Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

I cannot believe this is the last day of 2011.  Where has the time gone?!  The word blessed does not do my life justice.  I do not believe there is even a word to describe just how I feel.  The Lord has been so faithful and has come through more times than I could begin to count.

When looking back just on this one year of my life, I feel so overwhelmed with how fortunate I am, but also how undeserving too. But that's what's amazing about God's grace - no one deserves it.  He just blesses us with it because He loves us.  I feel like I said this same thing in 2009 and 2010.  And I did, but when I stop to think about it, I can point to one defining moment in my life that changed everything for me.  2009 was full of some very low valleys for me during the first part of the year.  I mean...rock bottom.  But it was also the best time of my life.  Although I had been saved when I was 8, I feel like I never fully trusted the Lord with my life.  I had my own agenda and I was going to do things my way.  It wasn't until He yanked away every single perfect piece of my little plan that I realized I was a fool.  But it was what I needed.  He used the low points to bring me closer to Him.  I can remember just hitting my knees and telling Him I was so lost and didn't know what to do, but that I trusted Him that His plan was better than anything I could have planned.  I promised Him that if He would pull me through, I would never turn my back on Him again.  I've kept my promise.  A little over a month later, Jared walked into my life.  A week later, I found the EXACT home I had been looking for that I could afford to live on my own.  Two months later, my perfect niece was born.  A year later, I was engaged to the man made just for me.  Six months after the engagement, we were married and living in our first little home.  That brings us to 2011.  I just did not think it could get better.  But it did.

I loved our little home in North Hill where we began 2011.  It was old, had character, but it was a bit small.  After we got married, we had nowhere to house our gifts, I had two cabinets in the kitchen and 2 functioning burners on the stove.  Once we got Rosie, it really felt cramped.  We made the decision to move to a bigger rental with a fenced in backyard.  I still think back about our little Barcelona house.  It wasn't much to look at from the outside, but we had some great memories there.  I'll always remember how the sun streamed through the windows every morning as we sat together drinking coffee on the couch.  And I could never forget how COLD that house was.  We were always bundled up it seemed.  It was our first home and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Moving to the house on Sandcliff was fun because it was minutes from the beach, but it just doesn't hold the same memories like the Barcelona house did.  We actually had our engagement pictures taken at our Barcelona house out on the brick street in front.  I'm so thankful we did that now.

We went into this year with absolutely NO plans of buying a home.  It just wasn't in our budget.  So, we signed a year lease in March 2011 at the Sandcliff house.  We would have never dreamed we'd be sitting in our own home that WE own right now.  The whole thing was purely a God send.  Jared saw the house on MLS one day.  On a whim we decided to look at it a week later and loved it.  It was the exact neighborhood we were wanting to move in to, but didn't see that happening anytime soon.  We prayed about it and felt led to proceed so I called the bank, we got immediate approval, made an offer and BAM we were homeowners.  Just.Like.That.  But one thing loomed over our head - that darn lease.  We prayed fervently together again asking the Lord to send us a renter.  That very same day the man that ended up renting the home drove by for the first time.  He rented it right away and we were freed from the financial obligation of paying two mortgages at one time.  Tell me that wasn't the Lord's will at work.

J and I celebrated our first year of marriage this year.  We reflected back on just how much happened to us in a year and how thankful we are to have found one another.  I just can't get over how fast it went.  I'm looking forward to many, many more years with him.

I changed careers and became a teacher this year - something I again prayed a lot about.  God hears our prayers, folks.  I won't go into every single detail of how that came to be, but at the very beginning of 2011, our Sunday School teacher was talking about how you have to be responsible for taking that initial leap of faith and God will lead the way.  God couldn't just make me a teacher.  I had to first pass the tests and put myself in the position to have a job open up for me.  That class changed my life and I couldn't be more happy to go to work everyday.  It's hard and long hours (except for the vacations) but it never feels like work to me.

We got our little dogter in January of 2011 and boy oh boy has she changed our lives!  She has been nothing short of a little adventure in our everyday lives but she's so much fun.

This year was JAM PACKED with weddings and I loved every minute of it.  I'm so thankful to have been able to share in so many friends' joy.  If you want to check that out, read this post.

I was able to spend another year with my loved ones and was blessed with good health.  My family and friends continue to be so supportive and encouraging in my life and I'm so thankful for them.  My mom and dad celebrated 30 years of marriage this year and are such a positive force in my life.  I love them so very much.

My faith has grown exponentially during this past year.  I continue to see God's work in my life everyday.  I set out as my New Year's resolution to read the Bible all the way through in 2011.  I am happy to report that although I did not completely meet this resolution, I did pretty darn good.  I finished all of the New Testament and am halfway done with the Old Testament.  I have developed a quiet time for myself and read my Bible on (almost) a daily basis.  That's coming a long way from nothing at all.  This year I plan to continue this and devote even more time to God's word.  I WILL finish the Bible this year - hopefully in just a few months.

I'm sure I'm leaving a lot out, but 2011 has been one great year.  Good thing I have this little blog to look back on some happenings from this past year.  My heart is so full of joy.  Here's to hoping 2012 is full of blessings for all!


Doris Young said...

What a beautiful story! Seek and you will find blessings around each and every corner...for God is good. Love your blog!
Doris @ thirdgradethinkers8

Carrie Louise said...

Thank you, Doris! I love your blog as well. You can tell that you really love your students. I've gotten some great ideas from you!