Top 11 of 2011

30 Nov

As I am wrapping up my time here at Bear Valley (we move in 22 days!) and looking back on the past year as the New Year gets close, I thought I would record the top eleven best things that have happened to me in 2011….

11. Getting An Apartment With A Washer & Dryer

I know. It seems silly. But for the first year here we didn’t have that washer and dryer and trust me, it makes ALL the difference in the world. And our rent here is only $3 more, but we have all utilities except electricity included, so it ended up being way cheaper. Score.

10. Getting My Highest Paid Job Ever

This one was just fun! I have been a nanny for a long time, but being a nanny in Colorado is a different experience. Everyone I worked for had a four story house (seriously!!). I got paid $20 an hour at one job and got to drive the Lexus and go to the country club all the time. It was miserable, let me tell you. 🙂

9. Facing My Fear Of Public Speaking & Still Being Alive

I really wouldn’t want to do this one again (although I just did it a few weeks ago!), but at least I stepped way, way, way outside of my comfort zone and tried it (for the 80th time)! I am still not the best by any means, but I think I grew somewhat and got at least a little bit better. I am still afraid of it, but in a sense, I feel like I overcame my fear because I got beyond that and did it anyway even though stepping on hot coals would have probably been more comfortable! God gave me talents, but public speaking is not one of them. But at least I tried!

8. Gaining Knowledge (and another degree!) In the past two years, I have been blessed by the opportunity to attend Bear Valley. I have met some wonderful people that I know I will stay in touch with forever. I earned a second degree (my first is Child & Human Development Bachelor’s) in Biblical Studies, though this degree is an associate’s and managed to keep a 4.0 throughout my entire time here (check off my bucket list). Better than all that though is the knowledge I have gained from my studies and how much I have truly learned about the Bible and being a woman of God. Kj received his Bachelor’s of Theology (a step up from Biblical Studies) and even learned Greek! Pretty cool stuff.

7Paying Off Credit Card Debt

This was a HUGE goal KJ and I have had for so long. We worked so, so hard for years scrapping up every extra dime and putting it on these cards and watching the interest eat it up and repeating. God blessed us so much through my nanny job and KJ getting some jobs preaching out on the weekends and we did it! We are (credit card) debt free!! We never thought we would get there and it has been such a blessing and relief. We know God gave us this opportunity! And though it has been hard and sometimes with living on support we have literally only had $20 in the bank, we have not gotten in any more credit card debt. We broke the habit and we are hooked forever on living without them. Thanks Dave Ramsey!

6. My Surprise Date From KJ

My husband is a big teddy bear. He always has been. And I love it! He has done SO many sweet things for me (seriously!) that it is hard to pick the best one. But the best one of this past year was when he took me on a surprise date. It was a normal week, and I woke up with a note beside my bed. It said, “You are so beautiful in the morning! [insert more mushy, mushy] Will you go on a surprise date with me this Friday? [with a yes/no box to check] If you say yes, I want you to understand that this is a SURPRISE date and to not ask ANY questions. I love you, KJ” So of course I checked yes [this was Monday] and waited all week in anticipation. Friday comes and he takes me to Ruby Tuesday (I LOVE this place!) and then blindfolds me. I have NO idea where we are going, but he takes me to the Denver Art Museum where they are having a King Tut exhibit. Now, plug into your inner nerd here or you will miss how great this was. I love King Tut. Since I was a kid. Egyptian stuff, all of it, want to visit there so bad…you get the point. So I am like almost in tears! And the best part is I had mentioned a LONG time before liking King Tut and he took that and put it together with the exhibit and planned this huge surprise. Isn’t that the sweetest thing ever? I thought so! So of course we spent like five hours going through this huge, elaborate museum with everything King Tut (like, even the sandles he wore)! And it was just the best night ever. Seriously, I married the best!!!

5. Personal Growth

It is crazy to me that in February I will be twenty five. I feel ancient. I still remember when turning sixteen was a huge deal! Now I am almost ten years older. So weird. Kj was a TEENAGER (19!) when I married him and he turns 23 this week. Just crazy. It is hard to sit down and explain how you have grown to a computer screen. Maybe impossible. But I know I am not the same person I was two years ago or even at the beginning of this year. We have had a lot of good things happen in the past two years (as you can see) but times have been so hard sometimes as well! Through it all, I have grown and I have watched KJ grow as well. We grew in our prayer life, our trust in God, our patience, and even in wisdom I would say (through trials). God has taught us both so much and it has been so valuable. And even though we have always had a great marriage, we grew closer in that as well. We have really been blessed.

4. Traveling! 

Kj and I love to travel. After we got married, we opened up a map and said, “We can go anywhere. Where should we move?” and the next thing we knew, we ended up in Charleston, South Carolina. We had never been in the state, knew no one there, and didnt have jobs. But he wanted to take me to where the Notebook was filmed and to this day, we agree that was the best thing we ever did. We ended up attending the North Charleston Church of Christ and let me tell you, if I had fifty pages of room, I would still not be done saying all the good things I have to say about these people! They are loving, faithful to God’s word, and just the BEST group I have ever been with. You really can’t put it into words. The hardest thing we ever did was leave them to come to Denver. We knew it was the right choice, but I don’t think I have ever cried so much! We loved those people and we still do today. We have stayed in touch and cannot wait to visit them. I have never missed someone (or a group of people!) so much in my entire life. They truly became our family! And I know KJ especially has learned SO much from Don Blackwell. He is the most upstanding man I have ever met and we both feel privileged to be called his friend.

