I was prepared for the year to end. I knew it was coming, I know what's next after Christmas, but I have no idea how the end of a DECADE slipped up on us! It seems like I should be taking a much more careful look at this year, and the nine that came before it before I turn this page! I can't believe how fast ten years have passed, and I can't imagine what will happen over the next ten years, minus the obvious aging that will occur. So much has changed in just ten years, and so much has remained the same. I want to say that down deep, if you sat down with me ten years ago, or today you'd recognize me. My humor is the same, my temperament has hopefully only changed for the better (this will be a lifelong process), though it's still a part of me-lots of opinions, big passion for each. I have many of the same friends, with additions to that, as it should be. I've lost my one and only Grandparent I've ever know at the beginning of this decade, and yet his impact has remained so completely that it doesn't feel like nine years have passed since I hugged him last, and saw him smile. I miss him dearly, but know that he is in a better place. I finished up my degree from Baylor at the start of this decade, and the following year, I earned my masters from Texas A&M Commerce. I began my first teaching position in a very difficult school, and packed a lifetime into those two years. I taught 6th grade for 6 years before transitioning into a position as a reading specialist, which has filled the last three years of this decade. Through those experiences I've learned a lot about the world, for better, and for worse. I know the range of parents that are out there, and I cling tightly to the wonderful childhood I was given, despite the trials that were thrown our way, and it impacts me more now than those years I 'lived it'. I now know how well my Mom dealt with it all because of what I've seen throughout this last decade. I've seen people that encountered a lot less, and did a lot worse with those situations, and that has taught me not to accept excuses, but to work through their reasons. I've said goodbye to pets I've loved, and brought three new little furry friends into my life that wag hello everytime I come home. I've learned a lot about what I don't want to be, who I don't want to be with, and where I don't want to go. I've watched love bloom, I've been a part of really wonderful weddings, and births. I've been there for divorces, and loses as well, and we've all grown from the experiences. I'm a slightly better cook-I've progressed from the microwave. I'm a more selective friend (for the better), and a more knowledgeable crafter. I've bought a house, paid off a car, traveled to almost all the states, and traveled through three continents. I've lost an organ, I found a church home. My Mom battled breast cancer...twice, and won, and we walked through all the surgeries that came with that and the hysterectomy that followed as a team. My back aches a little more than it did ten years ago when I get up in the morning. I've survived another ten years as Jason's sister, and I understand him a little better, and know he loves me, and more importantly, that he loves God. I've chased gray hairs in the last five years I can't even comprehend. My cousin, Holly and I have transformed our cousinship into a close friendship, and she's become the little sister I always wanted. I've said sad goodbyes to friends, and had doors slammed in my face, and windows opened I didn't even know existed. I've conquered a decade full of to do lists, and failed at just as many personal goals, and yet, I'll make another list this new year, and just about every week from here on through the next decade. I've had people I thought were unshakable shake me to the core with their choices, and their absense in times I thought they would have been there first, and been surprised by the dedication of some friends, and their steadfast care, concern, and love. This decade ends with a most precious promise in the form of one little bundle of Blythe. I can see through it all that God is in control, He loves me, wants whats best for me, and has provided all the strength I need in the times that I would have wished a different course. He's never disappointed me, or failed to meet my expectations, or forgotten a promise. I don't know what the next decade will bring, but I know it will be blessed with God as my guide, and the friends by my side that He blessed me with this past decade, and beyond.