2014 has been pretty wild. Let’s recap it, month by month. (Important backstory information. I was born and raised in Maine, and started writing songs as preparing for our weekly worship gatherings for our little chuch plant, two years ago. I kept writing, filling up my notebook with songs, with nowhere to perform them — and then in the summer of 2013, the Lord revealed that He was calling us to relocate to Nashville– the Christian Music Capital of the WORLD. Also important — in December of 2013 I answered the call of Jon Acuff to make the next year count for something and was put into a group of amazing, like minded people that are all trying to make their goals and dreams reality. It’s called the 30 Days of Hustle.)
In January, my goal was to prepare my resume, letters of recommendation, and obtain my teaching certificate for Tennessee. Check, check and check.
In February, my goal was to write 8 songs. I wrote 7 — one them is still a favorite: The Language Barrier, inspired by the amazing work that The Seed Company does in Bible Translation.
In March, it was time to apply for jobs! I was a band director back in Maine, and was looking for positions as a music teacher or band director, or as an Instruction Technology Specialist. I was checking 20 websites daily for job openings. (Middle Tennessee doesn’t take advantage of the services that put all openings in one place. UGH.) I learned a lot, become skilled in adjusting cover letters to suit the position, and tweaking resumes as well.
In April, I had interviews, and we took our first trip to Nashville! We were able to attend a small group meeting of our future church home, as well as go to a Sunday Service! As we were driving around, in the “buckle of the Bible Belt” we saw churches everywhere. We were so grateful that careful research, and the beauty of listening to sermons online, that we had already decided where we needed to be! We secured an apartment that we loved in a suburb to the North of the city.
In May, I had a job lined up — working in a gorgeous computer lab at a wonderful elementary school in Franklin, TN. Which is significantly south of the city. So I started researching my commute. My substantial commute. May also was a time of tremendous conflicting emotions. Excitement because our moving date was getting closer and closer, and extreme sadness at leaving my students behind. I had my final concert with my high school band and my last Memorial Day Parades.
June held more tears as I said good-bye to my Seniors, and ALL of my students. I was leaving behind the legacy that I had created in my 13 years teaching in that small, oceanside community. Farewell parties at school, at church, and goodbyes to family, neighbors and friends. We loaded up a HUGE Penske truck with everything we owned, and even had it trailing our second vehicle. Our good friend Rob helped my husband on the 1,256 mile (over two days, thank you very much) drive, while my sister came along with my two sons and me. On the very last day of June, we arrived and unloaded our lives into our apartment north of Nashville.
July was all of the summer that we had, since school starts at the beginning of August here! What a shock! My husband landed a good job on our first full day here. The rest of the month we were learning how to be a family with my husbands new schedule — overnights. We learned how to be quiet during the days, and got to know our branch library pretty well!
We began school in August — with the miraculous happening, and both boys able to attend my school with me! Jonathan, our 4 year old, was accepted as a peer model in the special education preschool classroom — which is amazing, since even though the school right next door to us had a preK classroom, the waiting list was 3 times longer than the capacity! This naive Maine girl had a LOT to learn getting used to the way cities run things!
September brought the first Labor Day that I have ever truly and completely enjoyed — because I had already been at work for a month, rather than having to say good bye to summer on that same holiday!
October started amazingly! I had my very first gig in Nashville!! Here is an audio of my song “Doubtless Faith,” which I wrote with my dear friend Lindsay, performed at the Pavilion Coffee House.
After that, though the month was a blur of sickness after sickness. The boys and I traded off the school cold, while avoiding the stomach bug that was going around at school. My husband got both of those, AND the flu and missed an entire week of work. But — I am so thankful for my Jamberry business, which I had started in October. Even though we didn’t have the income from my husband’s job from that week, God provided through amazing friends and Jamberry to make sure we had food on the table and gas money.
November was great! We had a full week off at Thanksgiving, which was divine, and every day that passed was getting us closer to when my parents were coming to visit us!! On Thanksgiving Eve we were invited to celebrate with friends of ours from church. Their large family gathering made us feel right at home! On the actual Turkey day we found an Asian restaurant that had a wonderful buffet open. It was fantastic! (I’m not one for traditional fare. Unless we are at festivals or county fairs.)
December dawned with a count-down — just 11 days before my parents (Mimi and Grampie to their wildly excited (read: impatient) grandchildren) arrived from Maine! Unfortunately, their arrival coincided with Stephen’s diagnosis of strep throat, and Jonathan’s symptoms starting. Their visit involved snuggles and staying close to home. It was a beautiful visit, even if we didn’t get nearly anything we had hoped accomplished. Oh well. 🙂 The sickness didn’t end quickly. We spend one long night at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital with Jonathan, trying to figure out what he had, when the antibiotic wasn’t working on his symptoms, and the strep test came back negative. Since then, the boys are on a cycle of one being almost better and the other one coming down with other symptoms. Christmas had both boys under the weather, and now on New Years Eve, they are on the upswing (again) and Randy and I are the ones battling symptoms. I have taken four packages of Emergen-C today, and am diffusing all of the health inspiring oils that I can (from my brand new Young Living Oils that I was blessed beyond belief to acquire.)
2015 has great things in store right away — I am headed to a Christian Songwriters Retreat near Knoxville on January 9th! Christa Wells, whom I greatly admire and can’t wait to meet, and her co-writer Nicole Witt are putting the event on for just 14 women to come, learn and soak up the experience. I am so very, very excited! Even better — the woman I am traveling to Knoxville with is in the 30 Days of Hustle with me!! (Remember from the backstory at the beginning of the post?) We discovered this fact yesterday! Maybe this is where my long held dream of creating a Christian version of the amazing group The Wailin’ Jennys (look them up!!) will become a reality?? Who knows!
All I know is that this amazing year has taught me so many things, and I cannot wait to see what is next!
Wishing you all an amazing 2015!!