If you say it just right, and by right I mean wrong, the last name my wife and I share sounds eerily similar to “dirty”. Personally, it is a fun play on words.
Over the years of being together, my wife and I have not been ones to make Christmas cards, holiday photos, or frankly anything between the two concepts. There really is no reason, but what we have found is sending out one letter at the end of the year as a recap has come to reach many of those that we are sadly not in contact with in reality.
Without further ado…we present to you, a very “Daugherty” year…
Compared to years past, our lives have calmed down significantly in the day to day process. Student loans are disappearing, bills are being paid, and the ‘adult life’ has come to fall upon us. Darci still works for Starbucks, and I still teach 7th grade social studies inside the North Kansas City School District.
We continue to be blessed by living in a house merely minutes away from the shoreline of Smithville Lake. While we continue to rent the property, we are looking to finally, permanently acquire the property in the spring of 2018. We have been blessed with a landlord that is focused on getting ourselves settled in our own home, and personally, he has all the time in the world. Thankfully God set us up in a situation that allowed us to grow with the home and the process of what homeownership could and should look like. We continue to go to church three miles from our house along the lake. We are still trying to find our place in the building, but unlike years past, we’re making effort to make it work instead of being so willing to give up.
The beginning of the year sadly, started off rather tragically. In early February, while I
was out running on a Saturday morning and Darci was at work, she received word that her mother had passed away. Darci and I are both only children, so dealing with the loss of a parent is no easy task, following up with the paperwork, funeral processions, and everything else in some ways can be even more stressful. At her request, Darci set up a funeral for her late mother, and we both accepted the bill that came with it. Thankfully, Darci was able to pull some of her stocks to pay for the funeral. Humbly, our running community came in with the rest. Our friend, Leia, owns a coffee shop in south Kansas City. They opened the store up on night solely as a fundraiser to help cover our funeral costs. It was an incredible sight to watch. People were donating to assist my wife, and at the same time she was working the bar at the coffee shop and judging a latte art competition. For such a tragic event, the hope and wellness of humanity truly showed. We are blessed to say that we have an incredible network of friends and family who continue to help us out, even in the darkest times.
At the same week as her mother’s funeral, I had already planned my first ultramarathon race in Texas. An ultra is anything that is a distance ran that surpasses 26.2 miles. Darci saw it as a blessing that we could go through the process of the funeral, and then escape for a few days in the Lone Star State. Personally, I am pleased to announce that I finished my first ultramarathon, a 50K (31 miles) race near the swamps of Houston, Texas. It was hot, lonely, and spiritually difficult, but even with some adversity, I have found an activity that I truly love.
The rest of the spring and summer was summed up simply with a few concepts; the love of running, and witnessing our own growths with our jobs. While my classroom continued to function dysfunctionally, the school was kind enough to offer me another year on my contract. As I started to become more comfortable with the idea of teaching, I started reaching out into new development ideas within our own building. It was humbling to help create our own middle school debate program. It was an after school affair linked up with our local high school debate program. In many ways my experience with speech and debate in high school and college finally started to come to use. In late April we won the district title in debate taking 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th place in public forum debate. I learned a lot of what to do, and what not to do for the upcoming year. In many ways my second school year went into the summer with a deep breath, and hopeful new ideas for the coming year.
We were limited on our summer vacation plans because Darci was able to see her own Starbucks store move and relocate into a brand new building in a shopping district. Humorously, we thought that three miles was a close proximity between her job and mine; now we’re three city blocks apart from each other. She spent the summer hiring new staff, increased her employee count by nearly three times the original amount, and to no surprise has been extremely successful with her new location. She has led meetings at summits, participated with higher up management on business development, and went back
through the “Coffee Masters” certification program again. Needless to say, her growth with her job has been absolutely amazing and beautiful to watch. That still didn’t keep us away from a few short vacations. We were able to enjoy time in southern Missouri with my parents in our camper for a week, and we even had the blessed opportunity to visit our friends in Colorado for a race (and more importantly, for fun).
However, due to the busyness at Darci’s new store, I had found a ton of free time alone during the summer months. In late July I journeyed out to the high mountains of
Colorado and volunteered for a 100 mile race. It was inexplicably joyful, hard, and extremely entertaining, and I did not even run in the race. Being alone with a bunch of strangers 11,000 feet up in the mountains at 2:00 AM was refreshing. As I’ve continued to venture outside my comfort zone I have found more reliance on God (shocking), and more opportunities to praise Him for giving us an incredible place to call home (double shocking).
Darci signed up for her first ever marathon, it was ran in September, and I signed up for my first 50 mile race at the same event. It was a local race called The Hawk. We both trained through the summer months, and in September we both embarked on our new test. Darci finished her first marathon with tears and smiles. I wish I had been there to see it, but sadly while she was crossing the finish line I was still out on the course hoping to finish 50 miles. Nearing 12:00 AM (after a 6:00 AM start) I finally crossed the start/finish line of my longest race to date. It was a nightmare. It was so hard, so terrifying, and absolutely gut-wrenching. Naturally, after that experience I only have one option of what to do next…find a 100 mile race to sign up for!
The rest of 2017 revolved around work, a little bit of running (and a lot of rest), a newfound love for yoga, Darci beginning a ‘plant based diet’, and just finding the time to relax. That sounds rather lazy when I reread that sentence, but at the same time I think it has been much needed. Much of our marriage has been working 24/7, trying new adventures, trying to survive, and not spending a lot of time with one another in solitude apart from the rest. While we both enjoy the idea of exploring the world, our lives have finally ‘calmed down’ to where we can spend time painting our house, trying new cooking ideas, and keeping our vehicles in working condition. It may sound boring, but at the same time it also sounds very “adult”.
2017 showed us interesting concepts. In the large scale, like so many others, we discuss the ugliness that humanity is showing currently. We believe that is a central theme throughout the entire year. In a smaller scope though we discussed our growing friendships. The people that call us and ask why we weren’t at the gym, or get us random, sparkling shorts because we nailed a personal best at a race, or who just listened when they could tell we were in our best state of
mind. I refer to them as ‘my runner friends’ when I’m around others, but in reality they are just my friends, our blessings, and really a central theme to our 2017.
God is good. He continues to show us grace when we are never deserving of it. Here is to a beautiful 2018.