Another year has come and gone by in a flash. It’s the end of the second week of January already, and I can scarcely believe it! My life is flying by faster than a speeding bullet, and I just want to breathe for a single moment.
I sit hear listening to the sounds of construction as our busted pipe is repaired. The hot water pipe in our kitchen faucet froze during the single and negative temperatures on New years eve. Yes, we had our faucet dripping. Not enough though, clearly. After 10 days of frozen solitude, it thawed and instantly burst spewing water all over our new basement carpet.
As life would have it, I had a bad head cold during this flood. So a HUGE shout out goes to my amazing hubby for almost single-handedly cleaning the water mess. Thanks to our heavenly Father for giving me the thought of looking in our basement a mere half an hour after the break, and Andrew for his fast work, and our trusted local construction friends, the damage was minimal! Also, we just learned that the pipe broke right above our electrical box. :-0 So God protected us from a HUGE disaster!
I’ll always remember how 2017 ended and 2018 began; with a frozen flood.
Our lives in 2017 were far from frozen though (with the exception of the 3 feet of snow in March). It was one event overlapping the next, with twists and turns, and lots of brilliant highs speckled with only minor lows. God is so good!!
The year started like most years in the past (10 years to be exact); a fun night of partying at our friends’, The Seelye’s, house.
(Left to Right) Brittany, myself, Lauren, Hannah, Michelle.
We’ve made amazing memories and had such wonderful times with these girls and their families over the past 10 years! It was a perfect way to end 2016 and start 2017!
March brought my big 30th birthday and it is currently my favorite to date! March 4th landed on a Saturday this year and Andrew took me to my second home; NYC!!
We spent the beautiful day at an art show, touring art studios, catching a Broadway show, eating Thai at our favorite restaurant, and just enjoying the break from Pennsylvania for the day.
FINALLY got to see Wicked! EXCELLENT!!!!
Drunken Noodle is the best dish on earth…
And then, of course there was the 3 foot blizzard that nearly had us moving south…
At least Riker had a little fun.
All through the winter and spring of 2017 I plunged myself deep into work at Rock Solid Academy. This was my first school year with them and I worked around the clock to do as much for them and the students as I possibly could. I even helped chaperone their very first prom!
The crazy Chaperones!(Me, Jess,&Tara)
The kids stole my heart completely!
I not only taught Art, Culinary, Theater, and worked as one of the two secretaries, I also wrote, stage designed and helped direct an original play. God had told me two years prior that he wanted me to write a play. Thanks to Rock Solid, a magnificent cast of kids, an amazing partner, friend and director (Tara DiMarco), and months of long after-school hours, my dream became a reality!
I painted all of the stage backdrops too! Loved every minute 🙂 .
“The Sounds of Praise” will always be one of the most memorable events of 2017 that I never ever want to forget!!
Another event that took place in the spring was Fine Arts. In case you haven’t heard of it before: Fine Arts is a national scholarship competition through the Assembly of God church where teenagers compete in categories pertaining to the arts (music, painting, drama, speech, etc.). My specialty is in the category “Human Video”, which is a drama performance set to song where the actors don’t speak or sing, but convey a message with movement.
There are three levels, sectional (a few counties), districts (one or two states, ours is PA & DE), and Nationals (I think that one is self explanatory lol). 2017 was my first time judging at the district level, and I got to share this experience with my Drewbear!
I also helped coach two teams last year (one in our old church, and one in our new one), and got to see both perform with high honors! One made nationals, and one just barely missed the third round. All of these teens are brilliant and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for them!!
Once June hit, Andrew and I knew that we needed a break from the craziness! It was time for a vacation for just the two of us. So we explore Greenville, South Carolina, and fell deeply in love with this area! It was our best vacation to date!
Shakespeare in the park
Literally the BEST Bed and Breakfast we’ve ever stayed at!
I could give you a dozen more pics, but there’s a taste for you. 😉 We then finished our vacation at the Outer Banks with a few of our friends…
There’s nothing quite like the beach to refresh the soul!
