2015 for me was not something I could share with pictures. Instead, the year centered on the renovations of my interior castle, the temple of my soul. And this castle is still undergoing a serious reconstruction. However, there were 10 beautiful moments of 2015 that helped the diamond castle that I call my heart shine.
1) This was the year that I started making a name for myself through blogging at Patheos and publishing Bible Studies at the Heart of Mary Women’s Fellowship. These two outlets have been my ministry. Through Patheos, I explore the roads of interfaith and connect with people who don’t normally like the Catholic Church. Through my Bible studies, my childhood dream of getting to know the Bible came true and I learned through both of these venues that my words have power and that they can touch people. I also fell in love with the music from Danielle Rose’s Culture of Life album.
2) In February, I learned that living the spiritual life is a continuous process. After spending years bogged down by anxiety and uncertainty, I was just starting to find myself again. I started defining who I was by figuring out who I wasn’t. I chose not to be defined by my neurological disorder, my past, my circumstances, or even by how other people defined themselves. And I certainly wasn’t a broken girl anymore. Not to mention, Taylor Swift’s “Style,” my first favorite song from the 1989 album, was released as a single.
3) In March, I recapped Firefly and staffed a retreat. In between recaps, I dealt with disappointments, but kept them in my heart, following the example of Mary. In spite of however I felt, I kept searching for serenity. I learned that by having courage and being kind, I could overcome my heartbreak, doubts, and disappointments that plagued me during Lent. By the time March came to an end, I felt like I gained a lot of wisdom. There was hope for better things ahead.
4) April was a month filled with poems, reflections on mercy, and perspectives on Daredevil. Matt Maher’s Saints and Sinners became part of my soundtrack for the year along with Francesca Battistelli’s “He Knows My Name.” I gained an appreciation for my friends from my Awakening retreats. I read books about Saint John Paul II and the Theology of the Body. I hope to learn more about the Theology of the Body next year.
5) The month of May was an adventurous one. I finally got to see the city of New Orleans and saw the beautiful emerald shores of Northwest Florida. I also did a lot of reading in May. Through the power of the written word, I explored the life of Thomas Merton, the wisdom of St. Josemaria Escriva, and experienced the horrors of Dracula. Also, Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” premiered. It was awesome.
6) While my brother began his study abroad in Japan around the same time most kids started their summer vacation, I had my own journey here at home. I chose to stand my ground with the Catholic Church. I realized in this month that my identity began with my faith, with my creator. I was a part of the Mystical Body of Christ. I pledged my allegiance to the Catholic Church, the home that’s been with me all my life.
7) July was a month where I experienced different kinds of love. I learned to love myself, inside and out. I learned about the importance of familial love with Inside Out. I also learned to keep hopes high and expectations somewhat moderate, not too low and not too high, when it comes to dating and relationships. I got to watch a priest I’ve admired be elevated into the rank of bishop and finally understood the legacy of the priesthood. I also got to watch my first live baseball game. That was a lot of fun.
8) My brother came back from his summer abroad in August. I got to share my love of the Eucharist in a Bible study. I defended a vocation very few people, even Catholics, knew about as well as the vocation of the priesthood. I dealt with some anxiety issues that resurfaced. August was a month for me to reflect on things.
9) September was a month where some new friends started coming into my life. I joined up with a writer’s guild in my diocese. I also reviewed a lot of books. I got into adult coloring and watched as America fell in love with Pope Francis as the Holy Father visited DC, New York, and Philadelphia. Towards the end of the month, I started meeting up with fellow young adults who had Asperger’s Syndrome. These friends (along with all of my online friends) have been a great blessing to me.
10) I’ve grown up loving October more than most of the other months of the year and this October was no exception. I kept hanging out with my new Aspie friends while sharing my love for Buffy and Hamilton with the world. My extended family came to visit in honor of a lot of birthdays, including my dad’s. I got to see San Antonio again. I also took on my first DIY project: a wall of photos hung on string like the ones you see on Pinterest. But the best part of the month was when I went on retreat.
11) November was a month of major growth for me. I went on retreat during the end of October and the retreat ended on All Saint’s Day. After the retreat, I went straight into NaNoWriMo, devoting the month to working on the first draft of my novel. I shared my thoughts on gratitude, state of mind that I still feel should be kept before, during, and after Thanksgiving! I venerated a saint for the first time and took a major step in healing the wounds of my past. I got back in touch with my childhood through The Peanuts Movie and learned that there were women like me who were fractured from life, but never truly broken.
12) One thing that was constant throughout this Advent season was my devotion to Divine Mercy. I’ve been praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with my dad throughout the year, but the devotion to Divine Mercy has been brought into the spotlight as the Jubilee Year of Mercy began. Pope Francis literally opened doors like a boss. I also decided to take a little break from writing on the last week of Advent. I needed time for myself to reflect on what’s important to me.
What’s important to me right now is that I make something of myself. I want to follow in my friends’ footsteps and start gaining a sense of independence. I want to finish the things that I start. It’s not something that I can accomplish overnight, but now that I’ve regained my roots, it’s time for me to spread my wings and start flying. I hope that in 2016, you can watch me as I keep learning how to fly and eventually soar into whatever comes next.