While 2011 definitely had some great moments, I can't say that I'm sad to see it go. It was also a tough year in a lot of ways. So bye-bye 2011!
Looking ahead to this year, I'm excited about shifting our focus to the other side of town... where we'll be building a house and moving to a different neighborhood. It's like that sense of anticipation I always had at the start of each school year. What new friends would I make? What would I learn? What kind of new experiences would I get to enjoy?
To say nothing of the absolute joy I felt in getting brand-spanking-new school supplies. The smell makes me heady, even today.
So does the smell of fresh paint :)
Which is a good thing, since there will be plenty of that in my future!
I've mentioned my obsession with drawing floor plans. We've gone back and forth numerous times on whether to build one story or two stories. Each time I've gone back to the drawing board. I think (fingers crossed) that we've finally settled on one floor.
Other important considerations:
1) We want to orient our house toward the river, to take advantage of the views. Which means our house will face sideways, not toward the street.
2) I want a screened-in porch, since we can practically live outside 10 months out of the year. Our rental has a back patio that gets utilized a LOT, and it's not screened. But! Lot located by river = many mosquitoes. So a screened-in porch is mandatory in my book.
3) Also mandatory is a pantry. It cuts down on the amount of cabinets Ivan will have to build AND will allow me to keep my counter cleaned off. The plan is to have a space in the pantry with an electrical outlet so all the small appliances can live (and work) in there, without me having to drag them out all the time.
4) The laundry hook-up must be INSIDE. Right now my washer resides on the back patio, inside a nifty metal cabinet that Ivan made to house it. This works here, in an area that's considered pretty safe. But our lot is in a sketchier area and anything left out, even in a fenced-in yard, will disappear faster than you can say "abacadabra". It's disappearing magic of a different kind.
5) While we like the concept of an open living space, there are some things better kept behind closed doors. Like my sewing/crafting space. The newest floor plan has a rather ingenious cubby hole beyond the pantry, so nobody is going to wander in there by accident, insuring my creations-in-progress-mess remains hidden.
6) A large garage/shop area for my handy husband. He needs a place to house his tools AND space to work.
Now that the holidays are almost over (today's a bridge holiday here), he can get busy nailing down quotes and hammering out the details. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) We have a LOT to get done in the next three and a half months, before a construction team comes down to help us get the basic structure up.
Before then we must:
1) get a fence up
2) finish the casita and get it live-able (which in and of itself is a multi-step process)
3) have the septic system installed
4) hire a crew to put in the foundation
While doing all that, we'll also be busy getting to know the neighborhood and our new neighbors. The realtor who helped us find the house we're currently renting will be a neighbor; she and her husband live a block or two up our street. Recently she called and asked to come and talk about the Bible. We're hoping that first meeting (which went very well) will lead to a Bible study in her home. We shall see!
After we have the structure up, our plan is to move into the casita temporarily while we finish off the inside of the garage and house. Ivan's hoping to use that experience to teach some of the young men basic construction skills. And in the process also share more about what God has to say about every area of our life. Have you noticed it's those times when we're in the midst of just living that provide the best opportunities to share truth from Scripture?!
After six+ months in the U.S. and not speaking Spanish very often, I've regressed a bit in the language area. I'm looking forward to catching up and then progressing further. While I'm more comfortable speaking, I still have a LOT of trouble understanding what others say. So a big part of the learning process involves listening, listening and MORE listening!
I know three young ladies who are expecting babies. I'm not sure I'll have time to make quilts for all of them, but I can at least make something. There are some really cute ideas on Pinterest :) Like burp cloths or a diaper bag. Whatever I decide to make, I just look forward to the joy I get from creating something pretty AND useful. I'm also planning to get a few hand-sewing projects ready for the time we'll be living in the casita. I won't have room for my sewing machine, but I can't imagine going months without doing SOMETHING.
For me it's not so much a matter of resolutions, as it is just seeking to greet each day as a gift and do the most I can with what God has given me.