When I graduated from DuBois Central Catholic High School in DuBois, Pennsylvania in 2007, I really did not see my life heading in the direction that it went in. I had 57 other classmates heading into the world with me, which was very shortly cut to 56 a month after us graduating. We had big dreams to say the least. When I graduated I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I just headed to Penn State University in the hopes that I would figure it out as I went along. I spent four years there earning my Bachelors in Journalism with a minor in English. I loved writing and I loved taking pictures…..
and I knew somehow I wanted to change the world with them. I just had to keep faith that I could.
Part of growing up in a Catholic school was learning how to keep your faith. My class was like one giant family, and no matter where we head in life, we still are. The school bound us together in faith and in love. At any given moment we can come together after being apart for months, and pick up right where we left off.
This year, my faith was tested numerous times, and I firmly believe that because of the class I had, my family and the teachers I had, I succeeded the tests.
This year was a year of love in many ways: Love in Death, Love in New Life, and Love for Eternity.
When I was in high school I told myself I was never going to get married until I was in my 30s, if I got married at all. I spent time talking to my friends about not wanting to settle down because I didn’t want to wake up next to the same person. I just wanted to have fun.
Flash forward seven years and I have a diamond on my ring finger.
I am a firm believer in soul mates. I saw it in my grandparents every day up until he passed away in February. And I’m a firm believer that it’s not something that can really be explained, it’s merely something that can be felt. I could say a million words about how I feel when I’m with Kyle, but none of those words can ever come close to the actual feeling. I’ve seen it a few times this year in people’s engagements besides mine and in people’s weddings. And I can say out of the engagements and weddings that I’ve witnessed, I believe every one of them is with their soul mate. And I believe that only God could have brought them together, just like he brought me and Kyle together. There is literally no rhyme or reason to how Kyle and I met, but I’m glad it happened.
Another thing I witnessed this year, was baby mania. I have never seen so many people I know get pregnant and pop out children. And every last one of those kids is absolutely adorable. It’s an amazing thing to see. I can see parts of the parents in each of the children, but I love babies the most because they have beautiful souls. They just radiate faith and hope. And it’s beautiful. And with new life also comes death, which I witnessed a few times this year. I started out with my grandfather’s death in February, and in August, Kyle’s grandma passed away. Through it all, I maintained the faith I had because it kept me going. And by doing so, it helped me make peace with death in general. Death isn’t as final as some people make it out to be, it just depends on how much faith you have.
With all of this faith, I have come to the end of 2013. There are 18 days left and tomorrow I’m going to continue to test myself by going to a local animal shelter and adopting a dog. Next to babies, I feel animals have the purest souls. In fact, I may rank them above, but it’s definitely close. I said I wanted to make a difference, and I can’t think of a better way to do that then giving a dog a forever home. Personally, I wish I could take them all, but I know I cannot do that. That’s where the testing comes in: knowing that I am strong enough to handle a fragile soul for life and walking away from those that deserve the same thing. If I had to ask for one specific thing for Christmas, it’s that every animal have a loving home. That’s what I want.
When I got my second tattoo, it was inspired by a quote that changed my life. That quote is, “Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
I read it after my grandpa passed away and it stuck with me because during his funeral, I sang every song. Now granted, I had popped a Xanax because I get anxiety sometimes, but, I sang as loud as I could because I wanted him to hear me. The priest even said to me as I walked out of church, “I see you’re still singing. That’s good.”
I had to, because at that moment, with all of the emotion, I had to sing.
Change is inevitable, but if you have enough faith, change can be enlightening and rewarding.