2008 has been a great year. I have learned so much and had so many amazing experiences. It has been a year of healing and growth, and I am imeasurably stronger as a result. It all started last December with my taking the big leap of faith and quiting my job at JWA. I knew I needed a change and that the Lord wanted me to be doing something else, so I left everything in His hands. Not knowing where life was taking me I entered the job hunt- interviewing for nearly 40 companies over 6 months. There were so many jobs that I thought for sure I would get and then I wouldn’t. The Lord definitely made me wait and show my faith before helping everything to work out.
In the meantime, I had some great experiences such as hanging out with Julia Graves for a week in January (it was so fun, we visited almost all of our comps and mission presidents. A blast). I wish I could find a picture of our time together but I can’t. Maybe Julia has some that I can get. At the end of January I visited my sister Megan for a week at Stanford. It was a lot of fun to be a part of their amazing family for a week. Their girls are the cutest things in the world.
I also had tons of fun with my roommates Megan and Camille. In addition, I was a full time student until the end of March taking 2 classes for most of that time period so I could finish quickly. In May I gratefully graduated! I am now a masters of business- yeah!
Before graduating I experienced another highlight of the year. In April Megan, Sarah, Hiedi, Camille and myself all went to Hawaii again. It was a magical trip. I was there for 2 solid weeks and was the best. I could be there forever. I love it so much. I love everything about it except the plane flight over! This time we did everything- of course the beach everyday, went to the PCC twice, Pearl Harbor, and even saw the lei’s being made in Chinatown. I am planning a return trip in 2009. I just love it so much!
Once we got home from Hawaii and graduation came things jumped into high gear. In May my dad approached me with an idea to start a vacation rental business with these rentals that he had in the Suncrest community of Draper. I didn’t know if it was for me but I wasn’t getting anything else, so I figured- why not? In the end, I decided to start my own business Catalyst Events and Marketing with the crux of the business being the marketing and upkeep of the vacation rentals. For all intensive purposes I am a property manager where I handle the online marketing, the reservations process, maintenance, check in’s and check out’s etc. I didnt’ know what to expect going into it but have enjoyed it. Sometimes it can be stressful when we are getting a home ready for occupancy but every job has moments like that. On a whole I love it and I have especially enjoyed working with my Dad and Uncle Jim. I think we have all grown closer from the experience. I think most of all I enjoy the autonomy of the job. I have a lot of control over my schedule and I do a variety of things. It’s a job that uses all of my skillsets- my website design, marketing, salesmanship, organization and even my manual labor skills on occasion.
In addition to the vacation rentals I have also been working for GPG (Grabber Performance Group) as the leader of the West Warm Team. We go to events around Utah and give out free hand warmers and promote the product. I hope to be doing more of these types of events as the Winter months come up.
Finally, I am trying to add some events to my job but this takes time. It may be several years before I get that part of my business up and running. In the meantime, I am doing what I can every couple of months to build up my portfolio. If anyone is willing to take a chance on me, I will work for cheap!
Most of the summer I was involved with getting this company up and running (and getting all of the houses ready!). We didn’t know what to expect with the rentals but we have been almost fully booked since we opened in June. We have had over 50 groups with amazing variety and sizes! Check out our website for photos of al of the homes including our new house- The Sammy.www.jbjane.com.
During the summer I also made the change of moving into my new apartment. It was a hard step for me because I loved my roommates, Megan and Camille, and I was nervous about living alone for the first time. My apartment has only one bedroom but it is perfect for me. It has been a lot of fun putting up my artwork and photos. I really have made it my home and hope that I don’t have to move for some time. I just love it. I have missed living with someone in certain ways but on other ways I have loved living alone. I am lucky that I have a great and loyal group of girlfriends that never allow me to feel that lonely. It was just the right time for me to get my own place.
Another experience in the summer was the family reunion in July. The Wagner family does a family reunion every other year and this year we did a short cruise to Ensenada and Catalina Island. It was my first cruise and it was a lot of fun. We also got to go Disneyland with Isabel and Lucy. Plus, I got to see my bestest friend Raelene Bradley in Southern California. I always love spending time with family and long-time friends.
In September I started at a new ward in Draper and that was an interesting experience. It is harder to make friends without roommates but I am doing the best I can and trying to be friendly. Luckily it is nice ward and I have high hopes for the upcoming year. I have been out of town a lot so it has been hard to make friends there yet. It always takes time. In September I also took a trip to Cali and “babysat” my siblings while my parents went to Utah. It was a lot of fun.
In October I was asked to come to Michigan for training on the warm team at GPG. This gave me the amazing opportunity to visit my mission again for the first time in 3 years. It was awesome, if a bit surreal. My mission always feels like a dream- like another lifetime- so going back felt a bit like going back into a dream. Everything was the same but different at the same time. It warmed my heart to see old friends and to know that I did make a difference with the hard work I put into the great Hoosier state
After Indiana I threw myself into work and loved it more than I can say. With my job and my apartment it seems that I have come full circle in my life. I still have room to grow but I feel I am the person I want to be, that I am living the life I am meant to live- that Heavenly Father is happy with my choices. I am making a difference in the world in my own little way. It feels good.
With October came Halloween and our traditional party. This year I dressed up as a geisha- wig and all. We had a good time and it was nice to see Camille for the holiday.
With all of the travel and work November came quickly and I got to see Megan, Seth and my adorable nieces for Thanksgiving. Even though we had a lot of illness it was still great to see them and spend time together. I am so excited for Anna to come out here to school next year. I miss having my sisters nearby.
December came quickly and I enjoyed setting up my tree and making my apartment festive. Thanks to all who came to my party. It was a lot of fun. We were busy working getting our 4th house opened for tenants on December 23rd. The work was exacerbated by all of the snow. There were moments when I didn’t think I would be able to finish it all but somehow we did! Now we have 4 beautiful homes to rent out and make people’s stay unforgetable. We help people make memories.
As I mentioned a couple of posts ago I ended 2008 with some travel. December 14-18th I visited Julia Graves in Vegas. We had a fun trip even with the snow! Yes, snow in Vegas. They haven’t had snow there in like 30 years! Go figure that it would come for my stay. It was great spending time with Julia, with the highlight going to see Mamma Mia at the Mandalay Bay casino. So great!
Finally, I am sitting at my parent’s home in California. It is always nice to take a break from the world and enjoy my family. They are such a support to me, and I am grateful for all they do for me. I am truly blessed.
When I think back on 2008, I see a year of growth and strength. I started it unsure and confused about my role in the world. For a while I had no job, no apartment, and no relationship (still working on that last one!). Thanks to the support of family and friends I have gained a career that I love, finished my education and found an apartment that feels like home. It was been quite the journey! Along the way, my testimony has grown and become much stronger. I know that Heavenly Father has an active role in my life (at least he does if I let him). My existence is important and while He might test my faith from time-to-time He never forgets about me. My life matters and if I have faith in Him, I can do amazing things.
I know that the Lord loves me. I know that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me. He is there for me in my lonely, confused hours. He never forgets, never abandones, never leaves without answers. His plan is real, His church is true and I know that while my life may not be perfect, it is guided by His light each day. I am so grateful for that knowledge and for a year where that testimony has become solid as it never was before. It was a year never to be forgotten. Thank you all for being a part of it. God bless and have a great 2009!