Monday, January 13, 2014

Chapter 26

I've already gotten several, "I've been checking your blog, but you haven't posted anything new in a while."

So here it is!

I have officially been back in Nigeria for a week now. I had several wonderful post ideas to write, and several I started, but for the past few weeks that I was with my family and friends, I wanted to spend every waking moment with them, and not it writing.

As the year comes to an end, it is always a great time to reflect on the blessing that God has given over the past year, and with the new year to set goals for the upcoming year. Since my birthday also happens to come at the beginning of the year, for me its a new start. A new beginning and chapter of my life. This year, we're on Chapter 26.

Before moving on to the next chapter, let's do a recap on the previous one. Chapter 25 was filled with many adventures. There were new countries and states to be discovered, new babies, concerts, weddings,  people to meet and several big life changes. One of the major changes of chapter 25 included moving halfway across the globe, away from family and friends and everything familiar. I didn't go on a whim, but truly felt called to leave the job I was in to teach overseas.

Enjoy the kaleidoscope from the past year.

Please don't think that my whole life is one grand adventure, where everything goes well and all turns out wonderfully in the end. With all of the exciting things that 2013 brought, it also has brought some of the hardest times yet. I was able to experience the amazing joy of holding my hours old niece for the first time, but at the same time, I was mourning the loss of another niece just a week earlier. Besides losing my niece, the hardest thing I've ever had to see was my brother carrying the tiny, beautifully carved box that held his daughter. Although I never knew her, I miss her.

Anderson University put this painting up in their nursing building in honor of my niece.

While everything else pales in comparison to the grief that my family and I have gone through this past year, missing Ellie, since moving to Nigeria, I've also experienced loneliness like never before. Coming from a fairly large, close-knit family, its hard to be half a world away. I miss them terribly.

More than ever now, I have known God as my Comforter. He has been my Refuge and Strength. I have drawn closer to the folds of my Heavenly Father this past year.

What will this new chapter bring? So far, I'm only on the first page, so I can't tell you everything. After a wonderful time at home with my family, I'm back to teaching at ACA in Nigeria. I've started to implement some new teaching strategies in the classroom, as well as new goals in my life.

I wanted to share this poem that my aunt sent to me at the start of the new year:

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever." 

- Neil Gaiman

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