I'm going to be honest. 2010 was not my favorite. It went by extremely fast, thank goodness. The first half was awesome, but by August things weren't so lovely. I don't want to dwell on the negative so here are my favorite moments of 2010. And here's to hoping for a better 2011.
Lady GaGa Concert
My amazing best friend, Dean, knew that Hannah (JVC) and I LOVED Gaga. He also knew that we were volunteers and couldn't afford to buy tickets to her show in Detroit. So he surprised us by getting them for us. At the last minute, my roomie Katie was able to go as well. One of my favorite concerts ever, and with great company. Gaga is an incredible artist and I am honored that I saw her live.
I visited Gem the same weekend Laurence passed away. I found out on my drive there and was an emotional wreck the entire drive. Thank God I was going somewhere where I would be supported and loved. Gem took extra care of me and made sure I was okay. We had a great time, as usual. I met some more of her lovely friends, everyone was so nice! My favorite part was that she made sure we could go to Church together :)
Jason Castro Concert in Ann Arbor
Jason is one of my top five favorite contestants to come off American Idol. I adore his voice, laid back personality, and good spirit. I will always support him and love hearing him live. His concert in Ann Arbor was awesome- small venue, lots of cool people. He's not your typical artists. He said things like "Who likes American Idol? I do. I like to be on it sometimes". Loved his show, even though my car died on the way home.
Grayling with Katie and Dave
My roomies and I were invited to Grayling, MI to visit a Sister of Mercy and speak at her church about our volunteer experience. Nate was unable to go, but I went with Katie and Dave as well as Renee, a young lady becoming a Sister of Mercy. That weekend was so special. We stayed with Sr Jean, in her beautiful house on a lake. I remember feeling completely at peace our entire stay. Plus, the people at her church were so awesome! It was a very family, community feel. Plus, we visited a beautiful state park where Katie got to run around in the snow :) So lovely.
Retreat at McCauley Center
The four of us were really wanting a retreat- many of the other communities in MVC had one (together), but since we were the furthest away we were on our own. So, we had a nice little retreat at the McCauley Center, which is connected to my high school. It was great- conversation, contemplation, relaxing. Sr. Rachelle led us through a great day of different topics, she opened my eyes to many things that I had been worrying about. I loved spending that weekend in prayer with the people who had supported me most during our year.
Over Spring Break, my roomies and I stayed in a cabin on Higgins Lake with some of our JVC friends. Perfect weekend. Friends, fun, laughter, relaxing. Long walks in the state park, journaling, trashy mtv shows, etc. I LOVED being surrounded by great friends with no expectations. Miss it!
Oi. I could go on and on about the Nashville trip but since I already wrote a huge entry when it happened, I'll give you the sparks notes version. Sam and I had both saved our money to be able to take a trip to Nashville in April. Living off $100 a month made this difficult, but I was literally saving every penny. No Starbucks, fewer trips to E&L Taco, dropping my change in a little jar. The trip itself was so fast! We stayed with Jess and had such a good time exploring our favorite city with her- PLUS we got to cheer on the marathon runners and spend quality time with backups. Oh, AND had breakfast with Melinder. Who I haven't seen since then. Not that I'm bitter :) I want to go back to that weekend!
Tyler Hilton/Spill Canvas Concert
Ugh. Not exactly my favorite concert ever, because of the rude people, extreme heat, and injuries I suffered. But, it was great music and anytime I can see my favorite band live is a good time. I got to hear my three favorite songs from them, plus new ones.
Personal Silent Retreat
Sometime that spring I signed myself up for a personal retreat at McCauley center. I was so stressed with "the future" that I needed a break and to spend silent time with God. It worked. After that weekend I felt relieved- I knew I was going to be taken care of, somehow. Loved spending time on that beautiful campus with lots of sunshine and tea with Sisters of Mercy. They were so good to me!
Walk for Lupus
One of my students, Jasmine, lost her mom to Lupus when she was just a baby. She asked me to help her organize a team and raise money for the Walk for Lupus. We raised almost $200 and had a great group of kids walking with us. The smile on her face the entire time made everything worth it. She was so proud, so happy. It made me Glad to see kids realize that they CAN make a difference.
So now the year with MVC was coming to a close and it was time to process all of it at our transition retreat in Philly. It gave me a lot of closure, and made me super grateful for my three amazing community members and service site. I realized just how much God had planned out my year with MVC. Loved hearing other stories from the other volunteers, talking about my experiences, and realizing how much I had grown. Perfect way to close an amazing year.
Kate Voegele/Jordin Sparks Concert
I couldn't believe that two of my favorite female artists were playing together- for a cheap price! So exciting. I was looking forward to that concert forever. Got meet and greets for Jordin, I was nervous she wouldn't remember who I was but she gasped when I walked in the room and hugged me forever. We talked about Laurence and the song Faith, how much it meant to me and my family. Later that night she performed that song, introducing it by saying "I don't usually sing this song on my tour but I really feel I need to tonight" then stared at me the whole time. She's such a sweet girl and I'm very proud of how much she has accomplished. Seeing her first solo tour was so exciting :)
Final Goodbyes with Students
Heartbreaking. Probably the biggest stab in my heart and gut I have felt. I didn't want to lose them. I needed those kids as much as they may have needed me. I hated saying goodbye, but loved the way it worked out. I wrote them letters, and got several in return. Lots of hugs, some tears, sharing memories of the year. I will never ever forget those kids. They hold a special place in my heart for making 09-first half of 10 the best ever. <3
My "Surprise Party"
Dave and Nate were going to be gone before my birthday, and had just missed it the previous July. So my three lovely roomies decided to invite my parents and a few friends for dinner and cake as a surprise. It was one of the nicest things anyone has done for me, and just another example of how compassionate and selfless my roomates were.
