Welcome, 2009! I haven't posted in a couple months, and there's been quite a bit that's happened, so maybe I'll work my way backwards!
I have been home in Fergus since Christmas Day, spending time with my family, and it's been so wonderful. I've been able to get together with a couple friends and see lots of family. Mom will bring me back to Bemidji (and Justin) on Sunday. Christmas was great this year, different than we've ever done it before, but very nice. Justin had to work on Christmas Eve, so we came to Fergus the Monday before Christmas and had Christmas dinner and opened gifts with Mom, Dad, Katie, and David. Then it was back to Bemidji for a couple days, and Christmas Day in Annandale.
December 18 was my last day of school... forever! It feels wonderful to be done, but I don't think it will feel official until I walk across that stage and get my diploma in May. I'm so grateful for my time at Oak Hills as a student; I can't believe how much I've learned! There is so much about the Bible, God, my faith, and the world that I didn't know before; I've learned how to think and how to find out for myself what the truth is, and my theology and faith have grown in leaps and bounds. I've gotten so much more than a bachelor's degree and that piece of paper. I can't imagine where I would be or what my life would be like if I hadn't listened to God's whispers leading me to Oak Hills. I'm now entering into a long transition period; I'm done with school, but not leaving Oak Hills. I'm able to keep my job as assistant manager in the Oak Hills kitchen for at least the spring semester and possibly the summer, and I'm looking for a part-time PCA job.
Speaking of school, Justin will be going back on January 12. He's planning to be done in May 2010. He's decided to stick with his youth ministry major, and while we're in Bemidji, he hopes to get EMT certified and volunteer for the Bemidji fire department, with the goal of becoming a salaried firefighter someday! I know, big change of plans! I've never seen him so fired up (no pun intended!) and passionate about something, so I'm happy he's found something he wants to do. Neither of us know what this means for us and where it will take us, but we're ready to follow where God calls.
We spent the week of Thanksgiving in Colorado visiting Justin's family, which was great. It was so good for him to see them; it's been too long! We were busy the whole time, visiting family, celebrating brithdays, and spending time with friends. We also celebrated Christmas early with James, Karen, Sarah, and Chelsea. We were so grateful the price of gas has dropped so drastically; it really saved us some money on that long drive!
In early November (the 4th and 5th), we spent a couple days in the Twin Cities. It was election day when we went down there, so we listened to the coverage all day and watched McCain's concession speech and Obama's acceptance speech in our hotel room. We ate out and got some shopping done as well. The goal of Wednesday the 5th was to have fun and be together, and not to dwell too much on the sadness of the day. I'm pretty sure everyone who reads this knows, but if not: Justin and I had a miscarriage in March, and the baby was due on November 5, so we wanted to get away for the day and be together. We went to Ikea and the Mall of America, and really had a great day, so I think it was a successful trip! It provided a lot of closure for me, which I didn't know I still needed until I got it.
So now I think you're all up to date! 2008 was kind of a rough year for us, between our miscarriage, some major decisions to make, and lots of money troubles. But God was good to us and carried us through the hard times. We're so fortunate to have wonderful family and friends to love us and support us. I'm very hopeful that 2009 will be a good year for the Distels, and I sincerely hope that it will be for all of you reading! Happy New Year!