2015: Looking Back

2015 held a lot of change, joy, blessings, disappointments, pain, fears, struggles, and loss.

Overall, this past year was the hardest year I have ever had. It would have been so easy to just glide into 2016 without looking back because I didn’t want to look back and re-experience the pain. In looking at my blogs from the last year, I’m reminded that it wasn’t all pain. There was a lot of growth. I learned to make more meals, I learned to sew, I learned to grieve, I learned to ask for help, and my marriage grew. Am I glad it’s over? OF COURSE. I pray 2016 is marked with joy and growth, not overshadowed with the same pain that 2015 was. I want to share some of my goals for this year, but this post is about looking back. So, here’s a year in review.


January was a month packed with change. I turned 24, Aaron moved in with us, and I got a FitBit. I was extremely motivated being able to see how much I was exercising (I love stats) and went a little crazy… which meant I wrecked my knees and had to do knee drains for a few weeks. Gahh.

February we hosted a Superbowl party for the first time. At work, I fought for a raise, and I got one. It was a huge blessing to our family, since we had increased expenses with the new house and Aaron living with us. I used a sewing pattern for the first time, making pillow cases for my friend Elise. Snow and I hit a rough patch in our relationship… lots of stress missing hours at work, and lots of late starts. Off the blog, I started struggling with depression, but didn’t fully realize that I was. Looking back, it’s crystal clear.

March held a lot of joy. We met our godson, Joseph, for the first time… and fell in love. Josh and I had a hard time adjusting to sharing our home/time with Aaron. Luke came to visit. I found the perfect dress at Kohls for Easter.

April held changes and I met some personal goals. I chopped my hair off. My boss gave us a giftcard to a super fancy steakhouse. We celebrated Aaron’s birthday, complete with homemade Apple Pie. We spent Easter in Virginia. I learned to crochet… and then I destroyed my crochet project because I dropped a lot of stitches and it looked AWFUL. Josh’s family visited. I went to my first Blogger event.

In May, we took a Corneli-Sims vacation to Disney World. I came back to a mountain of work and cried. Life turned to crap and I couldn’t blog about it.

In June, Josh fixed our laptop and saved us $200. I got an unexpected raise! I learned how to make my own cold brew coffee. We upgraded our phones. I bought flowers for outside. I then killed the flowers. Josh’s grandpa passed away, and Josh went to Wisconsin for the funeral.

In July, we spend the 4th of July with the Gilmores. I taught Joseph how to smack his lips like a fish and died because it was the cutest thing ever. Andrew (my brother) spent a week at our house. My mom came to visit! We saw Minions and Jurassic World at the Drive In. We got kicked out of our house, cried a lot, and house-hunted. Signed up for a 401-K plan. Got a bonus at work. Found the perfect rental house, and an awesome landlord. Looking back, I can see God’s faithfulness. The blessing that my mom was present when we got horrible news, the provision of a bonus when finances were tight, and a house that met our needs perfectly.

In August, we moved into our new house, with my family’s help! Paid off a TON of loans. Had a weekend away at the beach. I reached the depths of my depression, and reached out for help. Josh started his last year of Seminary.

September started with a visit to Columbia, and celebrating Josh’s 25th birthday. Our house became a home. I got super sick and had to call in sick multiple days. I bought a bread machine, which was truly life-changing! Aaron got his drivers license. I made homemade laundry detergent.

October was full of so much rain, I thought Raleigh was going to float away. It rained like crazy and I had cabin fever- like every other person in the city. Columbia flooded, and I cried seeing pictures of my favorite places immersed in water. I struggled with feeling like I couldn’t blog from my heart and strongly considered abandoning this blog. Had major foot pain, and had to buy new shoes. We implemented a quiet hour in our house- for my sanity. Aaron got a job! Spent Halloween in Virginia and I went trick-or-treating for the first time with my sisters-in-law.

November started with the craft sale, where we made a lot of money! The next day, I threw a baby shower. I didn’t blog a ton, because we were in constant motion. I posted about my struggle with depression. We spent Thanksgiving with Josh’s family, and I contributed stuffing and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

December didn’t have a lot of posts… but we survived finals, had free steak and margaritas at my company Christmas party, went to Myrtle Beach for our 2 year anniversary, had Christmas in Columbia, and New Years with the Gilmores.


Dear Josh,

This year has been hard, but this year has also been full. I am so thankful for the way you have encouraged, loved, and served me this year and I’m excited to see what the Lord teaches us this coming year. Most of all, I’m thankful we have the most important thing in common: we love Jesus. Without Him, I don’t think we would have gotten through this year as a team. With Him, I think this year has made us a stronger team. I love you.



