Friday, January 1, 2010

My what a decade it has been!

January 1, 2010
Reflections on the last decade...

When I think back on all the change this past decade and what has happened in my life, it is nothing short of phenomenal.  For some reason, maybe I'm more reflective, or in a different mind set but this past decade seems to be a huge one in our books! 
This time ten years ago, I was a freshman in high school - the 1999/2000 schol year. 
I was attending Duncan U. Fletcher High School, the same school that my mom attended.
On September 11, 2001 I was a Junior in High School.  I sat in Mrs. Furnans Advanced Placement United States History class as we watched what was happening in New York City. I still have the quiz I took in that class, on that day - my grade was a 25%.  We were taken aback by what could happen on US soil.

I decided to do an oil painting, thought painting with oil would be different.  The results -

I also decided to take up writing on rice...yes you read that correctly! To date, the most I have written on a single grain of rice is the ten commandments, one commandment per grain.
We took a family vacation to Maryland...we have all changed so much since then!

Before I graduated from high school, I learned about how it felt to lose a techer who provided so much hope and inspiration during a difficult time in my life. She was an amazing lady. Sadly, she lost her battle with cancer.  I will always remember the hope she gave me.  For at the same time she was diagnosed with cancer, so was a close family friend.

I graduated from high school in 2003, with honors!  It was a happy time for my family.

Before graduating we signed our name on the rock in the courtyard at school-

I went on to pursue my education at the University of North Florida. I wanted to be a teacher. After a few semesters there, I re-met Dennis.  Dennis and I 'dated' in seventh grade - back when dating means nothing more than holding hands, maybe getting together on the weekend - but even that hardly ever happened.  So we were 'dating' in seventh grade, summer came and I never heard anything from him.  He will tell you to this day, that was the biggest mistake he made!  We started talking three days before Easter in 2004.  He came over for Easter dinner with the family, and I guess you could say the rest is history!  We got engaged in October of 2004 and told everybody on April 1, 2005 we were getting married on April 15, 2005! somewhere in that one year time frame of us meeting, I moved out of my house, moved away from my parents...the steps out that front door that night that 'things went down' are probably some of the hardest steps I've had to take my entire life....I also had to learn how to wash my own clothes...and of course I had to get a tatoo!

Dennis and I got married on April 15, 2005 at Jarboe Park in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.  Afterwards we set out to Orlando - for a weekend get away.  When we returned we began our search for our new home.  We ended up in Pine Barren Apartments, a studio apartment.  It was very small, but it was a place to call our own!  Shortly after moving in to the apartments we went to Dennis' brothers house, and somehow ended up taking his dog home with us.  That became our first 'baby' - his name is Buddy and he is a boxer mix. At this point we worked on rebuilding the relationship with my parents.

We also traded in Dennis' Hyundai Tiburon for a Toyota Corolla, lower monthly payment and a more family friendly car...
After about a year in a studio apartment with a dog, we decided to get a one bedroom apartment, nearly tripling the amount of living space.  We moved from apartment number 206 to apartment number 602...Three months after living there we ended up having to move out over an altercation with a fellow neighbor who insisted that we were telling buddy to get the cats...with no where to go we ended up moving in with my parents....Needless to say my parents helped us find a place to live, quick!  Their neighbors across the street had a house next door that nobody was living in. If we moved in, cleaned it out and painted it we could live their six months rent free.  We enjoyed living close to my parents and with the nice, three bedroom house and half acre back yard we decided to add another canine companion to our home.  Her name is Piper and she is a shepherd mix of some kind that we got from the Humane Society!  We took both dogs to the beach often, wore them out and they loved getting out!

My mom had continued school, when I quit school.  She graduated, with honors and was ready to teach...only problem - there was a hiring freeze, little did she know she would have to be really patient with waiting for a job. My dad was so proud of her!

November of 2006 we found out that we were pregnant.  Our baby was due on 07/07/07...he joined us a little early and was born on June 16, 2007. He weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. Seth Alan Van Deusen.  I think it is awesome that Dennis' birthday is in April, mine is in May and Seth's is in June.  Consequently, in the last decade we have not only celebrated his birthday but also his frist birthday and second birthday as well!  Adjusting to life with a new baby was different and tiring but really pretty awesome.  The first two weeks were the hardest, once he figured out the whole nursing thing, we were in there...granted now he doesn't want to quit nursing...It was nice to have my parents across the street for the one a.m. high fever 'oh my gosh what do i do' calls and also for those first few baths when he seemed so fragile and wobbly.  Seth loves Curious George!