Sara's Bridal Shower
My sister and I hosted a bridal shower for Sara at my sister's house. It went so well- we had family members there who I rarely get to see, and everyone was so at peace and happy. Everyone loved Sara, too :)
Five Year Reunion
As the ambassador for my class, one of my roles was to organize the five year reunion. We decided on a small, laid back shindig at a local bar. Had a decent turn out, not as many as I would have liked but enough for a good time and sharing laughs over old memories. Good to see some of my friends, but in a way it made me even sadder because I'm not close with my core group anymore. Oh well, it was fun.
Spill Canvas at Caribou Coffee.
That same weekend, The Spill Canvas was doing a concert with the Goo Goo Dolls. I couldn't afford to go and was super bummed. However, they tweeted that they were doing a meet and greet at Caribou coffee. I raced my little bum up there and talked with the band for a few minutes. What sweethearts :)
Idol Concert with Mama
Took my mom to her first Idol concert, because I knew how much she loved Casey and Lee. She had a blast :) So fun to dance around with her and sing at the top of my lungs. All the Idols really took me by surprise.
Goodbye to my Community Members
Similiar to saying goodbye to my students, this was very bittersweet. I was so excited for each of them to go off in the world and make their mark, to take the gifts and lessons from our year with MVC and apply them to the wonderful new projects they were about to take on- but the selfish part of me wanted to keep them for myselves, forever. I am so blessed that I got the roomies I did. Each of them taught me something that I will hold on to forever. I love them so much and do not know what I would have done without their constant support and compassion. Three amazing people, three of the greatest friendships I will ever have.
Babysitting Carter Kids
Hard work, for sure, but those two weeks taught me so much about family, strength, hope, and love. I adore those cute little Carter faces, all six of them. I know that was an extremly hard time in their life and the last thing they wanted was another babysitter telling them what to do, but we did have our fun moments- and I fell in love with the cutest little baby. I will be helping that family as much as I can for as long as I can. Amazing family. Grateful for the opportunity to babysit and become closer friends with them.
Lady Antebellum Concert
I was so excited when Jess asked me to go with her to see Lady A. It was a strange experience, everything sort of coming full circle as far as my interest in the band goes :) Loved hearing them live on a tour that they were headlining, hearing my favorite songs, and getting chills when they closed the show with Run To You.
Jonathon and Sara's Wedding
EEE. Best day of 2010, fo sho. Not only was it amazing to celebrate the love of two great people, but I spent quality time with family and friends who I know will always be there for me. There is no greater feeling then to be able to completly let go of all worries and just be yourself- that's what this night was for me. But, it wasn't about me- it was about JP and Sara. Their wedding was awesome- SO them in every aspect. From the creativity to the donation to the ONE campaign in memory of Laurence. Just perfect. So happy for them and glad for that amazing night.
Visiting Cristo Rey in September
I was so nervous about going back to visit for the opening mass, even though it had only been a few months since I left. It ended up being the perfect day. I mean PERFECT. Hugs, tears, laughs. So good to see the kids, my co workers, and friends. It made me even more determined to end up back there one day. I will. Not sure how, but I will. It's home.
American Idol Concert- Toledo
Such a fun weekend with my loves Sam and Cindy. Late night sandwiches, banana in the pants. Waiting all day for the Idols to come outside, meet and greet, show, a zillion after party passes. Giggling with Aaron Kelly and bonding with Siobhan. We had so much fun. These are the times of our life :)
Babysitting John and Claire
I started babysitting John and Claire overnight in September and it has been one of the most amazing experiences. I know it sounds odd to describe baysitting like that but it truly has been. I have learned patience, understanding, compassion, and love. Those kids have become my own. I'd do anything for them and the family. Love them both dearly and so, so happy to have them in my life.
Although it has not been the most amazing job ever, I'm grateful to HAVE a job in my field, making a little (and I do mean little) money, having something solid to put on paper. I know I'm supposed to be here for a reason, just haven't discovered that reason quite yet. Maybe soon. Grateful for my coworkers, especially the lead residental counselor who has showed me the ropes and taken me under her wing. Grateful to the kids for introducing me to Nicki Minaj.
Woooie this break has been busy, but so fun. I can't remember laughing this hard. I don't want it to end! I just want to keep playing games with my family and playing rockband and having dinners and coffee dates with my best friends. It has been so care free and fun, but I am back to reality tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who made this an amazing break! Sad that a lot of my friends are now leaving town, but I'm hoping those who are around, we can see more of each other. Call me. :)
Training for the 1/2 Marathon
Yee has this been a process- very up and down. I want to wait and talk about this more in Feb, but for now- just know I am loving it.
So, even though the bad things that happened this year made more of an impact on my life than the good, I am grateful for the good times. It was just hard. I was going through an insane lifestyle change. I say to people that 2010 was just a losing year. I lost friends, boys, jobs, roomies, students, etc. And it wasn't just that I lost them, it was the way everything happened. But, here's to 2011. I got a good feeling about this year.
RIP to Matt Miller, Sr. Gretchen, Fred Carter, and Laurence. I love you, I miss you. Watch over us.
Thank you to my family, my MVC community members, Cristo Rey students, co workers, JVC members, Dean and Giles, Sisters of Mercy, the Carter family, Michael Card, all my friends who have supported me through everything, (you know who you are by now), American Idols Season 9, the backups, Kathy and Tom, BHGH co workers and kids, and everyone else I may be forgetting.