This was my first “grown up” birthday.
Married, working full time, with a commute to and from work.

It was, in one word, anticlimactic.

The day started with the realization that I did not remember to reset my alarm…. so I was awoken before 6:30, and saw a text from my boss saying not to come in until 10 because of ice on the roads. So I pressed snooze, I’m pretty sure for the first time in my life, and went back to sleep. (Until 7.)

I did some laundry.
Josh made me cheesy eggs with spinach (the best), and warmed up come cinnamon rolls. I stuck a candle in my cinnamon roll and sang myself happy birthday. We cuddled on the couch and watched Parks and Rec.
I moved the laundry into the dryer.
Josh packed my lunch, I took a shower.
I went into work. I worked like crazy, ate lunch at my desk, and left at 4:30 because “goshdarnit it’s my birthday.” (My boss laughed at me. Also– all my co-workers are men. The running joke is that I’m so young I’m practically in middle school and they love to play the “have you heard of this tv show/song/movie/person?”… so they all asked me if I was finally in my 20’s.)

I came home to an empty, quiet house. So naturally, I watched one of my tv shows and folded laundry.
And promptly started another load.
Because that’s what every girl wants for her birthday… clean laundry. Really, it was the best gift I could give myself, since my dresser is now filled with my favorite sweaters and jeans- but now they’re clean.

Yes, I am aware that my birthday was incredibly mundane. It was not exciting. And honestly yesterday evening I cried because I felt so boring and I was disappointed at my lack of creativity for my own birthday.

My perspective was WAY off. I got to spend my birthday doing a job that I (usually) like. I like the guys I work with. I got to wake up slowly with the man I love and I get to be married to. I’m thankful for a washer and dryer, and I don’t have to use quarters to operate them. I have all the clothes that I need, and even ones I don’t “need” but get to enjoy.
I had a rotten attitude, and was blind to the multiple blessings of yesterday. So today, I will recount them and be thankful for them.

I’m thankful for my husband: that man who sits on the floor and holds me when I sit on the floor crying because I’m overwhelmed by the changes in our life. The man who made my birthday dinner for me when I didn’t want to make it myself. The man who watches HGTV shows with me on Netflix because I love them, and he loves me. The man who brought home a card and purple daisies because it was my birthday. The man who makes my lunches so I can sleep a few extra minutes.

This hero scraped the frozen tundra off my car so I could go to work!


Last night after the meltdown, my husband made my ravioli pasta, salad and garlic bread (and Merlot for me) and we watched an episode of The West Wing (joyfully interrupted by two phone calls, from my Grammy and my mom). We had popcorn, we had ice cream cake, I had sparkling wine, and we watched the Property Brothers. It was not a super exciting day, but it didn’t need to be.
Birthdays used to be a super big deal. Maybe they’re not anymore, and that’s ok… because my entire life is good. It is full of blessings, and those should be celebrated every day; not just the one day a year when you get a cake with numbers on it.
Lest you think I am full of wisdom, please remember that yesterday I had a horrible attitude, and hind-sight is 20-20.



Dear Josh,
Thank you for all the things you did for me yesterday. I had the wrong perspective, and expected a big deal… I was wrong. Thank you for cleaning off my car, packing my lunch, making me dinner, buying me flowers and telling me all the reasons you love me, holding me when I was crying, buying me ice cream cake, watching my show with me, and going to sleep by my side. Today, with better perspective, I can see that I really had a wonderful birthday.
I love you, and I’m sorry that I have communicated the opposite through the way I have spoken to you and treated you.
I’m looking forward to date night tonight.

Love, Mrs. Cornelissen

PS. Also… this should be the year we watch one of my favorite shows, 24. I think the reason is obvious.


“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Life has been so good, and busy, lately and there just hasn’t been time to blog. So a quick recap.

We have moved into our house. We love our house. Our clothes are not in boxes, but in dressers. Our books are on shelves. Our dishes are in cabinets. Our pantry still needs to be put in order… but everything else is good!

I left work early on December 23, and we took off to Virginia Beach. After a 3 hour frantic search in the greater area of Virginia Beach for a specific toy, on behalf of Josh’s uncle, we got to the Sims house. True story: I almost punched a grown man, with a beard, employed by Toys R Us who informed us that they did have the specific toy we were looking for… but HE PURCHASED THE LAST ONE. This entire experience was new for me. I’ve been one to have my Christmas shopping done in advance, and have never been out at the last second looking for ONE specific thing. I feel like Josh and I have learned a valuable lesson… keep doing things ahead of time. Hehe. No, we didn’t find the toy… but I feel like the toy that ended up being purchased was even cooler. And yes, I referred to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie about a million times during our search.

