2016 was nothing like I had ever imagined it could or would have been. From high highs to the lowest of lows, it honestly kind of wrecked me. So I’m going to talk about what living life beyond has looked like this year.

The past five months were probably the hardest of the year, although if I’m being honest, I don’t remember much of the beginning of the year. That’s how different life has been, and yes, it has everything to do with moving to the East Coast. I knew moving would be hard – it was inevitable. But I truly felt at peace with the decision and knowing that Cory would be there with me every step of the way was unbelievably comforting. It was thrilling and exciting to be starting completely new and be in a new place. And then, life happened.

The first month was fantastic, full of adventure and so much new. And in July, Cory proposed! I was over the moon and so excited that he wanted to marry me. Our proposal story is still my favorite of all time! It was honestly beyond my expectations of what a proposal from Cory would look like. Good things were happening and it all seemed to be working out. I was offered a job and felt like I was kind of getting the hang of it, we were engaged and in full wedding planning mode, and we had several vacations to be excited about! We spent a weekend in Urbanna, Virginia with Cory’s parents and their friends (and a super fun water park!), we had visited Myrtle Beach, my parents visited us in Charleston, and we spent some time at Delaware Seashore State Park to soak up even more beach time. Like I said, good things were happening and I was seeing so much of the U.S. that I had never seen before. Living beyond my wildest dreams, right? Things felt right. We were finding our new normal and what life on the East Coast meant for us.

But over the course of the months to follow, things got hard. Cory was hit full force with a medical issue that put him out of work for a month or more, which also hindered things at my job. We were both using unpaid time off (see: no income), I was falling behind at work, and we didn’t see an end in sight with his condition. It was unbelievably painful (physically for him, emotionally for me, financially for us both). Thankfully, he has since healed up and we have the most amazing support system in both of our families. His mom came to help out for a while, and I can’t even count the number of phone calls that took place between me and my family about how I was worried and stressed, etc. etc. But we got through it! It may have been by the skin of our teeth, but we did it. Somehow.

But in the midst of Cory’s medical situation, we found out that I was pregnant! This was seriously unbelievable news but could not have come at a worse time (ok, it probably could have, but things were tight financially, and Cory was still suffering, and it was a LOT to process all at once). It definitely wasn’t the way we had talked and dreamed about finding out and telling our families, but it’s our story. I’ll be working on some baby updates soon and will include how we found out! Although we were worried with so many things baby-related, Cory and I were both so thrilled to be expanding our family. Life was about to change (again) in a huge way!

Finding out we were expecting a little one changed everything, including our wedding planning. We had originally settled on a date in April 2017, but I didn’t want to be 9 months pregnant on my wedding day. So, it got moved up VERY QUICKLY, and Cory and I said “I do” to each other on October 1, 2016. Never in a million years did I ever imagine being engaged this year, much less be married and pregnant! “Beyond” doesn’t even begin to cover it. Seriously. Mind.blown.

After the wedding, things didn’t let up. We were threatened by Hurricane Matthew and ended up evacuating to Pennsylvania for about a week. We got back home and I tried to catch up at work and be in a good place professionally. Things seemed to be improving, but I wasn’t. Depression reared its ugly head not for the first time this year, and I was at a loss of what to do about it. I knew that in order to get out of it, it would mean leaving South Carolina. We never really got settled in Charleston in the past six months, I was ready for a less stressful and slower paced job that didn’t cause me to be sick especially with my pregnancy…I could go on and on, but the odds were stacked against us and we had (another) decision to make.

Long story short (because this post is long enough without it and it’s still kind of in the works), I moved back home, without my husband and puppies, and I miss them like crazy! They’ll be here soon (God willing), but it’s been a difficult transition. Thankfully, I have an amazing family (have I said that already? Because it’s OH SO TRUE!) that has supported me and helped me through this, and God so perfectly laid out the move home. From my mom being able to make the road trip with me, to finding a new job and a new OBGYN for our sweet boy, it’s been nothing short of miraculous. There have still been bumps along the way, but that’s always going to be a part of life. Of that, I’m absolutely certain after everything that’s unfolded these past few years!

Through all of that, I fell the furthest from God and Church that I’ve ever been. I didn’t seek Him on a daily basis and often was angry with Him. It was a back and forth that left me dumbfounded as to what to do or where to turn. Thankfully, my relationship with Him is currently in a healing process and I’m praying more often these days. And not just on the bad days, but the good ones too! I really do have so much to be thankful for.

So, living life beyond in 2016 was seriously hard. I’m still working on my depression and anxiety, and it’s getting better. We just have to continue making decisions as life happens and do our best to be happy in whatever situation we may find ourselves in. Right now, I’m obsessed with my sweet baby nephew (y’all, I’m an aunt!), and all things baby related. Hmm, I wonder why! Ha! I’m soaking up some much needed family time and am preparing for our baby boy all while working a new job and doing my best to get Cory, Chloe, and Lyla to Texas ASAP. I miss them terribly, but thank God for FaceTime! So living beyond definitely took me beyond anything I ever knew or imagined. And I pray fervently that 2017 is a little easier on my soul.

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