Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 in Review

I got up this morning and came to my computer to start my day (as I always do...HA!), and I don't remember what reminded me, but all of a sudden it hit me....

I HAVEN'T WRITTEN MY "2005 in Review" BLOG YET!!!!!

I had planned to work on it and write it over the Christmas break while I was in St. Louis, but I didn't do a single thing on my computer that I had planned to do, and I had a LOT of things planned to do. Oh well...

So, sitting here this morning and realizing that I have today to write this entry, I immediately began researching my year. Looked over calendars, skimmed through my year of blogs, etc. I realized two important things: 1.) This blog entry will NOT be as long and detailed as my 2004 Reviews (yes, there were two), and 2.) A lot of people around my age are getting married....HA!

No really, 2005 was a busy and memoriable time. During this year I...fell in love with the hit television series House; realized I really do love research and statistics, enough that I conducted my own statistical research and ran the data I collected through SPSS for FUN (that was my "Famous People" Study); I openly shared many of my deepest thoughts on religion via my blog; I became a Godmother; I nurtured my Oprah addiction; I got an "A" in every course I took throughout the year; I had to get my first (and second and third) cavities filled; and I experienced having my first ever clients!

There is no doubt this year will be one I will look back upon in my years to come as an important time. And though I previously mentioned two important things I realized when researching for this entry, I will say that there really is two key ideas that rang out to me while I preparing for this blog. This year seemed to center around two main topics: friendships and growth.

This was my first full year away from ACU, so it was a prime time in testing the strength of my ACU friendships. I can report that basically all the friendships that I expected to last, have lasted. of my best friends lives in Houston now, but through our dedication to our friendship, we have remained just as close as when we lived together in my opinion. We talk on the phone to one another usually weekly, sometimes more than once a week.

This year I saw a lot of close friends move into post-undergraduate life; many of which have moved on to very successful teaching professions for which I highly admire! I've had the blessing of being their number fans and hearing about all the office referrals they have written up, hearing about the stapler injuries, hearing about their first ever teacher Christmas gifts, and being there for them when they felt they weren't going to make it to their next "break." There is no doubt in my mind that these women for which I am speaking will be successful teachers for many years to come and I have been so excited to, in a sense, go along with them through their first year of teaching!

This year I saw a LOT of friends get married! I went to five weddings and had one other that I was supposed to go to, but was sick the day of the wedding! These weddings included a friend I met in my University Seminar class my freshman year at ACU (as well as was a member of GATA with), a friend that I pranked her house a many of times (as well as was a member of GATA with), a friend who I met while at ACU (as well as was a member of GATA with) who married a guy that I had known from church since I was in 4th grade, my best friend from St. Louis who married a guy who I had written a letter too back when I was in high school telling him that he was no good enough for her, a friend who I knew from GATA, and a friend who I served on the ACU Student Association with. All in all, I attended weddings in Houston, Lewisville, St. Louis, St. Louis, and Farmers Branch, and should have attended one in Fort Worth. I am happy for all my friends who have found their loves in life and I do wish them all the best! I on the other hand, realize I'm still single, but on a different note, I expect a LOT more weddings still to come (as I have one next weekend I'm attending in Austin).

Also, as I review this year and think about friendships I am reminded that it takes communication to keep friendships going. On one end of this spectrum, I have seen the friendship of one of my best friends from growing up fade. I've tried just about every venue for communicating, but unfortunately, communcation involves two people, so my attempts have come up empty. Though this friendship frustration hurts immensely, I am quick to refocus on what I do have, and that is many wonderful friendship with individuals who communicate back!

One form of communication that stands out this year to me is my friendships that are remained connected via blogs. I am so grateful for the opportunity to keep up with a lot of my friends via their blogs! 2005 has seen many of my friends join the world of blogging: ACU35, Brandi Jo, Ellison, Janaye, Julie, Katey, Sarah, and Slagle. And that of course isn't ALL the people I know that have just starting blogging this year, but you know. But then of course, though they have been blogging longer than just 2005, I can't forget some of my fellow "older" bloggers, because they too have had an impact on me this year via their blogs: Holly, JWalk, Mel, and Linds.

I've also worked on continuing friendships this year with one of the best ways of nurturing friendships--in person contact. This year I saw the beginning of our metroplex Game Nights! These have been quite the success, even though they have been really thrown off because of the holidays, but I do expect them to pick back up in 2006.

