Dear 2011,

I’m not a sappy sentimental person. I’m not. I don’t like stupid girly Hallmark movies (except Steel Magnolias, but that isn’t Hallmark, so it doesn’t count), and I don’t like sappy songs, (except Don’t take the Girl…but I maintain the right to at least one song that can make me cry). My point being. I don’t really want to look back at this year and be all sentimental and boring. I do however want to look back and see what God has done for me, thank him, and be ready to move on to 2012 with all it’s changes.

January, February. School and Weight Watchers. I don’t remember school much…but I liked my Israel class. Most of this was trying to see if I could get into Israel. And then Weight Watchers. I loved it. I felt healthy, I was working out, and losing weights. 30lbs in total. That was from January to June. Not bad. And I’ve kept it off. So, Thanks. Thanks for the discipline to finish another semester (and bringing my GPA to an official 3.6!). Thanks to God for my mother for doing Weight Watchers with me. She was an inspiration and the real reason I lost as much weight as I did.

March, April, May. My Grandparents. “you never know what you have until it’s gone” OH! so cliche! So true. I miss them. I missed them most when I got engaged and when I walked at my graduation. I didn’t talk to them much, and I regret that. But I did always tell them about major life changes, and they would be there (on the phone anyway) for each of them. I miss telling them about what happened and what I plan to do next. Despite this hard time, you learn and grow and understand what kind of person you want to be when you look over situations like this. So I am thankful that God has given me a family that raised me in the Faith. I’m thankful that my Grandma and Grandpa Jalkanen left a legacy of Christ-centered greatness in the Copper Country. And I’m thankful for the time I did get to share with them while they were here.

working our way through the year we land in June. The month I celebrate my birthday. I’ve spent two birthdays away from home, and by away I mean like AWAY. the first was turning 17(or 16?) and I was in Wyoming with my youth group hiking in the mountains. Awesome, but not the point of this post. The second was 22. I was in Israel, digging in the earth and working my butt off. Didn’t feel like a birthday at all…except for the one small surprise my roommates planted in the ground for me to find. (thanks girls!!). Whenever I tell people about Israel there is one important thing I say to the Christian folk. “It was more like a mission trip than any mission trip I’ve ever been on”. This is because it was a real life, live your faith or hide it kind of trip. I chose to live it. And from what I hear it showed. This June 2011, I got to share my faith. I’ve never done this before. I shared, he rejected (what I totally and fully expected by the way). Still, it was awesome. I felt used by God, and not in the dirty horrid way (I don’t know that you could feel used by God and feel bad about it really…), but in a totally awesome kind of way. There are thirty thousand more things to say about my trip to Israel. But now, I will give thanks. Thanks for the blessing of even being able to go. Thank you God for my roommates and friends I made. Thank you for showing me that life is meant to be lived everyday for you, and not for me. Thanks for teaching me how to be flexible and willing to be used.

July 2011 was…odd. I wasn’t ready to come home and I knew it. I didn’t give myself time to prepare for life after a trip. And it’s important to say goodbye to a place properly before leaving. So when I came home I was still constantly thinking of Israel and missing it terribly. I wasn’t really myself and I knew that. Then came July 22nd, the Ann Arbor Art Fair. Awesome. The day Dave purposed. It was an awesome day, all day shopping and looking at amazing artwork, then a super fancy dinner at an old train station. With, I might add the best waiter EVER. Then Dave purposed. He got down on one knee and everything. Now…had I not been in this funky longing for Israel mind frame I would have probably been super excited and not felt like I was going to cry…and not like the I’m so happy I’m going to cry type of crying…more like the confused and emotional type of crying. After a few days of crying, praying and consulting with my family members I felt better about being engaged…I even got my Grandma Jalkanen’s wedding rings, newly refurbished and absolutely unique and beautiful. Am I happy now? Yes. But I had things to deal with before I could become totally ok and happy with this. Part of this was simply that I had spent almost a month with girls who were unhappy with their choice of boyfriends and wanted to be free to do what they wanted to do. I didn’t feel like that. But when you’re surrounded by it, it’s hard not to want to feel free as well. The best thing about Dave though is that he makes me feel free. I don’t feel a need to be someone I’m not around him. And if I feel called to the jungles of New Guinea then I believe he would come with me (with prayerful consideration of course). And this was what I needed to understand about Dave and myself. We weren’t an unhappy couple. We knew what we wanted and we were it. Nether of us thought that they would ever really fall in love and want to get married, that seemed ridiculous. But when the rubber hits the road, we both want to be with each other, and that’s what we will do…on June 3rd 2012…just over 5 months. So my thanks for July is the proposal from the man that I love. I’m thankful that he loves me and finds me to be someone he wants to share his life with (which is hard to believe that anyone would want to spend that much time with me…). So thank you God for Dave. Thank you for the love you have put in my life. Thank you that the love of a man can be a reflection of how you love me. And seeing that is truly amazing. because as much as Dave may want to be with me and I with him, you want to be with us a thousand times more.

August, I don’t remember what happened in this month honestly…So we shall skip it with thanks for my Job at LandArc and a soon selling of my Van.

September, October, November. School, new job, lost job, Jessica’s wedding! This is my fall. Stress, yes. Disaster area? Yes. But was the wedding good times? Yes. And I ended up doing well in school, and learned a lot from my two month stint with The Silk Worm. I really enjoyed working with the ladies there. But the type of work wasn’t what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t working for either of us. And then I was done. Cried a little, felt like a failure a little, then I simply focused my attention and newfound time to focus on school. Ended the semester well and learned a lot from my classes. So I want to thank God for my time with The Silk Worm. I’m thankful for the people I met and their help with finding me a new job.

December, the last month of the year. Today is Christmas Eve Eve. So there’s a full week and a half left of this year. But, there have been big things in the beginning of December. First was finishing my final final ever. yay me. Then walking with honors and getting my diploma for my Bachelors in Anthropology. yay me again! Somewhere in this I found out I’m going to be an Auntie. Yay Holly and Erik! And then my interviews and call from Bethany Christian Services. There are many things to be thankful for this year. In this month alone I feel blessed beyond understanding. But looking back at this year it’s been full of  blessings and lots of lessons I’ve learned. I’m so thankful for my family as it continues to grow either through my new niece of nephew, or though gaining a future mom, dad and brothers (yeah…brothers… I’ve never had those before!). I’m so thankful and totally looking forward to my new grownup job with Bethany, and I’m so excited for my fiancé and I! The blessings in my life continue to be almost embarrassing when you look back at them.

So, 2011 I will soon bid you farewell, and I want to thank God for the change that’s come upon me this year. I’ve never been so blessed, and God continues to supply all my needs even when I don’t see him doing it.





  1. #1 by DaveLoven on December 23, 2011 - 8:10 pm

    My birthday is in August.

  2. #2 by jessicamarie19 on December 25, 2011 - 11:44 pm

    5 months, 1 week and 2 days according to your count down 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

    And yay for a post 😀

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