So what is it that really matters in life? Is it the number of friends you have on Facebook? Is it whether or not you have the latest model of phone? Is it how often you play Scrabble with your siblings or if you get invited to the hottest Christmas parties? Does it really matter if your church has 1,000 or 28 people? Who cares if you don't wear designer jeans? When your blog isn't as interesting as someone else's or your make-up doesn't look as nice will the world end? Can a warm puppy kiss actually make happiness? And does rain need to make you sad? Why are arguments always a bad thing? If two people disagree can they see they're both partially at fault?
I can't believe all that has happened this year. I hated school, graduated from school, and loved college. I said 'hi again', 'goodbye', and 'welcome to my world' to guide dog puppies Vortex and Janda. I grew to love Vortex more than any dog (besides Arturo) and it broke my heart when he left. I missed his graduation as a guide dog and will never see him again--but he's happy. I had a best friend who walked me through the pain of disappointment, got to spend a weekend at her house in Chicago, went through some challenging stuff, and am now figuring out how to deal with jealousy, pain, bitterness, and the power of forgiveness. I learned that just because someone has committed a felony it doesn't mean that they are "bad" and need to be avoided. Along with that, I learned that volunteering at Echo Glen may have changed "my kids'" lives, but it DEFINITELY changed mine. I discovered that making traditions is a blast. Friday night movies and ice cream will live forever. And taking trips to downtown Seattle can involve spending way too much money, shopping for hours, and getting lost.
I learned that my heart has enough room for two fantastic churches. That parents can be wrong. I discovered that taking risks often lead to tremendous rewards. I found that Jesus can be new and exciting every morning and that reading my Bible makes my day much brighter. I learned the power of confessing sin and asking for prayer. I found that even community group leaders you've only known a few months can really really care about you. Also that no matter how loud the band, worshiping Jesus can be hindered if I'm concerned about what other people think. I discovered that writing in my Bible is a helpful tool to recall things later. I discovered that working with toddlers in children's ministry is exhausting.
I have bought two tubes of mascara, dozens of books, and hundreds of sticks of gum. I purchased my first ever cigarette lighter (for work!!!). I received more gifts than any year before and for no reason but I managed to survive 12 years of school. I followed the lives of dozens of puppies in training through blogs. I got my braces taken off. I shampooed the rugs in our entire house. I made a new best friend. My new best friend took a class with me at school and then left for college. But she's still beyond amazing. I conquered swine flu and 80 straight hours locked in my room. I spent my last weekend at Camp Casey as a high school student. I wrote the lyrics to a song. I spent one of the most powerful hours (and a half) alone on a beach with just Jesus, my Bible, and journal. I worked 40+ hours a week over the summer and had 3 jobs for one of those weeks. I found my dream college and struggled with surrendering that dream when Jesus took it back. Over the past year I've cried hard, but laughed harder. I've discovered that I do have a very serious and intense side. And that it's not weakness to show when I'm hurting. I painted a few faces, popped a few bags of kettle corn, and talked to a few neighbors. I made a conscious effort to be Jesus. And failed many times. I learned that I can, indeed, think through the hard questions. And when I get to the point that I can't think anymore, I can ask people who are more mature than me for their opinions. I learned that even when you invest your life in a person--they won't always return the investment. And that one of the hardest things in life is losing a best friend. I found that older brothers are always good to have around, and that younger ones can be the sweetest things.
I found my wings this year. And I found where I want to fly.
2009 has been a year of ups and downs. I've reached some of the highest highs and the lowest lows.
And I'm pressing on.