Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting on 2011, Hopes for 2012

Yes, it's been a while since I posted a blog.  So much has been going on.  Some great, some not so great.  I've had it on my heart to write this blog for a couple of weeks or so now.  So, here goes.....

2011:  What a year!! It has been full of so many highs and lows.  Amazing things happened this year, but we went through a lot of hard times as well.  I won't go into every single high or low, just parts that stick out for me more than others.  In January, I started planning for my first ever mission trip to Uganda.  The day after I reserved my flight, I fell down some stairs and terribly injured my right ankle/leg.  I still have a hematoma on my leg after almost a year.  In February, we officially incorporated Love Feeds.  In March, 2 big things happened, Michael started college online and Jonathan turned 10!!! I will admit, I struggled at times to cope with Michael having so much school work and working at his job.  He works so hard to make good grades (he has a 4.0 GPA!) and he works hard to provide for our family.  I truely appretiate all he does, even if I don't say it as often as I should.  In April, we celebrated our 3rd anniversary! <3  Who would've thought someone would put up with me for that long! (HAHA! ok, shut up, don't answer that! LOL)  In May, Jonathan graduated from 4th grade and received a "Good Citizenship" Award.  That was for being a stand out person in his class, helping others, etc.  That made me SO PROUD of him!!  Above any other awards he could've gotten, that is my favorite!! So, June came along and it was time for my trip to Uganda!!  I was so excited, yet scared at the same time.  I'd never been away from Michael more than one night our whole marriage.  I had been away from Jon a week every year since he was 6 when he's been to camp but that was never more than 4 hours away.  The day before I left, our missions pastor and another missions worker prayed over me.  Their amazing prayer over me is most likely something I will NEVER forget!!  The trip to Uganda was life changing.  (You can read more about the trip on the Love Feeds Blog.)  While I was on the trip, one of the people helping out with Jon didn't come through.  So, Michael had to miss some days at work.  This caused a financial struggle for us and his employers weren't too thrilled about it either.  Michael started having a lot of issues at his workplace that I won't get into.  He was just working during the day because of his seminar schedule for school.  Working just day shift had cut our income almost in half working there.  On to August.  On August 1st my sister, Jessica, and her 2 boys moved to Nashville!!  Jonathan started 5th grade!! Here, that's the first year of middle school!!  He tried out for band and started playing the clarinet! They tested him and he has a high natural ability for music!  Of course, this moma is passionate about music and has a natural ability as well.  So, I saw it in him long ago!  Also in August, my friend, Sarah, from New Jersey moved here!  Sarah has become an awesome friend and a part of our family! I am so thankful for her friendship.  She also has a nonprofit, Project 117.  In September, I turned 31, edging to 40 now! LOL! Michael turned 41, so he's edging to 50! LOL! ;)  (love ya babe!)  September brings us back to Michael's job situation.  He decided to look for another job and he was given one.  We thought this new place was going to work out awesome, it didn't!!  His employers did not keep their word about many things.  When he expressed his feelings about it, they let hime go 6 weeks into the job.  So, that means October has rolled around.  He started a new job a week later.  More on that new job in a little while.  October 19-21:  Sarah, Jon, and myself went to visit my hometown of Alexander City, AL.  During this time we visted with friends and family.  What stands out to me was the last time I saw my Paw Paw West alive.  When we visited with paw paw and granny, I could tell he wasn't doing very well.  He was alert and was sitting up talking to us.  I hadn't seen them since December 2010 because finances just wouldn't allow us to travel down.  During our visit I shared pictures from my trip to Uganda.  While I was showing him my pictures he kept saying "You gotta help them.  You gotta help them!".  That will always stick out in my mind.  Also, he said many times during our visit how much he loved us.  Paw Paw was 92 years old and he was never a man for a lot of words or mushy stuff, so this was very special to me.  Over the last few years as his health was deteriorating I always made sure to tell him I loved him and hugged him.  He would always respond back with I love you.  Two days after our visit I got a phone call that he wasn't expected to make it through the weekend. He did make it through that weekend.  That brings us to November.  My paw paw passed away on November 13th.  It hurt so much to lose him, BUT I know he's in heaven with Jesus!!  We miss him greatly but wouldn't bring him back to the pain and hurting in this world. At his funeral someone sang a song that said " Dont cry for me, I'm already home!!".  That says it all!! <3 Also in November, of course, was Thanksgiving!  We had a great Thanksgiving meal here at our home with Sarah, my sister and her 2 boys, and 2 friends of my sister's.  It was a very good time.  Back to this new job of Michael's for December!  He was making very little at this new place.  He was cooking and not getting many hours.  It was a hostile work environment.  A special person helped us with gifts for Jonathan's Christmas due to our finances.  In December, Jonathan went on his first plane ride!! He was scared of flying but he so desperately wants to go to Uganda with me.  So, he and Sarah went on a one day trip to Panama City Beach, FL.  Turns out, He LOVES flying!! Also, our friends Christie and George Magera, and Stormy Bishop spent a night with us during a road trip to spread the word about Ekubo Ministries.  For those of you who may not know, Christie and George are missionaries in the village I visited in Uganda. Sarah came over to hang out with them as well.  Fun was had by all!! <3..... Four days before Christmas, Michael was fired for standing up for himself against a violent boss.  We've been having peace through it all.  The kind of peace that only comes from Jesus!  Instead of us going to AL for Christmas this year, my parents and Granny West came up here!  We were all so excited about that!! As far as I know my granny hasn't been out of AL my entire life!!!  My paw paw was someone who liked to be in his own bed at night.  Jonathan had a blessed Christmas!! He has done so much to help children in need this year.  I feel like he was blessed greatly in return for his giving heart!!  We enjoyed time with friends and family.  We are blessed!! 

Hopes for 2012:  This coming new year brings with it a lot of NEW things!! Michael is transferring to Liberty University online and I will start Liberty online!! I will be starting my Bachelors of Religion with a minor in Intercultural Studies (meaning internationally!!)!! I don't know all the plans God has for that, but I know that He has better plans than any I can think of without Him!!  Michael will start a new job on Jan 3rd.  Hoping that this job works out better financially for us, as well as a better work environment for him.  For 2 months i've already started prayerfully brainstorming for the next trip to Uganda for Summer 2012, including Jon!  There are many things that will be happening for Love Feeds as well.  I will be posting a blog about all of that on the Love Feeds Blog soon.  If not today, in the next few days. 

I leave you with a verse of Hope!  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. " ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Prayers for a Blessed New Year!!

With love,
Audrea  (Michael and Jon, too!)


  1. Praying God rocks your world in 2012! A mission trip with your son will be amazing.