Clearly, I was not that great at posting on the blog in 2016. I hope to be better in 2017! In the mean time, let me update you all on what the Dunkins have been up to this past year!
To say that 2016 has been a whirlwind seems quite the understatement. From riots in the streets to the Cubs winning the World Series and Pokémon Go to the US Election, our society has had its ups and downs. Much like the world around us, life has taken John Brian and I on quite the roller coaster this year. All through our ups and downs, however, we have seen one common theme this year: the unconditional love and provision of our heavenly Father.
We have been so thankful to have been able to take many adventures during our first full year of marriage. In February, we travelled with John Brian’s family to Colorado for their annual ski trip. You see, John Brian has been skiing his entire life. Unfortunately, this may be a hobby that was just not designed for me. Let’s just say that even with private lessons from a master ski instructor, sliding on snow at any speed past that of a narcoleptic snail is just not going to happen with me. I think I’ll stick with shopping 🙂
On February 29th of this year, we closed on our first home together. We weren’t decisively looking to move, but the perfect house at the perfect price landed itself in our lap during the hottest housing market DFW has ever seen. Our home was a huge gift and blessing from God this year and we look forward to growing into it for many years to come!
Let’s fast forward to summer. We had a great time spending Fourth of July weekend with close friends in the hill country south of Austin. Then, perhaps the best trip we took this year, was the surprise trip John Brian planned for us for our first anniversary. We headed down to the Big Easy! In New Orleans, we stayed at a cute boutique hotel in the French Quarter, rode the street car (NOT trolley, as we learned), took many tours around the city,and, of course, ate beignets at Cafe du Monde! We also took a trip down to the Garden District where my dad lived over forty years ago and took pictures in front of his old house. It was definitely a highlight of the year to learn the culture of a new city together and walk some of the steps my dad did when he was my age.
It may seem like 2016 was a sweet and easy road for us, but God had other plans at the end of September. On our way into church one Sunday, John Brian collapsed and an AED had to be used to revive him. Not knowing what exactly happened, we spent the next week in the hospital waiting on the solution to a relatively unknown problem. It was perhaps one of the scariest seasons in our lives thus far, and a tough time in our marriage so early on. There were some extreme lows during the time, but the everlasting love and peace of God that passes all understanding was more present than I’ve ever experienced. Faithfully, God gave us the perfect doctors, surgeons, and prayer warriors to intervene in this situation. John Brian had a risky surgical procedure done in which God continued to demonstrate His incredible power. Everything about this situation, from where he was and who was around to help when he collapsed to the surgery and recovery, had God’s hand involved. I am still in awe just thinking about the incredible, amazing way that God showed Himself, His care, provision and love throughout the entire ordeal. We praise Him so much for all He has done.
Of course, we don’t let a little heart trouble keep us from being busy! Almost immediately coming out of the hospital, we volunteered with the Texas State Fair Parade, John Brian was in a friend’s wedding, and at the end of October, we took a trip with friends to see friends in Boston! This was another city neither of us had ever been to before, and it was a great experience. We went to Salem, Massachusetts, the day before Halloween, walked the Freedom Trail, and of course ate way too much lobster! (But is there such a thing…really?)
November, unfortunately, brought one more hardship on our family. My youngest brother, Mickey, who suffered from cerebral palsy, passed away at the age of fourteen. While this has obviously been hard on our family, I am so thankful that he is no longer physically suffering in this world and that he is dancing and singing with Jesus in heaven!
Now that the new year is upon us, we’ve been able to reflect on how God has been there with us every step of the way during 2016. We could not be more thankful for His many blessings and His provision. We are also extremely grateful for so many of our friends and family who have lived life with us this year. Thank you for laughing and crying with us. Thank you for praying with and for us. We are reminded every day what a strong support system we have, and thank God every day for each of you. We love you and pray that God blesses and provides for each of you the way He has for us this past year.
Here’s to 2017!