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2020: the Highs and the Lows

Unless you have been living under a rock this whole year, it is no surprise to anyone that this year was not like anything we expected. However, I am incredibly thankful for this year and some of the challenges it did bring. With that being said, I am also incredibly thankful that my life was not horribly changed or affected by our current circumstances.

As many of you may know I love to share my “highs and lows” of each day to a few friends and I have been keeping track of them each week as a sort of recap. For me, I love being able to look back on the good and bad of each day.

With that being said, here is a look back at my 2020 with the 20 highs and the lows.

Highs

  1. Going to West Bend to visit Kelsey and Leah
  2. Teaching religion class with Tara and Liz
  3. Watching the Blessed is She Restore Retreat
  4. Rachel’s Bridal Shower
  5. Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph (the last one before quarantine)
  6. Virtual Triduum retreat that Kylie led
  7. Making Holy Family illustrations for my Computer Graphics course
  8. Getting to work for the SNC IT department for summer on a variety of fun projects
  9. Dinner at Erin’s and her asking me to be her maid of honor for her wedding in the summer of 2022
  10. Eleanor’s Confirmation during Mass and getting to be her sponsor
  11. Dr. Pankratz and Dr. McVey’s (two of my computer science professors) wedding with Lauren and other Computer Science majors
  12. Finding out Red and Ben are expecting their first little girl in January
  13. Fox River walks with Leah and Lauren looking at houses we want
  14. Tuesday and (most) Thursday mornings with 6:30 am Mass and sunrise rosaries with Leah and laughing through many of them
  15. Katie’s 21st birthday celebration at a cabin in Friendship, WI
  16. Chiara Christmas and Dance Party
  17. Finishing the whole semester on campus and coming home at Thanksgiving
  18. Finishing my Marian Consecration on the feast of the Immaculate Conception
  19. Christmas Shopping with Katie and eating at Olive Garden
  20. Singing for Christmas Eve Mass

Lows

  1. Great Grandpa Gordy’s funeral
  2. Long work hours last winter while working three jobs at once
  3. Finishing work at Schreiber and having to say goodbye to some great coworkers
  4. Trying to balance a healthy faith life and homework and other roles as a student
  5. Eleanor needing surgery and having to postpone her Confirmation
  6. Getting really sick at the end of February and needing to skip a class to sleep
  7. Uncle Gary passing away
  8. My TRIPS Service Trip in South Carolina being canceled
  9. Having to say goodbye to all my friends
  10. Not being able to hug anyone
  11. All of COVID and being scared to go anywhere
  12. Finishing spring semester online
  13. Not being able to go to Mass for over two months
  14. The Lauren Daigle concert I was planning to go to with Kelsey for our 20th birthdays was postponed
  15. Schreiber canceling their summer program, meaning I couldn’t come back
  16. Giving away my childhood piano (it was both good and bad)
  17. Really bad sunburn from a beach trip that I still have bad tanlines from
  18. Working from home really challenged my motivation
  19. Withdrawing from my first college course
  20. Losing my favorite rosary

This year really forced me to slow down and focus on what is really important and appreciate the little moments. For me, that meant a much deeper relationship with Jesus and the Holy Family. In May, on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, I consecrated myself to St. Joseph, and then in December, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I consecrated myself to Mother Mary. For many days, my favorite part was my morning rosary. I decided to do a 54-day novena for Lent and once we went into quarantine I decided not to stop and it has been over 300 days since starting.

Many of my recent Advent nights have ended just like the image at the top of the photo, with my Bible, a candle, my rosary, and virtual Adoration. I have loved this time at the end of each day to slow down and relax and end my day with what is really important in life.

One of my goals this year was to read the Bible each day after never having read a book start to finish. I started last Advent by reading a chapter of Luke a day starting on December 1st and ending on Christmas Eve. Since then I have finished 22 books and am currently reading Sirach. Next year, I want to finish up the New Testament and dig a bit into Isaiah.

Overall, 2020 made me appreciate the little moments. The moments of joy when I could see the light in the darkness and smile through it all. One of my favorite moments during (almost) every Mass was when Em and I would wink at each other during the sign of peace; it always made me smile and remember how lucky I was to be at school surrounded by my friends. During quarantine, I loved it when I would go for morning rosary walks around the block and get to enjoy the beautiful weather this summer. Another activity I’ve loved while at home is playing cards with the family most Friday nights.

I know this is probably a unpopular opinion, but I’m thankful for 2020; it forced me to slow down and appreciate what I have and who is around me.

Hello! My name is Cassie Nooyen and I will be graduating from St. Norbert College in the spring of 2022. I am majoring in Computer Science and double minoring in Graphic Design and Mathematics. Explore my blog and learn a little bit about my adventure called life!

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