If I had to note one friendship that stands out to me this year it would be with my best friend Laura from ACU. I just recently told her that I truly do consider one of my top 5 favorite things from 2005 to be her moving to the metroplex from Abilene! She is easily one of my best friends and I LOVE that we get to hangout once again all the time, like we did back at ACU. While distance can be an obstacle in a friendship it can go both ways on how it affects it, as is evident with my friendship with my friend Laura in St. Louis and with my friendship with my friend Becca in Houston.

Of course I saw a lot of growth in my friendships, whether it be with old friends or new friends I made this year, but besides my friendships I saw a lot of growth in other areas of my life throughout 2005.

The first area of growth I noted while researching for this blog was none other than my blog itself. Back in June I celebrated my one-year anniversary of my blog. And while I had a log of growth during that first year, I have continued to grow since June as well. This year I have seen my number of blog visitors grow, but that is not what I use to measure my blogs growth. I look more internally and note what has taken place, possibly what has brought the visitors.

One thing I've enjoyed about my blog that is new this year is my "Worth Your Time" link on the sidebar of my blog. I don't know if you, or anyone really ever checks that link, but I do change it whenever I happen to come across another blog that really interests me. Sometimes I change it often and sometimes it goes weeks without getting changed. Totally depends on what I seem to find out there in the blogsphere.

Possibly the biggest addition to my blog this year that I view as blog growth, because it is a little something to change up the pace of things, was the Monday blog series I added this year. It started back in April when I had the random idea to have a Monday Picture Blog series where every Monday I posted a fun picture and it was a contest where you could comment with a caption for the picture and a "winning caption" was selected. I enjoyed that series and apparently so did many visitors, but eventually I started to get tired of it and wanted a change. Luckily a better idea came to me in late October. Though the Monday Picture Blog series continued on every Monday from April through October, on Monday November 7th I started a new Monday blog series--Monday's Paint a Picture series. I really have enjoyed this series! I feel it is a good way to honor those who have been an honor for me to know, so through this series I have been able to honor 5 people already and I have two more ready to honor with the start of the new year!

My blog has been important in my life for growth not only for the growth it has had, but because it gives me a place to witness my growth over time. I say this because one of the biggest "growths" for me can be seen over my blog many times.

Probably my biggest growth for 2005 came in the area of my professional growth that I had through my internship this fall. Though it kept me the busiest I've probably ever been because I was at my internship about 30 hours a week and then I still had to work my PAYING job about 14 hours a week, I didn't have much leftover time this fall because that was left for my two classes I was also taking this fall. All in all, I don't regret the busy-ness though, because it was WELL worth it.

Through my internship I got my first real hands on experience of what I want to do as a professional for much of my life to come. Though I went into this intership nervous (which was seen on my blog), I ended up loving it! And though I had no interest in working with the homeless population in my future, I could see myself working with them possibly now. The homeless is a VERY fun population and ALWAYS interesting....I LOVE that...I get tired of the same ole' same ole' after a while! ;)

Through this internship I grew in many areas. I had the opportunity to work a GREAT team of fellow interns and professionals. That was GREAT! I learned how to work well with collegues, which is important in the profession of social work and I grew in my communication skills through working with many clients. I ended the semester with having worked with more than 100 individuals in "significant interactions," that does not include people that I just met, it had to be people that I worked significantly with. Talk about meeting a lot of new people! And I LOVED it! I have clients that ask for me now, when I'm gone for a week or so. I have clients who I have helped whether it be to get them foods, clothes, or a bus pass. I have clients that I've comforted when they experienced a lost, I have clients who I helped to get out of the homeless situation through getting them into shelter or getting them a job, or both. I have learned a LOT from my clients!

Probably the thing I loved the most from my internship was the experience I got from working with several different mental disorders. I LOVE working in themental health spectrum! I loved working with people who suffer from schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression, anxiety, malingering disorder, and more that I probably wasn't even aware of. Some of these are some of the most interesting and sometimes challenging personalities to work with, but I loved it!

I grew a lot in my academic career and professional career thanks to this internship. Not only that, but I made a good impression too and have found myself in a situation where I'm getting paid to continue with it for a month or so while they wait for the new interns.

This year has had MANY blessings! Whether I found myself in a situation chatting with a best friend, or in the audience watching a friend say her vows, or listening to a schizophrenic client tell me about the years she had to spend as a hockey puck, it was a year I'll never forget and will look back on with many memorable times!

I hope your 2005 was a time to be proud of and one that will have much meaning in your life as well!

I hope I can say the same for 2006, as I expect to!

Best wishes to you and yours in 2006, friends!

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