Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
This past year has been a life-changing one, though as you'll see by the end of this letter it won't be much compared to this coming year! There's so much I have to be grateful to God for, and the only way I can think to repay Him is by trying to serve Him more fully this year.
2012 began with the second semester of my junior year in college. There's not a great deal of substance to say about that: it was hard, it was stressful, and there were times when I sincerely believed I wouldn't be able to see it through until the end. But God was there with His quiet little graces, and my boyfriend of a year was there with his never-lagging willingness to help me through the hard days in whatever way he could.
He graduated that spring, but our goodbyes weren't too long. He spent the first week of summer vacation at my house, and we drove back to college the following weekend to attend the wedding of two very good friends of ours. We saw each other on and off throughout the summer, as well. I traveled east to be there for his birthday, and when his family went road-tripping out west they invited me along.
There was time spent with my own family, as well. One of the highlights was going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival over the summer. We saw four plays in two days, and enjoyed every minute of it. It was a great time to catch up with my two older brothers, one of whom lives part-time in Oregon and the other full-time.
I also had a visit with some of my best friends for the first time in awhile. We'd seen each other occasionally over the past year or so, but it had been awhile since we had a honest-to-goodness visit together, where we could sit about drinking tea, watching girl movies, and of course lying outside watching the stars come out while having a good heart-to-heart.
The summer went by far, far too fast though, and one sad day I packed my little bags, said goodbye, and set out once again to college for the last year. I had anticipated a great deal of doom and gloom, because it would be the first year that I was on campus without my Peter, but things actually worked out very well. I ended up in a section with quite a few close friends, which means we had every excuse to spend lots of time together in class and during study. I was switched out to the dorm where my two closest girlfriends lived.
This past semester was a good one. School wasn't nearly as stressful as it had been in the past, and though the senior thesis posed some challenges at first, it turned out written and not too shabby. The free time from having one less class made it not only easier to study, but to spend time to the people very close to my heart, who I'd hardly seen in the mayhem of the last year.
There was much studying, reveling, adventuring, and laughter. One of those close friends of mine got engaged near the beginning of the semester, and after being amazed that we were all growing up we threw ourselves into the fun of being bride and bridesmaids.
And then Thanksgiving break came, and so did my boyfriend. It had been five months since I'd last seen him. The hardship of that was more than alleviated by his presence, but the joy of having him with me again was heightened beyond words when he walked me out to the ridge behind my house and asked me to be his wife. There are few if any yes's that I have said with as much happiness.
The end of the semester became a whirlwind of delightful engagement parties, visiting reception halls, and unsuccessfully searching for bridesmaid dresses. But through it all was the glow, the joy, the huge awe that in six months I would be his wife.
All the wedding planning had to go on the back-burner for a week when finals made its approach. The ones we expected to be difficult weren't, and the ones we expected to be easy were hard, but somehow we muddled through in one piece after a couple late-night study sessions, and it was time to go home.
Peter came to stay with my family for Christmas, and then I flew out to be with his family for New Year's. I got to see the apartment where we'll be spending the first year or two of our marriage, and be re-impressed with the amazing fact: I'm going to become his wife. Never have dreams-come-true looked so sweet.
And now 2013 is here, and it will be the most life-changing of years yet. Before half the year is gone I'll have defended my senior thesis, graduated from college, and married my love. A new life is beginning. God give me the grace to live it well, and may He bless us all as we begin another year in His service.
Thank you, girls, for all the prayers, comments, and support that you've given to CYW this past year. It's been a joy getting to know you better, and I look forward to another year of encouragement and companionship!