Friday, January 02, 2009

Welcome 2009!

What an incredible holiday! 2008, a year of firsts and life-changing moments, has offically came to a close. I have to admit, I didn't want it to end, simply b/ this year has been one of many milestones...
- first (of many) plane rides
- first trip outside of the United States
- first real enounter with culture
- the wedding, the wedding, the wedding, the wedding!!!
- really, really living on my own (I realize now that living away from home during college doesn't count as much as you think it does, you're still not on your own in so much that the bank comes hunting you down if that morgage ain't paid!!)
- first time thinking of myself as a "sexual" person... (I know that's a little personal, but hey, it's a true change... being together 5 years and building a relationship in which premarital sex was not something we wanted to have, introducing it into our relationship now that we are married has been a new dynamic of our relationship...)
-my first [insert holiday here] without my parents. As an only child, I'm really close to my parents. They are my heroes, my biggest fans, my friends... and not being with them as much as been hard on both me and them somedays.
- my first loan application- applying for a morgage is SCARY...
- our first time purchasing a vehicle out of our own pockets, completely alone...

There are really too many firsts to name here, but with us getting married, the economy, school... this year has made me a totally different person than who I was in December 2007. I was just realizing the changes that marriage was going to bring, and now I am actually experiencing them. Realizing what it means to start our own traditions and own ways of life, balancing our families, watching our career paths bloom and change, it's all so overwheming.
I'm proud of the woman 2008 has helped me become. Our pastor preached a while back on the economy and after that, I've had a lot of peace. I've not worried so much this year, which ironically, was one of my New Years Resolutions for the 2008 year. I know that if the worst of the worst happens, I can hang on to those who I love and trust God to get me through.

And, oh the wonderful, amazing season that we call Christmas... let me TELL you about my Christmas this year.
We put lights on our house- it was so beautiful (and it was really all ours!!!) that I almost cried..
I went caroling for the first time ever (growing up in the woods, you lived too far out to go caroling, it was too dark, and you were libel to get shot! so not an option where I lived as a kid) in Charlotte with our church and seeing the surprise and joy on the people's faces when they opened their doors to hear us sing "Joy to the World" I could hardly sing for smiling so big! Bringing others true joy- what a moving experience!!! Then we helped buy Christmas presents for a child in need- and I can't even begin to explain how much God came through for us there- or how touching it was to be able to help someone like that.... and waking up on Christmas morning to open presents with Jake & Bella... it was so full of love... I loved this year... it was quite possibly the best holiday ever...

2008 came with some heartache too... Losing Uncle Dean & struggling with feeling so helpless to comfort my Aunt Christy. Losing Jake's Uncle Joe. My issues with trusting men came to light in 2008 as well. I've seen first hand that the men you think could never fall to temptation; who would never step out on their marriages- can do just that. And the hurt from seeing men I trust as examples of Godly husbands do such revolting things has made me jaded, and worried that life will get complicated and start erroding at mine & Jake's marriage... and this could happen to us, too.... but I've also seen learned that many, many things contribute to adultry. And keeping God first in our marriage, and communicating about everything is mandatory... Even though I can't help but fear for my marriage, it's made me more and more determined that we will not be another statistic, and more passionate about keeping our relationship in check... making sure we are taking time to talk, to pray & spend time with God together, to make sure we put each other before ourselves, and to avoid temptation at all costs... I feel confidant that God has blessed us with some wisdom about marriage- following His directions and guidance is the challange.

This new year is supposedly gonna be a hard one. The experts say it's gonna get worse before it gets better, and the guy on the 700 Club talked about a future of hyper-inflation and a desperate world, hungry for hope. I don't really know what 2009 will bring- & there's no use listening to the predictions. I know it's gonna be hard; but I know we will be okay- and that God is going to use this year to shape me even more into the woman I'm slowly becoming. I trust Him & I trust that this year will be full of even more firsts, and more amazing experiences.

So finally... here are my resolutions.
1. Learn to like to exercise. I'm not resolving to lose weight (although that would be super-nice!!!) but to quit fearing exercise & avoiding it!! It IS the only way I'm ever gonna lose any weight after all, considering my diet is already as good as logically possible...
2. Pray more for Jake. This is carried over from last year. I've done better, I prayed for him more in 2008 than I did in 2007, but there's no such thing as too much prayer. Especially for the man you call your husband.
3. Read more. This includes reading for school, pleasure, the Bible, everything. I put off reading b/c I'm busy... which is more than likely my excuse as a result of my own procrastination. I'm going to use my time more efficently so that I have more time for the glorious act of reading!
4. Believe in my ability to be successful... as a wife, a friend, a teacher, and a student. and even as a mother. 2009 just might be the year we become parents, so if that's the case, I want to believe I can be a good mother. I already know I can do all these things in my heart, somewhere, deep down, but I want to believe in myself passionately.

Those are the nuts and bolts of my resolutions, although there are other things I want to be better at in 2009 including organizing and housekeeping, gardening and decorating, lesson planning and staying organized and prepared as a teacher (I'll be starting my field experience in Aug. 2009, then student teaching in 2010). I'm praying for God's direction with taking on Thirty One and becoming a consultant... praying about money, time, patience... I feel friendships changing and I know some will continue to fad and others will grow. I learned that's okay in 2008. Friends come and go, & that's part of life- God provides.

It all comes down to that 2008 can be summed up with the word "WHOA" and that 2009 is going to be just the same. It's going to be an adventure!!!

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My last "topic" for this post (I feel like a talk show host as I type that!) is on cooking.
I want to share my newest recipes that I'm in love with....

SHEPARD'S PIE (Hubby is Irish- so it's a must in the Wilson home!)
1 pound ground meat (beef is fine, I prefer deer meat!)
1 can Veg-All
1 packet of brown gravy mix
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2-3 cups of prepared mashed potatoes (make them from scratch or from a box, either is fine)
paprika, parsley, minced garlic, salt & pepper to taste

Brown onion & meat in a cast iron skillet with spices. Use a spoonful of butter instead of oil. Onve meat is browned and onions are good & clear, add the can of vegetables and gravy mix. Continue to brown all this together in the skillet until all vegetables are hot, tender, and flavorful... maybe 15-20 minutes. Once the meat & veggie mix is done, pat the mixture down flat into the skillet until in resembles a large patty. Cover and spread the mashed potatoes over the top, being careful not to let the mixture get swirled into the potatoes. Think of this as icing a cake. Lightly sprinkle with paprika. Put the entire skillet into the oven and broil the whole thing until the potatoes start to get a light brown color and become slightly crisp. Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley and serve straight out of the skillet.
It's really good with boiled cabbage, pintos, & cornbread. =)

Seeing as how this blog has gotten really long, and it's getting really late, this is it for tonite.
Happy New Year to all! <3

I'll sharing more recipes soon.

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