Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell, 2011

(This post has lots of pictures. :) )
a lighthouse in New Jersey
As I was glancing at the blogs I follow in my feed and I realized. "Oh wow. Right. Tomorrow is the last day of 2011. It's time for a 'reflecting on 2011' blog post. Oh! And that'd be perfect for a Brag on God Friday. Good!"  After all, God's the author of our stories in this thing we call time.

Grand Central Station
To be honest, this year has been a big one.  I don't really remember New Year's last year. But I remember my heart in my throat as my friend Hannah went through tragedy in January when her newborn daughter, Sadie Mae, died. Hannah, I hope you're okay with me mentioning that, because honestly my heart was wrapped up with you and Sadie Mae greatly affected me.
I'm from the Jersey shore (never seen the show)

In February I found Megabus, a cheap and awesome bus service and got a round trip up to New York City for $28.  I was able to visit my family in New Jersey for the first time in over five years.  That was wonderful.

My twenty-fifth birthday party.
I also visited my friends Sarah and Charlie in Yonkers.  Lydia, my best friend, joined me for the first part of my trip... but she was sick as a dog. Maneuvering the New York subway system with four suitcases and a friend who is about to fall over was not fun... but an adventure. I lost a hat I was fond of, though.

Ginny and Dan's Wedding
But, I shopped and got new clothes for the first time in forever, though I couldn't find what I wanted because of the season (apparently you can't buy long skirts in February!) I got to spend my birthday with my family and best friend in New Jersey, eating pizza and ice cream cake. Honestly, it was an excellent way to usher in twenty-five.

my blog was one of the biggest things of this year
On April 1st, my other best friend Tabitha had her wonderful son Jordan.  I got to see him in the hospital, though he was in the NICU so I couldn't hold him. Jordan was a miracle baby, conceived pretty much as soon as Tabitha fell for Jesus.

Erika and I
Also around that time, God swept me into His arms and showed me a new definition of "work".  I'd been unemployed for about a year when He highlighted this blog to me, as a source of outreach, ministry, and just plain old work.  I had been blogging for almost three years, but never had had any real followers, aside from a friend or two, never had promoted it in anyway.  From the beginning it was God's blog, and in many ways I felt He wanted me to keep it fairly private. And I still believe that; but this past spring He pretty much told me, "You're looking for work, consider your blog."  And I threw myself into the Songs on the Way, and I'm so glad I did.

Lydia and I, camping
The beginning of June I got health insurance for the first time since graduating college! Thank you, Obama's health care bill! I had had an ongoing issue for well over a year that needed to be checked out.  If you read my blog then, you know about my biopsy, the negative results, and the issue being resolved through  medication.  But a scare like that, it makes you realize your priorities: what do you want to do before you die? In late spring Ryan and I researched and considered the options and decided that I will be moving to India when we marry, but the when and how were still up in the air. I realized that if I'd gotten a cancer diagnosis I'd be on a plane to India.

camping... oh, how I love to swim!!
The camping trip I took with Lydia was great fun and also a time I prayed for Jesus to reveal to me more about what He wanted for my future, most especially about the "when" for Ryan and my marriage. He answered.  That was an important event in a season of searching and prayer, revelations from God, and a huge new direction for my life.

Shilo and Mark's wedding:
bridesmaids with the bride (center)
The camping trip ended in being a bridesmaid at my first college roommate's wedding, the third wedding I'd attended that summer.  They were all beautiful and I was happy to go to them. (I love weddings so much!)

Mallory and Ryan's wedding
The fall had an entirely different feel. I was driven in a way I've never been before. From the outside, it probably seemed like I was udderless, but I wasn't.  God took that new definition of "work" He'd revealed to me and had me apply it to these new pursuits.  It became my full time job. Amongst other things, I started learning Hindi!

the zoo with Melissa
My sister also moved in with us for the fall as she took a semester off since her college didn't offer any classes she needed this semester. She's going back in the next two weeks for her final semester of undergrad. I've become accustomed to having her around and it'll be strange to know that when she moves out this time it'll probably be the last time we'll live together, since she's getting married next fall.

Falls Park, Greenville: good times there.
The end of November found me suddenly employed after nineteen and a half months. God is faithful, and for the plans He has for me, money does have its purpose. So I'm trying to be a faithful steward while I have the job... it is seasonal, and as of yet I've not heard either way about my future, but I have a feeling I will when I go into work tomorrow.

hanging out with Canterbury friends
Going from working for God alone to working for a corporation for the first time in my life was a jarring experience. This job is the most physically demanding I've worked since I was a teenager, and I feel like I've just been constantly trying to "catch-up" for weeks. The holidays haven't helped that feeling, but they have been wonderful.  Especially wonderful was getting to see my sister Beth.  That visit was more relaxed and deeper than normal ones.

Tabitha and Jordan
I was supposed to apply for my passport last week, but I got sick, and then this week brought it's own distractions. I'm really hoping to get that done Monday or Tuesday. 

I can't help but dwell on what a huge year this has been for Tabitha. Not only did she welcome her firstborn, but she just found out a couple weeks ago she's pregnant with baby number two!! She announced it on facebook today so now I get to tell people. (I knew since last week.) Today made 9 weeks. I'm very excited and hoping for a girl!

Ryan celebrating his birthday 
And there was a lot of catching up with old friends: Hannah, Erika, Melissa, and of course hanging with the Canterbury gang. The making of new friends, like Anne and joining the women's Bible Study. Many church adventures from trying to find one for Tabitha, connecting with the one on the corner, and finally getting a regular ride to my own. The start of 'See Pam Run'. There were some great parties, some intimate times, and great phone conversations. And, of course, there was my Ryan. My darling Ryan.

2011 was a crazy year, a big year, but not a bad year.  And yes, God, it was an exciting year. I'm neither sad nor happy to see it go, but eager to see what you have in store for me and my loved ones in 2012... the year Ryan and I hope to marry in...
Rock on, 2011. Rock on.
Linking up with Brag on God Friday.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You had a busy year. You can tell from your post (and your pictures) how blessed you are with friends and family who love you! Your post was really uplifting and I'm glad you wrote it. AND happy wedding (sometime) in 2012!!!

    And India!! Wow, I'd love to read about that discussion/decision.

    Happy New Year!! ~Kelly


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