Saturday, January 10, 2009

2008 - the year in review

So, it's been a while since I have taken the time to update. And, since I also did not find the time to send a Christmas letter to update you all on the happenings of my life (I think I only actually did that one time in my life...), I thought I would catch you all up here. At least the three of you who might read this :-) So here goes...

It all started with New Years fun at the lake house of one of my favorite friends, Lacey. My community group got together to hang out and ring in 2008 together. I love these friends! In them, I have found community in a way that I have been desiring since I moved to Atlanta. We spend Monday nights together each week over dinner (which is always amazing) and then have a time of studying or sharing and catching up on life together. They are an incredible blessing in my life! (Below are all the girls - I don't have pics of all the guys.)

Anna, Lace, and I

Rachel and Lauren

The most memorable part of the first few months of this year was preparing for my little sister's wedding! Pam and Jeremy got married on April 12th. It was so excited to walk with her as she prepared to enter this new stage of life, and to welcome a great man into my family! They are clearly made for one another. My favorite thing about being around the two of them is watching the way that Jeremy complements Pam's funny, care-free side. I was in the car with them recently while both of them sang off-tune along to the radio and I thought to myself - clearly God created these two to share life together :-)

Pam's bridal shower

Sisters at the wedding

Beautiful Pamela

I have continued to love my job this year. I am continually reminded that what I do is a privilege. It is a privilege indeed to walk with families through some of the most difficult times in their lives as they watch their child suffer through a cancer diagnosis and the grueling treatment that follows. It certainly is not always easy to walk with people through suffering, but I have come to realize that the Lord has called me to this place and gifted me in ways that enable me to serve Him in this setting. It is not always easy and I certainly don't always do it well, but I am blessed to be able to work where I do. I have begun to assume some greater responsibility this year, serving as the charge nurse and precepting new nurses as they start on the unit. While I am willing to serve in these ways, I have found that my favorite job really is taking care of kiddos at the bedside.

The summer months were full of lots of exciting adventures! In July, I visited Colorado for the first time with my parents. The area was beautiful, and it was great to spend time with my mom and dad. We were there for a conference with my dad's company, so we stayed at a beautiful resort in Colorado Springs. The highlights were driving up the crazy winding road to Pike's Peak at over 14,ooo feet with my dad, and walking around the amazing rock formations in the Garden of the Gods with my mom. The low part of the trip was when my mom's back went out on the last day :-( making it really difficult for her to make it back to Florida, but she made it and had surgery to completely fix the problem and finally get rid of the pain she had been suffering with! That was a big blessing!
Dad and I paddle-boating in front of the resort

At the Garden of the Gods

With Dad at Pike's Peak

With Mom in the hotel

In August, I went on a cross-country adventure with my roommate Erin and our friend, Summer. We drove from Atlanta to Vancouver in a 2-door Honda Civic! That was an adventure in itself. We managed to make a mess of the car every day of the trip, and were constantly having to rearrange things in order to find a place to sit!
mybackseat home

The trip from Atlanta through the Midwest was definitely exhausting, but the parks that we visited once we got out West definitely were the reward! We got to the Grand Tetons first, where I had my first real camping experience in the States. I had camped a couple of time in Peru before, but there were always other people to set up the tent, make the fire, cook the food, etc...This time, I had to actually participate in the process!

the fire I (mostly) made

One of the highlights of the trip for me was the 13 mile hike we took in the Tetons. It was my first time really exploring the landscape of the Western US, and it was breathtaking! The mountains were huge, and the surroundings so beautiful - it definitely spoke to me of God's glory. We managed to forget our food in the car on this hike, which just made things a little more memorable. Let's just say that 13 miles later, we looked a bit ravenous as we made a picnic in the parking lot outside the car.
With Summer by the lake - which we swam in (it was freezing)

Hiking in the Tetons

Contemplating the beauty

From the Tetons, we went on to Yellowstone, where we saw Old Faithful erupt and hiked into the "Little Grand Canyon."
Old Faithful

the bison in Yellowstone

waterfall in the canyon

Glacier National Park, though, was the most beautiful of them all. There we hiked up to a glacier, and in the process saw some of the most beautiful parts of Creation that I have ever seen. Unfortunately, when we FINALLY reached the top of the mountain and arrived at the glacier, the skies opened up and the rain began falling HARD. We pretty much ran the 5.5 miles down the mountain in the freezing rain - just another part of the adventure :-)
stopping for lunch on the way up

enjoying the view

jumping in a mud puddle at the end of our run down the mtn in the rain

From Glacier we decided to spend the night in a hotel (because the tent was flooded...) before finally arriving in Vancouver. This was my first time in Canada, and we had a couple of days of fun exploring the city before heading down to enjoy a day in Seattle. It was an amazing trip!

tree stump in Vancouver

with Erin in Vancouver

Erin the tree-hugger

Me playing in an art park in Seattle

I LOVED the flowers in Seattle

I decided that I should probably get at least a few weeks of work in before heading down to Lima at the end of September. Sounds like a rough life, huh?? :-) As always, I loved getting to be in Peru and catch up with the people that I love down there. This time, I stayed with Sarah, one of the WMF staff down there, which was an incredible blessing! Along with lots of great times of chatting, we spent several hours catching up on old episodes of So You Think You Can Dance together, which was so fun! While I was in Lima, I had the chance to talk with all of the staff about the ministry and their plans for the future, which was great. I also got to see many of the Peruvian friends that I met on the streets on my first trip to Lima. Several of them have left the street and are doing well, and it was so great to be able to visit them in their homes. Please pray for these friends, as life for them is still very difficult and the temptation to return to the streets is always very strong. Pray for my friends doing ministry there as well, that the Lord would love and encourage them as they live life and minister to beautiful youth in that city. I continue pray and seek the Lord about returning to Lima, and would love for you to join with me in praying about that as this new year begins!
American staff friends before they ran a 5K in Lima

Sarah and I on her roof

With a friend that I met in 04

So cute!
A friend I met in 04 and her daughter in their home

I forgot to mention that between August and September, both of my roommates moved out :-( Erin got a new job and moved to Decatur to be closer, and Avivah moved to Minneapolis for her own new job. Though I was excited for both of them and their new opportunities, I really miss having them around! The house is definitely quiet these days, and I don't like it! So, if you're in the market for a new place to live, let me know :-)

My quiet house

October and November seemed to fly by and the holidays came before I was ready for them! I was off for Thanksgiving this year, and was able to spend it together with all of my family in Florida. It turned out to be an extra special blessing, as I was able to see and visit with my grandma over Thanksgiving. A week later, I got a phone call that she was being rushed to the hospital and less than 2 days later on December 6th, she went to be with the Lord. Though it was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to her and know that I won't see her again in this life, the Lord was incredibly gracious to allow us that opportunity to be with her to say goodbye before she died. I spent much of the last day reading Scripture to her at her bedside, which is something that I will always remember. It was great to spend the next week catching up with family and remembering the loving, kind, family-oriented, and sacrificially-giving woman that my grandma was. It was also great to be able to be there to love and comfort my grandpa during that time.

My whole family (Lahey side)

With my Grandpa

I came back to Atlanta for a week before heading back to Florida to celebrate Christmas (a little early) with my family. I spent the actual day of Christmas at the hospital with the kiddos. Thankfully, it was a relatively quiet day and fun to see the kids with all of the gifts that they received.
Tim Hudson (Braves pitcher) came to visit the kids on Christmas

I think that those are the highlights of my life lately! I am looking forward to what 2009 has in store! Hopefully I will be a little better about keeping you updated on my life, but I make no promises...