This past year has been filled with an abundance of change. Hard change. Challenging change. Sad change. Excited change. So many different levels of change.
The first three months of the year were spent celebrating our entire families birthdays and finishing up house renovations in preparation of the house going up for sale.
March brought the house going up for sale and me being let go from my job in the span of 3 days. That was a rough week full of pools of tears.
The next months were a whirlwind of keeping the house spotlessly clean as people trickled through to look at it and slowly start packing as we made the decision to move across the country even if the house wasn't sold by August.
Packing a semi to take our stuff to an unknown place. Taking our first family plane ride that wouldn't be coming back to the only lives we knew. New schools for Sam and Ed. No church. No sense of being grounded somewhere. So many unknowns.
Leaving friends was one of the hardest things. I cried for weeks. I lost my joy. My smile. I look at pictures of when we first moved here and see a shell of someone that I don't recognize.
November brought a surprise that brought my smile back thanks to my amazing husband. A visit from one of my dearest friends and her baby girl. I didn't want that time to end. I didn't want my smile to disappear again. I wanted to keep feeling and not go back to being numb. I wanted to continue living as long as possible on the vapors of happiness long after my friend left. Healthy? Not so much. And I knew it too. I enjoyed every moment with the two of them and I sure do miss them. My friends are still and always will be there, no matter how close or far away we are from each other. It was a good kick in the pants, though, to see how much I had already missed by moping around. I knew I needed to keep living despite the distance between me and my peeps. :)
Thanksgiving with the parents flying here. Christmas with Ed's mom flying here. Snow (yay!) that I didn't think I would see for years. The first time we haven't traveled anywhere for the holidays.
As the year closes, now looking back, I can very easily say that every change, even hard ones, have been growing experiences. I'm learning so much about myself, my faith. Our marriage has been put to the test numerous times in the past months and will continue to be put to the test, but we've come out on the other end of the tests stronger. My faith has been stretched. Things didn't and aren't happening like I thought they would, but I'm starting to see glimpses of why we were led to come here. And I'm sure glad we obeyed.
Ed and Sam have jumped into the routine of school. Ed has been stretched, pulled, stretched, pulled and stretched more. He's still able to walk though. Sam has made fast friends, loves P.E. and recess, has a love/hate relationship with reading, loves math and science, and dislikes homework. He's all about sports and has broken in his boxing gloves and football helmet he received for Christmas already.
I never thought I would start to feel settled, but it's slowly coming. I still really don't know a whole lot of people, and I still really miss my friends, but we've found a church that's exactly what we were looking for (different from the one I talked about back in September). The kids love it. We love it. We are looking forward to getting involved. Slowly. There are kids choirs, adult choir (which isn't the typical "choir" but a choral group...it's Chorale with Dr. Stewart all over again and I'm very excited about that!), a wilderness group, Pioneer club, etc. But we're taking it slow this time. The college and career pastor spoke this past Sunday. And SHE (gasp!) was good. :). I actually look forward to going to church again. It's been a very long time since I've felt that way.
Who knows what 2009 is going to bring. Four months ago, I was dreading it to the point of tears as it seemed to loom ahead like a road with no end in sight. Now I'm ok with not seeing an end. I know I've changed already. I'm still me, but the me at the beginning of 2008 is already different than the me that will be starting 2009. I'm learning to enjoy the time here. To love on my kids even more. To deepen my marriage with my best friend. It's a season I want to learn from. To grow in. Not to wish away.
And how does one end the year of 2008? By signing papers and closing on our house in MI. As of today, it is no longer ours.