What a HUGE year we just said farewell to last night. We had so many awesome mountain-top experiences in 2011, but also spent a lot of time in the valley, not sure which way we were supposed to go next. I have had my eyes widely opened to just how great my God is to love me in spite of who I am, and been abundantly blessed and astonished at how Nick continues to pour out patience, grace, and unconditional love on this crazy, selfish, hard-headed girl. I am constantly blown away at the life God has blessed us with, the family we are so lucky to have, the best friends on the planet, and continual evidance that HE is in control and will direct us down this path He has called us to walk.
Because I love to jump on bandwagon trends and do what everyone else does [see:: wearing skinny jeans, coffee-drinking, and my attempts to enjoy hummus as proof], and because it will be fun to look back and read about my year and goals and so on, below you will find a list of experiences and so on from the year 2011 as well as goals and challenges for the year 2012!
In January I [im]patiently waited for my teaching license to arrive and spent the majority of my time questioning my career choice and wondering what my next steps should be. I was sure I was no longer cut out to be a teacher. I did a lot of complaining about my joblessness, but throughly enjoyed being a stay-at-home-wife for the month. I also had my very first sinus infection, and went on a ski-trip as the only female youth sponsor. In an effort to finish yet a third bachelor's degree, I took a class at MCC, putting my two classes and an internship away from that BS in Family. Nick and I also watched the TV series LOST in its entirety. #bestshowever
In February I continued to question my status, a newly graduated adult without a job and already suffiiciently bored to tears being a stay-at-home wife. With my teaching license in hand, willing to give the education world one last shot before calling it quits and becoming a professional muffin-maker, I embarked on a challenging, hillarious, rewarding semester as a substitute teacher [dun dun dunnnn].
In March I continued to seek purpose, significance, and fulfillment, and was met with discontent, unsatisfaction, and discomfort with who I was and where I found myself to be in life. I was applying for teaching jobs and was met with constant rejection, a response with which I was very unfamiliar. I did, however, begin to train for a half-marathon to be completed in May.
In April I was given an opportunity to be a long-term substitute in Manhattan as the In-School-Suspension facilitator at the high school. Let's just say I am not cut out for that position in any sort of long-term sense. I literally sat in silence and played on the computer all day. I was essentially back to my boredom, only now I received a paycheck to do nothing all day! It was, however, great to have a routine for a couple months before school ended. I continued to search and apply for job after job, but still heard nothing...until the very end of the month, when I received a call one evening asking if I would like to interview for a position...
In May, so many wonderful things happened. I completed my very first half-marathon. I was so proud and thoroughly enjoyed (almost) the entire experience! The pain was totally worth it. I also found out that I had a teaching job for the fall!!! Not only did God bless me with a job, but a job at the school in the district I wanted to be most! Praise the Lord for his provision and timing. Also in May Nick and I celebrated one whole year of marriage! Nick turned 25, and we went on a super fun cross-country road/air-trip with friends to Phoenix, LA, and Vegas! Also in May, my parents celebrated their 26th(?) wedding anniversary and my sweet and best most favorite sister got married to her love! This wonderful marriage did, however, take my baby sister and bestest friend all the way to Memphis, TN, home of FedEx, lots of Chik-Fil-A's, and a Vera Bradley store!
In June I experienced the best week of camp EVER, at which I was challenged beyond belief and blessed so deeply by God's church and ultimate frisbee. I also read the Redemption Series in its entirety. Karen Kingsbury, you have a gift. I love to read.
In July I did so many things too! Sheesh, what a busy year. I had one of my very favorite couples get married and become the MacGill's! What a beautiful wedding to attend and be a part of. I love watching so many friends of ours get married!! Ben and Allison are such a great picture of committment and friendship, and I love having them in our life and especially still here in Manhattan! I also was blessed to attend a conference in Dallas with a group of teachers from my school. I was so lucky to learn and get to know those awesome teachers before starting in the fall! I was also beyong blessed to attend CIY in Michigan with THE best youth group ever to sponsor! We were deeply moved and challenged to stand bold in our faith and love for Christ as well as to be in real, constant prayer for our brothers and sisters under persecution. I finished the busy month with a road trip with one of my dearest and best friends [Alli!] to Memphis to visit Sarah and Mark! In July Nick and I also welcomed Nathan, Nick's brother, into our home to live!
In August, I married off another best friend and one half of the best camp team known to man [Team P!] as Amanda and Kenny became the Park's! Amanda was one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen. She shines such a bright light of character and beauty. She is so kind and intentional with her relationships. And of course Kenn is the best as well! In August I also began my very first year of teaching! I met some of the greatest and most encouraging teachers there are, and some of the craziest and best students ever!
In September I accidentally cut my hair all off. Oook, it wasn't actually an accident, but I did regret it almost immediately after leaving the salon. I am looking forward to having it long again soon. We attended a Huskers game and Nick did lots of traveling recruting for MCC. I continued to get to know my students and the other teachers on the team, as well as slowly began to figure out how to teach seventh graders and Language Arts. I experienced lots of frustrations as I had lots of failures and struggles as a new teacher, but was so blessed to be encouraged by teachers at school.
In October we celebrated a year of having Petee and my 25th birthday! [Can you say old?! I am sure I was just turning 17 last week!] I also discovered the best movie known to man, Tangled, and watched it over and over and over!!! Nick and Nathan enjoyed it at first, but cringe at the mention of the movie now! :)
In November I was so lucky to travel with a group of teachers from my district to Kentucky for the National Middle School Association/Association for Middle Level Educators conference. Such a great learning opportunity and another awesome chance to get to know teachers/prinicpals! Also with November came Thanksgiving(s)! Mucho turkey and mucho gravy but a great time with family and friends. My favorite momma also had a birthday!!
In December we took a huge leap into adulthood as we purchased our first home! It is a beautiful, perfect, and by definition my dream house! We are thrilled to have moved in and are almost unpacked...all we have left is some of the clothes and laundry! [nothing new there] :) I also completed my first full semester of teaching!! Wahoooo!!! We also added a sweet new puppy to our little family, Zooey! Also in December we received tons of gifts from family and friends; we are so blessed, thank you!!
Which brings me to now, January 1, 2012. 2012??! Holy cow! I have a few major goals, which should lead to a better and more organized and healthy life both physically and spiritually.
1. Deepen and grow my spiritual life. I want to yearn for God. I want to need Him and I want my whole self and life to radiate His presence within me. I want to grow with my husband.
2. Like every other woman in America, I have some health and weight loss goals. I definitely took the summer and fall off or healthy living and will be making some changes to my eating and activity which will become habits and not short-lived failures.
3. I will get more organized this year and STAY organized.
I once again commit to make this year, 2012, the best year of my life, as I try to each year. Praying God will challenge me and grow me, and open my eyes to where I can best be used to bring praise to His Glory.