Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year End Review

Looking back, 2013 started better than I could have thought. Although I didn't get a NYE midnight kiss, exactly one year ago today was the seed of my relationship with my boyfriend. Little did I know how happy I would be a year later.

January started with a bang having only spent one weekend at home in Milwaukee and set the precedent for how my year would turn out. Looking back, I did not spend more than 3 solid weekends in a row in Milwaukee. I purchased my first new car in February so I had to show it around a little ;)! 

I didn't leave the state until March when I visited my brother in Dubuque, which is hardly out of the state! With temperatures BARELY pushing 40 degrees by April, I headed South to Arizona for an extended weekend with some friends. May of this year, my brother and I FINALLY made plans, after 9 years, to go skydiving. The three times I attempted, winds were too high to let a newbie jumped, so after feeling the adrenaline, I gave up and decided I wouldn't waste my time and have still yet to skydive. My brother was able to a few weekends later. 

Summer in Milwaukee is the best, so I enjoyed much of the time at festivals, wine tastings, boating, comedy shows, and, of course, work. I had a couple trips out of town visiting friends/family, but nothing outrageously notable. 

On my birthday weekend, in August, I took my first trip with my boyfriend to Baltimore. I got to enjoy TONS of seafood and learn a lot about his business. It was an absolute blast. The following weekend was spent in Chicago celebrating my birthday with friends which was also very fun. 

October was exciting getting to visit St. Louis where I lived for a period of my childhood. The visit was for my boyfriends' half sisters' wedding. Halloween was spent in Austin, Texas due to a work event my boyfriend had to attend and might be my favorite vacation of the year. Austin is a beautiful city and I got to relax the entire weekend. 

Thanksgiving was the first holiday my boyfriend and I shared time with each family. Growing up.

To conclude my year of traveling out of state and being absolutely frustrated with Wisconsin winter, I headed to Miami with my boyfriend and his [identical] twin. 80 degree weather, air boating, alligator watching, Camero driving, crab cooking, and deep sea fishing also made this trip extremely enjoyable. I can't wait to go back. 

Time with my family on Christmas was a wake-up for me growing up. My time is differently spent now than when I was in college. Reason: in college (and all through school for that matter) you got summers' off, winter break, spring break, this break, that break, and after surviving my first entire year of 40-45 hr work weeks, vacation time is appreciated a little differently. 

Speaking of growing up, 2013 was my first year of having independent health insurance, paying loans, paying for [my own] car issues, paying my phone bill, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. 

God Bless!! 

It's been a great year, I am looking forward to 2014!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Family Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Relatives,                                                         Merry Christmas!

The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not.  He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not. But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God;  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:9-13 RSV

I hope that you believe in Jesus and are one of His children.  Being that He is King of Kings that makes His children royalty.  Merry Christmas, Princes and Princesses! May your New Year be filled with shining His light to those around you!

MY DAD: I am friends with a Pastor from Rwanda, Africa.  After 5 years of invitations, we went with him to Rwanda and Uganda for 3 weeks.  A week stay in an African village is an eye opening experience about them and even more so about me and us. I stayed in a village close to Ruhengeri, Rwanda with my friend's mother. I had a wonderful young man as a translator. Since then he has adopted me as his father since his was killed subsequent to the 1994 genocide. Every day they fed me the best meal they ate all year long, the meal they prepare only on Christmas. God be praised.

MY MOM: In Spring I did a fun mission trip to northern Minnesota to help roof a house & other home improvements. The African experience made me very thankful to live in the US and have good food.  Hoping to share my faith, I learned 90%, including government workers, are living their faith. They need to send missionaries here.  The most exciting thing in life is to be used by God to bring others to Jesus.  I believe that is why we have moved so much and why I have had so many different jobs.   So, I now am working at Sartori, packing cheese.  It is a simple job with lots of variety.  In less than 2 months, God has opened doors for sharing Christ with numerous people.  

MY BROTHER: He had a nice year with several highlights. At his job in October he took a new role as a Structural Design Engineer. This has more responsibility and creativity than his previous role as a Structural Analysis Engineer for the same group. In July,  he accompanied his parents to Rwanda for a week, because someone had to help keep them in line. Other traveling for the year included a day in Belgium visiting a friend he met in Pakistan in 2009 and a business trip to Canada to repair a prototype machine. He also ran the Chicago Marathon in his “slowest” effort yet finishing 149th out of more than 39,000. Certainly a year to be thankful to God!

ME: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the youngest family member (and her cat, Mika)! My first year in the "real world", done with school (for now) and working as a full-time engineer was better than I could have asked for. I bought my first car in February (a 2011 Nissan Altima Coupe), enjoyed 3 weeks of vacation traveling to 8 different states for leisure, met one of the top 10 people in my 150,000 employee company, and started paying back student loans. I have learned about retirement funds, health benefits, loan interest, and grown up things more than I ever cared to by 23 years old. I continuously thank God, and my parents, for blessing me in all of these aspects and growing me to become the young woman I am. I look forward to what 2014 has in store for me!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Bird

I got second place in the ABB photo contest, thank you if you helped, I got a gift card for Amazon. Certainly can't complain.

In other news, I am speaking to the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) student chapter at MSOE in January. I need to come up with an exciting way to talk to them....

Yet other news, I got to try Google Glass!!!! My friend is one of the beta testers and let me wear them for a while this past weekend. I had soooo much fun and got so much attention from them that he responded to Googles' request for more recommended testers saying that I should definitely be someone they ask to test them. The little time I got to wear them has me itching for more.

We had our first "snow storm" of the year up here in the frozen tundra. A good 4-6" of white fluff just in time for the holidays. Sub-freezing temps also suggest a NOT SO WARM welcome to winter. To be expect here in Milwaukee.....

The weather has me more than eager to hop a plane this Thursday for Miami! My boyfriend has a work event to which his twin brother and I will be accompanying him to enjoy the heat. We have a charter booked to go Marlin and Shark fishing!!! How awesome?! I am assuming it will out weigh the Salmon fishing we did in Lake Michigan this summer, although still an exciting experience. However, I will likely fall into deep depression upon returning to the crisp Wisconsin air as the pilot announces the 10 degree temperature on our way home. Snow birds don't come back until Spring I thought!

In work news, all is well. It continues to be exciting, whatever that means. A trip to Memphis needs to happen before the end of January so that I can visit our sister factories and understand business as I know it a little better. I also pushed off some leadership training that will need to be done sooner than later. And as my year-end review approaches, it is time to set new goals and higher standards for 2014! It has been an exciting first year in the real world, I hope the 2nd is just as good.

As Christmas nears, I have found myself listening to Christmas music more this year than ever before. It is beyond happy to listen to and puts me in a great mood. I hope to get to an orchestra or symphony before the season is over.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
Luke 2:14