“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” –Psalm 126:3

ALOHA!!! I am writing from our hotel room in Maui, and it has been a great day! Let me give you a little rundown of the past few weeks, and then I will get to the big move.

I think the last time I posted, I was about to pick up my cousin Ali and start the drive to San Diego. It was a long drive…21 hours, and 10 of them in Texas alone. It was my first time to West Texas, and no offense to those who live there, but I’d love it if it was my last. Obviously I knew that I live in a huge state, but once you leave Dallas, there is just not a whole lot out West except for land, prairie, and lots of dust. We arrived in Oceanside, and we got to stay with my teammate Ashlie, which was so much fun and just another reminder of HOW blessed I was to go to Wheaton and have such amazing friends.

I dropped off my car on Monday, July 6th, and then I flew back home to finish packing and work on my massive to-do-list. The next weekend, July 11th, I was in St. Louis because my teammate and sophomore year roommate Mallory got married, so it was fun to see people again and just cool to be at their wedding having been around the two throughout their relationship. I flew back home early Sunday, July 12th, and I finished tying up all the ends before the big move. My mom and I flew to Oahu on Wednesday, and that began MAJOR crunch time for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. We made multiple Target and Wal Mart runs, hit up Sam’s, picked up boxes we had shipped to my Wheaton friend Jenny’s house, went to my school (HBA) and met with the English Department Chair, and then assembled a bed and it’s frame, a dresser, a table and 4 chairs, a futon, and a bookcase. Basically, if you haven’t figured out already from the excellent care she gave me during chemo, I hope you are getting the point that my mom is AMAZING. Also, she is a pro at assembling things. My patience is not.

Here are some pictures:

This is my living room, with the futon, dresser, and chairs that my mom (and I…kinda) assembled. In the background you can see Diamond Head, the dormant volcano on Oahu.

Here is my bathroom (and my lovely mother curling her bangs):

Here is my bedroom (the Hawaiian bedding I used all through college is perfect!):

And finally, here are fireworks over Waikiki beach that you can see from my lanai (porch) every Friday night:

Anyway, Saturday morning my mom and I flew over to Maui and met up with my dad and cousins for the start of family vacation, and today was the first day that we’ve actually been able to RELAX and enjoy the fact that we’re in Hawaii!! It’s been a crazy past few days…and really a crazy end to my summer…but it has come together, PTL!

There are a couple things that have already been such blessings, and I’d like to share. Obviously, first of all, this job is a HUGE blessing–it’s something I have talked about doing for a couple of years, and though I almost didn’t get it and then almost didn’t accept it, I am here and am feeling so blessed. Also, in meeting with Faye, my Department Chair, it is SUCH a blessing that I did not get the job in May. I can’t remember if I shared or not in the last post, but the job I applied for then had 5 English classes, which is a ton of preparation and grading. The job that I actually HAVE is still going to take effort, obviously, but with 3 Communication Skills classes and 2 English classes, I have so much less grading to do, which hopefully will allow me to get the sleep I still need.

Also–and this is so cool–on Thursday, I met a girl in the elevator at my apartment complex. She was yawning, and I commented that I was feeling the same way, to which she replied that she thought it must be the warm weather. That made me think she wasn’t used to it, so I asked where she was from and she replied “Seattle, but we’re here for a couple years.” (I’m not sure who “We” is, but hopefully I’ll find out). She asked where I was from and for my name, and then she asked if I was just moving in. I said “yes,” and then she said that she’d love to hang out or get together, I agreed, and she got off on her floor. The next night (Friday), as my mom and I were moving out a BIG box of trash, she was about to enter the complex, and she asked what unit I was in so that we could actually get connected and hang out, so I told her. I noticed she was in scrubs and asked “Are you a nurse?” She said “yes,” I asked what kind of nurse she was, and she said she was an Oncology nurse. 🙂 I said, “Ok, what kind?” and I think she thought I didn’t know what oncology was, so she said, ” Oncology–like cancer.” We were clearly blocking the door with all of our trash, so I quickly said, “Ok, well, long-story-short, I just finished chemo in May because I had cancer this past year.” She said congrats and then asked what kind and I told her Hodgkin’s Disease, to which she said she was going to guess that since I’m so young. SO COOL. I don’t know much about her other than her name, which is Emily, that she’s from Seattle, that she and at least one other person are here for a couple years, and that she’s an oncology nurse, but again, just another amazing blessing!!! The first friend I make in my building, and I’m not going to have to do a ton of explaining for her to get what’s been going on with me, nor should I have to awkwardly wonder if I should mention the past year or not to people I barely know. All of that to say, God is so good. 🙂

Ok, so last few things before heading to a family cook-out: how am I feeling about this year? I am so excited. I am definitely nervous, but I would be anywhere for my first year of teaching. It was so affirming to meet with the Department Chair, and it also was so affirming to meet Emily, so while I know that Hawaii is a far way away from my friends and family, I’m feeling so blessed and like God’s got so much in store. I know this year will be challenging–the first year of teaching always is–but I’m still excited!

I mentioned last post that my cousin was having surgery on a cyst on her ovaries–well, it turned out to be a tumor the size of a grapefruit (!!!), but it was benign, and she is doing great and is actually here with us today! What a praise–that she’s ok, that the surgery went well, that the tumor was benign, and that she was still able to come with us to Hawaii since she’s been looking forward to this for months! Thanks so much for praying for Natalie!

Finally, here are some things you could pray for: first of all, for safety and health on this trip. Madelyn and Katie are just getting in tonight at 12:30 Hawaii time, and Madelyn is coming having survived the swine flu while she was a kamper at K-Colorado. They put her in quarantine for 5 days and wouldn’t send her home because they knew about me, so prayer for her to continue recovering–she’s mostly ok, but she has a cough apparently still–and also for health for us–that none of us would catch it, would all be great.

I’ll try and post again soon, but thanks for your continued love, prayer, and encouragement. I am so blessed by each of you.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,