch up, hallelujah.

With a lengthy stretch off work, I was overjoyed to get to head to the beach with my sister, my brother-in-law, and my little nephew. They came into town from Rhode Island as they are in transition to moving to Michigan. So thankful for their visit and the gorgeous coast. Seriously, we Oregonians are lucky to have such beauty right at our fingertips. 
 While the sea mist and sand was wonderful, the next day (my actual birthday) included a little post church family BBQ that my mother so graciously put together. Andrew and I both feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded by such a loving, kind family on both sides. Baby Reid stole the party's attention- I like it better that way. I love throwing parties and get-togethers, but when they are for me, it just feels awkward. So, bring on the cute little show-stoppin' babies!

 With full tummies, Andrew and I enjoyed talking late into the night about everything and nothing all at the same time. I love those times. I cherish those times. He remains the best gift I have ever been given. Really, truly- he's a keeper.

A few highlights from the past year:
-Another great year of working with some amazing women and new babies...
-A fantastic family cruise over New Years with all 26 members on my mom's side of the fam. So rare and special to all be together for that.
-Getting to support and watch Andrew transition from mostly classroom work to mostly hospital rotations. What a privilege to watch him blossoming into a real doctor (1 year and 9 months to go!).
-A year spent with one of my favorite little guys- Sweet Isaac. What a joy this year has been watching you grow and change with each week. Love you so much.
-3 months of bliss with our precious growing baby, Gabriel. A joyous time those months were indeed. 
-Moving into our charming house. Though it's old and quirky, it's been perfect for this time in our lives. 
-Countless mornings, afternoons, and evenings spent with dear friends. Oh, where would I be without the love and encouragement they offer. Truly thankful for each of them and each of our adventures over the past year. 
-We added "Pria" to our car collection this year. Pria, you're a great little prius and we both love you.
-Worked hard to become school-debt-free this year. Huge accomplishment and so grateful for the ability to do so.
-A year with a beautiful group of friends from our church community group. Living life together as professionals in healthcare, followers of Jesus, and young adults... What an amazing group to be a part of with so much in common.
-Becoming an Auntie!!!
-Using my camera as much as possible- photography is such a great creative outlet for me.
-A year full of far too many delicious starbucks drinks... Is there such a thing as Starbucks rehab? I think I need it! Or, I need to stop working night shift. Either will work :) 

No, we didn't take any huge vacations (besides the cruise), or do anything drastic. In fact, it was a growing year. A challenging year. A frustrating year at times. But, I have much to be grateful for. So very much. As I begin this new year in my life, I pray for continued strength and patience. I pray that love abounds in all that I do. I pray that the peace of the Lord fills my weary soul and that I might be reminded of all that I am blessed with and thankful for each and every day. I pray that my words and actions be a witness for the light that guides my life. I pray that God be glorified in all that I do.