Christmas Eve, I experienced my first Sims Christmas ever. It was SO fun. Huge breakfast, lots of presents, lots of laughter. Christmas was so exciting. My family doesn’t have the excitement over toys, and bubbling about what Santa (or Tinsel) brought them. Josh’s family does.
Going into Christmas this year was difficult because I have been feeling the stress of work, rather than the magic of the holiday… and the excitement of the little girls was not overwhelming, but refreshing. (Except for the fact that they woke us up before 6:30 on Christmas… that was exhausting.) I got things that I wanted, and things that I needed… a crock pot, a book of sewing patterns, a rain coat, sweater, jewelry, pictures, etc… honestly, what meant the most is realizing-again- that they really are my family. I’m so thankful for the way they have all loved and accepted me. This was probably the weirdest, but most wonderful part: it was strange not being with my family, but I didn’t miss it too much… because I felt like I WAS with family.

We went to the Christmas Eve service, went to the house in NC, and ended up exchanging gifts between siblings. My favorite thing was from Kaity– she gave each of her sisters a framed picture with a quote from Little Women: “I could never love anyone as much as I love my sisters.” – Jo March
Well, basically I wanted to burst into tears because it meant so much to me. I’m so very thankful for such wonderful sisters.

Christmas Day was spent at my in-laws house. We got up super early, and waited for Grandma and Grandpa Sims to get there. We sang happy birthday to Jesus, and got to see the tree. Again, I got so many things I’ve wanted/needed, including a dress, sweater, gifts cards for date nights, jewelry, and movies (Frozen, and Christmas movies!). It was just perfect. I did have to take a nap, since we had some sleep deprivation over the last couple of days, and talked to my family. Lunch was nothing less than a feast… London broil, ham, potatoes, fruit salad… heavenly. We spent the evening watching Frozen, to my delight and my father in law’s pain. 🙂 Unlike all the parents in the entire world, I have not been “Frozen-ed out.”


The day after Christmas, Josh and I headed to the Outer banks for our Anniversary trip. We checked into our hotel, got pizza, and enjoyed doing nothing.
The trip was perfect… just perfect. We slept in, laid around because we could, walked on the beach, had a poor breakfast experience-which we will not go into because it was very frustrating but the food was free, went to the Wright Brothers memorial, went to see Into the Woods (and got crazy— we got popcorn), went out for Mexican and reflected on the year, watched the sun rise, walked on the beach, had a wonderful breakfast on the 2nd day, went to a lighthouse, went to the aquarium, and I had the first big mac of my life (I am a little irritated that they taste so good).

Josh wrote out questions on index cards that we went through all weekend… “Favorite meal of this year? Favorite inside joke? Something you’d like me to work on?” etc. It was such a good time to escape together, reflect on the first year, make goals and plans for the second, and to enjoy being together.
No, we didn’t save the top layer of our wedding cake. But I’m glad… because eating old, stale cake doesn’t sound like much of a celebration of a momentous year of trusting God together, becoming unified in a budget, and of making two lives one. This year has been anything but stale… so we baked a fresh cake and ate that in celebration instead.

Beach. Wright Brothers Memorial. Sunrise. Bodie Lighthouse.


Since vacation, life at work has been very busy- hence the lack of blogging. My family came to visit last weekend– they actually surprised me with an early birthday party! We had too much fun with them- shopping, exploring a museum, walking, cooking, laughing, playing games… I’m always so happy to have them here, and always cry my eyes out when they leave.

Part of my Christmas/Birthday money was spent on a Fitbit, which tracks all sorts of nifty stuff, including my steps. It may seem like a typical New Years resolution, but my decision actually doesn’t have to do with that at all… I’m finally healthy, after Mono. I have some energy, and I want to get back into exercising regularly. So far- the Fitbit has been extremely helpful in motivating me, and I’m excited as Josh and I are taking this on together (plus I am finally realizing I am extremely competitive…. so that helps since Josh and I compare how many steps we’ve gotten).


Dear Josh,
I am so glad I finally got to participate in the legendary Corneli-Sims Christmas. Although it was new, it was wonderful and I’m so very thankful for your family. It’s the second year of marriage, and it’s only more fun. Thanks for loving me so well, and for keeping laughter as a staple in our relationship.

