Thank You 2016

Merry -two days after- Christmas!

For the last five years, I have included with my Christmas card/newsletter/blog a brief look at the previous twelve months. This year, I didn’t do Christmas cards and I didn’t write a newsletter. I didn’t even blog before Christmas came and went. But I did reflect on the last year and I’m filled with thankfulness.

2016 was good to me. God once more proved his faithfulness and his kindness. The theme of my life this year was NEW. I did a lot of new things. I asked myself often, “When was the last time I did something for the first time?” That question defined my year and gave me a year of adventure, accomplishment, and fun! Here is the annual sneak peak:

JANUARY: I started training for a half-marathon!

FEBRUARY: I went on an ambiguous non-date with a charming and handsome man from my church. By the end of the month, that man was my boyfriend.

MARCH: I ran my first half-marathon…something I never thought I could do!

APRIL: My favorite memory from April was a 90s Dance Party at a local bar for my friend Lacey’s birthday. Barbie Girl, The Macarena, Semi-charmed kinda life…all the good stuff.

MAY: I drove out to San Diego to see my friend Rachel. Her brother taught us how to shoot a bow and arrow for the first time.

JUNE: I took two weeks of PTO and checked PNW off the bucket list. I traveled to Redding, CA -> Eugene, OR -> Portland, OR -> Seattle, WA -> Vancouver BC. It was epic. I connected with old friends, worshipped at Bethel, floated rivers, went to vineyards and wineries, saw the coast, ate clam chowder, visited my 30th country and had so much fun!

JULY: Charles (that charming man from back in Feb.) and I spent 4th of July on a lake in Arizona. We also went to our first concert together…Fitz & the Tantrums.

AUGUST: My cousin Brianna got married so my family flew out to Kentucky and celebrated her big day!

SEPTEMBER: I quit my job at Nordstrom and started nannying for a family that lives in my neighborhood…talk about convenient! Charles and I also traveled to Georgia for a WorldRace Alumni conference and more importantly for him to meet my best friends.

OCTOBER: This was a low month for me emotionally. I almost broke up with Charles because of my own fears. Thankfully he constantly endures my ups and downs. We dressed up for Halloween as a cowboy/cowgirl one day and baseball players another day.

NOVEMBER: Charles and I spent Thanksgiving in Tucson with my family and then we drove north with some friends to spend the day at Woods Canyon Lake for my birthday…even though it wasn’t for another week.

DECEMBER: I turned 30 years old on December 5th and had the most memorable birthday. After dinner at Pho King Kitchen (yep, say it faster), Charles took me to the bell tower at our church that overlooks the valley. I was blindfolded and as soon as we stepped into the tower I heard someone playing the guitar. I immediately recognized the song because it was the first song the Charles sang to me (and I didn’t find it cheesy or lame). I asked him if he was going to make me cry and he said probably”. He proposed at the top of the bell tower and I couldn’t stop crying/smiling/laughing/all the emotions! THEN, he pointed out the window and 50 people started cheering! We ate cake and drank sparkling cider with our closest friends and family to celebrate our engagement. It was absolutely magical.

Now we are heading into 2017 and although I am excited for the many many NEW things I will experience, I feel warm gratitude in my heart for 2016. Sometimes it can be tempting to focus on all of the devastating things that happened this year…our world and our country has suffered greatly. But this year has shown me God’s passion, his closeness, and his care for humankind. The small things we dismiss, he values greatly and finds places of honor for them.

So thank you 2016. I hope to take all of the goodness that I gained and distribute it generously in the coming year.

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30.

Today is the last day of my twenties. What?!

As I look back on the last decade I feel honored, proud, and hopeful. On a lovely hike around Woods Canyon Lake, some friends prayed for me and spoke words of encouragement over me.img_8068

It was on that hike that I realized it had been exactly ten years since I first encountered the freedom and power of the Holy Spirit.

TEN YEARS.

In the last decade of following the Spirit, I have seen some glorious things.

  • I remember watching one of my best friends in college receive the Holy Spirit at a prayer tent on campus. She couldn’t stop smiling!
  • I remember God healing one of my classmates. She had torn her ACL and a week later she had no brace and didn’t have to have surgery!
  • I’ve traveled to five continents and a total of thirty countries.
  • I’ve met some of the most courageous, most honorable, and most humble people despite their circumstances.
  • I remember watching people get set free from bitterness and resentment…being filled with overflowing joy and love.
  • I remember crying A LOT over my weakness and brokenness.
  • I remember those deep sighs of relief because of God’s kindness toward me and the ways he healed wounds in my heart I didn’t even know were there.
  • I remember God miraculous providing bath mats and bed skirts and kitchen utensils and large debts.
  • I’ve had the incredible privilege to lead men and women who are changing the world for the sake of love and making disciples of Christ.
  • I remember crying in my car realizing that God is my father and he takes care of me…right before he got me out of a terrible financial situation at my apartment complex.
  • I remember when my iPad was stolen in New York…I prayed and it was miraculously returned to me.
  • I’ve seen God heal ankles, backs, headaches, knees, relationships and hearts.
  • I’ve met people who have been healed of cancer.
  • I’ve seen people set free of demonic torment.
  • I’ve seen whole families discover Jesus and commit their life to him.
  • I have found friends who love deeply and forgive generously.
  • I found a man who patiently and wholly pursues my heart.

I could keep going! My twenties have been a gift that has broken me and shaped me. I am absolutely full of gratitude and appreciation. I’m thankful for my family members who have been my constant cheerleaders and always gracious with my process.

Now as I pass this threshold out of my twenties and into my thirties, my goal is to risk more boldly, to believe more fiercely, and to love with greater passion. I hope to do justice to the glorious life I have been given in Christ and carry his banner high.

Let’s do this thing.