Looking back over this year, so much has happened that I can't possibly name it all. But to help myself remember highlights, and to show how faithful God has been in every step, I'm just going to do a re-cap month by month. This is mostly for me and will probably be really long, but I hope if you read, you'll see the many ways God has been at work!
There are lots of events I haven't gotten to blog about specifically, a lot because my hard drive crashed earlier in the year, and now I have to pull pictures from my external hard drive, which just takes more time, but maybe one day I'll get all caught up! So...here it is - 2011 in the life of me! :)
*Still waiting to find out whether or not I will be accepted into the Journeyman missions program, which would mean taking a job overseas for 2 years...hoping and praying!
*LOTS of snow days!
*Dress shopping with my best friend Brandy for her wedding dress!!
*January 12 - The e-mail finally came! I was accepted into the Journeyman program! I was to wait for a letter with more details and a plane ticket to the conference to come in the mail...and the conference was exactly 6 weeks away. I remember the minute I got the e-mail - it was ANOTHER snow day, and I was sitting at home at the dining room table. My stomach did a big flip flop as I skipped to the bottom to see the yes or no! :)
*Late January - Home sick for two days - went to the doctor because I'd been having low grade fever/fatigue several times in the past few months...nothing major, but finally went to have it checked out. She suggested I get further tests and see a specialist for the possibility of lupus.
*MMEA - always one of my favorite times of year! Attended the state music educator's conference and got some wonderful new ideas to take back to my classroom. Honestly feeling inadequate, burnt out, overwhelmed, and frustrated with my job.
*January 30 - Went to my first Helping From Home event hosted by Ashley! :) (I have to be honest...I was nervous about going! I didn't know many of the girls, and hadn't seen many of the ones I did know since high school...and I can be really shy! But it was SUCH a blessing to me, and I was thankful for your invitation!)
*MORE snow! lol Teachers and kids love snow days, but I confess - we were getting a little tired of them by this point!
*Went to see a rheumatologist and was officially diagnosed with lupus - an auto-immune disease (the name sounds awful, and it can be a really serious condition, but thankfully I only had two of the many symptoms that can come with it and have had no problems/further symptoms all year, not even the symptoms I was diagnosed after having! Praise God!)
*E-mailed the IMB to update them on this health change and didn't hear back, so figured all was fine and they would just discuss it with me at the interview conference in a few weeks
*February 18 - Phone call from my missions application consultant...left a voice mail and apologized for all that was going on - told me he would be in touch and hoped everything would go ok with the lupus treatments, and to keep in touch with him about the possibility of a future conference after I regained health clearance.
-Same day - lots of phone calls later - found out they had e-mailed me this information a couple weeks before, but my e-mail had been mis-typed, and I hadn't received it. I would be unable to attend the conference I was set to leave for in just five days.
-My heart hurt SO much. (I'll type a longer post about this soon)
*Feb 27 - Visited my sister in Springfield for the weekend, and visited a really missions focused church there - Second Baptist....on their annual Missions Focus Weekend! (Tell me God didn't plan that one - the very weekend I would've been at my conference...) Of course I cried lots of tears through that whole morning and the service!
*Began thinking about possible "options" now that I knew I wouldn't be going overseas for at least a year. Looked at LOTS of jobs...I just wasn't happy where I was. (I am so thankful God has slowly allowed this to change now too, though!)
*Bridesmaid dress shopping with Brandy, Eva, and Angela...so much fun!
*Spring Break!! (Minus two days because of all the snow day make-ups!) - Visited Arkansas and spent some peaceful time at my parents other home in Hot Springs Village.
-Also visited with some friends/former professors at my college campus. One of them, who was a great encouragement to me in college through work with internationals, ESL training, and leadership in our ESL community program (COPE), encouraged me that, sometimes God brings the world to us...when we think we are supposed to go to the world. She challenged me to look into ESL masters programs.
*My church started a Missions Committee to raise awareness and provide opportunities for our members to become more involved! (Still working on it and praying, but I'm so excited!)
*Another Help From Home party - this time a baby shower for the precious women of Mercy House!
*Applied for a job in Arkansas - went to a HUGE general interview day...never heard back, but God used this experience to remind me as I answered the questions, I am doing ok where I'm at...I know what I'm talking about. I am an adequate teacher - it's ok to feel overwhelmed, but not to feel inadequate!
*Also applied for summer employment at Ridgecrest Christian Conference Center in North Carolina
*6 week visit with the rheumatologist - no lupus symptoms, no reactions to the medicine (Praise the Lord!) - she cleared me to go overseas, but the IMB still needed the year.
*Continued trekking through the school year. I knew I would make it to the end, but...it was a really, really hard year!
*Applied for an ESL teaching job in our district
*Applied to an online-based ESL graduate program - and was accepted!!! :)
*April 16 - Cupcakes...oh SO many cupcakes! :) Another Help From Home event - where we baked, iced, and packaged LOTS of cupcakes...and gave proceeds from the sales to the organization Sixty Feet. Another huge blessing, and so much fun!
*My friend Emily applied for a job teaching music in the same district as me and received the position! We would soon be roommates!
*Found out my dad applied for and accepted a job in Germany - my parents would be moving overseas again...for three years this time.
*Paid off my macbook! (Took a long time, but it was so worth it, and has been a blessing!)
*Last month of school!
*May 3 - ESL teaching interview - gave it my best and was not selected. (Another blessing I realized later, though...just so much involved, and I would have felt SO overwhelmed this year! I am glad God gave me the chance to start classes first...)