Shortly after Seth being born we decided we wanted to start looking into a house that we could truly call our own.  Renting served its purpose but we were ready for something that we could be working towards owning.  We began searching.  To be honest, I think it troubled my parents.  At this point we had re-established a good relationship with them, and we had Seth and I don't think they wanted us to go too far.  Lucky for us, there was a foreclosed home three doors down, that was kept in near excellent conditon after having been remodeled two years prior.  That one seemed like the one for us. Now getting into this house was a grueling process, it was the biggest bet either one of us had ever made - putting out nearly $8000 of borrowed money on a house that we weren't even guaranteed was ours...God was on our side for this one, for sure....granted the amazing real estate agent definately helped keep the ball rolling.  She was committed to selling us our first home...

and 51 days after we signed the paper, the house was ours!

We love our new feels soo good to be working towards owning our own home.
My sister donated blood for the first time.  I donated with her, and my mom found out that she can now donate!  She is pretty close to hitting the five gallon marker, I just reached the one gallon mark!

We got into a not so pretty car accident.  Thanks to the people at Arlington Toyota, they had our car fixed in no time!  It was just under $5000 in damage and took them less than a week to fix! We couldn't even open the passenger door all the way...

Dennis, Seth and I took to the beach, we were going a couple times a was a lot of fun.

My mom FINALLY got her own classroom!  She is teaching fourth grade at Crown Point Elementary, and though it has been a challenging year so far she wouldn't trade it for the world. 

2009 also meant saying good bye to some dear ones.  We lost Ms. Jenneman in a boating accident almost a year ago.  And we lost Grandma Penn as well.  They will live on the lives they touched.  I think of Ms. Jennemann every morning as I look at the gong on the piano.  I think of Grandma Penn everytime I am sitting at my desk and I glance up to see the little mouse with the tassle that I gave her from my graduation (the day I graduated just so happened to be her birthday!)

While there was sad news this year, this was also good news - being able to witness a few miralces is unbelievable.  My mom has a bracelet that reads, "Have faith, expect miracles." It sums up these three people in my life. My grandfather having quad-druple bypass heart surgery and then having to go back in for a defibrelator and to go for a check up and see that his heart is getting stronger - a miracle:

Susan, our real-estate agent, her husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer...the odds weren't in his favor, he pulled through and is living cancer free - saving a husband and father and police officer - a miracle:

My cousins son, Jase...a romping, stomping five year old little boy full of energy one day and hospitalized the next.  The doctors not to sure exactly what caused it but was in a bad state...organs shutting down, he was on dialysis, expected to be in the hospital for quite some time, if he pulled through.  The little boy had an amazing faith, told everybody not to worry because God would take care of him.  Within two weeks he made a complete recovery - and to this day you would not even know that he almost lost his life - a miracle:

As a family we decided it would be fun to watch the sunrise over the ocean on Jacksonville Beach and then drive to the other side of Florida to Clearwater Beach to watch the sunset over the ocean.  It was a lot of fun and something that I have always wanted to do.

This past decade I have become a full-fledged facebooker!  I have used it to keep in touch with family members, old teachers, cousins, and even a few friends from kindergarden!
I decided to get back in school...I am close to completing my associates.  I have decided that at this point I want to work with the little people - 2-3 year olds are what I enjoy the most!  I went back this past semester and finished the class with a 97.9% average!  I was even given this award for my outstanding performance.

Christmas of 2009 I was blessed with the oppurtunity to provide hope for somebody, and to give the Christmas away.  I feel that I was successful in that endeavor, and look forward to being able to give back can read the full story here.

I think that about wraps up the decade, I am sure that I am forgetting something....I figured I would end with some pictures I have taken - photography has become a new love for me!  I am so grateful that I can bless others with the blessing that God has given me!

I am looking forward to what the next decade brings my way...


Anonymous said...

I am so proud of all you and Dennis have accomplished. God Bless you and keep you.

Rebecca Evans said...

This is super amazing! And I got a plug, nice :)

Dianna said...

How awesome. Inspiring a future post for myself. :D lol

But God is so good.