Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nostalgic and Celebratory

Yesterday evening I was feeling nostalgic and celebratory... and these feelings may last for the duration of the weekend.

One year ago --
I had just decided to go ahead and spend 2013 working... working on earning my Orientation and Mobility Certification.  Chris and I had come together and discussed a lot of options and decided that 2013 would mean graduate school for both of us... and a huge commitment from both of us for me to earn this O&M degree.
We knew that, if all things worked out perfectly, I could complete the ENTIRE degree in less than 12 months, and by December 2013, I would be a fully certified O&M instructor, and it would be DONE!  I would have the qualifications to open new doors, and serve in new ways, and NOW was the time.  This was not a degree I wanted to get around to doing when we had young children, or when our children were in school.  2013 was the year to complete this.
That being said, we KNEW it was going to be a rough year.  I was working 50+ hours a week, and would need to complete an online class during the Spring semester (Jan-April).  Then, looking ahead, we knew that right after I finished the school year on Friday, I would have to move to Greeley for a month-long blindfold class all of June.  Then, the rest of the summer would need to consist of two practicum placements -- only the Lord knew where.  Coming back for another school year of teaching in Rifle, I would still have one last practicum placement to complete... and somewhere in there, I had to pass a University comp exam research paper.  THEN, after ALL THAT, I still had to pass a National O&M Certification Exam.

But, Hubby and I felt that this was the year to do it.  We felt that God was giving us a nudge to have me do this NOW.

We had no idea how we were going to pay for it -- tuition, travel costs, living costs for all the different practicum placements, exam costs.  We just knew God would provide, and now was the time.

... that was all one year ago...

Fast forward to Memorial Day Weekend... the last week of school... the week before I leave my husband for Greeley, CO to be blindfolded for a month.  Hubby and I found out were were expecting our first baby.  We were thrilled by the event -- and flummoxed by the timing.  Seriously?!?!  My first trimester of my first pregnancy was going to be spent away from my husband, BLINDFOLDED, learning to travel with a cane, then away from my husband in TUCSON, in JULY, all alone?!?!?!

Nevertheless, the plan was to continue with the O&M certification as planned.  If things went smoothly with my pregnancy, AND my O&M program, I would be fully certified before the baby was born, and we were very happy about that timing -- if everything (pregnancy and classes) went according to plan.  We worked with my doctors, and learned the dos and don'ts of so much work and travel and stress... and we stuck to the plan.  The plan for me to be fully certified by the end of 2013.

I was first-trimester sick (not to mention HOT) in Greeley and Tucson.  I was growing out of my clothes in Michigan.  Hubby and I felt the baby move for the first times in Austin.  And yesterday, nearly 30 weeks pregnant, as I took the National O&M Certification Exam, the baby was dancing and kicking like crazy.  I'm not sure if he/she knew we were finally to the end of a very long process, or if he/she was trying to tell me the right answers in Morse code.

Today, as I reflect on this past year, I am so grateful for God's faithfulness through this degree, and so proud of myself for completing it so quickly and so well.  I met all the University qualifications, I traveled from coast to coast to have quality practicum placements, I wrote a killer research paper to pass my University Comp Exam, and I passed the National Certification Test.  I am SO GLAD IT IS OVER, and I am proud of the job I did.

To be completely honest, I do not know exactly what way this certification might be used in the next few years.  Hubby and I have a lot of decisions we're praying about with the arrival of our new baby... but now, I HAVE the certification.  There are jobs I can consider today that I couldn't consider a year ago.  There are people I can help today that I couldn't help a year ago.

I look at the remainder of 2013, and I am SOOOO excited that I actually finished this certification BEFORE the end of 2013.  I have 6 weeks left of the year that I get to prepare for Christmas, organize for the baby, make arrangements for maternity leave, and ENJOY the holidays!

This year would not have been possible without the love, support, and encouragement of my Hubby.  He supported me every step of the way, he believed in me when I didn't, and he had faith when I doubted.  He ran the roost at our home while I was gone, and assured me that my students, our life, our home, our critters, our baby, and our marriage could withstand my absence and our time a part from each other.


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