*Submitted my contract for 2011-2012 - trusting God for a better year at the same place (and He has provided that!!)
*May 17 - Found out I was accepted as a Summer 2011 Ridgecrest employee!!
*May 20 - Another Help From Home event - a shoe making party for Sole Hope!!
*May 27 - Last day of 2010-2011 school year was finally here!
*Planned and hosted first bridal shower ever for my best friend Brandy - I got to be maid of honor!! :)
*May 30 - Turned 26!! :)
*Various school workshops and trainings
*My best friend Brandy got married to David...a wonderful couple, and so exciting! I was maid of honor and enjoyed sharing in their day SO much!!
*3-day ESL training in St. Louis - (paid for by my school district through some funding they had! They needed to send someone, and it was open to any teachers, so I went! It was wonderful! Even got to stay in a fancy hotel! lol)
*Left for Ridgecrest - drove myself! Got to go through lots of states and see beautiful scenery! -Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina.
*Began my training as a summer preschool teacher at the Ridgecrest Christian Conference Center. Met SO many fun friends - it was just a HUGE blessing, and I couldn't have asked God for a better summer!
*Parents moved to Germany
*More time at Ridgecrest - lots of conferences, lots of kids, lots of fun! :) - Christmas in July, Guys' Cook Night, Fireworks on July 4, Asheville downtown touring, Belle Cher (A big festival in Asheville)
-Got to meet the founder of Sole Hope while I was there! Such a fun blessing - I had planned on trying to meet her, but it hadn't worked out, and I happened to run into her at the music festival and see the Sole Hope booth! I had just prayed to God asking for the chance to meet her before leaving with my friends because I hadn't seen the booth (among the hundreds there) and it wasn't listed on the big directory at the info booth...it was a God-thing for sure! :)
*Vacation Week - traveled to Washington DC by myself to visit Myra and Jason! Drove through Virginia and into DC - drove in the CITY!! Toured lots of cool places, took a ton of pictures, survived in the city! :)
*My fourth nephew, Gersham McAdams was born.
*Finished the summer at Ridgecrest
*Drove the "long" way home and stopped to visit Alyse and Andrew in Alabama! Again, drove by myself and saw so many beautiful things/places - Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, and finally back into Missouri!
*Another visit with the rheumatologist - same thing - no symptoms, no reactions, no sickness...God is good! No more appointments for 6 months! :)
*Emily and I moved into our apartment in Waynesville together
*Found out I would be a mentor teacher this year to our brand new art teacher! (It's only my fourth year, but it has been really fun, and has helped me to feel more confident as a teacher to help someone else!)
*Started my first graduate class ever - Linguistics! Also made my first payment for the graduate class...yikes! (Paying as I go, and it is so exciting to think that each class I finish is already paid for!)
*Lots of fun times with new and old friends
*School was still really overwhelming, but living in the same town where I teach, having new friends, and starting my second year in the building really helped!
*First graduate paper due - and I got an A! :)
*My classroom was adopted by a military group on the adoptaclassroom.com website - $400 of grant money! :) (I chose some great new books, games, and resources with the money!)
*Applied for the Kappa Delta Pi grant and received $125 for more hand drums to go with rhythm/literacy focus! :)
*I feel like I'm forgetting something else here!
*Served as interim music/worship leader at FBC Rolla, the church where I grew up. A blessing to worship and spend time with the people there again - always feels like family when I go back! (Also an unexpected financial blessing that has helped me have some savings throughout the Fall!)
*School continued to improve - feeling a little better about all I was doing/teaching
*Received a grant from the Army Thrift Store they provide to school applicants each semester - $200 for new movement props - parachutes, scarves, and bean bags! :) Things that are awesome for active listening activities and more - but I wouldn't necessarily splurge for with regular budget money, because they're not a major "need."
*Blessings of new friendships - lots of fun!
*Graduate class still going well - two more A's on papers, the mid-term, and other assignments! :)
*Two music programs - fifth grade and first grade finished - they both did a great job!
*Thanksgiving with my family in Springfield - we all missed my parents but really enjoyed the time together!
*Here we are at the end of the year...
*Survived second grade music program! :) (No, really...they did a great job, but I was a little nervous up to that final day...)
*Survived another semester of teaching...and felt ok about it!
*Finally content where I'm at...with teaching, being here, taking my graduate courses...serving, doing what God has for me here...I can't describe it, or say what happened - I just realized one day - I'm finally ok. God is good that way!
*Got to judge at the St.J speech tournament - I love doing that each year - it's at my former high school, and is an activity that I really enjoyed participating in throughout high school!
*Finished my first graduate course...and got an A! Also got credit for the 3-day training I took this summer and made an A! I now have 5 hours of graduate credit!
*Spent Christmas with my sister in Springfield - had fun picking out gifts for her and filling her stocking, chilling, laughing, and watching Christmas movies together...also had to participate in "silent, pew-shaking laughter" at the Christmas Eve service, of course! :)
*I'm sure I'm missing more here too!
Wow! What a year! I would say about my 2011 in three words, "wait," "trust," and "hope." God has provided, and though I continue to look forward to the future He has in store for me, I am also learning to be content and fulfilled where He has me now. I am thankful for my friends both from the past, and those I've met this year, for my family, and for all the awesome kids and co-workers I get to teach and work with each day. I pray your new year will be blessed, joyful, and filled with God's leadership.
Happy New Year!! :)