Today is January 1, 2011. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about the passing of 2010... it was quite an unbelieveable year in so many ways.
This year began as most others... a mom of 3 great kids and a teacher of 60 fabulous 4th graders. My first goal of the year was to write & direct a fantastic production (with my 4th grade teammates) for the kids in my grade level to perform at the end of January. That play, Night at The Museum of Texas History, was a sensation! On the night of the performance, much to my surprise, I was presented with the Murfee Elementary Teacher of the Year award. I was so very honored, and I felt immense gratitude for the amazing blessings I have received as a teacher.
Meanwhile, I continued to work diligently on my master's degree with a June finish date in sight.
The month of March arrived and brought with it a trip to Dallas with my daughters to see John Mayer in concert. We had long awaited this big day, which will always remain a memorable event for us! Unfortunately, the month of March ended with sadness. My grandmother, Itha Farmer, passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. We had a huge gathering of family for her funeral. At the time, I had no idea how remarkable those moments with my family would become.
We all returned to our homes and continued with our daily lives until 3 weeks later, April 8, my father had a tragic accident and suffered a massive head trauma. My sister, brother, and I raced to be by his side in Austin, where he remained in ICU for 8 days. It was an agonizing time and was compounded by my daughter having her 17th birthday while I was away from home. My dad, Glyn Day, passed away on April 16. All of our family, who had just spent time together in my grandmother's honor, came together again to remember and honor my dad. I cannot express how grateful we all were to have had that time with our Poppy just weeks before.
Amidst this grief, my graduate classes did not wait. I was not allowed any opportunities to postpone assignments or tests, so I just continued.... I had no other options, and I became more determined than ever to not only finish, but to finish strong. And, that's exactly what I did. During the months of May and June, I completed my last 3 courses and all other requirements. I did it! I finished grad school... with a 4.0.... a feat I had never in my life imagined possible. At the end of June, I took the state Principal's exam and interviewed for an Assistant Principal's position. In July I found out that both of these opportunities were a success. I passed the test, and I got the job!
On August 14, my daughters, mom, and I traveled to Beaumont where I graduated from Lamar University. I was now officially Denise Day Smith, M. Ed. I was so proud, completely humbled, thrilled to be there with my family, and so very sad to be there without my dad. I knew, though, that I was there by the grace of God, and with the support of so many people who love me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The rest of the year.... well I could say it has gone beautifully. I've begun a new career learning so many new things. I continue to be blessed by my three amazing kids, and I have come to love and appreciate my family and friends in totally new ways. I'm closer to my brother and sister than I've ever before, and recognize the strong united force we make altogether. Mostly, I'm amazed at how God has continually met my needs and blessed me. I could never have foreseen any of this on January 1, 2010. Today, January 1, 2011 begins a new year with a new set of unforeseen experiences.