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Well…I read my mom’s Christmas letter this morning and I laughed…a lot! My mom’s letter always makes me laugh because I’ve never really understood the point of it and this time she had more than a few grammatical/punctuation errors. I can laugh at that because my mom does know how to write she must’ve just been in a hurry :) I love you Mom!! As I read the letter I realized that I got like two sentences on my life in the past year and SO much has happened that I really can’t quite say two sentences sums it up. So here’s my version of a Christmas letter…although don’t plan to see one of these for a while…maybe someday when I have kids to brag about or something :)

Friends and Family,

Another year has passed and what a year it’s been! I have experienced so many blessings in the past year that I cannot quite comprehend it all at times. Some of these blessings I’m not quite ready to talk about yet, others you’ve heard much about but I’m going to fill you in anyway. I feel as though I may have met my quota for my lifetime, but I’m sure that’s not actually the case.

Almost a year ago exactly, I graduated from Boise State University. The day was bittersweet for a number of reasons. The main reason being that I enjoyed my college experience immensely! Immensely! I am grateful for the experiences, memories, and learning that took place on campus. I am so grateful for all of the memories I have with Misty, Jonnie, and with professors that literally moved me to tears. I had at least one of those a semester, what a blessing! What a way to send someone out into the world of education!

After graduation I started working as a 3rd grade teacher in a new school district, new school, a grade I hadn’t worked with prior…it was hard. I was grateful for the job, don’t get me wrong, but I feared I had chosen the wrong career. It wasn’t what I had expected and I struggled, really struggled, through the year.

In addition to that, I watched my brother muster up more courage than I can fathom and leave to serve a mission for the church in Brazil. I think the day he left was the most empty day of my life, to date. That was a trial of faith for me, to trust my Heavenly Father to watch over my brother for two entire years. Shane is my friend and he is the one person who can make me laugh at any time. He’s hilarious, and luckily hasn’t lost that yet and it has been almost a year. He’s growing a lot on his mission and I have felt the blessings our family has received through his service. I thank him for that and I do thank my Heavenly Father for watching over him. I miss him every single day, still. I honestly cannot wait for the next year.

It’s funny, that when Shane left I wanted to wish the next two years away and somehow this year has been so full that I hate to see it go. After such a hard six months of teaching third grade I found a job at the Idaho Foodbank. I have already blogged and spoken so much about this opportunity. I found my heart again. I helped feed needy children and worked with some of the most loving and caring people I’ve ever met. I made some lasting friendships and my life was changed through my job this summer.

Right before summer started I had the opportunity to interview for a 5th grade teaching position at Wilson, which is where I student taught. I would have the opportunity to work in the kind of school I have wanted to since I started classes at Boise State. I would work with some people that I had truly grown to love. I wasn’t sure I wanted to teach in Caldwell because I want to go back to school and Caldwell doesn’t cover graduate school costs like some other districts do. I was truly torn. I did pray about that decision and I decided on Wilson. I made the right choice! I will find another way to go back to school…I am unbelievably happy with my job, my class, and MOST of my coworkers.

Some of my coworkers have been such good friends that they helped me find a place to live out there…so I could visit with them on occasion and be closer to school. So…yes! I finally moved out and ON MY OWN! It was a big adjustment at first, to be honest. It was different than I thought it would be but I have grown attached to my little townhouse and I am LOVING it! I will post pictures but I must tell you, it is cute, and it’s mine and I am happy about that.

The past two months have been a whirlwind of emotions and new friendships. I have met some people (and one person in particular) who have/has changed my life…from this point on it won’t ever be the same, regardless. :) I am happy although some days I’m still in shock! I am grateful for the opportunity to have these people bless my life.

I am so grateful for the holiday season and what it represents. I am so lucky to have a family that is so loving and giving. Our immediate family isn’t celebrating Christmas as normal without Shane, it just wouldn’t even feel right. But we are enjoying the spirit of the season nonetheless. I love my Savior and what He has done for me and for all of us. I have had the opportunity to really try to better understand His sacrifice and what it means for us over the past several weeks and I have a better appreciation for it now than I ever did before. I am of course, most of all, grateful for the exemplary life He led. I hope that as we celebrate His birth and close out this year, that I can prepare and set goals to be more like Him in the coming year(s). I love you all! Merry Christmas!
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