As I sit here tonight at 11:10 pm I hear myself going "is this is the best time to write a blog? Shouldn't I go to bed and get some rest since the last few nights I've only got between 5 & 6 hours and now I will probably get the same tonight?" Yes I suppose I should, but instead I want to update our blog because writing to you seems more comforting than sleep right now. Although I know most people don't have time to read our blog, I still find comfort in writing, because it's like talking. I just finished a long, but great conversation with my in-laws. Just them and me, the puppies were in bed and we conversed for hours about whichever direction our talk went. I finally had to call it as I thought about my puppies needing out and the meal in the crock pot probably getting dry (fortunately it is still great and the puppies made it till I got home :)). However if I could, I would have stayed in their presence and continued to talk. The last week (can you believe it's only been a week since John got to Juneau?) has given me a lot of time to have quite because I've needed to be home to let the pups in/out and I've spent a lot of this time reflecting. A lot has happened this last week; John made it safely and started his job in Juneau, he attended a company Christmas party and has spent a few hours out shopping/driving/misc. stuff etc., I completed two classes(including one that really opened my eyes about how the world sees people with disabilities), I COOKED 2 meals in the crock pot and they were BOTH SUCCESSFUL, I began reading a paperback (not audible) book for real (no breaks or long time spent not reading it), I went on a walk with my professor, I got the pets official health certificate from the vet (whoa my babies are expensive, good thing they're healthy), I had a little friend hang out with me over the weekend, John met new friends at a local gun store(shocker) and had a pretty cool holster maid, I was the main presenter in one of my graduate courses (I've decided I really like being a resource for people and hope that I can continue to be, even though we won't have classes anymore), I went to part of church twice(which is a lot considering I haven't been in a long time), I got an official placement for student teaching in Juneau, John went house shopping today and we skyped for the very first time haha (funny to think about that considering all of the time we've spent apart) and we put in an offer on a place (which is not technically, but kind of our first home!) !!!! With all of this said, I find it silly what I've taken from it. Although I miss my husband dearly and can't wait to be with him again, having him gone has left me alone most nights and made me find ways to stay busy. In the past I have visited with friends, watched TV and spent hours at the gym. Because of the dogs and the distance from my home to friends, spending a lot of time with them or hours at the gym isn't as possible, so I've spent more time at home doing homework, reading, or watching movies. Because we are so busy, this wasn't enough to fill my schedule so I've filled it more by cooking (cough cough hell did not freeze over), going to church, reading a lot more, pinning education and home stuff and recipes and visiting for longer with friends and family, rather than just a quick hi or study/work session. This has made me reflect on what I find important and what I make a priority. We all find family important, but do we make them a priority? I find God important, but do I make him a priority? It's so easy around Christmas, but what about the rest of the year? I find health important, but how much work am I willing to put into it if it's not active? I find my friends important, but do they continue to be a priority when it's no longer convenient? I think back to my experience with education and how I have always made it such a priority even when it's not easy, cheap, fun, or convenient. I'm diligent in my work, I never quit, I love my time spent doing it and I ALWAYS make it a priority. With finals being next week and my masters wrapping up, I won't have homework keeping me busy at night and on weekends. Instead I'll be busy with other things of my choice. Although I know it will be filled with reality such as paperwork, lesson plans, and cuddling with my family (don't get me wrong, these are all great), I also have a choice how I fill my time. While I love school and teaching and cannot possibly wait to be a teacher, I also have come to recognize that life requires balance of all things (not just school/work and my hubbie(although he's the best)). I want to make time for my biggest cheerleaders (my parents), my role models (my sisters), my mini me's (my nephews and nieces), my behind the scenes cheerleaders (my in-laws), both of my heroes (my grandparents, although I'm better about this one) all of my friends, and God (he has certainly kept me in his life and I've neglected to keep him in mine). Going on a walk with my mom recently and talking to her more filled such a comforting space in my heart. Having full conversations with my sisters and getting caught up on their lives brought such harmony to our relationships and showed me their great support. Conversing alone with my in-laws has given me a chance to see how far we've come as a family and gives me great hope for our journey ahead. Emailing my nephews and hearing about their current events from them personally has showed me even more how amazing they are and made me so excited to hear from them more. Finding time for God and more time for friends has shown me how important they are to me and demonstrated that I NEVER want to lose them. I want more than just a casual hi or amen, I want relationships and I want harmony in my life with my wonderful husband, like I have, who couldn't make me happier. Sometimes life takes you places you never thought possible and sometimes life makes you make hard choices. Last week at church a lady spoke about Sharing the Gift this Christmas season. Perhaps that was my gift, the start of a reflectful week, so I'm going to share the gift with you and although you may not be mormon, maybe this gift of Christ will bring you some comfort just because it's Christ (not because it's mormon). And if you don't want to hear about Christ, you can find comfort in your family and what brings the most happiness to you, not necessarily what you make the most priority for. I am so excited to become a teacher. I am so excited about our new journey in Juneau and as it gets closer and things come together, I look forward to seeing where life takes us and remember to make those people and things that are important to me, a priority!