Friday, November 13, 2015

Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul (I'M BACK!!!)

 Hi there.

The Squirrel has been hiding out in the real world, anxiously counting the days till she could rejoin the blogging world.

And let me tell you, this has been some hibernation. When I wrote this post back in January, I had no idea what would happen. I figured I would go to school, learn some stuff, and take some board exams.

I did all that, yes. But I never counted on my family dynamics changing, or my church changing, or me changing.

The past 11 months has been a journey. It's been hard, and I've learned a lot more than just making temporary crowns and how to file insurance. But today I don't want to talk about that. God has been immensely good to me this year, and I wanna share what I have to be thankful for this year. (Kinda appropriate that it's currently November, right?) So here you go:

#1 I graduated dental school, and I passed my board. 

I'm going to say it right here and now that if it wasn't for God's help, I would not have survived school,  and I would not have passed my board. That's not an exaggeration and I'm not joking. I've always been pretty good at school. It's kinda my place to shine. And I've never really had test anxiety. But dental school changed all that. Hahaha. Some people might say it's the power of positive thinking, but those people don't know the number of prayers I've prayed, or the nights I've spent literally crying to God. I've never felt more dependent on God than the day I took my board. I studied all I could, but it was a very, very hard test. And now here I stand, a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA).

#2 I conquered a lot of my fears.

Remember my goofy post about my "fear-esolutions"? Well, I'll do my follow up post after January 1st, but I'll say here that I've had to conquer a great deal of fear this year, with God's help, of course. Now that I'm on the other side of those fears, I feel like a completely different person.

#3 I have an amazing family.

Awh, guys, I can't even express how wonderful my family is. I'll never be able to explain how amazing my mom is, and I've grown so close to my younger brothers. This summer was the first time we've been separated for a good length of time, and it was rough. Seriously. We have truly become friends. And my mom is such a special strong person. In January, I bawled for an hour while I explained why I needed to quit dental school 2 weeks in. She let me talk, and then quietly said that I have to try at least one semester. If she hadn't encouraged me, I very likely wouldn't be here today.

#4 I have some incomparable friends.

I call them my squad, and they all have their nicknames: "John Watson", "Shawn Spencer", "Ron Swanson", and "Motormouth". (Sometime, I'll have to introduce them here.) They have truly held me up this year. They've listened to me vent and cry, they've advised me, and they've eaten breakfast food with me on my bad days. And they have been my endless cheerleaders.

#5 I understand God.

I went to church in the womb. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at 7 or 8. I was filled with the Spirit at 11. I rededicated my life to Christ at 13. But somehow, I never truly understood God's heart until this year. I guess my world had to shatter for me to really see Him. And He is amazing. To comprehend how much and how sincerely He loves me is the only thing worth living for.

#6 I have a job that I love.

NO. MORE. CUSTOMER. SERVICE. I did my time for 3 years. No longer. My current job is basically interim, but it's everything I wanted and I know I've found the job I want to do the rest of my life. It's a wonderful feeling.

#7 I've found a new home. At church, that is.

It was a hard transition. I spent 12 years at our former church. I explained all that in this post. But we absolutely had to leave due to some issues, and so we found our way to this one. It took me a few months to feel at home and trust everyone, but everyone there made it easy. ;-) And I cannot say enough good things about my pastor and his wife. They have been God's hands and God's heart to my family.

#8 I found myself some hobbies.

I never stopped writing. I'm apologizing ahead of time because I have 21 draft posts, and there'll be more to come, I know. You won't be rid of me for awhile. But I also discovered my talent for editing. My dear friend, Emily, has a knack for writing poetry, and she asked me to be her editor a few months ago. Which is a fancy term for "she sends me a draft poem, I fangirl over it for 10 minutes, check spelling/grammar, suggest a few changes, title the poem, send it back, and she posts it to Ampersand Poetry". Not super special, but we make a great team, and she promised to remember me when she became famous. You can be sure you will be seeing her stuff here. We also switched roles a couple times, wherein I tried to write poetry, failed miserably, and she fixed it. Maybe I'll post those. Maybe not. I have also become addicted to tea and MBTI, in that order. Hamlette and Charity, you have NO idea what beast y'all started a year ago. Future post on that too.

#9 I've learned to stretch myself.

I don't want to tell these stories yet. But let's just say that I've learned to get outside my comfort zone, and it's uncomfortable, but God's teaching me a few things about thinking beyond myself. I'm beginning to really comprehend how our pain and discomfort can touch someone else in their need.

#10 I have good health and I'm safe.

I put almost 3000 miles on my 15 year old car this year, and I've had virtually no car trouble. With the exception of replacing a compressor fan and a heater hose. That is a small miracle. The other miracle is that in June, I was in my first car accident, which could have been a horrible T-bone, but for the grace of God was just a nasty side swipe that the other person's insurance paid for. I was even able to still drive my car while waiting on insurance to come through. Regarding health, well, I've experienced ulcers for the first time in my life. I was horribly sick from about January-March, and through process of elimination, we decided it was most likely ulcers. Are they gone now? No, and because I haven't kept good eating habits, they still flare up about once a month maybe, depending on my stress level. But I no longer have to fight to keep my food down at every meal, and for that, I am so grateful.

There's a lot more I could mention, but I'll stop there. My first instinct on coming back to the blog was to think of all the horrible things that happened to me, and I wondered how I would write about them. But the more I thought about what good has happened, the more I realized that I should be praising God instead. He has truly taught me to say what this song says:

It's really, really good to be back.


  1. Joanna, you're back! Yaaaaaay!

  2. Welcome back to the blogging world! Hugs all around :-)

    And oooooooh, you're very into MBTI typing now, huh? Very fascinating!

    So glad to have you back around here!

    1. Also, I tagged you with the Awesome Food tag thingie here :-)

    2. Hugs back! :-) Yes, I have become an obnoxious MBTI nerd, and I hope I'm gonna put that to good use some day. Haha.

  3. HI!!! Welcome back! (Very belatedly, I know. yikes) I've been kind of sporadic with my ability to read and comment on my fave blogs in the past several months, but I am SO glad to see you posting again. Sounds like the past year has been crazy, but with lots of really good things in it too. Here's hoping 2016 is even more amazing and you conquer more fears as well! It's good to "see" you, Joanna! This post made me smile. :)

    1. Thanks, Kara, and it's so good to "see" you too!! ^.^ I don't even know if I'll be able to catch up on the posts I've missed, so I'll just have to dedicate myself to reading the new ones. :-)