So after Charleston came Denver which we had always wanted to see. I will never forget the first time we saw the mountains. Kj almost wrecked the car! We couldn’t quit looking and were both like “woah!!” I will always remember it. I got to see Columbine High School (which I still remember happening so vividly, like it was yesterday) and go inside the cafeteria and everything. It was so eerie and it made it so real. Also, while we were here, a shooting happened at a middle school right by where I worked and walked the toddler around every day (thankfully, it was my day off). Some really scary stuff, I am telling you. Even though these are sad situations, I still valued getting to see them firsthand. They make you appreciate life more. Then recently we finally got to go to Ogden, Utah. We had been wanting to since before we left Charleston! It is where they filmed our favorite show Everwood and it was just perfect. Words can’t even describe how amazing it was and we were both sooo excited and like little kids. And sorry Colorado, but Utah is THE most beautiful place I have ever seen! Now we are moving back to the south and are SO excited for that! We love the south more than anywhere else, but are so glad we got to come out west for a while and see some really cool stuff.

3. Getting our Dream Job

I still can’t believe it sometimes! Kj and I tried out for a preaching position (pulpit) in New Concord, KY and just fell in love! I remember sitting at the Nashville airport after the tryout and neither of us wanted to fly back to Denver. We were so at home and we just felt like we belonged there. The eldership is a group of wonderful, strong, faithful men and the congregation is just unbelievably dedicated and loving. We will (for the first time!) have a house (and a cute one at that!!) and it will be so nice to have a steady income that is predictable. We will have so many opportunities in the work there and I am so proud of my husband for his love for God and his desire to do what is right always! The day they called and officially offered us the job was the best day ever! We are so ecstatic and give God all the glory for answered prayers and His providence! The next day we were called and offered another position too, although New Concord was always our first choice. God has truly blessed us beyond belief!

2. Having Lasik Eye Surgery

I have better than 20/10 vision now! I had HORRIBLE and I mean HORRIBLE vision before. I couldn’t see hardly anything without my contacts. I couldn’t read road signs, clocks, anything. And my contacts were giving me problems 24/7. We didn’t have vision insurance so just the appointments alone were killing us. Denver has some of the top Lasik doctors in the world. I was researching them just to see what people had said about it and found a 0% special and the Lasik was MUCH cheaper than normal. So I went in for a free consultation and got scheduled in and had it done. I am beyond terrified of doctors and surgeries and have never had anything major done (never even broken a bone! wisdom teeth was my only major surgery!) and was scared. It did hurt (despite what others say) but I think it was because of my Indian cheekbones. They have to tape your eyes down a certain way and my cheekbones were RIGHT in the way. So I am sure it wouldn’t be as bad for normal people 🙂 The whole thing took less than ten minutes and then I had an afternoon of recovery and some eyes drops and that was it. Now (as weird as it sounds) I forget I couldn’t see! It’s like I was born with these eyes!!! Plus I have a lifetime warranty so if something goes wrong I just come to Denver and they fix it for free. Pretty awesome. Best part? Over the course of a lifetime, this option cost me less than having contacts and all that (and saves me a ton of headaches and frustration). The very best part? Even with the 0%, I paid it off early! So my eyes should be good for life now. SO thankful for it. I wake up every day and can read the clock and see and it is just amazing! Couldn’t be happier. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner (but then I might not have gotten such a deal either!)

1. Writing A Novel

This is my #1! My entire life I have loved writing. In fact, if I am not writing, something feels off for me. I love to be creative and words just flow out of me and if I am not writing I don’t feel like myself. So I had a novel idea/concept in 2003 and I had jotted a few things onto paper and put them away. In 2010, I started writing again and by the end of 2010, I had self-published it. This was my top thing on my bucket list— to write a novel (and hopefully one that people enjoyed). People have been really kind and everyone that has read it so far has loved it and that is a huge joy for me. I write for myself, but I also write for the reader and it means the world to me when someone connects with my characters like they are real people and cries over them. I put my novel as an ebook on amazon.com two months ago and I have already sold close to 200 copies! And considering I am a nobody, I think that is pretty good! I make very little on sales, so I am not getting rich, but that was never the point for me. I write because I love it. I write because I have to! It’s just part of me. And seeing other people be interested in my work and enjoy it is the greatest reward of all. I wrote a few others book while I was here as well, but the Locket was the one I really wanted to finish and I did it. It is such a small thing in a way, but was a huge thing for me. Even though I still have goals to get it commercially published and do more with writing, I still feel a sense of accomplishment. Because my novel has brought joy into other people’s lives and that is all I ever wanted. The coolest part for me is that even if I was to die today, there would always be this little part of me that lived on even after I was gone. My novel would be there for generations after me and there is something about it that I just find amazing.

It has been an awesome year and I know next year holds even more wonderful things to come!

I am thankful that God has blessed me with such a full life!

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One Response to “Top 11 of 2011”

  1. Emily November 30, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Emily, you are amazing! I am so proud of all that you have accomplished. I can’t even begin to describe to you what I see when I look at you (via pictures on FB of course! Have I mentioned I miss you??). I think back to our brief stint as roommates, and our fun-time HRH times and I just think of how far we’ve both come. We married these amazing men, and God has truly blessed both of us. I am SO glad that all of this is working out for you, and I’m even more excited that you’ll be closer to me! I cannot wait to see all that God will do in your life! I am so blessed to call you a great friend, but even more so to be able to call you a sister. I love you!

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