I’m looking forward to spending this weekend with you… and the rest of my life. I’m so proud of you, and it has been awesome reflecting on our growth as individuals and a couple. I’ll always be your bluebird, sweet frog. 🙂

Love, Mrs. Cornelissen

In honor of November 19th, 2011

Has it really been 3 years? 3 years ago, Josh and I went on our first date. Granted, we weren’t sure it was a date…. but it was. After weeks months of liking Josh, and hanging around after class to talk to him, we finally started spending time together outside of Hoke Auditorium. It started with a lunch, to talk about Josh’s semester in Israel, progressed to LOTS of Facebook chatting, meeting in the student center, hanging out at his apartment, going to the North/South game just to see him, and going to Waffle House together.

Our “date” wasn’t exactly intended to be a date, I don’t think. He phrased it as “I need to run errands and use up a Groupon. Want to come?”
YES. Of course I wanted to, because he wanted to spend time with me.

I went to my dorm and told my roommate, Kim, “I think Josh just asked me on a date, but I’m REALLY NOT SURE.”
Turns out he called his friend Sam and told her “I think I just asked Deborah on a date, but I’m REALLY NOT SURE.”

He turned it a date… and then confused me all day.

He came to my house to go over Herm. stuff with my dad. Then Josh took me to the library (an actual errand), Starbucks (to get holiday drinks, and he doesn’t even like coffee- but he drank coffee that day), Riverfront park (we walked and talked for hours), a used bookstore (he bought me a collection of Flannery O’Connor stories- called “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Let’s be clear- I picked it out…. but how perfect, right?), and dinner.

Yes, I know this story is located in a link at the top of the blog… but it’s just my favorite story to tell.

Why was I confused all day? Because he was SO sweet to me, and kept referring to our “friendship.” He even thanked God for our friendship during his prayer for the food. I tried not to cry.

On the way home, he told me he liked me. And good thing. I sure liked him… especially since he planned a day with all my favorite things; a beautiful fall walk at my favorite park, coffee, books, and a burger.

Now I like him AND I love him, something we didn’t say until the day we got engaged on December 28th, 2012… but that’s another blog post. 🙂


As far as this week is concerned, here are the basics:
Monday night I got home at 5:30… I fell asleep at 6:30, and woke up at 6:30 the following morning.
I am sick again, hopefully this time it’s just a cold.
We found a dining set and we’re getting it this weekend! (Our landlord is the best and letting us move it in early. 🙂 )
Also, we just found a washer and dryer this morning. BOOYA. God has provided everything we needed for the new house!
We have a date tonight at Red Robin. I am super stoked.


Dear Josh,
First, I love our story. Second, I love that you are sentimental and suggested going on a date including the river, bookstore, and burgers to celebrate our 3 years! 🙂 (I was thinking the same thing and I love that you suggested it.) Third, I have been so blessed in these three years, being your girlfriend, then fiance, and now wife. You have made me SO happy and I can’t imagine doing life with anyone else.
I can’t wait for our date tonight, and I am so thankful for the ways God has provided for our needs. I love being your girl, and I’m looking forward to spending all my years with you.
Love, Mrs. Cornelissen

North South Game 2012

Tonight I got to put on a shirt with your number on it and go cheer you and your team on. I sat with Phil & Elise, Kevin & Taylor and April. It was so so soo fun. And I loved being able to cheer for you this year. 🙂 (You guys didn’t win, but your team obviously has respect for you and had fun.)
Hard to believe that a year ago the saga of “us” began. Monday is the anniversary of the “Herm question.” Oh good times.
My goodness, how I like you.
After the game tonight we went to CookOut. But you smelled really bad. Hehehe.

Representing. Cheering for my man!


Tonight we had a date. It was quite simple. We went to Chick-fil-a… had some disagreements and some intense conversations… watched some episodes of Friends in my dorm room… and when you left, I was so stoked that you’re mine. Pretty crazy about you. We have grown so much in communication, but tonight showed us how much we still have to learn… I had a hard time understanding your perspective, and you had a hard time understanding mine, because I am such a “feeler.”  I am so glad we left tonight on a good note, and I hate when things are rough or strained between us.
You have a way of looking at me with love in your eyes. I hope that never leaves. With one look, I know you think I’m beautiful, that you love to be near me, and that you love me, and that we have a future. It is indescribable.

In other news, around this time last year, we spent time together outside of class for the first time.  We had lunch in the cafeteria together and talked about your time at JUC.  For me, it was half an excuse to talk to you and spent time with you, and half because I was seriously planning on attending. During that conversation, we laughed and joked, but you were really helpful in answering my questions (which I spent hours composing so the meeting looked legit) and we talked about Psalm 23 and what it meant to both of us.  Hard to believe that the saga of Josh and Deborah began about a year ago!