The summer brought some much need renovations to our house (you can read more about them here), a trip to Pittsburgh to visit my sister, lots of fun with our growing boy, and joyful times with new friends, but a major thing happened that could change my life for forever; my love for writing returned. I credit the need to write “The Sound of Praise” to ignite that fire within me again. But I also praise God for bringing a new friend into my life: Alison Treat. She is a fellow writer (a published writer I might add), whom I met at the end of 2016. Our friendship grew as 2017 continued on.
In one of our early conversations I told Alison how I had a novel I was writing, but hadn’t picked it up for over a year at that time. I actually hadn’t thought about this novel for a while because of, well, life really. Jobs, parenting, and changes in church venues had pushed my passion for writing to the side. But no longer!!! Alison told me about this writer’s conference that would be taking place at the end of June. So I decided to take out my dusty document and fine tune those first six chapters to present to any publishers or agents I could meet with.
I could only attend two out to the four days of the Montrose Writers’ Conference, but it changed my life for forever!! I got to meet dozens of fellow writers, hear inspiring stories, learn priceless tricks of the trade, further my knowledge on writing styles, and meet a publisher and agent that both asked for my completed manuscript & proposal!! (A HUGE deal, since that meant they loved my work!!!)
It was just the boost of confidence I needed to complete my first draft and my first round of editing by the year’s end! I’m now deep into the second round of editing, and hope to be done very shortly. God is so good!
There were other adventures in the last half of the year (most of them I’ve already blogged about, so I will briefly touch upon those…)
First family camping trip! We went with a lot of our new church family 🙂
Riker caught his first fish!
Our kid turned 4!
Riker started preschool. He’s getting so big!!
Enjoyed the fall foliage while hiking a mountain with our Treat friends!
Riker got a girlfriend 🙂 (Eva Treat)
We grew our family with Mr. Darcy and Alixia
We won Trunk or Treat with my DIY Gotham city.
I Co-Directed the children’s Christmas play at our church!
Last, but certainly not least, I got to play the role of Mary in our church’s live Nativity!! Had an incredible time with this fun cast!! 🙂
Sure, there were some not so great stuff that happened in the past year as well… I went through a third life crisis where I came to the realization I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (praise God he is answering that long prayer!), my grandmother Gibson pasted away, we got some miserable snow storms (including that three foot nightmare), and I gained 9 pounds (but I’m determined to loose that and 5 more in the next few months, while still consuming my chocolate and pizza lol. Plus I already lost 2pounds from this cold-silver lining!).
But I believe it’s these little trials and challenges that help us appreciate, and even see those blessings and new beginnings we might have missed otherwise. For instance, the end of 2016 was full of questions plaguing Andrew and I. We could feel a change coming, but we didn’t know how or to what extent. We could feel relationships suffering and uneasiness stirring to the point where we just had to stop and ask God for wisdom for the next step.
Enter 2017. God laid on our hearts to leave our church of 10 years, and embark on a new adventure. Thus began our year of new beginnings! It was beyond hard and difficult to leave our friends, comfort, and all that we knew, behind us. But when God closes a door, you better believe another one is waiting, and it’s not just a crumby window either!
This year was full of life, love, memories, excitement, newness, renewal, and rewards. From my plays, to my near finished book, to dozens of new friends that are already as close as family! I can’t imagine what this year would have been full of if we hadn’t stepped out in faith and made that first scary step into the unknown.
2017 ended at a brand new friend’s home to ring in the new year. It was the first change of venue in 10 years! We were sad to not be spending it with our old friends (whom sadly were all sick 😦 ), but it ended up being the best new years to date! Not because the others were bad, by NO means; they were fantastic!! This is because every year should be better than the last. When you know you are where God has you, then your best is definitely yet to come!
What will 2018 bring? God has been bringing to mind that this will be a year of growth. We shall see soon enough what that entails. 🙂 Happy New Year!!!